Oct 3, 2019

CNN refused to air Trump campaign's Biden-Ukraine ad

Photo: Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

CNN refused to air a Trump campaign ad that pushes misleading claims about Joe Biden's role in the ouster of a Ukrainian prosecutor and suggests the network's anchors are the Democrats' "media lapdogs," The Daily Beast reports. The Trump campaign said the ad is "factually accurate."

Why it matters: This isn't the first time CNN has determined that the Trump campaign crossed its red line on advertising political content. When CNN stopped running an ad that vilified immigrants in 2018, NBC and Fox later followed suit.

The big picture: Trump tweeted the 30-second spot titled "Biden Corruption" last week. The ad claims that Biden "promised Ukraine $1 billion if they fired the prosecutor investigating his son's company. ... But when President Trump asks Ukraine to investigate corruption, the Democrats want to impeach him."

  • The ad then shows a montage of cable news hosts including CNN's Chris Cuomo, Don Lemon and correspondent Jim Acosta, before adding: "And their media lapdogs fall in line. They lost the election, now they want to steal this one."

Context: Trump's allegations that the media is biased against him have been a hallmark of his political career. On Wednesday, Trump concluded a press conference with the president of Finland by claiming that U.S. democracy would be better off if the media were honest, singling out "the CNNs of the world, who are corrupt people."

What they're saying: "CNN is rejecting the ad, as it does not meet our advertising standards,” a spokesperson told The Daily Beast. "Specifically, in addition to disparaging CNN and its journalists, the ad makes assertions that have been proven demonstrably false by various news outlets, including CNN.”

Trump campaign spokesperson Tim Murtaugh responded:

“Everything in that ad is factually accurate. Biden threatened to withhold $1 billion from Ukraine if they did not fire the prosecutor looking into the company Hunter Biden worked for.  It’s a fact.”
"CNN spends all day protecting Joe Biden in their programming, so it’s not surprising that they’re shielding him from truthful advertising too, and then talking to other media outlets about it. Our ad is entirely accurate and was reviewed by counsel, and CNN wouldn’t even describe to us what they found objectionable. This isn’t a cable news channel anymore, it’s a Democrat public relations firm.”

Go deeper ... Fact check: What Joe and Hunter Biden actually did in Ukraine

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to show the Trump campaign spokesperson is Tim Murtaugh and updated with additional comment from Trump campaign.

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3 GOP senators called for Ukrainian government reform in 2016 letter

Sen. Ron Johnson. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

3 Republican senators joined a 2016 push for Ukraine to reform its prosecutor general's office and judiciary, a bipartisan letter uncovered by CNN shows, mirroring the contemporaneous work of then-Vice President Joe Biden.

Why it matters: The letter to former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko illuminates bipartisan support in the U.S. to pursue corruption reforms in the prosecutor general's office. It also undermines claims from President Trump and Republicans that Biden demanded Ukraine terminate Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin and drop its investigation into the company for which Biden's son, Hunter, sat on the board.

Go deeperArrowOct 3, 2019

How Biden haunts Biden

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Sometimes it sounds like Joe Biden is running against Joe Biden.

The big picture: From Ukraine to Syria strategy to his use of the word "lynching" in connection with Bill Clinton's impeachment, Biden's background often complicates the attacks Democrats want to use against President Trump.

Go deeperArrowOct 24, 2019

Diplomat told House committees that he flagged Hunter Biden's Ukraine work in 2015

Hunter Biden. Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for World Food Program USA

A top U.S. diplomat told the House committees investigating President Trump's dealings with Ukraine Tuesday that he raised concerns about Hunter Biden's board position at a Ukrainian gas company in 2015, but was brushed off by an aide to former Vice President Joe Biden, reports the Washington Post.

Why it matters: George Kent's testimony is "the first known example of a career diplomat who raised concerns internally in the Obama administration" about Hunter Biden's work, writes the Post.

Go deeperArrowOct 18, 2019