Joe Biden’s presidential campaign issued a memo Monday warning journalists not to spread debunked claims about the former vice president’s push to remove a corrupt prosecutor in Ukraine.
The memo comes just days ahead of the Senate impeachment trial, during which Republicans are likely to push the theory as they seek to defend President Trump.
The Biden campaign said Trump’s efforts to spread the theory is the reason the president is being impeached and said it would be “malpractice” for journalists to reference the allegations without also saying that they’ve been debunked, according to a copy of the memo obtained by The Hill.
“[Trump’s] objective was to pressure the Ukrainian government into spreading a malicious and conclusively debunked conspiracy theory: that Vice President BidenJoe BidenHouse Democrat threatens to vote against party's spending bill if HBCUs don't get more federal aid Overnight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Haitians stuck in Texas extend Biden's immigration woes MORE engaged in wrongdoing when he executed official United States policy to remove a corrupt prosecutor from office,” communications director Kate Bedingfield wrote in a memo to reporters and editors.
The memo was first reported by NBC News.
Bedingfield, citing fact-checkers and reports from numerous outlets, notes that the theory that Biden sought to fire the prosecutor because his son sat on the board of a Ukrainian energy firm has been proven false.
She called on journalists to “state clearly and unambiguously that [the claims] have been discredited” in coverage of the ongoing impeachment process.
“It is not sufficient to say the allegations are ‘unsubstantiated’ or that 'no evidence has emerged to support them.’ Not only is there ‘no evidence’ for Republicans’ main argument against the Vice President -- there is a mountain of evidence that actively debunks it. And it is malpractice to ignore that truth,” Bedingfield wrote.
Biden has called out the debunked theory in the months since the impeachment scandal has unfolded, defending his actions as vice president, but the memo is perhaps the campaign’s strongest rebuke yet of the allegations.
It comes as Republicans float the idea of calling Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, to testify as a witness in the Senate trial.
Democrats argue Hunter Biden should not appear as a fact witness as he has no knowledge of the allegations related to Trump’s impeachment.
They are instead pushing to hear from witnesses with firsthand knowledge of the administration's pressure campaign in Ukraine to call for the investigation into the Bidens, including acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyHeadhunters having hard time finding jobs for former Trump officials: report Trump holdovers are denying Social Security benefits to the hardest working Americans Mulvaney calls Trump's comments on Capitol riot 'manifestly false' MORE and former national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonOvernight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right Ex-Trump adviser Bolton defends Milley: 'His patriotism is unquestioned' MORE.