In Cleveland on Tuesday, President Donald Trump and Joe Biden will face off in the much-anticipated first presidential debate moderated by Fox News' Chris Wallace. Here are few key questions the veteran journalist should ask the former vice president.
On Hunter Biden:
—Despite having no known expertise in the energy sector, your son Hunter Biden was paid large sums of money to sit on the board of Burmisa, a Ukrainian natural gas company, while you were vice president. Tell us about this financial arrangement and did it have any influence over U.S. foreign policy while you were President Obama's pointman on Ukraine?
—U.S. Senate committees released an interim report on Wednesday documenting that Hunter Biden received $3.5 million in wire transfers from a Russian billionaire whose husband was the former mayor of Moscow. Nine of the 11 wire transfers were sent to an investment firm co-founded by Hunter. Additionally, records obtained from the U.S. Treasury Department by the GOP-lead Senate committees "show potential criminal activity relating to transactions among and between Hunter Biden, his family and his associates with Ukrainian, Russian, Kazakh and Chinese nationals."
—What can you disclose about your son's dealings with foreign governments and officials while you were vice president? And did any of these relationships present a conflict of interest?
—The Senate report also notes some of the financial transactions are linked to what "appears to be an Eastern European prostitution or human trafficking ring." Is this true?
The coronavirus pandemic:
—Mr. Biden, you and your supporters are blaming President Trump for his handling of the coronavirus, a worldwide pandemic that originated in China and has to date taken over 200,000 American lives. Yet, while you were vice president, the H1N1 flu pandemic infected 60 million Americans and killed thousands of Americans. No one blamed you or President Obama for it. If you believe the current administration is responsible for every fatality during a pandemic, does that mean you and the Obama administration are also responsible for the 12,469 Americans who died from H1N1 on your watch?
—On numerous occasions, you've said that if elected president, then you, in contrast to President Trump, will listen to the scientists and the "experts." What happens if the "experts" are wrong? For example, last January, the World Health Organization — which you and the Democratic establishment fully support —downplayed the virus. On Jan. 14, the WHO tweeted, "Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China." We now know that's 100% false. The virus is highly contagious, spreading to 213 countries and killing nearly 1 million people globally. If you're elected president, will you blindly listen to the so-called experts or think for yourself and make your own decisions?
—In addition to voting for the Iraq War while a U.S. senator, on your watch while vice president, ISIS established a caliphate, killed and tortured Americans and spread its deadly tentacles around the world. Syrian Dictator Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons against its people while approximately 500,000 perished during its brutal civil war. China's trade abuses against the U.S. were left unchecked. Russia annexed Crimea and invaded Ukraine. North Korea and Iran advanced their nuclear weapons programs. Four Americans were killed in Benghazi — including a U.S. ambassador — and a global refugee crisis took place. What do you say to voters who question your ability to handle U.S. foreign policy if elected president?
Criminal justice reform:
—Mr. Biden, you championed the highly controversial 1994 Crime Bill which disproportionally incarcerated a generation of Black men. Why should people of color and the Black community trust you to have their back today when it comes to criminal justice reform?
—Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York City, has pledged to spend $100 million to help you win the state of Florida. He's also raised $16 million with help from Hollywood millionaires and big tech CEOs such as Twitter's Jack Dorsey to pay off thousands of criminals' debts so they can vote. Yet, for years, Democrats have railed against big money in politics. Do you support millionaires and billionaires buying influence in elections? And if not, will you reject Bloomberg's money and other deep-pocket donors?
Adriana Cohen is a nationally syndicated columnist with Creators Syndicate. Follow her on Twitter @AdrianaCohen16. To find out more about Adriana Cohen and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.