CNN Reporting About Confirmation of Investigation of Hunter Biden Is Laughable in Many Respects

Townhall/Julio Rosas

My colleagues here at RedState have already covered the blatant hypocrisy of many in the media now rushing to cover the announcement that Hunter Biden is under criminal investigation when those same media outlets actively suppressed reporting on the story or actively discounted the story published by conservative media outlets by claiming it was Russian disinformation intended to harm Joe Biden’s campaign.

But in reading some of the media accounts today that are following up on yesterday’s acknowledgment by Hunter Biden that his attorney has been told by the US Attorney in Delaware that he is under investigation, the egregious way that are misreporting what is actually happening reveals their continuing duplicity in trying to minimize their earlier efforts to hide the facts from the public.

I wrote a lengthy piece earlier today laying out how this investigation is certainly more than just a “tax” case as the Biden team announced yesterday.  That fact is now confirmed by various outlets in their “next day” stories covering the announcement from yesterday.

As I explained, a simple tax case would focus on the failure of the taxpayer to disclose and pay taxes on income as required by law.  We know that Hunter Biden has failed to pay taxes historically, as there is reporting about IRS and state tax liens that have been placed on property belonging to him and his ex-wife at various times over the past several years.  Those a civil tax “enforcement” matters — not criminal cases. The IRS handles those types of investigations very differently, and for the most part, it maintains a strict separation between civil collection cases — where the IRS employees involved are called “Revenue Agents”.  Those “agents” are not criminal investigators — their function is purely as tax collection officers.

IRS Criminal Investigators work with federal prosecutors to bring criminal tax evasion cases.  That is what Hunter Biden is facing now, in addition to other potential criminal charges such as fraud and money laundering as I explained in my earlier story.  They often work alongside FBI or other federal agents who have primary responsibility for non-tax criminal offenses.  One or more prosecutors, sometimes including a Trial Attorney from DOJ’s Tax Division, will comprise the investigation/prosecution team.

Until late Wednesday night, CNN had never posted any story on its website regarding the allegations of criminal conduct by Hunter Biden and his dealings in China and Ukraine during the Obama Administration.  Today, their story on the announcement includes the following:

After going quiet in the months before the election, federal authorities are now actively investigating the business dealings of Hunter Biden, a person with knowledge of the probe said. His father, President-elect Joe Biden, is not implicated.

Note that their sourcing — “a person with knowledge of the probe said” — does not suggest this is an anonymous government official providing information.  This is the type of source identity which is likely a personal representative of one or both Bidens, such as Hunter’s attorney.

There is NO attribution in the story for the last sentence about Joe Biden.  If they wanted to state that authoritatively — to the extent they are able to with this source — they would have written it as:

After going quiet in the months before the election, federal authorities are now actively investigating the business dealings of Hunter Biden, which do not involve his father, President-elect Joe Biden, a person with knowledge of the probe said. 

This is not accidental sentence construction. This is the kind of tortured language that editors and reporters grind over to say what they want while not putting themselves in a position to be contradicted later.  The justification for the final sentence as written can be explained as that there is no published evidence — that CNN is prepared to rely on — that implicates Joe Biden in the dealings of Hunter Biden.

Investigators have been examining multiple financial issues, including whether Hunter Biden and his associates violated tax and money laundering laws in business dealings in foreign countries, principally China, according to two people briefed on the probe.

Again, the sourcing here is transparent in that there are only two camps who can report on what is happening — the prosecution team, and Biden’s attorneys who have been in contact with the US Attorney’s Office.  Based on the description, this anonymous information is coming from Biden’s camp based on the limited information they have been provided by the government.

The investigation began as early as 2018, predating the arrival of William Barr as US attorney general, two people briefed on the investigation said.

This is an important fact.  This coincides with the arrest in Nov. 2017 of Patrick Ho, who ran an organization backed by “CEFC” which at the time was then described as the largest “private energy company” in China.  Ho was indicted and later convicted of paying millions of dollars in bribes to officials in Chad and Uganda to benefit CEFC energy projects in those countries.  Biden’s law firm received $1 million as a retainer for legal advice and services to Ho just weeks ahead of his arrest.  At the same time, Biden was awaiting funding for a partnership he entered into with the CEFC Chairman, Yi Jianming, which –based on documents found on Biden’s laptop – ended up being a direct payment of $5 million to a shell company controlled by Biden family members.  I did a lengthy article just before the election on the implications of Hunter Biden’s business entanglements with CEFC, Yi, and Ho.

It was later revealed during the criminal prosecution of Ho that his bribery crimes were discovered through a FISA warrant which was being used to surveil Ho as a foreign agent.  There is simply no doubt that the FISA intercepts picked up Ho’s communications with Hunter Biden — by phone and via the internet — as well as Ho’s communications with Chinese officials regarding Hunter Biden.

It’s unclear whether the laptop’s contents are relevant to the ongoing federal probe and whether investigators can even use them, given potential chain of custody requirements for evidence.

This is just stupid.  Documents taken from the laptop can be used if authenticated, are “not hearsay,” or are subject to an exception to the hearsay rule. One of Hunter Biden’s business partners has already told the FBI that documents and emails he recognized from the laptop are authentic.  Further, “chain of custody” issues go to the “weight” the jury should give such documents, not the issue of admissibility as evidence.  This is what you get when idiot reporters think they understand trial tactics because someone whispers in their ear.

To date, the investigation doesn’t involve any allegations of wrongdoing by the President-elect, according to the two main sources briefed on the matter. Barr has said publicly the elder Biden was not under investigation, despite a public campaign by Trump urging Barr to announce a corruption probe of both Bidens.

Maybe CNN should offer a plausible explanation of why their “two main sources” would be in a position to know if the investigation might implicate Joe Biden.  They’ve offered nothing to this point in their story to suggest that they do.

Further, I stand willing to be corrected, by my recollection is that the comments made by AG Barr about Joe Biden not being under investigation were made specifically with regard to the Durham investigation and whether Durham could either seek indictments or make an interim report prior to the election without violating DOJ policy about not taking overt steps in criminal matters that might impact the outcome of an election.  Asked by the press whether indictments by Durham would violate that policy he responded that no one under investigation by Durham was running for office.  When he was asked if Durham issuing indictments would negatively impact the Biden campaign, he responded that Joe Biden wasn’t under investigation — i.e., that Durham indictments wouldn’t include Joe Biden.

Maybe he issued a broader categorical denial of Biden at some other time, but I do not recall him having done so.

When I began this article my intention was to review the reports of several media outlets on the announcement of the Hunter Biden problem.  But just dealing with the idiocy reflected in CNN’s story has taken up 1350 words and all my time.  So the rest are off the hook — for now.