December 11, 2020

Hunter Biden

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“The Justice Department is investigating the finances of President-elect Joe Biden’s son, including scrutinizing some of his Chinese business dealings and other transactions, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press… There is no indication that the investigation has anything to do with Joe Biden. The tax investigation was launched in 2018, the year before the elder Biden announced his candidacy for president. Hunter Biden confirmed the existence of the investigation on Wednesday, saying he learned about it for the first time the previous day.” AP News

Read our prior coverage of Hunter Biden. The Flip Side

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From the Left

The left is heartened that the investigation was not leaked prior to the election and does not appear to be politically motivated.

“Given Trump’s obsession with Hunter Biden and his long-evident willingness to try to interfere with Justice Department investigations, there will naturally be questions about whether this investigation is on the level. There are some encouraging signs on that front…

“The Times reports that the US attorney’s investigation began in ‘late 2018,’ before Bill Barr became attorney general. That is around the same time Rudy Giuliani began working to try to dig up dirt about Hunter Biden in Ukraine, but there’s no evidence the US attorney’s investigation was connected to that effort. And the US attorney himself, David Weiss, wasn’t brought in by Trump for a hit job — he’d worked in the office during the Obama administration as well. Additionally, the Justice Department did appropriately manage to keep quiet about this during the 2020 campaign.”
Andrew Prokop, Vox

“The system worked. Unlike four years ago when then-FBI Director James Comey broke protocol and announced that he was closing without charges an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email use while Secretary of State — and then that he was reopening it before closing it again — the Justice Department now abided by its long-standing practice of speaking in court filings and not whispers or press releases. As much as Trump tried to bring Hunter Biden and his international business dealings into the 2020 race, federal investigators and prosecutors kept the whole affair at an arm’s length…

“While there is deep and rational skepticism about special counsels in Washington, it might be worthwhile for the Biden team to consider the merits of one at this moment. A totally independent investigation might be a giant and sprawling headache for the incoming administration, but it might be the best shot at restoring credibility to a Justice Department that has acted like a personal attorney for the incumbent President and his family.”
Philip Elliott, Time

“We have today a President who fights all accountability and transparency, stonewalling on disclosing his taxes, even to government investigators. Who surrounds himself with family in a sea of conflicts of interest. Who hires advisers repeatedly indicted in or found guilty of crimes, and who stays in touch with them afterward. Who dangles and grants pardons to his own associates and who reportedly considers using pardons preemptively for himself and his family. Who has fired one acting attorney general and constantly threatens to fire the current attorney general, always for failure to do the President's bidding…

“[By contrast] President-elect Biden has shown no inclination to meddle as the investigations [into Hunter Biden] play out. ‘It's not my Justice Department. It's the people's Justice Department,’ he told CNN. How pleasant that sounds.”
Ed McCaffery, CNN

Some posit that, “Still traumatized by 2016, when Democratic Party operatives attributed Trump’s victory to Wikileaks’ release of hacked emails from the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, media organizations were determined not to be perceived as aiding and abetting a candidate they regarded as a threat to democracy itself… any and all reporting that could be perceived as damaging to [Trump’s] rivals was viewed by the Democratic readership as the greatest of transgressions. But as long as Trump was president, at least none of this hindered the practice of accountability journalism vis-à-vis the executive branch. What now?…

There is a real danger of slipping into a new normal, in which liberal-leaning newspapers and websites fail to report as aggressively on the Biden White House as they did on its predecessors. Aaron Rupar, a prominent Vox editor, recently dismissed an investigative report into the lucrative private-sector careers of Biden’s wealthy foreign policy team. ‘Blinken participated in society. The horror,’ Rupar tweeted, referring to Biden’s pick for secretary of state, Antony Blinken…

“Apparently, to some journalists, founding a high-dollar consulting firm with clients in the defense industry, Silicon Valley, and various hedge funds while also being a partner in a private equity firm can now be equated to the mere act of ‘participating in society,’ as if this were an unavoidable part of everyday life. Had a Trump cabinet pick boasted a similar background, it’s unlikely Rupar would have been so blasé. The danger is that in the post-Trump era, Democratic corruption will be seen as acceptable because it’s not Republican corruption.”
Ross Barkan, Jacobin Magazine

From the Right

The right is critical of the lack of media coverage of Hunter Biden prior to the election.

