Trump was indicted late last year for his attempts to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate Biden and his son Hunter, although he was later acquitted in the Senate. US intelligence officials. USA They warned that Russia is trying to interfere with the 2020 race as it did in 2016, when they believe Moscow tried to push Trump.
“Because of this poisonous environment created by the President, and so there is no confusion as to whether or not we are inviting assistance from foreign governments … our campaign has refrained from engaging in substantive talks with foreign government officials, and has only it would do so under conditions that ensure transparency, “Antony Blinken, Biden’s senior adviser, said in a statement to POLITICO.
Blinken accused Trump of “downgrading” the presidential office “including pleading with foreign governments to shore up his reelection campaign.” Trump has denied that accusation, although he has publicly called on the Chinese and Ukrainian governments to investigate the Bidens.
Biden for years “has argued vigorously against any campaign” by accepting foreign assistance, Blinken said.
The Biden campaign said it did not foresee any circumstances where it would engage in substantial interaction with a foreign official. But if such a situation arose, it would imply a pre-established agenda approved by campaign lawyers and foreign affairs personnel, that a note taker would summarize the conversation and that the press would be given a read.
Biden’s campaign choice is, in many ways, more symbolic than anything else.
Biden has long-standing relationships with a variety of foreign officials, including heads of state, dating back to his years in Congress, as well as his time as Barack Obama’s vice president. Some of his top foreign policy advisers, including Blinken, a former undersecretary of state; Jake Sullivan, a former top State Department official; and Julie Smith, who advised Biden at the White House, are hugely veteran Washington veterans with Rolodex who have published essays and other position papers talking about what a Biden presidency could look like.
And because Biden and many of his advisers served in the Obama administration, his negotiating styles and views on many foreign policy issues are also well known.
Still, the decision to adhere to that rule is bothering some foreign diplomats. Many governments, often through their ambassadors and other embassy officials, try to ingratiate themselves with American presidential campaigns, especially once the presumed candidates on both sides are clear.
“It is frustrating,” said a Middle East diplomat, requesting anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter. “I know that people talk about electoral interference, but we are talking about building a relationship with, for example, the foreign policy adviser who could become the next national security adviser. You want to do that on this day and not when you are in position. When they are officially in office, they are more difficult to reach. ”
It is not unusual for presidential contenders to speak to foreign diplomats or even heads of state during their campaigns, although it can carry risks.
In 2016, both Trump and Hillary Clinton met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, drawing strong criticism for engaging with the brutally repressive dictator. Trump also made headlines for a quick trip to Mexico, a country he had repeatedly insulted, to meet with his then president, Enrique Peña Nieto.
Biden’s campaign decision to restrict contacts with foreign officials was made quietly in a couple of months after the former vice president formally launched his career at the White House in April 2019.
It is a notable move given the amount of attention Trump has attracted for his questionable dealings with foreign officials while seeking a second term.
Bolton’s revelations in particular have rocked Washington. The former national security adviser, a man with long conservative credentials, claims that Trump pressured China’s Xi to boost purchases of American agricultural products, a move that could improve Trump’s position at heart.
“He stressed the importance of farmers and increased Chinese purchases of soy and wheat in the election result,” wrote Bolton, who was expelled from the White House last year when his relationship with the president soured.
Trump replied that Bolton’s book “is a compilation of lies and made-up stories, all with the intention of making me look bad” and asked to be prosecuted for allegedly publishing classified information. Bolton denies having acted wrong.
“Many of the ridiculous statements he attributes to me were never made, pure fiction,” the president tweeted on June 18. “I’m just trying to get even for having fired him like the sick puppy he is!” (Bolton maintains that he resigned.)
A Trump campaign spokesman did not respond to questions related to this story, even if he has a similar policy.
In 2016 and after the elections, several deals by Trump’s campaign advisers with foreign officials came under scrutiny. A drunken meeting between a volunteer adviser, George Papadopoulos, and the Australian ambassador in London launched a secret FBI investigation into whether the Trump campaign had colluded with Russia to change the election. The FBI also surveyed Carter Page, a volunteer who had worked in Moscow and had ongoing ties to Russian officials. Jeff Sessions, then a U.S. senator, met with several foreign officials in his capacity as the campaign’s top foreign policy adviser, including, controversially, the Russian ambassador.
In 2020, even before the primary election was effectively concluded, Biden had already won the loyalty of much of the Democratic foreign policy establishment, with many former Obama appointments flocking to his campaign.
According to two people on calls with the Biden campaign during which the issue was discussed in the spring, at least 800 hands of foreign policy and national security are on the Biden team. Another 400 had requested to join at the time.
These positions are unpaid and have less influence than employees of official campaigns like Blinken, but they can be key springboards for people who want to join the next administration and a place to seek new ideas and consolidate political positions. These volunteer advisers have also been told not to speak to foreign officials about the campaign.
“Some of our more than 1,000 informal volunteers, in the course of their own professional work, deal with foreign government officials, but have been given strict guidance to never interact with such officials on behalf of the campaign and share nothing about your campaign tips or other substantive campaign issues, ”said a Biden aide.
Biden’s campaign has established some 20 committees to address foreign policy and national security problems, such as relations with China, the two people said.
While the numbers are large, they are not entirely unprecedented.
During the 2016 campaign, Clinton blocked the experience of hundreds of foreign policy analysts, leaving few available to offer their time to Bernie Sanders, his main rival for the Democratic nomination.