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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

Trump team's hopes fade for that long-sought, game-changing Biden scandal

A report by Republican Sen. Ron Johnson's Homeland

A report by Republican Sen. Ron Johnson's Homeland Security Committee failed to back up Trump's hoped-for narrative about Joe Biden. Credit: AP / Manuel Balce Ceneta

President Donald Trump's GOP allies keep swinging and missing in their efforts to craft a scandal meant to derail Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

The hour grows late. On Wednesday, it was disclosed that the Senate Republicans' probe of Biden and his son involving Ukraine failed to back up assertions that the former vice president had acted improperly.

An 87-page report went over previous allegations that Hunter Biden used his father's name for business deals, and raised suspicions of a conflict of interest involving the Kyiv-based energy company Burisma Holdings.

Despite promises by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) that he'd show Biden's "unfitness for office," Johnson admitted before the report's release that he'd turned up "no massive smoking guns."

Hopes for the credibility of Trump's earlier opposition research, which backfired into his impeachment, suffered another blow last week.

The U.S. Treasury Department imposed new sanctions on Andrii Derkach, a member of Ukraine's parliament, citing his close ties to Russian intelligence and a "covert influence campaign" targeting this year's U.S. presidential election.

Months earlier, the president's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani had established contacts with Derkach and touted him on the Trump- and Kremlin-friendly One America News Network, where they both attacked Biden.

Giuliani also had former business associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman helping with the Biden skulduggery. Last week, the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's Office filed a superseding indictment against the pair. The heat in that months-old case is directed not at Biden but at Trump supporters. The charges relate to an alleged plot to solicit foreign money for Republicans to use in the 2018 midterm elections.

Less-ambitious efforts to smear Biden also have fizzled. On Wednesday, the president's son Eric Trump tweeted a video manipulated to show Biden "caught red-handed using a TelePrompTer" in an interview with Telemundo. "Unreal!" the younger Trump posted. The full video didn't support the assertion, but the president also retweeted it anyway.

Even deploying the tools of government for Trump's political purposes has yet to help the cause when it comes to Biden.

An unexpected glitch seems to have come up in a probe of the origins of the Trump-Russia scandal.

Trump believers expect this special project, ordered by Attorney General William Barr, to support the president's assertions that Biden and former President Barack Obama somehow "spied" on Trump's 2016 campaign. But in a sign of disarray, a federal prosecutor working on the investigation resigned abruptly from the Justice Department.

Ex-colleagues told the Hartford Courant newspaper that the official, Nora Dannehy, was concerned about political pressure on her team to hand up a report before it was ready.

Is this another Biden-dirt backfire? Only 40 days are left to find out.

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