Four days ago, the New York Post published a bombshell report raising serious new questions about presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s relationship with Ukranian energy company Burisma.
The story, which made startling and apparently damning reading was based on a cache of emails and photos allegedly retrieved from Hunter Biden’s laptop that he had left at a Delaware computer store.
I have no idea if the report is entirely true, partly true, or completely untrue.
But with my old newspaper editor hat on, I do know that the response from Joe Biden so far has done nothing to make me think it’s false.
Crucially, there has been no denial of the fact that these emails are genuine.
And if they are, then they raise important questions.
The potentially most explosive part of the story is a 2015 email supposedly sent by a top Burisma adviser, Vadym Pozharskyi, thanking Hunter for giving him the chance to meet his dad Joe while he was Vice-President.
‘Dear Hunter,’ the alleged email reads, ‘thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together. It’s realty [sic] an honor and pleasure.’
Four days ago, the New York Post published a bombshell report raising serious new questions about presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s relationship with Ukranian energy company Burisma
The story, which made startling and apparently damning reading was based on a cache of emails and photos allegedly retrieved from Hunter Biden’s laptop that he had left at a Delaware computer store
The potentially most explosive part of the story is a 2015 email (pictured) supposedly sent by a top Burisma adviser, Vadym Pozharskyi, thanking Hunter for giving him the chance to meet his dad Joe while he was Vice-President
This is significant because Joe Biden has always vehemently denied ever even speaking to his son about ‘his overseas business dealings.’
Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates responded to the Post allegation by saying: ‘We have reviewed Joe Biden’s official schedules from the time and no meeting, as alleged by the New York Post, ever took place.’
I’m not a lawyer, but this sounds to me like a very narrow form of wording designed to allow some wriggle room should proof of such a meeting emerge.
In another email to Hunter Biden sent by a business consultant in 2017, reference is made to ‘the big guy’ who would receive 10% of equity from a deal with a Chinese equity firm.
Others on the email chain have told Fox News that ‘the big guy’ is Joe Biden.
Again, I don’t know if this is true.
But the Biden’s camp statement was also very revealing for what it didn’t say: i.e. that the emails are fake, or that ‘the big guy’ isn’t Joe Biden.
Without any such denials, we’re inevitably led to the conclusion that they may be real, and if they’re real, then how does Joe Biden explain them without confirming he has misled the American people about his involvement with Hunter’s inarguably dodgy dealings with foreign national firms in Ukraine and China?
How the New York Post came to acquire this dynamite material from Hunter Biden’s hard drive is a typically ugly pre-election October Surprise hot mess involving those perennial Trump rogues Rudy Giuliani and Steve Bannon.
Their motivation is obvious: to damage Joe Biden in the same way the Hillary Clinton email scandal damaged her in October 2016.
But their dirty tricks op doesn’t mean there is no merit to the story.
A tainted source doesn’t mean the allegation shouldn’t be properly investigated.
Yet the response to it from liberal-dominated mainstream and social media firms has been staggering, terrifying and disgraceful.
Just hours after the Post story appeared, Facebook announced it would be limiting its spread on the social media platform while it used independent fact-checkers to verify the paper’s allegations.
Even more extraordinarily, Twitter than summarily banned anyone from posting a link to the story, including the New York Post itself.
By taking these unprecedented actions, the tech firms were effectively abandoning any pretence at protecting free speech or the First Amendment.
When Trump, as he surely will, starts beating Biden over the head with the allegations in the final debate on Thursday, will the NBC moderator hold the former Vice President to an answer or will she let him off the hook?
How the New York Post came to acquire this dynamite material from Hunter Biden’s hard drive is a typically ugly pre-election October Surprise hot mess involving those perennial Trump rogues Rudy Giuliani (right) and Steve Bannon (left). Their motivation is obvious: to damage Joe Biden in the same way the Hillary Clinton email scandal damaged her in October 2016
It’s hard to imagine a more clear, direct confirmation of the Republicans’ ongoing suspicions that liberal-run social media firms deliberately operate a pro-Democrat agenda.
