Biden’s full-throated attack on Trump seen as double-edged sword

Joe Biden took to Twitter Thursday to declare, “President Trump picked a fight with the wrong guy.”

That’s the same line the former vice president used a day earlier – to a rousing standing ovation – as Biden, for the first time, unequivocally called for the impeachment of Trump.

While the president has been front-and-center in the Ukraine controversy that sparked House Democrats to launch an impeachment inquiry into Trump, Biden’s another key player, and with the impeachment push overshadowing the 2020 White House race, the Democrat has grabbed outsized attention over his rivals for the presidential nomination.

BIDEN, WARREN, GAIN GROUND IN NEW FOX NEWS POLL

It’s a double-edged sword for the former vice president, with Trump’s allegations against Biden’s own Ukraine connection also in the spotlight.

Biden on Wednesday launched a forceful attack on the president – coming from a candidate who in recent weeks was anything but aggressive in calling for Trump’s impeachment, unlike most of his 2020 rivals.

“We all laughed when he said he could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot someone and get away with it. It’s no joke,” Biden emphasized during two speeches in New Hampshire. “He’s shooting holes in the Constitution, and we cannot let him get away with it.”

Biden’s announcement came one day after the White House vowed not to play ball with the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, but it also came as the former vice president lost his polling status as the unrivaled front-runner. Biden’s neck-and-neck with Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts for the top spot in most of the recent national and early-voting-state surveys, although he held a lead in the latest Fox News Poll.

FOR FIRST TIME, BIDEN CALLS FOR TRUMP IMPEACHMENT

And, Biden was left in the dust in the race for campaign cash, with both Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont each topping him by roughly $10 million in the July-September third quarter of fundraising.

With those setbacks in mind, the unveiling of the more aggressive, in-your-face approach by Biden has been seen as considerably timely.

“It gets his sea legs under him,” noted Larry Rasky, a longtime Biden friend, adviser and fundraiser. “It gives everybody more energy.”

Rasky, who’s not directly involved in Biden’s 2020 campaign, predicted, “it’s definitely going to help fundraising.”

He added that donors “are happy to see Biden taking on the fight with intensity.”

Biden, in his speeches, taunted the president, claiming “he’s afraid of just how badly I will beat him next November.”

Veteran Democratic consultant and communications strategist Lynda Tran noted that such swagger would resonate with voters. She also said the Ukraine controversy put the spotlight on foreign relations, a wheelhouse for the former vice president.

“His remarks yesterday came across as an ‘enough is enough’ call to action and reminder to the American electorate of the fighter and statesman they have long known,” said Tran, who ran communications for the Obama-era grassroots group Organizing for America and was a founding partner of the communications firm 270 Strategies.

The impeachment inquiry was sparked by Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which he asked Zelensky to investigate Biden and his son Hunter over their dealings in the eastern European country. Fueled by whistleblower complaints and a transcript of the call released by the White House, Democrats argued the president was asking a foreign country to interfere in a U.S. election.

Adding to the controversy was the fact that before that phone call, millions in U.S. military aid to Ukraine was put on hold. Despite allegations that Trump was using that money as leverage, Trump has insisted repeatedly that he did nothing wrong. He said there was no “quid pro quo” and on numerous occasions has described his conversation with the Ukrainian leader as “perfect.”

BIDEN CAMPAIGN SLAMS NY TIMES FOR OP-ED ON FORMER VP’S UKRAINE TIES

The president and allies instead have tried to put the spotlight on Biden and his son.

Hunter Biden served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company while his father was vice president. Trump and fellow Republicans have questioned how Biden pushed in 2016 for the dismissal of a Ukrainian prosecutor who was looking into corruption at the company. The prosecutor – who had faced widespread accusations of overlooking corruption in his own office – later was dismissed.

Biden, defending his actions in Ukraine, said, “there’s no truth to [Trump’s] charges and attacks against me and my son. Zero.”

Biden also accused the president of throwing “lies and distortions and smears” at him and his son, “because he thinks he’ll undermine my candidacy for the nomination as well as the presidency if I am the nominee.”

While the Fox News national poll released Wednesday indicated that a majority said the president should be impeached and removed from office, Biden has faced warning signs of his own.

