When CBS News announced the topics to be covered during Thursday night’s debate between President Donald Trump and his Democratic opponent Joe Biden, there was nothing about Hunter Biden, his e-mails, his selling of influence to Ukrainian and Chinese officials, his doing mega-financial deals with communists in China, nothing about payoffs — nothing.
Instead it reiterated the location: Belmont University in Nashville; the date: Thursday, the 22nd; the time: 9 p.m. Eastern; and its length: 90 minutes.
The topics listed included are:
Race in America
National Security, and
CBS News reiterated the responsibility of the moderator, Kristen Welker, who “alone will select the questions to be asked, which are not known to the Presidential Debate Commission or to the candidates [and] to ensure that the candidates have equal speaking time … and regulate the conversation so that thoughtful and substantive exchanges occur.”
That’s about as likely to work as well it did in the last time the two candidates faced off. It was all Chris Wallace could do to keep the candidates in line. As for following the script, Wallace failed miserably.
Welker, a Harvard graduate and an experienced TV journalist for ABC and then NBC, is going to have her hands full providing cover for Biden.
At the first opportunity the president will ask his opponent “Are you the ‘big guy’ mentioned in your son’s emails?” “Are you the chairman? “ “Is Hunter handling your family’s income and expenses and setting aside money for you?”
Trump campaign advisor Jason Miller told Maria Bartiromo on Monday’s “Mornings with Maria” at Fox News that “these are real simple questions.” But they are likely to cause Biden great difficulty.
As Michael Goodwin, writing for Fox News, pointed out, Biden Senior has nowhere to go:
The Joe-knows-nothing defense has now been exposed as a lie by The [New York] Post’s publication of the e-mail from a Ukrainian adviser to Burisma, the energy firm that put Hunter on its board for up to $83,000 a month. In the e-mail, Vadym Pozharskyi thanked Hunter for setting up a meeting with then-Vice President Biden.
“Thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together,” the April 17, 2015, message reads.
The explanation provided so far by the Biden campaign has no substance:
Joe Biden aides do not dispute the e-mail, or deny the two men met. Their only defense is that there was no such meeting on the vice president’s official schedule.
That’s a loophole big enough to drive a truck through.
And certainly big enough for Trump to seize, given the opportunity on Thursday.
And that opportunity is likely to enlarge as more e-mails are released. Wrote Goodwin: “If the emerging pieces of the puzzle fit together as has been suggested, Americans will learn that the entire family was making money off Joe Biden’s prominence, including Joe himself, by making deals with elements of the Chinese government.”
Biden has nowhere to go. His staff has not explicitly denied the existence of the e-mails. Instead they have called them a “smear tactic,” a charge that fails as more and more details are released. To do the right thing, the proper thing, the honest thing — to admit the truth — would end his campaign, especially given most Americans’ increasingly unfavorable view of the communists running China.
The only problem Trump will face on Thursday is trying to nail Biden down. The Democratic Party’s candidate will need all the help he can get from Welker who also no doubt is preparing for the inevitable from Trump.
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