A leftover from last night. Does she even realize what she’s being asked here?
FLAG: Senator Elizabeth Warren appears uncharacteristically flustered when asked if her ethics plan would allow her Vice President’s son to serve on the board of a foreign company: “No,” she said. “I don’t know. I mean I’d have to go back and look at the details.” #nhpolitics pic.twitter.com/EksLlMEsew
— Nicole Sganga (@NicoleSganga) September 25, 2019
Her gut answer to the question she’s asked is “no” — but then she backpedals. Did she backpedal because, as she thought further about it, she’s not sure how a situation like that in the abstract should be handled?
Or did she backpedal because … it suddenly dawned on her that she was being asked to attack Joe Biden for his dealings with Ukraine as vice president while Hunter Biden was sitting on the board of Burisma? That’s not something Warren would want to do casually, in an offhand Q&A like this. If she’s going to take the momentous step of joining Trump in criticizing the Bidens’ relationship with Ukraine, she’s going to do it after due deliberation, with some carefully chosen words.
Speaking of which, I don’t understand this criticism of how Warren handled this:
Now the news and social media are filled with questions about how Biden’s son Hunter was even remotely qualified to receive hefty payments from Ukrainian companies. Perhaps there is an innocent explanation for it, but so far both Joe and Hunter Biden haven’t provided any. Instead, candidate Biden has failed to react in the best way by choosing a public statement Tuesday where simply bashed President Trump and took no questions from the assembled news media.
Just as Democrats in Congress are seeking to remove President Trump over allegations of improper dealings with the Ukrainian government, how in the world can the same party nominate a man accused of essentially doing the same thing?…
But so far, Warren is showing signs she may fumble this opportunity. Warren was unable to give a definitive answer to a reporter Wednesday on whether she would allow something like it in her administration. If ever there was a time to take a page from President Trump’s 2016 campaign book and slam her main primary opponent, this is it.
The truth is the opposite: If there was ever a moment *not* to slam Biden, this is it. Why the hell would Warren want to join Trump’s Biden attack when the politics of impeachment are uncertain and wildly in flux? For all she knows, Democratic voters might be indignant on Biden’s behalf that Trump is attempting to turn his own scandal into a Biden scandal. Does she want to antagonize them? Also, the entire party will want Democratic presidential candidates to give Biden some space on the Ukraine issue for the moment so that its messaging efforts can be focused entirely on Trump. If Warren disrupts that by making common cause with the left’s Orange Grinch, feeding oxygen to the fire Trump’s trying to set about Biden instead of feeding oxygen to the fire Democrats are trying to set about impeachment, her party might never forgive her.
Lying low is precisely the right move. Especially since Trump’s and right-wing media’s attacks on Biden are bound to make their way to some Democratic voters organically, planting seeds of doubt about Biden in their minds. If Republicans are going to do her dirty work for her, Warren has no incentive to participate. Better just to sit back, tsk-tsk them perfunctorily for attacking poor Joe, and watch him immolate.
And so, via the Free Beacon, her campaign is now predictably insisting that her policy would *not* bar the VP’s children from sitting on a foreign company’s board. The Bidens are in the clear!
A Warren campaign spox on whether, under a Warren administration, her VP’s child could serve on the board of a foreign company: “The [ethics] bill doesn’t prevent any children of a VP from serving on a company’s board.”
— Annie Linskey (@AnnieLinskey) September 26, 2019
The Free Beacon’s David Rutz notes that Warren’s website claims she’ll ban “the practice of private lobbying for foreign governments, foreign individuals, and foreign companies,” ridding Washington of “K Street influence-peddlers looking out for the interests of China, Russia, or Saudi Arabia.” In that case, though, why wouldn’t she ban children of elected officials from working for foreign interests? The whole reason the Bidens’ arrangement looks shady is that it appears from the outside as though Hunter was brought on as a director at Burisma in hopes that he might be able to influence his father in how policy towards Ukraine was set. If Warren’s worried about influence peddling, obviously she should worry about a conduit through family members of top cabinet officials.
Exit quotation from former Ukrainian prosecutor Yuri Lutsenko, who had previously accused Hunter Biden of wrongdoing: “From the perspective of Ukrainian legislation, he did not violate anything… Hunter Biden cannot be responsible for violations of the management of Burisma that took place two years before his arrival.”