MAJORITY BACK TRUMP IMPEACHMENT IN LATEST FOX NEWS POLL

Thirty-six percent questioned in the survey said they found the Trump allegations against Biden extremely or very troubling. That included 34 percent of independents and even 24 percent of Democrats.

Longtime Republican strategist Colin Reed highlighted that “the discussion involving Ukraine is going to involve a continued focus on why Hunter Biden was being paid $50,000 a month to sit on the board of an energy company with him having absolutely no expertise in that area.”

Reed emphasized, “I think that crony capitalism does not sit well with voters in the center, right or left.”

And, Biden’s increased criticism aimed at the president likely will incite further attacks from Trump.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

While the former vice president was speaking in New Hampshire, the president took to Twitter to return fire.

“So pathetic to see Sleepy Joe Biden, who with his son, Hunter, and to the detriment of the American Taxpayer, has ripped off at least two countries for millions of dollars, calling for my impeachment – and I did nothing wrong. Joe’s Failing Campaign gave him no other choice!” Trump wrote.

California to appeal Trump tax return ruling, renew bid to block president from 2020 primary ballot

California’s chief elections officer said Tuesday he will appeal a federal judge’s decision to block a state law that would have required President Trump to submit five years’ worth of his personal income tax returns in order to be included on the state’s 2020 primary ballot in March.

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced his plans just hours after U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. issued a written opinion saying the state law likely violates the U.S. Constitution. England Jr., who was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2002, had announced last month he planned to block the law.

TRUMP ATTORNEY JAY SEKULOW SAYS CALIFORNIA TRIED TO ‘SHRED CONSTITUTION’ AFTER COURT RULED IN FAVOR OF PRESIDENT

“California will appeal this ruling and we will continue to make our thorough, thoughtful argument for stronger financial disclosure requirements for presidential and gubernatorial candidates,” Padilla said in a statement. “Our elected leaders have a legal and moral obligation to be transparent with voters about potential conflicts of interest. This law is fundamental to preserving and protecting American democracy.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, had signed the proposal into law in July. Jesse Melgar, the governor’s spokeswoman, told the Los Angeles Times that Newsom supported an appeal of Tuesday’s ruling, adding: “States have a legal and moral duty to restore public confidence in government and ensure leaders seeking the highest offices meet minimal standards.”

In his 24-page decision, England Jr. said the law violates Trump’s First Amendment right of associating with voters who share his political beliefs. He also noted the California Legislature is controlled by Democrats, who passed a law targeting a Republican president.

“The dangerous precedent set by this act, allowing the controlling party in any state’s legislature to add substantive requirements as a precondition to qualifying for the state’s presidential primary ballot, should concern all candidates alike,” the judge wrote.

“The dangerous precedent set by this act, allowing the controlling party in any state’s legislature to add substantive requirements as a precondition to qualifying for the state’s presidential primary ballot, should concern all candidates alike.”

— U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr.

Trump attorney Jay Sekulow praised the ruling in an interview on “Hannity,” saying the law reflected “an ongoing pattern and practice of trying to basically shred the Constitution.” England Jr.’s ruling affirmed that it was outside the state’s authority to set qualifications for running for president. That power belongs to the Constitution.

Lawyers from state and national Republican parties, who are also defendants in the lawsuit, voiced concerns during last month’s hearing that leaving Trump off the primary ballot would stifle Republican voter turnout at the primaries and, therefore, ensure that fewer GOP candidates make it to the general election.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ALL-NEW FOXBUSINESS.COM

Under California’s so-called jungle primary system, all candidates, regardless of party, vie for the same elected office and the top two vote-getters move on to the general election. Since it was implemented in California in 2010, this system has often ensured a Democrat-vs.-Democrat general election battle in all but California’s most conservative areas.

California Republican Party Chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson called the ruling a victory for voters and their ability to vote for the candidate of their choice. Patterson said in a news release: “This decision rightfully stops the Democrats’ petty politics and their efforts to disenfranchise millions of California voters and suppress Republican voter turnout.”

Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Joe Biden heaps praise on GOP during Massachusetts fundraiser

Democratic 2020 presidential frontrunner Joe Biden praised Republicans as “decent people” at a Massachusetts fundraiser Saturday while touting his ability to work across the aisle, according to a report.

“There’s an awful lot of really good Republicans out there,” the former vice president told the audience, according to The Hill. “I get in trouble for saying that with Democrats, but the truth of the matter is, every time we ever got in trouble with our administration, remember who got sent up to Capitol Hill to fix it? Me. Because they know I respect the other team.”

BIDEN’S RESURFACED ADMISSION HE ‘LIKES’ CHENEY SPARKS DEM BACKLASH

He said congressional Republicans ran because they “care about things,” but are afraid to be at odds with President Trump.

“They’re intimidated right now,” he told the audience, The Hill reported.

Biden took heat last fall when The New York Times published a story that said he “stunned Democrats and elated Republicans” three weeks before the midterms by lauding Republican House candidate Fred Upton, R-Mich.

He has also frustrated Democrats in the past by praising former Vice President Dick Cheney and calling Vice President Mike Pence “a decent guy.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

While Biden — considered to be the most moderate of the top-ranked candidates — is largely running on his ability to work with Republicans, more liberal candidates like Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris are focused on promoting progressive plans like Medicare-for-All and the Green New Deal.

In 1976 speech, Biden said US criminal justice should focus on punishment not rehabilitation

In a 1976 speech in Idaho, then-Sen. Joe Biden said the U.S. criminal justice system should stress punishment rather than rehabilitation — a direct contradiction to his current platform, which focuses on rehabilitation, according to a report.

“Why should we liberals, why should we Democrats, apologize for saying a criminal justice system has implicit in it the idea that a crime should be met with a punishment? What is wrong with that?” the senator from Delaware said at the annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Boise, Idaho, in audio reportedly obtained by the Washington Examiner.

“Why should we liberals, why should we Democrats, apologize for saying a criminal justice system has implicit in it the idea that a crime should be met with a punishment? What is wrong with that?”

— Joe Biden, in 1976 speech

BIDEN ONCE SAW DIVERSITY AS ‘POPPYCOCK,’ LAMENTED US LACK OF UNIFYING ETHNICITY

In the speech, Biden also said that liberals claim convicts need to be rehabilitated but there’s a recognition that “We have not found a way to rehabilitate.”

He added if Democrats didn’t get tougher on criminals voters would start to support politicians like Alabama segregationist George Wallace, who was strict on crime.

BOOKER BASHES BIDEN FOR COMMENTS ON SCHOOL SEGREGATION, SAYS FORMER VP IS CAUSING ‘PAIN’ AND ‘FRUSTRATION’

“When we don’t respond,” he said, according to the Examiner, “we allow men like [Wallace] to run around the nation talking about ‘pointy-headed federal judges’ and about the fact that we need more severe penalties in the government for crime, and people begin to believe him.”

Biden also said that diversity strengthening America is “poppycock,” adding that people “fear differences.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Biden has faced scrutiny from his 2020 presidential rivals over his support for the 1994 crime bill and other past positions over his decades-long career.

Bill Maher: 2020 Dems just need to ‘come off less crazy’ then Trump — and ‘they’re blowing it!’

Before closing his show Friday night, “Real Time” host Bill Maher urged the 2020 Democrats to “come off less crazy” than President Trump in order to win the 2020 election.

Maher began by describing the “Trump fatigue” that he says Americans are feeling based on polls that say the president “tweets too much” and that he “isn’t presidential.” He also mocked the president, saying his June interview with ABC’s George Stephanopolous drew lower ratings than “Celebrity Family Feud.”

PRO-TRUMP HECKER DISRUPTS ‘REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER’

“Fatigue is the best thing we’ve got going for us. The majority of Americans aren’t tired of winning, they’re tired of looking at his fat f—ing face!” Maher told the audience. “It’s hard to beat an incumbent in a good economy. Every incumbent since FDR has won if they avoided a recession leading up to an election year and consumer confidence is sky high. … The voters that Democrats need to win, moderates who have Trump fatigue, will vote against a good economy, I think, just to get back to normalcy, but they won’t trade it away for left-wing extremism.”

