While there hasn’t been much news regarding the Hunter Biden scandal lately, The New York Times just delivered the surest sign yet that something is going to eventually cook off.
For those new to this game, anytime these major press outlets start leaking from the FBI/DOJ, it’s always to get out in front of a story. Right on cue, the Times has dropped a piece attempting to sanitize the Hunter Biden scandal, laughably wrapping it in a “Republicans pounce” framing.
The Times uses the fact that the new Republican House is going to look into all this as a reason to excuse many of the questions surrounding the Biden family. I guess investigations are bad again, and all it took was Democrats losing power.
In our reporting we found that the crimes that DOJ is considering charging Hunter with are far removed from the ones most aggressively promoted by Republicans. https://t.co/aXGO8rSowK
— Michael S. Schmidt (@nytmike) January 11, 2023
The way Republicans tell it, President Biden has been complicit in a long-running scheme to profit from his position in public life through shady dealings around the world engineered by his son, Hunter Biden.
Yes, we tell it that way because it’s almost certainly true, at least to the point of warranting a major investigation to find out. The Times apparently thinks that claims from the Biden family are sufficient. The rest of us don’t. Joe Biden has met with multiple foreign business associates of his son. Those meetings didn’t just happen for no reason, and no one should be taking the word of those implicated. Perhaps our stalwart journalists should try actually doing their jobs by finding out exactly what transpired with objective evidence.
But to hear the Times tell it, sure, Hunter Biden probably committed crimes, but that’s because he was in a drug-induced stupor that totally wasn’t his fault. You see, his brother died, and that’s why he made millions via foreign entanglements, trading on his family name and likely breaking the law in multiple ways in the process. Get a load of this paragraph and try not to laugh out loud.
And after the death of his brother, Beau, in 2015, Hunter descended into a spiral of addiction and tawdry and self-destructive behavior.
He is sober now and no longer entangled in foreign business deals. He is a visible presence in his father’s life — his oldest daughter was married at the White House in November, and he attended a state dinner last month.
One, we know that Hunter Biden was a degenerate long before his brother died. He was discharged from the Navy in 2013 for cocaine use. This idea that he was a good little boy until 2015 is not reality, and it’s insulting to everyone’s intelligence for the Times to run with that line.
Still, even in a piece meant to gloss over the Hunter Biden scandal, the truth manages to sneak out.
But Mr. Weiss, people familiar with the investigation say, appears to be focused on a less politically explosive set of possible charges stemming from his failure to meet filing deadlines for his 2016 and 2017 tax returns, and questions about whether he falsely claimed at least $30,000 in deductions for business expenses.
Mr. Weiss is also said to be considering charging Hunter Biden, who has openly acknowledged his years of struggle with drugs and alcohol, with lying on a U.S. government form that he filled out to purchase a handgun in 2018. On the form, he answered that he was not using drugs — an assertion that prosecutors might be able to challenge based on his erratic behavior and possible witness accounts of his drug use around that period.
The information provided there is good, but the framing is highly disingenuous. On what planet have any of those in conservative media not been touting the crimes listed above as the likely charges against Hunter Biden? I’ve written on his tax issues multiple times. There’s also been much talk about him lying on the background check to purchase a gun. Those are the “politically explosive” charges.
Of course, the Times then moves to completely absolve Joe Biden because that’s why this piece was actually written.
Despite their years of efforts — including Mr. Trump’s attempt to muscle Ukraine into helping him sully the Bidens, an escapade that led to his first impeachment — Republicans have yet to demonstrate that the senior Mr. Biden was involved in his son’s business deals or took any action to benefit him or his foreign partners.
That’s just completely false. As mentioned above, Biden met with multiple business associates of his son. He even shared an office with his son and a Chinese businessman. There was some involvement, but you can’t “demonstrate” the level of that involvement without having an investigation. The Times’ argument is like saying that you shouldn’t investigate a murder if you haven’t yet garnered enough evidence against a suspect. That makes no sense. That’s the entire point of the investigation.
But according to family members and former White House officials, Mr. Schwerin did not discuss Hunter’s business activities with the vice president. Having grown close to the Biden family through his long relationship with Hunter, he volunteered to keep track of the elder Mr. Biden’s personal finances and visited him at the White House to make sure he signed important papers, and paid his household bills and taxes on time. (Ethics rules prohibited using White House staff members for those tasks.)
On occasion, Mr. Schwerin would pay a bill for Vice President Biden out of one of his son’s accounts and then assure that he was repaid. House Republicans have seized on a 2010 email documenting one such transaction to assert that the Bidens shared bank accounts and possibly profits from the younger Mr. Biden’s work abroad.
The source that the Bidens did nothing wrong is “family members and former White House officials,” and even then, there’s nothing exculpatory there. Republicans have asserted that money Hunter Biden made, likely from dubious foreign dealings, was used to pay Joe Biden’s bills. That’s true. The fact that the implicated parties are now claiming it was no big deal is not evidence of no wrongdoing. If anything, it should prompt a deep look. Instead, the Times just takes them at their word.
Republicans also point to a picture of Mr. Archer and Vice President Biden on a golf course, and to a 2014 visit Mr. Archer made to the White House shortly before Hunter’s appointment to the Burisma board. During the visit, according to emails and interviews, Mr. Archer did not talk to Hunter’s father about the Ukrainian company, as Republicans have suggested. Mr. Archer was there with his young son, who was working on a papier-mâché model of the White House for his class.
To try to make the case that the elder Mr. Biden played a role in his son’s dealings with Mr. Ye, Republicans point to statements by Tony Bobulinski, an associate who has claimed that Hunter’s father had at least some knowledge of the possible venture with CEFC. They also cite messages in which another participant in the negotiations, James Gilliar, floated the possibility that a 10 percent stake in their prospective company could be set aside for the “big guy.”
Mr. Gilliar later said he was unaware of any involvement in the CEFC discussions by Hunter’s father at any time. Family members and other participants say the elder Mr. Biden never met with Mr. Ye or other company executives.
This is where the absurdity reaches its peak. Here, you have serious, direct allegations of corruption by witnesses. How does the Times attempt to debunk that? By citing the implicated parties. They are using family members and associates of the Bidens, all of whom have a clear reason to lie, to disprove evidence-backed allegations against the president and his son.
I’ll stop there for fair-use reasons, but this may be the most ridiculous piece I’ve ever read by the Times, at least dealing with a serious subject. It is gaslighting of the highest order, and it’s clearly meant to grease the skids for what’s coming.
Lastly, even putting aside any disagreements I have with the conclusions asserted by the Times, would a Republican have ever gotten this type of treatment? The answer is obviously no. The nation’s largest newspaper put multiple reporters on a story to produce thousands of words largely meant to excuse the most powerful family in the country, even as they are forced to admit in the same story that crimes likely were committed. I mean, come on. That’s a level of privilege that is only given to the most connected Democrats.