Good news, America: We’ve found Hunter Biden.
I know, we were all breathlessly wondering where he was. He’d disappeared from view for a while after That Laptop got splashed all over the pages of the New York Post. Well, at least his emails did. The more prurient files ended up elsewhere.
Now, granted, we never got confirmation it belonged to the son of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. We never got any denials, either. What we got was a whole lot of evasion and running out the clock in the race against President Donald Trump.
Given that Hunter Biden finally appeared when his father decided to give a victory speech Saturday night, the strategy seems to have worked.
In a piece describing how the laptop story “fizzled,” Politico writers Kyle Cheney and Andrew Desiderio said Joe Biden “was joined on a Delaware stage by his son Hunter — the villain of one of Trump’s last-ditch attacks — where the two clasped hands and waved after Biden’s victory speech.”
That’s pretty brazen.
— Katie (@Catherine_Wild7) November 8, 2020
The piece dismissed the story as a “factually challenged [narrative] about Biden in the waning weeks of the campaign” in which the Democratic candidate “was the secret beneficiary of multi-million-dollar business deals with shady foreign interests carried out by Hunter Biden.”
That story was “riddled with falsehoods, exaggerations and assumptions, often pushed by unreliable narrators who revealed no evidence of wrongdoing by Biden,” Cheney and Desiderio wrote. “Though Biden’s son may face legitimate legal problems over his foreign activities — and recent reports suggest he is facing an ongoing FBI investigation — no evidence connects the elder Biden to those allegations, and even Trump acknowledged that top advisers were urging him to back off the Hunter claims so close to Election Day.”
Yes, so about that all.
How much it moved the needle for Trump or Biden is anyone’s guess, and whether there was better messaging for Trump will certainly be part of any post-mortem, assuming the president’s legal challenges don’t pan out.
However, internet searches seem to indicate people were at least interested in potential Joe Biden corruption in the final weeks of the campaign:
This is a Google Trends chart showing the relative popularity of the search term “Joe Biden corruption” in the final weeks of the campaign after the Hunter Biden laptop was retrieved. Considering Biden had made it an entire year without this being a popular search, yes, I’d say this was an issue.
As for Hunter Biden himself and what he means for a potential Joe Biden presidency, should he be certified the winner after recounts and the president’s court challenges, Messrs. Cheney and Desiderio underestimate the complications his younger son might pose.
Yes, assume that Tony Bobulinski has no evidence for his claims he met with Joe Biden and that he wasn’t “the secret beneficiary of multi-million-dollar business deals with shady foreign interests.” Hunter Biden is still a part of a federal investigation, something that wasn’t necessarily emphasized by any of the commentators on Saturday night.
They also didn’t mention that while Hunter Biden’s emails didn’t necessarily provide smoking-gun evidence his father was involved in wrongdoing, they certainly didn’t provide exoneration.
At the very least, the picture that emerges from the hard drive of Hunter’s laptop — not even going into the portrait of the lows of addiction that it provided — is that it made it increasingly clear there was a high likelihood Joe Biden knew more about his son’s business dealings than we thought.
Let’s remember the concatenation of events.
First, Hunter Biden joins the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings. There’s nothing illegal about this, although it’s a strange fit. Hunter has no experience working in Ukraine or in the energy sector, but there’s no law against Washington children influence-peddling with foreign companies. In fact, this is one of the primary ways dissolute District ne’er-do-wells earn a living.
Next, Joe Biden brings to bear the power of the United States government on Ukraine so that top prosecutor Viktor Shokin is fired. Biden later brags about this in an event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations.
Joe Biden at the Council on Foreign Relations:
“So I said to Poroshenko (Ukrainian President) & Yatsenuk (Ukr PM):
If you don’t fire the prosecutor investigating my son, we’re going to withhold the $1 billion in aid.”
Would be a shame if this went viral! pic.twitter.com/Wd1x7tsFFn
— Mike Coudrey (@MichaelCoudrey) September 26, 2019
Shokin, at one time, was investigating Burisma Holdings.
Now, it must be said that Shokin was doing so poorly and almost all of his investigations into Ukrainian corruption were inefficient, probably deliberately so. There are few who are familiar with Shokin’s career who believe he shouldn’t have been canned as well.
However, if Biden knew about his son’s position with Burisma Holdings, it would be a clear conflict of interest for him to be involved.
The former vice president’s operative statement in the matter still seems to be a September 2019 remark that he had “never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings,” according to the New York Post. Hunter Biden, for his part, says he’s spoken to his father about his dealings “just once.”
So fast forward to the laptop, where Hunter Biden reportedly said he’d introduced his father to a top Burisma executive, Vadym Pozharskyi, at some point during Biden’s time as vice president. There was also an email that may have detailed the elder Biden’s potential role in a deal with a Chinese company — although even if he was to receive remuneration, that deal was never consummated.
And yes, there’s also an active federal investigation around that laptop regarding possible money-laundering charges. Fox News initially confirmed that documents showed the laptop had been subpoenaed by the FBI.
“Multiple federal law enforcement officials, as well as two separate government officials, confirmed the authenticity of these documents, which were signed by FBI Special Agent Joshua Wilson,” Fox News reported Oct. 21. “Wilson did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.”
Meanwhile, Sinclair Broadcasting reported Oct. 30 that a Justice Department official confirmed “that the FBI opened up a criminal investigation into Hunter Biden and his associates back in 2019, focused on allegations of money-laundering and that the probe remains active.”
So, yes, there’s a reason you’re only seeing Hunter Biden now.
As for whether the laptop story “fizzled,” you be the judge.
Joe Biden talked a lot about “unity” on Saturday night. By stopping any conversation about Hunter Biden over the past few months, Joe Biden ensured we’re talking about him for a long time to come. And unlike his father, there was no good reason for him to come out of the basement.
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