Elizabeth Warren and Beto O'Rourke defend Joe Biden during Donald Trump's smear campaign

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Beto O'Rourke are defending Joe Biden from Donald Trump's smear against him

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published May 12, 2019 3:45PM (EDT)

Donald Trump; Joe Biden (Getty/Salon)
Donald Trump; Joe Biden (Getty/Salon)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas, despite running against Joe Biden in the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries, are defending the former vice president against President Donald Trump's effort to smear him by claiming he behaved inappropriately toward Ukraine while serving under President Barack Obama.

"I just think it is highly unethical for the President's personal lawyer to go meet with officials from foreign government to see if they can influence somehow the upcoming presidential election. We've had enough of that and Rudy Giuliani should just back off," Warren said in West Virginia, according to CNN. Her comment referred to how Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who currently works as President Donald Trump's lawyer, had planned a trip to Ukraine in order to dig up dirt on any potential corruption by Biden in order to help his son, who was doing business in that country. Giuliani later cancelled that trip after facing intense criticism for seeking help from a foreign power to hurt a domestic political candidate, according to Politico.

Giuliani, however, argued that the meeting had been a "set up" by anti-Trump elements in the Ukrainian government and told Fox News on Friday that he cancelled because "it is all part of one large conspiracy that has a two or three parts to it. … So I’ve decided I’m not going to go because I’m walking into a group of people that are enemies of the president."

He later sent Politico a text message saying, "I concluded that the President elect is being advised by people who were very vocal opponents of President Trump and peculiarly vocal supporters of Hillary Clinton."

Warren wasn't alone among Democrats running for president in 2020 to defend Biden. In New Hampshire O'Rourke said that Giuliani's proposed trip to Ukraine was "so very troubling, very disappointing, and yet not a total surprise, given this President's behavior and the pattern that he'd already set."

Although many Republicans are hoping to prove that Biden got a Ukrainian prosecutor fired for investigating Hunter Biden's business activities in Ukraine, Oliver Bullough — a contributor to The Guardian who has "genuine insight into what happened, having written extensively about Hunter Biden’s ex-employer, Mykola Zlochevsky" — wrote in The Washington Post on Wednesday that the conspiracy theory about Biden did not make sense.

"Many [journalists] are eager to flesh out what seems a satisfyingly simple conspiracy, but I have to tell them: It isn’t true," Bullough wrote. "The timeline doesn’t work. The investigation into Burisma, Hunter Biden’s employer, had ground to a halt long before the prosecutor was sacked. A subsequent probe into the company’s owner was opened because of a request from Ukrainian legislators, not because of prosecutorial initiative. There is, in short, no there there; the bloggers are putting two and two together — and coming up with 22."

Earlier in the editorial Bullough also wrote that Ukraine does not need "underinformed dinosaurs wading into its sensitive political ecosystem to make points for domestic American consumption. Unfortunately, this is precisely what is now happening — thanks to President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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