Joe Biden released a statement on Friday denying Tara Reade’s sexual assault allegations. The former vice president and U.S. senator said:
I want to address allegations by a former staffer that I engaged in misconduct 27 years ago. They aren’t true. This never happened.
Then Biden went on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” for a pointed interview with Mika Brzezinski. While Brzezinski and President Donald Trump have carried on a very public feud, the MSNBC host didn’t handle his presumptive November opponent with kid gloves. Her probing interview with Biden drew mostly positive reviews .
But hold the phone. Caught up in the Tara Reade scandal, media commentators seemed to miss something potentially huge in the Morning Joe interview.
Joe Biden made an oblique reference that might invite more questions about the Ukraine scandal – which embroiled his son, Hunter Biden – that dates back to when he was vice president.
Strange that it seems a distant memory now, but the U.S. House impeached President Donald Trump in January. The reason? Democrats say he abused his power to solicit potentially damaging information about Joe Biden from the Ukrainian president.
During this morning’s interview, Mika Brzezinski pressed Joe Biden on his University of Delaware records. She asked him why these records are sealed. Biden replied:
There’s a lot of things– speeches I’ve made, positions I’ve taken, interviews I’ve done overseas with people. All of those things relating to my job… they could be really taken out of context… for example when I met with Putin, or when I met with whomever. And all of that could be fodder in a campaign.
Who’s whomever? Republican oppo researchers might want to know. Brzezinski pressed on.
She asked Biden why he hadn’t approved a search of those records for anything pertaining to Tara Reade:
Are you certain there’s nothing about Tara Reade in those records? And if so, why not approve a search in those records? And reveal anything that might be related to Tara Reade in the University of Delaware records?
Then, all wrapped up in the sexual misconduct allegations, Joe Biden let loose a tantalizing answer that could very well be related to the Ukraine scandal:
Because the material in the University of Delaware has no personnel files, but it does have a lot of confidential conversations that I had with the president about a particular issue that I had with the heads of state of other places…
Which heads of state? What other places? Why would the information be potentially damaging to Joe Biden in the 2020 elections, as he himself is arguing?
Donald Trump was obviously planning ahead to make Ukraine a focal point of the 2020 election should Joe Biden win the Democratic nomination – as is now all but certain.
Last November, USA Today summarized the complicated story in one succinct sentence :
At the heart of Congress’ probe into the president’s actions is his claim that former Vice President and 2020 Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden strong-armed the Ukrainian government to fire its top prosecutor in order to thwart an investigation into a company tied to his son, Hunter Biden.
The paper noted:
Critics of Hunter Biden have questioned how he landed such a lucrative role with no experience in Ukraine or the gas industry.
Joe Biden’s defenders have a plausible explanation for his pressure campaign to oust the Ukrainian prosecutor. Many in Ukraine and the international community wanted to see him go.
But, at best, his son working a lucrative job in a country where his father was so influential looks like nepotism. It’s bad optics.
While there’s no smoking gun implicating Joe Biden in any crimes, his interview on Morning Joe may raise more questions than it answers.