“Moderates who have Trump fatigue will vote against a good economy … but they won’t trade it away for left-wing extremism.”

— Bill Maher

The HBO star argued that the upcoming election is about “fatigue” as well as “fear” that Trump pushes onto voters, citing the fear of “socialism,” “open borders,” and “getting rid of private health insurance.”

“All the Democrats have to do to win is to come off less crazy than Trump — and, of course, they’re blowing it!” Maher said. “Coming across as unserious people who are going to take away all your money so migrants from Honduras can go to college for free and get a major in ‘America sucks.’”

Democrats are “coming across as unserious people who are going to take away all your money so migrants from Honduras can go to college for free and get a major in ‘America sucks.’”

— Bill Maher

Maher said that he doesn’t “really” want Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden to be president, but stressed that the former vice president is the “only candidate” who can beat Trump in Ohio.

“He’s like nondairy creamer,” Maher said of Biden. “Nobody loves it, but in a jam, it gets the job done.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

He continued, “It’s the fatigue, stupid! Let’s make it hard for Trump to play on voters’ fears and let the fatigue win the election for us. We’ll get to the revolution, but remember, put on your oxygen mask before assisting your child.”

Frank Luntz says 2020 Dems openly hostile toward ‘those who’ve been successful’

The fight for the “soul of the Democratic Party” is over, pollster Frank Luntz declared Thursday, saying the party’s moderate voices are being drowned out.

“The hostility of these Democratic candidates, most of them, to corporate America, to CEOs, to those who’ve been successful is significant,” Luntz said on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle,” where he shared his perspective on this week’s Democratic presidential debates in Detroit.

DOUG SCHOEN: SECOND DEMOCRATIC DEBATE — TWO BIG WINNERS, TWO BIG LOSERS AND ONE BIG, UNANSWERED QUESTION

During the two night of debates Tuesday and Wednesday, with separate groups of 10 candidates taking the stage each night, the White House hopefuls spoke repeatedly about raising taxes on the wealthy, insurance companies charging “unreasonable prices” and the need to stand up to corporations.

“I say to every CEO who’s watching right now and every corporate executive: They’re after you. They’re blaming you. They’re holding you accountable,” Luntz said.

He added that economic freedom is under attack.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“This is not just about politics,” he said. “This is not just about winning the Democratic nomination. This is about changing the structure of the economy in the United States and they are determined to turn it upside-down.”

MSNBC hosts blast 2020 Dems for ‘attacking’ Obama over Trump: ‘politically stupid and crazy’

Several MSNBC personalities took aim at the 2020 Democrats for leveling several “attacks” at the Obama administration over President Trump.

“Morning Joe” co-host Joe Scarborough took to Twitter and and repeatedly slammed the Democrats for challenging policies under President Obama like Obamacare and immigration.

“Ok. Let me get this straight. Democrats hate Obamacare AND hated his immigration policies? What planet are they from?” Scarborough tweeted. “You know you have extreme ideologues running for president when @BarackObama is a punching bag for being too conservative. [For what it’s worth], President Obama is the only Democrat to twice win a majority of the vote since FDR (and is still hugely popular in the Democratic Party.) Not. Smart.”

He added, “These candidates are attacking Barack Obama’s policy positions more than Donald Trump. That is politically stupid and crazy…. Democrats who think trashing @BarackObama is a political winner, will be the political losers.”

MSNBC host Joy Reid expressed a similar sentiment on her network’s post-debate analysis.

“It was weird for me to watch about 40, almost 40 minutes of primary attacks on the Obama administration’s policies. It was odd,” Reid told the panel, later citing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s attacks on Obamacare. “So it was an odd strategy to me… It’s almost as if the debate forgot who is president because the attacks on Donald Trump- I don’t remember his name being mentioned that much.”

Former Missouri senator-turned MSNBC commentator Claire McCaskill also called the repeated attacks on the Obama administration the “weirdest thing.”

“The weirdest thing to me which I’m having a hard time with is… is it a smart strategy to attack the Obama administration?” McCaskill asked. “I mean, this is a Democratic president elected twice. I think he’s the only Democrat we’ve had with the margins he’s had since FDR that did that, remains wildly popular in the Democratic Party.”

