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What if Hunter Biden is guilty?
Not on the tax and firearms disclosure charges - those are too easy. I mean of selling access to his father to foreign companies for millions of dollars. More importantly, what if Joe is guilty too?
The Intercept is no one’s idea of conservative media. It specializes in hardcore investigative reporting, usually with a left-wing bent.
Yet this morning, its top story was: What Does The FBI Have On Hunter and Joe Biden?
Quite a lot, actually.
(IF THIS LINE OF REPORTING INTERESTS YOU, YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO…)
Hunter Biden is a bad guy.
Cocaine addicts are psychopaths almost definitionally. Cocaine’s a hell of a drug, and it tends to focus the mind (mostly on getting more cocaine). Alas, cocaine is also a hell of an expensive drug. Middle-class opioid addicts can stay afloat awhile, but cocaine used at scale will bankrupt almost anyone in a hurry, if it doesn’t kill the user first.
Hunter was an addict par excellence, living rock to rock for years. "I never slept. There was no clock. Day bled into night and night into day,” he wrote in his memoir.
So Hunter spent much of the last 15 years in a state of self-imposed degradation, chasing cash to support his habit and his whoring. Along the way he flung his scat at anyone foolish enough to try to help him, especially women. He must have been a good lay. I hope he was, I hope his ex and the rest got something out of it.
No doubt Hunter is superficially charming, in the way of well-educated addicts who have two main modes with the straight world once they’re caught.
The first is irony: yeah, we both know I shouldn’t do this, but trust me, I’m in on the joke. It looks bad, but I’m on top of it and I can stop whenever I like.
The other, usually coming further on, is self-pity: I know, but I’m really so sad, just think of it as smokable Prozac. It hurts me more than you. I’m gonna kick. Promise. Tomorrow.
When those two modes fail - and they always fail - addicts simply move to the third mode, lying. Lying about where they’ve been, where they are, where they’re going, why they’re late, what they’re doing, who they’ve done, lying and then lying to cover up the lies, lying so often that even when they tell the truth they’re no longer believed, an irony that enrages them.
(It’s not the laptop that’s from Hell:)
So, yes, Robert Hunter Biden is a liar whose behavior - including his affair with his dead brother’s wife - is cruel and psychopathic. He would be merely another cokehead scumbag, except for his last name.
Which afforded him certain opportunities.
The story of Hunter’s efforts to trade on his father’s position are not new. In fact, as early as December 2015, as Joe Biden visited Ukraine, the New York Times wrote that the “the credibility of the vice president’s anticorruption message may have been undermined by the association of his son, Hunter Biden, with one of Ukraine’s largest natural gas companies.”
In October 2019, the investigative reporter Peter Schweizer made the case more explicitly, again in the New York Times:
As vice president, Joe Biden served as point person on American policy toward China and Ukraine. In both instances, his son Hunter, a businessman, landed deals he was apparently unqualified to score save for one thing: his father.
The investigation into Hunter’s alleged tax crimes - and the clear evidence that he lied on a federal firearms purchase form by failing to disclose his drug use - has also been going on for quite some time. Politico - again, not a conservative news organization - reported in March 2021 that it had:
obtained copies of the Firearms Transaction Record and a receipt for the gun dated Oct. 12, 2018.
Hunter responded “no” to a question on the transaction record that asks, “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?
Hard to imagine a more slam-dunk case.
The question, then, is not whether Hunter Biden appears to have broken the law. Nor is it whether Hunter traded on his father’s position to pay for what might charitably be called his life.
The question is exactly how much the big guy - Joseph Robinette Biden Jr., the President of the United States of America - knew about what Hunter was promising the foreign companies paying him millions of dollars for “work” that never seemed to go anywhere.
And, how much Joe Biden helped his son to get those deals..
And whether Hunter helped out with more than a few of Joe’s household expenses along the way.
And, finally, whether Joe Biden profited directly from Hunter’s relationships with foreign companies - and whether he directly steered American foreign policy in response.