They were soon joined by the mainstream media who seem way more interested in knocking down the story and unmasking a conspiracy to smear Biden than investigating whether it’s true.
As President Trump was being torched by Savanna Guthrie on NBC about everything from white supremacy to his coronavirus testing record, Biden appeared in an ABC townhall hosted by George Stephanopoulos, ex-aide to Democratic President Bill Clinton, and wasn’t asked a single question about the biggest current story surrounding his candidacy.
Isn’t that quite extraordinary?
Can you imagine if the Post report had been about Donald Trump Jr?
Do you think his father might just have been asked about it, probably repeatedly?
But ABC’s refusal to even mention it in the townhall is indicative of a strange reluctance by most of America’s mainstream media to ‘go there’.
They believe Joe Biden’s denials of any wrongdoing by him or his son, simply because he’s told them there was no wrongdoing.
They’ve even bought into the narrative that even if Hunter did do something wrong, it’s explained by his drug problems – as if that makes any difference.
The Washington Post’s David Ignatius wrote: ‘The story of Hunter Biden’s involvement with the Ukrainian gas company Burisma isn’t a scandal about his father, as the Trump campaign claims, but part of a personal tragedy for the vice president’s son, compounded by this week’s dissemination of what looks like disinformation about Joe Biden’s role.’
To which my response is: how do you know? What steps has your paper taken to establish if what the Post reported is actually true?
CNN’s Brian Stelter called it a ‘manufactured scandal’ intended to feed ‘whataboutism’ to distract attention from Trump’s catastrophic campaign.
But I very much doubt he’d be saying that if this was Donald Trump Jr at the centre of the Burisma story.
The New York Times today focuses not on the allegations but on apparent unrest among New York Post staffers about the decision to publish it.
Again, I don’t know if this is true, but even it is, shouldn’t a supposed ‘paper of record’ like the Times at least put some of its army of reporters onto the actual allegations published in the Post and see if they stand up?
The real scandal here may well turn out to be how these allegations, published on the front page of a major US newspaper, have been censored and suppressed by a media intent on getting Trump out of office.
Joe Biden wants to be President of the United States and the polls suggest he is now in a very commanding position to achieve that ambition.
He has positioned himself as the good-guy candidate to repair America from the Trump presidency, a man who will restore trust, truth and transparency to the White House.
But his behavior over this Burisma business continues to be anything but transparent.
Joe Biden wants to be President of the United States and the polls suggest he is now in a very commanding position to achieve that ambition. But his behavior over this Burisma business continues to be anything but transparent
When he was directly, and politely, asked about the Post story by CBS News reporter Bo Erickson, Biden snapped back in a nasty and personal way, saying: ‘I knew you’d ask it. I have no response. It’s another smear campaign. Right up your alley, those are the kinds of questions you always ask.’
It seemed an oddly angry and defensive response for someone who insists he has nothing to hide.
Like I said at the start of this column, I don’t know if the Post story is true.
But I do know there has been no denial that the emails are genuine, and they raise legitimate questions of probity and honesty that anyone who wants to be President should answer.
The longer Biden doesn’t answer them properly, the more people will think there may a fire raging beneath all the smoke.
US mainstream and social media companies have reacted to this story in an outrageously partisan and deeply sinister manner that is diametrically opposed to how they would have reacted if the name ‘Biden’ was swapped for ‘Trump.’
Shame on all of them.
And when Trump, as he surely will, starts beating Biden over the head with the allegations in the final debate on Thursday, will the NBC moderator hold the former Vice President to an answer or will she let him off the hook?
Because so far the way Joe Biden’s reacted to it smacks of someone with something to hide.
And this issue is not going to just disappear if he wins the presidency.
The Republicans will use it as a stick to constantly beat him with just as they used Whitewater against the Clintons, and just as the Democrats themselves used alleged Russian collusion against Trump.
Sooner or later, the truth will out.
Time to stop throwing tantrums Joe – and start talking.
And time, America’s media, to start doing your job.