Can Trump survive the latest scandal?

Trump tries again with an email scandal - but so far unsuccessfully

The script is well known: two weeks before the election, the Democratic candidate is clearly leading in all polls, Donald Trump must tremble before a severe defeat. But then there is a bang. Previously secret e-mails leak to the public and trigger investigations. The media doesn't care that they come from extremely dubious sources. In the end, the Republican candidate wins.

This is how it worked in the 2016 duel between Trump and Hillary Clinton. And so it should work again this year according to the plan of Trump confidante and New York ex-Mayor Rudy Giuliani. But: So far, the media have not bite, and voters are also much less interested in the new infusion of E-Mail-Gate, at least for the time being, than four years ago.

Maybe it's because the new story that seems to link Trump's opponent Joe Biden to Ukrainian oligarchs is even more dubious than the rumors surrounding Hillary Clinton's emails in 2016. Or maybe it's because the media is in the USA have now learned a lot.

Burisma in focus

It's been almost a week since the heavily conservative tabloid New York Post appeared on the cover with an explosive story. Your accusation: Joe Biden met a senior employee of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma in his office as Vice President at the request of his son Hunter, on whose board Hunter was at the time. A little later, Biden then contributed to the dismissal of the then General Prosecutor of Ukraine, Viktor Schokin. It is alleged by Trump and Co: because he determined against Burisma. Biden denies that, in fact at the time, in addition to the USA, the EU and the International Monetary Fund also pushed for Schokin's transfer because he was considered massively corrupt.

The post wants to substantiate the story of Biden's meeting with the Burisma man with an email that was allegedly found on a laptop. And then at the latest the story becomes questionable. If you believe the information in the newspaper, they received the emails from Giuliani, who in turn had them from a laptop repair shop. Biden, who lives on the other end of the country, returned a computer there for repair, but never picked it up again. The owner, who unfortunately could not confirm that Biden had actually been in the store due to an eye problem, found it so strange that he alerted the FBI after a few months. They took the computer with them, but never reported again. The man still had the emails: he had - illegally - copied them. Later the man claims to have short-circuited with Giuliani. He then waited months until he received the post informed of the find.

There had soon been doubts about the story. They initially ignored the major media in the country, partly because Giuliani only wanted to make the emails available to them as screenshots, but not with metadata. Twitter and Facebook blocked temporary links to the story. The media platform Media-ite, which is close to the Democrats, even reported on Monday evening that Fox News had also rejected the story because there were doubts about its credibility.

Only 50 percent an agent

The doubts also fueled the fact that, for weeks, there has been speculation in Russia, among others, that precisely such data could emerge. In short: the story has all the characteristics that one would otherwise expect from an influence operation by the Russian secret services. Giuliani himself can only half-heartedly refute this. While looking for material against the Bidens, he has been shown to have worked with Ukrainian MP Andrii Derkach, who is classified as a Russian agent by the US State Department. "The chances that Derkach is a Russian agent are not higher than 50/50," Giuliani told the platform The Daily Beast.

And also with the post apparently one did not really believe in one's own publication. As the New York Times reported on Sunday, several editors of the newspaper refused to put their names under the finished text.

The newspaper and other Trump-related media like Fox News and Breitbart Of course, that doesn't prevent the story from spreading. And Trump himself railed on Twitter (see above) like at election rallies since the publications against the allegedly corrupt Biden. The campaign has not yet caught on. Biden clearly leads in polls both nationwide and in swing states. That has also been registered among Trump's party friends. A noticeable number of Republican senators have been critical of the president in the past few days. (Manuel Escher, October 19, 2020)