Comedian Bill Maher doesn't try to hide his glee about the damage the Ukraine scandal might do to President Trump, but the simultaneous risk to a leading Democratic opponent sullies his schadenfreude.
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Former Vice President Joe Biden, whose son's work in the former Soviet republic is at the heart of an impeachment inquiry into whether Trump used the Oval Office to dig up dirt on a political opponent, seemed likely to benefit in the beginning, Maher said.
But the more the entertainer learns about the matter, in which Trump asked his Ukrainian counterpart to work with personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General Bill Bar to examine the Bidens' history in Ukraine, the less certain he feels.
Trump and his GOP allies say that Biden, while vice president, tried to quash a Ukrainian investigation of the Burisma Holdings, the natural gas company that reportedly paid Hunter Biden $50,000 a month to serve on its board. Large U.S. firms frequently pay board members $200,000 a year -- about $16,000 a month -- or more in compensation and stock awards.
After the country's top prosecutor said earlier this year that his team found no wrongdoing in the matter, Trump asked President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to start a new investigation, according to a White House account of a phone conversation between the two. Democrats argued Trump was linking compliance with the request to U.S. military aid in its power struggle with Russia.
While Maher told panelists on his HBO show "Real Time" on Friday that he doesn't believe the Bidens were involved in anything terrible, he also recognized how easily the situation could be interpreted differently.
"This kid was paid $600,000 just because his name was Biden in this super-corrupt country that just had a revolution to get rid of corruption. It just looks bad, and the Republicans are geniuses at muddying the waters."
Politicians should force their children to get "a real job," he said on Twitter. "Not a 'consulting' job because you're somebody's kid. It looks swampy."
If Donald Trump Jr. had done something similar, Maher added, "it would be all [MSNBC host] Rachel Maddow was talking about."