Hunter Biden’s laptop isn’t going to go away in the final days of the campaign, no matter how much his father wishes it would.
On Friday, the elder Biden made an appearance on Iowa’s KCRG-TV, during a curious visit to a state he doesn’t necessarily need to win and where the polling numbers don’t look as favorable as other states Biden could look to flip on Election Day.
But I digress, since what we take away from the former vice president’s first return since winning the nomination to a state where he finished a disappointing fourth in the February caucuses might not be remarks he made at his drive-in rally as much as his response to KCRG’s Beth Malicki when she asked about the information on Hunter Biden’s laptop.
Several emails on the computer, first reported by the New York Post, contain information which appears to contradict Joe Biden’s claim that he had no knowledge of his son’s overseas business dealings.
“So, what about the Americans who really, today, only want me to ask you about Hunter Biden’s laptop, how are you going to get them to see that you are fighting for them, when they’re so dead set against you?” Malicki asked.
Note the arguments here:
Asked about the evidence of corrupt foreign deals on his son Hunter’s laptop, Joe Biden falsely claims “there’s nothing to any of that, it’s all a smear” from Russia.
FACTS: The laptop is verified as authentic. While Biden claims Hunter “broke no laws,” the FBI is investigating. pic.twitter.com/alLKtDdr1T
— Trump War Room – Text TRUMP to 88022 (@TrumpWarRoom) October 31, 2020
“By the way, there’s nothing to any of that, nothing to any of that. It’s all a smear,” Biden said. “Every major outfit, every serious investigator has pointed out that this is a smear.
“This is classic Trump. We have four days left, and all of a sudden, there’s a laptop. And many of you may recall, there’s also talk about, four months before, there was a similar thing that somebody had, allegedly,” he continued.
“There’s overwhelming evidence … from the intelligence community that the Russians are engaged. I mean, look, this is — my son’s an honorable man.
“And all the investigations that were done around the issue of what was going on in Ukraine, if you noticed, every one of the major people who worked for Trump, during the impeachment, went under oath, and under oath said, ‘[Joe] Biden did his job. No law was broken. … Hunter Biden broke no laws.'”
First argument: The information on Hunter Biden’s laptop is “all a smear,” “there’s nothing to any of that” and “every major outfit, every serious investigator” has said as much.
Whether or not it’s a smear, of course, depends on what your definition of “smear” is. If what he’s saying is that it’s not a substantive story, I’d argue emails that show Joe Biden might have been introduced to an official at Burisma Holdings and talk cryptically about “remuneration” on a deal with a Chinese company, including “10 held by H for the big guy?” — with “H” apparently meaning Hunter Biden — are a pretty big story. (It doesn’t help the elder Biden at all that a former business associate of Hunter’s, Tony Bobulinski, has identified “the big guy” as the former vice president.)
Second argument: “This is classic Trump.” Third argument: This is the Russians. Unless the former vice president has evidence of Russian collusion, those two are mutually exclusive.
Furthermore, in the third argument he claims “[t]here’s overwhelming evidence … from the intelligence community that the Russians are engaged.” Biden doesn’t cite anything here.
One assumes he’s might be pointing to a letter signed by former intelligence officials stating that the information on Hunter Biden’s laptop “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” But that letter didn’t provide evidence and nothing has emerged in the interim.
On the contrary, the actual intelligence community has concluded the laptop isn’t Russian disinformation. Sources in the FBI and the Department of Justice have reportedly confirmed it’s not a disinformation campaign, and the director of national intelligence has come out and explicitly said that.
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has also reportedly verified the legitimacy of documents provided by Bobulinski. Whether or not those documents implicate Joe Biden as having been involved in the China deal is another question entirely, but there you have it.
Fourth argument: Biden “did his job” when he played a role in Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin’s firing.
It’s true that few were particularly enamored of the job being done by Shokin, a man generally seen as inept and corrupt. It’s also unclear whether Shokin was helping or hindering any investigation into Burisma Holdings. However, the fact that Joe Biden’s son was on the board of Burisma meant the then-vice president shouldn’t have been involved in the matter due to the potential for a conflict of interest.
If there was some sort of meeting between Biden and reported Burisma No. 3 Vadym Pozharskyi and that meeting was set up by Hunter Biden — as posited in the email from Pozharskyi to Hunter Biden first reported by the New York Post — it would indicate Joe Biden’s statement that he “never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings” was problematic.
Finally, “Hunter Biden broke no laws.” In terms of his business dealings, nothing explicitly criminal has been alleged — yet. It’s worth noting, however, that Fox News has established Hunter Biden’s laptop was linked to an FBI money-laundering probe, although it was unclear whether or not the Democratic nominee’s son was the target.
None of this makes the laptop a non-story, a “smear” or a Russian disinformation effort. Saying those things as if they’re an incantation, as Biden has, shows how out of the loop he really is.
If he’d simply say the information on the laptop is a fabrication, that would go a long way in minimizing the story. One suspects there’s a reason he’s not doing that.
And as for Hunter Biden being an “honorable man,” I don’t know if swing voters are going to be too impressed with that one either.
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