The right is critical of the lack of media coverage of Hunter Biden prior to the election.

“Hunter Biden is a deeply troubled man whose worst habits and instincts veered into criminal behavior, and who has been largely protected from the full consequences of his actions by his connection to his famous and powerful father. The evidence for this is abundant and longstanding. But if you said that too loudly before Election Day, you were accused of attacking the vice president’s family, being callous to the problems of addiction, and making ‘personal attacks on a candidate’s child.’ (Hunter Biden turned 50 earlier this year.) When Joe Biden insisted his son was hired at Burisma because he was a ‘smart guy,’ we were expected to simply accept and nod along…

“After the role Jim Comey and the FBI played in the 2016 election, it’s easy to see why law enforcement would want to avoid taking actions that could influence the outcome of an election. But learning after the election that a candidate’s family is under serious investigation for criminal acts does not feel like a significant improvement.”
Jim Geraghty, National Review

“It’s now clear that the Hunter Biden story was real… Yet, when The New York Post broke the details, virtually the entire journalistic establishment and left-wing punditsphere defamed the newspaper, claiming it was passing on Russian ‘disinformation’ or partisan fabrications…

“The political media quickly began pumping out process stories about the alleged discord in The Post’s newsroom and about the problems with the reporting. In so doing, of course, they did practically no reporting on the substantive allegations that Joe Biden’s family had spent years cashing in on his influence. Tech companies, spurred on by these censorious journalists, shut down the account of one of America’s most-read newspapers to inhibit users from reading the story. It was completely unprecedented…

“In October, the New York Times ran a piece headlined, ‘New York Post Published Hunter Biden Report Amid Newsroom Doubts.’ Today, the same Times reports that, ‘Biden team has rejected some of the claims made in the Post articles, but has not disputed the authenticity of the files upon which they were based.’”
David Harsanyi, New York Post

“Included among the laptop materials published by the New York Post is an FBI document that includes a case number with ‘the code associated with an ongoing federal money-laundering investigation in Delaware,’ according to the Daily Beast. ‘Another document—one with a grand jury subpoena number—appeared to show the initials of two assistant U.S. attorneys linked to the Wilmington, Delaware, office,’…

“Evidence of the Justice Department's investigation of Hunter Biden was out in the open following the New York Post's publication of the laptop’s reported contents. It was right there for establishment journalists with the full backing of their newsrooms to authenticate and investigate. But they didn’t…

“Congratulations to the Justice Department for plugging all those Trump-era leaks. Not a single whisper in the press about this two-year-old investigation. Excellent work, everyone. Better luck next time, establishment journalists. After four years of Russian collusion duds and dead-end impeachment stories, you all not only took a pass on reporting on a genuine federal investigation that first came to light with the New York Post’s reporting, but you actively worked to bury the story.”
Becket Adams, Washington Examiner

“There are unique challenges for the Justice Department in conducting an investigation of the incoming president’s son, which involves some suspicious business activities to which Joe Biden has been connected — the Bursima business in Ukraine and the alleged 10 percent slice of China payments that [Hunter Biden’s former business associate Tony] Bobulinski says was held for him. Clearly, the concern would be that a Biden Justice Department could bury the probe…

“The classic situation for a special counsel is when the Justice Department has a profound conflict of interest because (a) there is substantial evidence of wrongdoing, and (b) the case requires investigating the president, those close to him, or other high administration officials. Furthermore, Attorney General Bill Barr has already appointed a special counsel for the Russiagate probe, and the argument for such an appointment is even stronger here, where at issue is an investigation of the incoming president’s son under circumstances where the incoming president’s own conduct is involved.”
Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review

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