Giuliani plans trip to Ukraine to dig up dirt on Biden before 2020 primaries begin: report
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on CNN (screengrab)

On Thursday, The New York Times reported that President Donald Trump's counsel, Rudy Giuliani, is planning a trip to Ukraine to urge the government there to help him produce more dirt that he can use as opposition research against former Vice President Joe Biden.

Specifically, he wants the Ukrainian government to pursue the allegation, originally pitched to the Times by Giuliani, that Biden's push for Ukraine to crack down on corruption in 2016 and oust a top prosecutor was conflicted by his son Hunter's holdings in a utility company that prosecutor was investigating.

Ex-officials in Ukraine have debunked this as a conspiracy theory. In reality, the prosecutor in question shut down the investigation into that firm over a year before Biden sent Ukraine an ultimatum to remove him or lose funding.

As Biden has climbed in the polls, the Trump administration has broadly set its sights on stalling his momentum.

The episode has parallels to the run-up to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, when former Breitbart chairman and Trump campaign official Steve Bannon funded the "Clinton Cash" book accusing the former Secretary of State of facilitating an international uranium holdings deal under corrupt pretenses.

That line of attack, reported by the Times, was similarly shoddy and did not stand up to scrutiny.