Joe Biden's slide and the Trump impeachment saga loom over the fourth Democratic debate thumbnail

Joe Biden’s slide and the Trump impeachment saga loom over the fourth Democratic debate

The 12 candidates podiums stand ready before the fourth U.S. Democratic presidential candidates 2020 election debate at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio, October 15, 2019.Jim Bourg | ReutersTwelve Democratic presidential hopefuls are about to step out onto an Ohio debate stage and into a new and uncharted phase of the 2020 primary race.The top of the Democratic primary field, once dominated by former Vice President Joe Biden, is in flux. While Biden remains the front-runner in the polls, his campaign has ceded significant ground to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who is now beating the former veep according to some key surveys.The House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, which has consumed Capitol Hill, is also expected to take up a sizable chunk of the fourth debate — and it could give Biden a chance to shine or stumble. The event is being hosted by CNN and The New York Times from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET.Trump’s request for Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to “look into” unsubstantiated corruption allegations against Biden and his son Hunter has turned former President Barack Obama’s vice president into a key character in the impeachment saga, whether he likes it or not.Trump’s calls for Ukraine — and China — to investigate his possible political opponent in the 2020 election prompted Biden to declare his full-throated support for impeachment just a few days before the debate. All other candidates have supported at least the inquiry into Trump’s impeachment.His son’s denial of any wrongdoing, published Tuesday morning, all but ensures that Biden will have to directly respond to concerns about connections, real or perceived, between Hunter’s business dealings and his actions while serving in the White House.”That is absolutely going to shape some initial conversation in this debate,” said Democratic political consultant Andrew Feldman. “And how does Joe Biden respond? Composed, or angry in a way that works in his favor — or works against him?””I think Hunter was more candid than we’ve seen from any Trump child this whole presidency.”Rebecca KatzDemocratic strategistTrump, his allies and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani — described as a central figure in a whistleblower complaint that helped spur the impeachment efforts — have raised suspicions about Hunter Biden’s employment on the board of Ukrainian natural-gas company Burisma Holdings during Obama’s presidency. They suggest that the el
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