The Hunter Biden Mess and What it Means
Plethora of Articles
The Wall Street Journal comments on the The Hunter Biden Business.
Count Sen. Ron Johnson among those not surprised that the press is ignoring a New York Post report about emails said to be from Hunter Biden’s laptop that suggest he introduced his father the Vice President to a representative of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings. Or that Twitter and Facebook would run interference for the Bidens by banishing the Post dispatch from their platforms.
Most news accounts dismissed the Senate findings as offering no proof that either Biden did anything criminal. What a low bar. The report mentions, for example, a $100,000 spending spree for Hunter Biden, James Biden (the Vice President’s brother) and Sara Biden (the Vice President’s sister-in-law) financed by Gongwen Dong, a Chinese businessman with ties to China’s largest private oil and gas company.
Reflections on Low Bar
Not that two wrongs make a right, but a similarly "low bar" got Trump off the hook in the impeachment process also on Ukraine.
This is a legitimate story with important information for voters who are being asked to trust Joe Biden for a return to normalcy. We doubt this is the kind of Washington self-interest and dishonesty as usual that most Americans have in mind.
The USA Today notes the FBI is Probing a Possible Disinformation Campaign.
Less than three weeks before one of the most contentious presidential campaigns in history, federal authorities are investigating whether the material supplied to the New York Post by Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, is part of a smoke bomb of disinformation pushed by Russia.
The gauzy details of the newspaper's account trace the hard drive to a computer repair shop in Delaware, where a laptop had been left for service last year but was never re-claimed by the customer. Exactly how the material moved to Giuliani,who with Trump has long pushed debunked conspiracy theories about the Bidens, has raised as many questions as the authenticity of the laptop data the president's lawyer provided to the tabloid.
After months of investigation, two Republican-led Senate committees unveiled a report in September that found no evidence of wrongdoing or corrupt actions by the former vice president in connection with his son Hunter's business dealings in Ukraine.
On Wednesday, the president and his lawyer seized on the New York Post story, which focused on an email purporting to show an adviser to the Ukrainian energy company Burisma thanking Hunter Biden for arranging a meeting for him with Joe Biden, who was then the vice president.
The story provided no evidence that such a meeting ever occurred and has come under fire for its reliance on questionable sources and documents whose authenticity was not verified. Biden's campaign team told USA TODAY that no meeting ever occurred.
What We Know and Don't Know
CBS News comments on What we know – and don't know – about Hunter Biden's alleged laptop.
Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, said his own attorney, Robert Costello, obtained the material from the owner of a computer repair shop in Wilmington, Delaware, after Hunter Biden allegedly left it there for months. Giuliani provided the material to the New York Post on Sunday, and the Post began running stories about the supposed documents this week.
But the owner of the computer store, John Paul MacIsaac, was unable and unwilling to answer key questions about how the laptop supposedly arrived in his store, and eventually, how the data was shared with Giuliani. CBS News interviewed MacIsaac for almost two hours on Wednesday and throughout the interview he contradicted himself about his motivations, raising questions about the truthfulness of one of the central figures in the story.
MacIsaac told CBS News he first turned over the hard drive to the FBI last December during the president's impeachment, and provided a copy of its contents to Costello after becoming frustrated by the Senate trial in January. MacIsaac refused to provide key details about his interactions with Giuliani.
Giuliani apparently held the information for months and released it less than three weeks before the election. Giuliani has long been involved in efforts by the president and his allies to highlight Hunter Biden's work overseas to damage Joe Biden and boost Mr. Trump's reelection campaign, and in 2019 met with a Ukrainian lawmaker who has been deemed an "active Russian agent" by the U.S. government.
In December 2019, National Security Advisor chief Robert O'Brien conveyed concerns to President Trump that Giuliani was being targeted by a Russian disinformation campaign aimed at discrediting Joe Biden, current and former advisors in the Trump administration told CBS News' Paula Reid. Giuliani's meeting with the Ukrainian lawmaker - Andriy Derkach - was one of the reasons for those concerns.
CBS News has not seen or corroborated the data supposedly on the hard drive, and Giuliani has declined to allow other news outlets to review the information.
