Late last month, The New York Times was doing its ceremonial victory lap after it reported that “[a]n election-year investigation by Senate Republicans into corruption allegations against Joseph R. Biden Jr.and his son, Hunter, involving Ukraine found no evidence of improper influence or wrongdoing by the former vice president, closing out an inquiry its leaders had hoped would tarnish the Democratic presidential nominee.”
Yes, writer Nicholas Fandos noted, the 87-page report said Hunter Biden had “cashed in” on his father’s name to secure numerous overseas deals, including in Ukraine and China. (It uncovered a great deal more, but Fandos mostly glossed over that unpleasant stuff.)
However, it concluded there was no evidence Joe Biden meddled politically in those countries for any untoward reason.
Fandos, ostensibly writing a straight news story, had particularly subjective contempt for the GOP chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
“The homeland security panel’s Republican chairman, Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, had made little secret of his political ambitions for his report, boasting for weeks that his findings would demonstrate Mr. Biden’s ‘unfitness for office,'” Fandos wrote. “Instead, the result delivered on Wednesday appeared to be little more than a rehashing six weeks before Election Day of unproven allegations that echo an active Russian disinformation campaign and have been pushed by Mr. Trump.”
Even before the committee issued its report, the Biden campaign pre-emptively attacked the Wisconsin Republican.
A July memo from the campaign cast doubt on the Johnson investigation, saying the senator could be “party to a foreign influence operation against the United States” because his committee received material from pro-Russian Ukrainians and that he was pursuing “a long debunked, hardcore rightwing conspiracy theory” in even investigating Hunter Biden’s overseas dealings.
I don’t imagine there’s immense happiness either at Biden campaign headquarters or The New York Times building, therefore, that the “long debunked, hardcore rightwing conspiracy theory” has come roaring back thanks to emails found on what was allegedly Hunter Biden’s hard drive. Biden campaign officials haven’t denied the information found on the hard drive is Hunter Biden’s; they’ve just dismissed it as “Russian misinformation.”
And then there were the allegations made by Tony Bobulinski, a former business associate of Hunter Biden’s, who said Joe Biden stood to profit from a deal that involved a partnership with a Chinese magnate. Bobulinski also said he met twice with the former vice president, something that would contradict Biden’s statement that he had “never spoken to my son [Hunter] about his overseas business dealings.”
Again, no explicit denial from the Biden campaign.
For the most part, the establishment media have been pretty compliant and avoided reporting on the Biden scandal. The official line is that none of this has been “independently verified.”
Well, that’s where investigations come in. And now that the laptop raises new questions about what Joe Biden knew and when he knew it, Johnson thinks it could be time for a deeper investigation.
In a Wednesday appearance on Fox Business, Johnson told host Maria Bartiromo that while he wasn’t “a big fan of special counsels,” one might have to be appointed to investigate the Bidens’ dealings should he become president.
The move comes as House Republicans are urging Attorney General William Barr to appoint a special counsel to investigate the Democratic nominee in the wake of the New York Post’s reporting on Hunter Biden’s laptop.
“You know, I am not a big fan of special counsels, but if Joe Biden wins the presidency, I don’t see how you avoid one,” Johnson told Bartiromo.
“Otherwise, this is going to be, you know, tucked away, and we will never know what happened. All this evidence is going to be buried,” he said.
Johnson also referenced a report from investigative journalist John Solomon questioning why the Bidens’ tax returns show $16 million in income since Biden left the vice presidency while their financial disclosure forms showed a net worth of, at most, $3.2 million.
While the senator refused to speculate on whether there was anything untoward to take away from Solomon’s report, he said there were “so many financial entanglements” and “so much buried” in the Bidens’ financial history that a special counsel might be necessary.
And then there’s that report from Johnson’s committee. Yes, The Times did a victory lap, celebrating it as an exoneration of Joe Biden from partisan hacks who were out to get him. It was a rehash of old conspiracy theories — but it still made Joe Biden look good.
However, there were a few uncomfortable facts The Times wasn’t so willing to address.
The committee report said that “the Obama administration knew that Hunter Biden’s position on Burisma’s board was problematic and did interfere in the efficient execution of policy with respect to Ukraine.”
“Moreover, this investigation has illustrated the extent to which officials within the Obama administration ignored the glaring warning signs when the vice president’s son joined the board of a company owned by a corrupt Ukrainian oligarchy,” it continued.
“This report not only details examples of extensive and complex financial transactions involving the Bidens, it also describes the quandary other U.S. governmental officials faced as they attempted to guide and support Ukraine’s anticorruption efforts.”
It revealed Hunter Biden’s consulting firm was paid $3.5 million by the wife of a former Moscow mayor, a payment that hasn’t been fully explained even as of now.
It cited Treasury Department documents that “show potential criminal activity relating to transactions among and between Hunter Biden, his family, and his associates with Ukrainian, Russian, Kazakh and Chinese nationals.”
“In particular, these documents show that Hunter Biden received millions of dollars from foreign sources as a result of business relationships that he built during the period when his father was vice president of the United States and after.”
The Biden camp has a three-pronged strategy for anything dealing with Hunter Biden’s foreign entanglements that can be described thusly: Bury, bury, bury. Joe Biden and everyone around him has made clear he’s not going to deal with any of this malarkey, which is all just the kind of Russian disinformation that gets printed on dodgy sites like Sputnik. Talk about any of this and you’re little more than a Muscovite tool doing Vladimir Putin’s bidding.
There’s a serious flaw in that strategy that got exposed the moment the emails allegedly extracted from Hunter Biden’s laptop hit the pages of the New York Post.
Joe Biden could be telling the truth about everything involving his knowledge of his son’s overseas dealings. Even Ron Johnson’s committee acknowledged there was no evidence these entanglements played a part in policymaking under the Obama administration, even if they were conflicts of interest. If he’d been more forthcoming about Hunter Biden’s questionable entanglements, what he knew about them and when he knew it — instead of just stonewalling — there’s a high likelihood we wouldn’t be here.
Sure, Hunter Biden’s laptop might have shown up as the October surprise. If this had been fully vetted, rehashing an exhausted issue would have done nothing. There wouldn’t be any calls for a special counsel.
Instead, this is what we have.
Johnson’s report wasn’t, as Fandos reported, “little more than a rehashing six weeks before Election Day of unproven allegations that echo an active Russian disinformation campaign.” It raised enough serious issues to justify further investigation. The emails on Hunter Biden’s laptop upped the ante exponentially.
If Joe Biden gets elected, he could — and, one might argue, should — face a special counsel investigation.
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