Democrats have been up in arms over the ad, which alleges Biden pushed for a Ukrainian prosecutor to be dismissed in order to protect his son Hunter Biden, who at the time was on the board of directors for a Ukrainian energy company that had been investigated for corruption.
The ad also swipes at three CNN reporters or anchors — cutting to images of chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta and anchors Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo — as the narrator says, “The Democrats want to impeach [Trump], and their media lapdogs fall in line.”
“CNN is rejecting the ad, as it does not meet our advertising standards,” a spokesperson told The Hill. “Specifically, in addition to disparaging CNN and its journalists, the ad makes assertions that have been proven demonstrably false by various news outlets, including CNN.”
There is no evidence that Biden pushed for the prosecutor’s removal to protect his son.
However, the appearance of a conflict of interest has opened the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate up to criticism, and Republicans argue that it’s fair game for Trump and his reelection campaign.
The Trump campaign and Republican National Committee combined to put $10 million behind the ad, which has been running on cable news outlets, such as Fox News, and across social media platforms like Facebook.
The ad comes after Democrats initiated an impeachment inquiry last week over revelations that Trump asked the president of Ukraine to investigate the Bidens and a subsequent whistleblower complaint alleging a White House cover-up.
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is pressuring Facebook to remove the ad.
“Trump’s ad is part of an effort to push a false narrative intended to deceive and distract from the fact that he pressured a foreign leader to investigate a political rival in order to help his reelection, while withholding critical U.S. aid to that country — and his own White House released a document that proves it,” said Daniel Wessel, the deputy war room director at the DNC.
“His campaign relies on a shameful strategy built on outright lies to the American public about the content of his phone call with the Ukrainian president,” Wessel added. “We all have a role to play in combating these lies, and that includes Facebook.”
Facebook has an independent fact-checking arm, but political ads and statements by politicians are exempt from scrutiny.
“We don’t believe that it’s an appropriate role for us to referee political debates and prevent a politician’s speech from reaching its audience and being subject to public debate and scrutiny,” Facebook vice president Nick Clegg wrote in a blog post this week.