The Daily Beast reports Rudy’s ‘Russian Agent’ Pal Teases ‘Second Laptop’ With Hunter Biden Kompromat.
Rudy Giuliani has dismissed concerns that his latest anti-Biden smears are part of a foreign-election interference plot, but a Ukrainian lawmaker recently deemed an “active Russian agent” by the U.S. Treasury is now touting further details to come.
Andrii Derkach, one of the key players in Giuliani’s years-long dirt-digging mission against Joe Biden in Ukraine, piggybacked on the former New York City mayor’s latest Biden smears—supposedly involving a forgotten laptop. Derkach claimed on Facebook that there is a “second laptop” with evidence of corruption involving the Biden family.
The claim appears to muddy the waters around Giuliani’s latest “smoking gun” charge against Hunter Biden. He says they came to light after an obscure Delaware computer repair shop owner found Biden’s laptop in his possession and copied the hard drive before alerting federal authorities and inexplicably Giuliani’s own lawyer. Now, with Derkach jumping in with claims of a “second laptop,” that would mean private computer contents allegedly connected to Hunter Biden have somehow found their way into the hands of three separate parties: A media empire controlled by a Chinese billionaire who’s tight with Steve Bannon; a random Delaware shop owner who is outspoken in his support of Trump; and Derkach, a Ukrainian conspiracy theory peddler who studied at Moscow’s FSB academy.
It has already been reported that Russian intelligence agents successfully hacked into Burisma computer networks last year, although it is not clear how much they were able to access and copy.
Despite what Team Trump would have the public believe is a towering mountain of evidence, neither Joe or Hunter Biden have been charged with any wrongdoing, and Ukrainian prosecutors confirmed months ago that they had found no evidence of any crimes.
What Do You Want to Believe
No matter what you want to believe, you can find an article to support it.
The Daily Beast article even swings both ways.
It Doesn't Matter
I commented on Twitter the other day that none of this matters because it will not change any minds.
I received replies like this: "So influence peddling is irrelevant to you."
That is sticking words into my mouth that I never said or even implied.
When Trump was impeached, I called it a witch hunt and advised Democrats against it.
New Phase of Impeachment: Greatest Witch Hunt in American History
I stated "This looks like a serious mistake by the Democrats. Instead of campaigning for the 2020 elections, Democrats will be howling at the moon with Trump mocking them every step of the way."
The charges against Trump were as serious as the charges against Biden.
A "low bar" got Trump off and it was obvious that was going to happen.
Tax Shenanigans vs Sleaze
Trump's tax shenanigans are a more serious matter. That is a genuine bombshell in which I am sure Trump is guilty.
Regardless, allegations against Biden and Trump are the sleazy things that unfortunately everyone now expects in politicians.
Why Won't Giuliani or the Post Release the Drive?
If there was a true "smoking gun" then in light of early voting, it would be prudent to release the drive, wouldn't it?
Unless of course the intent is to pedal sleaze.
But sleaze and crimes are different matters.
Not Defending Biden
I am not at all defending Biden, I am saying this doesn't matter. You can argue it "should" matter but that is a different topic.
It Doesn't Matter
This issue is so muddy, so convoluted, and so off topic of voter focus that it just doesn't matter.
- Republicans will point to all the Hunter Biden sleaze, and they will be right.
- Democrats and independents will ignore the Hunter Biden sleaze and they will be wrong.
- Republicans will ignore Trump's allegedly criminal tax returns.
- Democrats and independents will not ignore Trump's tax returns.
- No one cares anymore about the Democrats impeachment witch hunt.
- Democrats will ignore House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's sleazy interview on with Wolf Blitzer four days ago when she lost her cool.
What Does it Mean?
People will ignore sleaze on their guy but not the opponents'.
It has to be really sleazy to matter and it only impacts those whose minds are not yet made up.
Too Few Minds to Matter
The Hunter Biden sleaze just doesn't matter even if it should.
Most minds were made up long ago. There are too few minds left to make up to matter.
This is not 2016 when 12% of voters' minds were still not made up yet.
Minds Made Up
The one word in point #1 is "women", but seniors are another huge problem for Trump.
My mind is made up too. I refuse to vote for the lesser of corrupt vs more corrupt (no matter of which way it allegedly goes).