Donald Trump has stirred widespread backlash and calls for impeachment after a report that he pressed the Ukrainian president and its government to dig up dirt on potential opponent Joe Biden, but one political analyst thinks that the controversy could actually be a benefit to Biden.
This week, reports shed light on the mysterious whistleblower complaint from the U.S. intelligence community that was considered urgent. The complaint reportedly stemmed from a phone call that Trump had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Trump repeatedly pressed Ukraine to investigate the business dealings of Biden’s son, Hunter.
Trump has denied the report, calling it fake news, but insisted that there is substance to reports of misconduct from Joe Biden in dealings with Ukraine and implored reporters to look into it. Amid the controversy, poll aggregation and political analysis website FiveThirtyEight founder Nate Silver thinks that Joe Biden could actually come out ahead.
“The Ukraine stuff is probably helpful to Biden in the context of a Democratic primary,” Silver tweeted. “It forces Democrats who aren’t ordinarily very pro-Biden to come to his defense. And it makes it look as though Trump has something to fear from Biden.”
Biden remains the frontrunner for the 2020 Democratic primary, though his lead has narrowed considerably in recent weeks as Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has increased her stature. Biden has the widest lead against Donald Trump in hypothetical 2020 polling, though all of the top Democratic candidates have been consistently ahead of Trump.
Joe Biden has already come out forcefully against Trump. The former vice president backed a House investigation of the phone call and demanded that the White House release the transcript of the call.
Biden went on to claim that Trump is focused on digging up dirt because he knows he will lose an election against him.
“Trump’s doing this because he knows I’ll beat him like a drum, and he’s using the abuse of power and every element of the presidency to try to do something to smear me,” Biden said to reporters at a campaign stop in Iowa, via Fox News.
Donald Trump had withheld $250 million in military aid to Ukraine at the time of the phone call in August, which reports say may have been connected with his demand that Ukraine investigate Hunter Biden’s business dealings there. Trump relented this week amid bipartisan criticism, releasing the aid to Ukraine, but it has done little to stem the controversy. Many have called for impeachment proceedings against Trump for the claims.