California Rep. Devin Nunes predicted on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” that Joe Biden’s campaign is likely coming to an end — all because of newly resurfaced reports about his possible misconduct in Ukraine that “first originated back when Hillary Clinton was trying to make sure Biden didn’t get in the race.”
The top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee made the prediction as The Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom poll showed Sen. Elizabeth Warren surging ahead of Biden as the first choice of 22 percent of the voters surveyed, while Biden was the first choice of 20 percent of the voters. Biden held a 9-point lead over Warren in the poll as recently as June.
Nunes, speaking to anchor Maria Bartiromo, said a whistleblower’s allegation that President Trump had acted inappropriately during a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy will ultimately backfire, and shine a light on Biden’s own misconduct. CNN later acknowledged that the whistleblower had no first-hand knowledge of the call, and a top Ukrainian official on Saturday defended Trump’s conduct.
“These stories first originated back when Hillary Clinton was trying to make sure Biden didn’t get in the race,” Nunes said. “So now that these have been resurrected, I don’t know who came up with the scheme — maybe this whistleblower really is not a partisan. We want to hear from that whistleblower, but it sure looks like the scheme has backfired. And, like I said, it looks like this is the end of Biden’s campaign. I really do… his lead is basically down to zero.”
Nunes also said the ever-deepening schism in the Democratic Party over whether to impeach the president — highlighted late Saturday when New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called it a major “scandal” that Democrats hadn’t yet voted to impeach — would help Trump in 2020.
“The more I think that they’re out there promoting this kind of craziness and silliness, the more that the American people are put off, and the more likely President Trump is reelected,” Nunes added.
There were parallels, Nunes said, with Democrats’ ultimately debunked claims that the Trump campaign had colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election.
“This has all the hallmarks of th Russia hoax,” Nunes said. “Something leaks out. … and then it’s the same reporters that report on it, the same reporters that reported on the Russia hoax. Then you move forward, and what happens? Then supposedly they come and testify — and the night before they testify, the whistleblower who supposedly doesn’t want anybody to know who this person is, or what information they have, well, it’s spilled all over the pages of the Washington Post” the day before Congress was briefed on the matter.
“Whoever came up with this scheme — it looks like somebody was trying to deflect what Biden did back in 2015,” Nunes said. “This scheme seems to have backfired on Biden. I mean, Biden’s already dropping in the polls.”
The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Trump had repeatedly asked Zelenskiy to investigate Hunter Biden, the former vice president’s son who had a key role in a natural gas firm that was being investigated by a Ukrainian prosecutor as part of a corruption probe.
DNI Inspector General Michael Atkinson reportedly said in a Sep. 9 letter to the House Intelligence Committee that the whistleblower complaint “appeared credible” and related to an “urgent” matter, although the DOJ and DNI general counsel have disagreed with that characterization of Atkinson’s remarks.
Trump’s conversation came as the White House was holding up $250 million in military aid for Ukraine. The president has said he wants European countries to pay more for their own defense, and denied delaying any military aid funding.
Joe Biden has openly said in the past that in March 2016, he privately threatened Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko that the U.S. would withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees from Ukraine if the prosecutor was not fired.
“I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion,'” Biden recounted telling Poroshenko at a Council on Foreign Relations event. “I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.'”
“Well, son of a b-tch, he got fired,” Biden continued, after assuring Poroshenko that Obama knew about the arrangement. “And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.”
It remained unclear if this was directly tied to Hunter Biden’s case, as other countries reportedly wanted the prosecutor out as well.
The whistleblower’s allegation could prompt scrutiny of the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy. Earlier this year, The Hill reported that the U.S. Embassy in Kiev took the unusual step of pressuring prosecutors there to drop a probe into a group closely linked to liberal megadonor George Soros.
And in April, Ukrainian law enforcement officials said they have a slew of evidence of collusion and wrongdoing by Democrats, and that they have been trying to share this information with U.S. officials in the Justice Department.
A 2017 investigation by Politico found that Ukrainian officials not only publicly sought to undermine Trump by questioning his fitness for office, but also worked behind the scenes to secure a Clinton victory. Trump told Fox News that the allegations of possible Clinton-Ukraine collusion were “big” and vowed they would be reviewed by the DOJ.
“The longer we talk about what the Bidens did in Ukraine, the better,” said Barry Bennett, a former Trump campaign adviser, who dismissed those who believe Trump will pay a political price for the latest controversy.
Meanwhile, Biden on Saturday denied he has ever spoken to Hunter about his business in Ukraine and called Trump’s actions an “overwhelming abuse of power.”
“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 told reporters in Iowa.
But Trump, on Sunday, pointed out that Biden’s claim was seemingly inaccurate. Hunter Biden told the New Yorker previously that he and his father had spoken “just once” about it.
“And now he made a lie when he said he never spoke to his son,” Trump said. “Of course you spoke to your son!”
Trump went on to say the latest allegations from a government whistleblower are “just as ridiculous as the others,” branding it “the Ukraine Witch Hunt” — a nod to former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, which he mocked as a “witch hunt.”
“Will fail again!” Trump tweeted.
Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer and The Associated Press contributed to this report.