February 9, 2023

Hunter Biden

Former Twitter executives told a Republican-led U.S. House committee on Wednesday that they made a mistake [in October 2020] by blocking tweets about a laptop said to belong to President Joe Biden's son Hunter but said government officials were not involved… ​​The committee's witnesses, three former Twitter executives, said in subpoenaed testimony that they mistakenly believed the Post article contained hacked material and reversed their decision to limit its circulation on the social media platform within 24 hours.” Reuters

“A lawyer for President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, asked the Justice Department in a letter [last] Wednesday to investigate close allies of former President Donald Trump and others who accessed and disseminated personal data from a laptop that a computer repair shop owner says was dropped off at his Delaware store in 2019.” AP News

See our prior coverage of Hunter Biden and Twitter here, here, here, and here. The Flip Side

Many on both sides are skeptical of Hunter Biden’s legal maneuver:

“What’s most striking about the Hunter Biden claim is the delay. For more than two years, Hunter has refused to admit the laptop is genuine despite email recipients confirming the content of the communications. The laptop also shows Hunter engaged in potential crimes from drug use to prostitution offenses. Yet he insisted it might all be those pesky Russians again…

“Now the laptop is his, and he is fighting mad. Indeed, he’s shocked that anyone would treat his property in this fashion — a property he left at a computer shop and failed to claim for years… Notably, Biden has not brought a civil lawsuit for a privacy tort claim despite the bluster and bombast of these letters. The reason is simple: He does not have a privacy case against the media or critics.”

Jonathan Turley, New York Post

"As is usual with Hunter Biden, his new legal strategy puts him in a complicated spot. The attempt by the president’s son to convince an independent Justice Department to go after the people that exposed his personal life is unlikely to succeed given that the DOJ has had years to consider the matter on its own…

“And while it may convince some conservative-media figures to stop treating him like a punching bag for all occasions, it will also surely amplify calls on the right that he is using the government, through his father, to do his own bidding. It’s not as if he is clear of trouble, either: The DOJ was investigating him last year for tax evasion and lying on a firearms purchasing form when he answered that he had never used illegal drugs.”

Matt Stieb, New York Magazine

Other opinions below.

See past issues

From the Left

During Wednesday’s hearing, “GOP lawmakers continued to push a factually unsupported narrative about the federal government secretly colluding with Twitter to censor the New York Post’s Hunter Biden laptop story… Matt Taibbi, one of the journalists [Elon] Musk handpicked last year to comb through Twitter’s internal messages for evidence of free speech violations, said himself that ‘there is no evidence — that I’ve seen — of any government involvement in the laptop story.’…

“‘I am aware of no unlawful collusion with, or direction from, any government agency or political campaign on how Twitter should have handled the Hunter Biden laptop situation,’ James Baker, Twitter’s former deputy counsel, told the committee while under oath… Such statements from Baker, former Trust and Safety head Yoel Roth, and former general counsel Vijaya Gadde saturated Wednesday’s hearing — but they fell on deaf ears.”

Oliver Darcy, CNN

"[Former Trump adviser Steve] Bannon in October 2020 gave data from Hunter’s laptop to Guo Wengui, an exiled Chinese mogul. Guo then oversaw an effort by his own subordinates to post that material… Multiple people involved in distributing the material said that Guo encouraged them to accompany posts of real material from the laptop with lies about other material the laptop supposedly contained. At Guo’s direction, they alleged that other material on the hard drive showed Hunter Biden having sex with underage Chinese girls. There is no evidence supporting that allegation…

“The letters [from Hunter Biden’s lawyers] may have long odds of prompting investigations into adversaries of Hunter, who himself reportedly remains under investigation by the US attorney in Delaware. But their purpose is probably more about public relations. They function as a warning shot and an attempt to shift attention toward the conduct of Donald Trump’s allies. The missives also offer a reminder that Hunter Biden—regardless of his apparent efforts to profit off his father’s name, his addiction issues, and his potential crimes—was a victim of an organized smear campaign.”

Dan Friedman, Mother Jones

From the Right

“‘I believe that political operatives who sought to inject explosive disinformation with the Washington Post couldn’t get away with it — and now they’re livid,’ railed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in Wednesday’s hearings about Twitter censoring the Hunter Biden story. First off, Congresswoman, we’re the New York Post…

“Despite your lie that we published ‘without any corroboration, without any backup information,’ we interviewed the laptop repairman who provided it, we spot-checked a selection of key emails with Hunter Biden’s movements, and we interviewed people who corresponded with Hunter and confirmed the messages…

“Democrats, the liberal media and Big Tech shot the messenger rather than deal with the truth: That [the] emails show how Hunter Biden traded on his father’s name, and despite claiming he ‘never spoke’ to Hunter about his business dealings, Joe met with some of his partners. The Bidens, Joe included, also tried to cut a huge deal with a Chinese investment firm to begin after he left office. There was nothing false about any of this.”

Editorial Board, New York Post

“The missives from [Hunter] Biden’s lawyers further [affirm] that the October 2020 letter from 50 former national-intelligence officials, declaring that the discovery of the laptop ‘has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation’ was deceptive nonsense from the start, and Hunter Biden knew it. What’s more, Joe Biden went out on a presidential-debate stage and insisted the Russian spies had planted the laptop as part of a disinformation effort…

“At minimum, Hunter Biden misled his father and let him go out and lie on his behalf and allowed 50 former national-security officials to mislead the rest of the country. Second, how does Hunter Biden think it is going to look if the son of the sitting president demands that federal prosecutors bring criminal charges against a bunch of Republicans and conservatives, and then those prosecutors comply? He might as well write, ‘Dear Deep State, please save me from the consequences of my own actions.’”
Jim Geraghty, National Review

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