Whew. Guess that’s more than one question.
(BECAUSE YOU DESERVE ANOTHER CHANCE TO SUBSCRIBE)
So far, the answers remain murky.
Much of the most damning material has come from Hunter himself, in the form of his “laptop from hell,” the famous computer he abandoned at a Delaware repair shop in 2019. Along with many, many pictures of Hunter’s penis, Hunter’s prostitutes, and Hunter smoking crack, the laptop contains over 100,000 emails and other documents related to Hunter’s business ventures with foreign companies.
When the laptop emerged in October 2020, most media outlets refused to cover it, on the dubious argument that Russian intelligence services might have somehow created it out of full cloth. In truth, the media’s problem was not that the laptop was fake, but that it was so obviously real, and that writing too much about it might have given Donald John Trump a second term.
If this the-truth-is-fine-as-long-as-it-doesn’t-reelect-Trump attitude sounds familiar, it should. A similar media calculus drove the media’s over-the-top hysteria around Covid and its refusal to take the lab leak theory seriously.
Now the media is in the same position with respect to Hunter Biden - and, increasingly, his father - as with everything Covid. The initial lies may have seemed noble, but they have poisoned everything that followed. The worse the Bidens look, the more derelict the initial refusal to discuss the evidence against them becomes.
Still, the media had an obvious out. Even if the laptop was real - and no one now disputes that it and the material on it are real - who could believe Hunter’s drug-fueled rants about how much money he funneled to his father?
After all, Hunter had every reason even in private to exaggerate both his contribution to paying Biden family bills and whether he could actually use his father to do favors for foreign companies.
But suddenly it’s not just Hunter who’s talking. Turns out that in June 2020, before the story of Hunter’s laptop broke, a Federal Bureau of Investigation source had told the bureau that:
A Ukrainian energy company, Burisma, funneled $5 million to then-Vice President Joe Biden so that he would pressure Ukraine to fire the prosecutor investigating Burisma for corruption. Joe Biden did in fact successfully push the Ukrainian government to fire the prosecutor in March 2016.
That’s not my interpretation of what the source said - it is from The Intercept’s piece, which goes onto explain:
The confidential human source reported to the FBI — which has reportedly deemed the source to be “highly credible” — in June 2020 that they had a conversation with a Ukrainian Burisma executive while Biden was vice president either in 2015 or 2016.
The executive asked the source for help linking Burisma up with an American energy company, and the [source] asked why their help was needed if the company had Hunter Biden, who sat on the company’s board. The executive said Biden was “dumb” — he was in the trough of addiction at the time — and that he had paid $5 million to Hunter Biden and $5 million to Joe Biden through a variety of accounts that would take years to disentangle.
In other words, the source said Joe Biden took a $5 million bribe.
None of this proves anything, of course.
People exaggerate or lie for all kinds of reasons. They repeat lies they’ve been told in good faith. They mishear and misunderstand. Just because someone tells an FBI agent something and the agent writes it down on an form FD-1023 doesn’t make the words true.
But it doesn’t make them false, either. And we know Hunter Biden had no compunction about taking millions of dollars from foreign companies, including those in China, which aggressively spies on the United States.
(The 2020 election is over, which means the laptop is real)
And the FBI’s initial unwillingness to tell Congress what it knew about the whistleblower report does not inspire confidence, either in the way it investigated these claims or the broader issue of how the government has handled Hunter Biden generally.
After all, federal agents told the Washington Post eight months ago that they believed Hunter should be prosecuted on the firearms form charge - as well as tax charges - yet nothing has happened.
So what now?
Can the Department of Justice properly examine whether Joe Biden’s relationship with his son’s influence-peddling consisted of more than just letting Hunter drop Joe’s name in exchange for millions of dollars paid to Hunter?
At least for the moment, the answer to that question is unclear. At best.
Which - considering the government has now brought criminal charges against the President’s leading political rival - should not make any American feel very good about where law enforcement in the United States is headed.