On Sunday, former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign sent a letter to TV news executives and hosts, urging them not to book President Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, on their programs. At the very least, the Biden team asked that a Biden surrogate also be given equal air time if the former New York mayor is not blacklisted. This demand to control how the media reports the story seems eerily similar to the measures Barack Obama took to control the media.
“We are writing today with grave concern that you continue to book Rudy Giuliani on your air to spread false, debunked conspiracy theories on behalf of Donald Trump,” Anita Dunn and Kate Bedingfield wrote in the letter, first reported by the Daily Beast. “While you often fact check his statements in real time during your discussions, that is no longer enough. By giving him your air time, you are allowing him to introduce increasingly unhinged, unfounded and desperate lies into the national conversation.”
“We write to demand that in service to the facts, you no longer book Rudy Giuliani, a surrogate for Donald Trump who has demonstrated that he will knowingly and willingly lie in order to advance his own narrative,” the Biden aides continued. “Giuliani is not a public official, and holds no public office that would entitle him to opine on the nation’s airwaves.”
The letter further demands that if Giuliani is put on the airwaves, “an equivalent amount of time” must be given “to a surrogate for the Biden campaign.”
Politico‘s Michael Calderone noted that the letter was sent to “executives and hosts at ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News.”
Letter went out to executives and hosts at ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News.
— Michael Calderone (@mlcalderone) September 29, 2019
Giuliani told The Daily Beast that the letter “sounds like the usual left wing censorship. Everything I say is supported by such as today, affidavits and statements. They are the ones who have covered up pay for play for at least 5 years.”
The conflict traces back to the infamous July 25 call during which Trump asked Ukraine’s current president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to help Giuliani investigate potential corruption surrounding Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son. While Biden was the Obama administration’s point person on Ukraine, Hunter Biden received a lucrative position on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings. In 2016, Biden pressured Ukraine’s then-President Petro Poroshenko to fire prosecutor Viktor Shokin, who was investigating Burisma.
Democrats have launched an impeachment inquiry centered on the call, claiming that Trump was pressuring a foreign government to intervene in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, since Biden was the Democratic frontrunner in that election at the time. The official Biden line is that Biden pressured Poroshenko to fire Shokin due to Shokin’s refusal to investigate corruption, therefore Trump’s request to Zelensky could only have been political.
Yet Giuliani has pushed back against this narrative, citing Shokin’s official testimony.
“The Bidens are doing all they can to silence me. This is why!” Giuliani tweeted Sunday evening. In this tweet, the former mayor included video of his recent ABC News appearance, during which he quoted from Viktor Shokin, the Ukraine prosecutor whom Joe Biden pressured Ukraine’s president to fire. Shokin testified under oath, “The truth is, I was forced out because I was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into Burisma Holdings and Joe Biden’s son.”