September 27, 2019

Could Elizabeth Warren end up the real winner from the Trump impeachment inquiry?
Elizabeth Warren could be unintentionally benefit from the impeachment inquiry as claims over her Democratic presidential rival Joe Biden’s activities in Ukraine dominate the headlines, polling experts have predicted. The US senator for Massachusetts has enjoyed a remarkable surge in the polls of who Democrats want as their White House candidate at the 2020 election and is now neck-and-neck with Mr Biden, long seen as the front-runner.  Despite the impeachment probe targeting Donald Trump and his alleged abuses in office, some are predicting the drive could inadvertently rebound and politically damage Mr Biden, the former US vice president. At the heart of the impeachment inquiry are claims that Mr Trump pressured the Ukrainian president to look into Mr Biden and his son Hunter Biden’s activities in the country.  Mr Biden, while in office, called for Ukraine’s prosecutor to step down. At the time his son Hunter worked for a Ukrainian gas company. The prosecutor was once investigating the head of that company. Joe Biden and his son Hunter at a basketball game in 2010 Credit: AP Photo/Nick Wass Mr Trump, his attorney Rudy Giuliani and other Republicans have made a string of unfounded allegations over the scenario, claiming it showed Mr Biden was somehow protecting his son. In fact Mr Biden’s calls were part of a drive supported by many Western countries at the time to replace the Ukrainian prosecutor, who was deemed to have not been tough enough on corruption. Both Mr Biden and his son have always denied any wrongdoing. The political problem, some election experts say, is that whatever the facts the coming months will see Mr Biden’s Ukraine actions and his son's job with a Ukrainian company put up in lights on cable TV news and in newspapers. It could draw attention to a potential weakness in Mr Biden’s hopes of winning the Democratic nomination – that he is viewed as a Washington insider after a half-century career in the capital whereas voters want change. Larry Sabuto, director of the Centre for Politics at the University of Virginia, told The Daily Telegraph: “It reinforces Biden’s problem, which is that he’s an old-style politician.” Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren shaking hands after a debate between Democrats hoping to reach the White House in 2020 Credit: AP Photo/David J. Phillip Mr Biden could be more vulnerable than Ms Warren to Mr Trump’s “drain the swamp” attacks given he his career as a senator and then Barack Obama’s vice president. Ms Warren, by contrast, only joined the Senate in 2013 and shot to prominence challenging the Wall Street elites and pushing bold left-wing policies such as a wealth tax. “Her image is perfectly designed to take advantage of this Biden problem,” Mr Sabuto said. “She is seen as a squeaky clean, anti-corruption politician. And Biden is connected to the old ‘you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours’ politics.” Questions over the appropriateness of Hunter Biden having a job at a Ukrainian company while his father oversaw Ukrainian policy for the Obama administration have already been voiced.  Mr Trump has shown no sign of backing off from demanding the Bidens be investigated despite that being at the very heart of the impeachment proceedings he now faces. That will no doubt continue in the coming months, however unfounded the allegations. Whether Democrat voters now rally to Mr Biden’s side or get cold feet remains to be seen.
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