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Tipsheet

NYT: Actually, the Biden Family Enrichment Scheme Exonerates Biden, Or Something

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File

Real Clear Politics founder Tom Bevan was so astounded by this New York Times headline that he experienced a 'holy [bleep]' moment. Literally. We wrote about the House Oversight Committee unveiling new evidence -- and raising new questions -- about the Biden family's wide-ranging enrichment scheme, featuring serious allegations of influence peddling. Based on bank records, it appears as though at least nine members of the family received payments totaling approximately $10 million from foreign sources, which were routed through various banks and LLC's, a labyrinth Republicans say was designed to make the money difficult to track.  We also noted in our previous analysis that President Biden has made demonstrably false statements about his family's foreign business dealings, including provably inaccurate denials of basic facts supported by evidence.  The New York Times evidently listened to what Oversight Committee members presented yesterday and concluded that the real story was an exoneration of Biden (language warning):

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Here's a succinct, partial reminder what Chairman James Comer and his colleagues laid out:

Many payments were routed from foreign companies to the Biden family’s business associates’ companies which then doled out payments to the Bidens in incremental payments to different bank accounts in an alleged attempt to hide the source of the funds...Much of the money came from Chinese nationals and companies with ties to the Chinese Communist Party. Multiple Biden family members received money after it passed through an associate’s account. Comer said of the countries the Biden family was influence peddling in, China is “the most reputable.” The committee revealed Wednesday that records suggest the Biden family and its associates’ business dealings in Romania “bear clear indication of a scheme to peddle influence” from 2015 to 2017.

To reiterate a point I made yesterday, I'm not equipped to know whether any of this constitutes criminal activity. Given the ability of the DOJ to bootstrap any number of shady global transactions and relationships into charges against politically-connected people connected to the opposite party in recent years, I wouldn't be shocked if there could be some criminal liability in this. But that's not my area of expertise, nor is it my decision to make -- even if the whole thing looks deeply suspicious and appalling, and reeks of influence-purchasing corruption. Let's say this evidence does point to unlawful behavior. Would the public have confidence that the Biden DOJ -- which is currently being accused by a whistleblower of improperly mishandling a criminal investigation into Hunter Biden -- will snap into action to pursue accountability? Fat chance, many people would reply, especially if the 'news' media is either studiously avoiding the story, or openly fortifying pro-Biden spin. It's both astonishing and indicative of the collapse in media trust that America's supposed paper of record had all of this rotten-smelling information placed in front of its nose and decided to prominently declare that it somehow amounts to a vindication of the president.  

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Is there smoking gun proof of personal corruption or bribe-taking by the president himself?  No, or at least not yet.  Do the new details look better for the Biden family than what we previously knew?  As someone might say, c'mon man.  One might think that enterprising journalists would look at the lengths to which these payments were disguised and hidden and consider that a red flag worth pursuing.  Add to the mix some glaring questions about why all these people with the last name 'Biden' saw cash shoveled at them (in exchange for what, exactly?) through foreign nationals and entities -- alongside Biden's debunked, categorical denials -- and that seems like a strong basis for a potentially explosive story.  Let's see more evidence, please.  Perhaps some people at the Times and elsewhere are now digging away, eager to unearth additional information (are Pulitzers awarded for hurting Democrats?), but the publication's opening effort is embarrassing partisan propaganda.  On that subject, here's another glimpse into the 2020 laptop/"disinformation" operation by the Biden campaign:

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Hunter Biden laptop letter signers embraced Politico’s headline alleging the emails belonging to President Joe Biden’s son were “Russian disinfo” while the letter’s co-author and main organizer said the outlet did a “nice job" with its story. The 51 ex-intelligence officials quickly signed the October 2020 laptop letter, which was published on Oct. 19 and aimed to give Joe Biden a "talking point" to use at the debate with President Donald Trump. The letter contributed to the baseless narrative that the Hunter Biden laptop stories were nothing but a product of Russian disinformation — a narrative happily seized upon by Biden's 2020 campaign and spread by some of the laptop letter signers. The Politico report about the letter was published Oct. 19 and titled “Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say.” While several letter writers and signers have since tried to distinguish the nuance of their document from the headline that gave Biden a critical boost in shutting down questions about the salacious contents of his son's abandoned laptop, a new report by the GOP-led Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government revealed that certain intelligence officials were content with adopting the narrative...

"Contemporaneous documents show that some of the signatories adopted Politico’s framing that the laptop was Russian disinformation," the Republican-led report said. The report added, "Notwithstanding these recent protestations, there is no evidence that the statement’s signers attempted to correct Politico’s misleading headline." In a newly unearthed email, Thomas Fingar, a former deputy director of national intelligence for analysis who signed the letter, shared a link to the “Politico story” in an Oct. 20 email to his colleagues at Stanford University the day after it was published. Fingar told them, “The letter conveys our judgment that the Hunter Biden emails story published by the NY Post and seemingly endorsed by Trump’s Director of National Intelligence is actually Russian disinformation.” Fingar recently apparently tried to rewrite his own history during a February interview with the Washington Post, gliding past the then-unknown fact that he himself embraced the “Russian disinfo” framing by Politico.

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The laptop was not 'Russian disinformation.' It was real. The Biden campaign reached out to allied former intelligence officials and effectively asked them to leverage their prestige and expertise to furnish their candidate with a "talking point" to dismiss the scandal. These officials obliged, with the ringleaders keeping the campaign posted on their efforts to get their incorrect conclusions hyped in the media. This was an easy task, of course, as most of the media was primed to crush and bury the Biden-endangering story.  When the press framed the story exactly the way Team Biden wanted it framed, Biden cited it in a nationally-televised debate, which was the whole point of the operation.  

Only when it became clear that the laptop was authentic and the initial reporting into it was justified -- safely after the election, of course -- did some of the signatories start running around talking about the nuances of the letter they'd endorsed.  Nuance was not the purpose of the letter.  And the letter served its purpose.  Here we are, once again, with most of the 'news' media averting their eyes from a problematic story about the Bidens -- if not running active interference on their behalf.  Imagine that.  

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