Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, along with congressional Democrats, would rather not waste their breath engaging with congressional Republican efforts to probe Biden’s relationships in Ukraine. They’d prefer to be talking about President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, as opposed to amplifying a GOP search for wrongdoing by Biden in an area where it has, to date, been non-existent.
But the recent emergence of purported evidence in that probe has forced Democrats to more directly confront the GOP’s persistent campaign to damage Biden’s political standing. The information itself is somewhat snoozy. But where it’s coming from is what’s raising their alarm about the persistence of foreign efforts to influence the 2020 election.
In May, a pro-Russian Ukrainian politician linked to Rudy Giuliani, Andrii Derkach, released something intended to be a Biden bombshell: a recording of a private conversation between the then-vice president and Petro Poroshenko, then president of Ukraine. The apparently heavily edited tape is meant to be damaging—and meant to echo Trump’s own quid-pro-quo with Ukraine—because Biden seems to tie $1 billion in aid to Ukraine to the firing of prosecutor Viktor Shokin.