Axelrod warns Medicare-for-all, immigration proposals unpopular with voters

Former President Obama aide David Axelrod Tuesday warned that many of the proposals endorsed by Democratic presidential candidates disregard many polls that show these positions unpopular.

He noted that polls show large numbers of Americans oppose Medicare-for-all, decriminalizing illegal border crossings and giving free healthcare to illegal immigrants.

“It does seem if you’re running for president that you ought to take into consideration what the country wants,” Axelrod said during CNN’s post-debate analysis.

DETROIT DEBATE: LIBERAL 2020 DEMS FORCED ON DEFENSE OVER ‘MEDICARE-FOR-ALL,’ IMMIGRATION

A majority of the 20 candidates in the debates support some version of Medicare-for-all, which would eliminate private insurance. A majority of voters oppose single-payer, according to a new Marist poll. All 10 candidates raised their hands during the second night of debates last month when asked if they would provide health care for illegal immigrants.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“Do we move forward with these idealized proposals that are going to beg opposition and make it easier for Donald Trump to make his case and win re-election when the stakes are so high?” Axelrod added. “This is what a lot of Democrats are worried about.”

Marianne Williamson wants to be taken seriously at next debate

Marianne Williamson, a 2020 Democratic hopeful, said she hopes to be taken more seriously as a candidate on this week’s debate stage after her first debate left her on the receiving end of online jokes and memes.

In an interview published Sunday, Williamson, a  best-selling author and Oprah Winfrey’s spiritual adviser, admitted she wasn’t thrilled with the public’s response to her performance last month.

MARIANNE WILLIAMSON HITS BACK AT LATE-NIGHT STAR FOR URGING HER TO DROP OUT OF RACE

“I hope that this time my delivery will be more aligned with my substance,” she told USA Today. “I don’t regret the substance of anything I said, but I understand that my delivery made me vulnerable to mockery.”

Williamson, who vowed to beat President Trump with a politics of “love,” said she plans to “just be myself” during Tuesday’s debate in Detroit.

MARIANNE WILLIAMSON SAYS SHE WANTS A ‘DEPARTMENT OF PEACE’ AS POTUS

This time around she plans to avoid traditional debate preparation, she said, and will instead rely on her experience thus far on the campaign trail.

“I did a lot of that last time. This time I’m seeing things a little bit differently,” Williamson said.

GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“Every day on the campaign trail is preparation. Every day you’re thinking about issues, writing about issues, talking about issues, learning about issues,” she added. “It’s a continuous process. To me, that’s the best preparation.”

O’Rourke compares Trump speech to Nazi rally, says El Paso could be modern-day Ellis Island

Democratic 2020 hopeful Beto O’Rourke said in an interview Monday that his hometown of El Paso, Texas, could be the modern-day Ellis Island and likened President Trump’s recent campaign speech in North Carolina to a Nazi rally.

“Yes, President Trump is a racist,” O’Rourke told ABC News on Ellis Island in New York Harbor. “What we saw in North Carolina last week was almost an impromptu Nuremberg rally.”

The island was used as the main port of entry for millions of immigrants until the mid-20th century.

KARL ROVE: BETO O’ROURKE’S REPARATIONS PUSH COULD EXACERBATE ‘RACIAL DIVIDE’

O’Rourke’s hometown of El Paso lies just north of the U.S. Mexico border. The country has seen a record number of migrants from Central America in the past year. The Trump administration has been criticized for its handling of the humanitarian crisis. The administration blames years of inaction by  Congress and other administrations.

“Perhaps millions of people who become Americans coming from Mexico and El Salvador and the Western hemisphere first set foot in the United States in my hometown,” O’Rourke said. “So, though we’re about 2,000 miles apart, El Paso and New York, we’re connected in that common story of America.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

O’Rourke said Ellis Island is “a reminder of American history at its best, and at its worst.” He added that instances of “open, hostile racism” in America have influenced how the country “welcomed or failed to welcome immigrants,” but “there have also been moments where we overcame that and reminded ourselves who we are at our best.”