Politics

What About Hunter Biden?

A report in the New York Post ignites allegations against the son of presidential candidate Joe Biden, while raising questions about the actions of the former Vice President himself.

What To Know

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Disclaimer:

  • The New York Post says it obtained information in its report from a laptop hard drive belonging to Hunter Biden.
  • After publishing a debut story on October 14, the Post is the only media outlet with access to the specific information highlighted in this report.
  • While some news outlets have covered additional developments (which we will summarize here), we are limited in our ability to fact-check & double-source.
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The NY Post Reports:

  • In 2019, an unidentified man (allegedly Hunter Biden) dropped off a laptop at a Delaware computer repair shop.
  • That laptop contained a “massive trove” of personal & business information on Hunter Biden.
  • The shop’s owner turned over the computer to authorities & made a copy of the hard drive, which was given to Rudy Giuliani’s lawyer; Giuliani later gave it to the NY Post.
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Why Does It Matter?

The report has many allegations – here’s the main one:

  • Hunter Biden leveraged his father, both as VP and after, for his own financial benefit, specifically for business deals in Eastern Europe and China.
  • VP Biden was influenced – willingly or not – by his son’s bidding, while in political office and/or shortly after.
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Two Sides

  • Critics of Biden: The laptop contains “evidence” of unethical, potentially illegal behavior. In short, the Bidens are a part of a political class playing by their own rules, making America vulnerable to foreign influence for their own gain.
  • Supporters of Biden: The report is a political “smear.” The laptop records are fake or even a “plant” as part of a Russian disinformation campaign to skew the presidential election.
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“Hunter Biden’s laptop is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign.”

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe after accusations by Democrats and others, including a group of former national security experts (often critical of the President), that the story fits a pattern of Russian disinformation. As head of the entire Intelligence Community, the DNI oversees the FBI's intelligence services; that dept takes the lead in investigating election interference, both foreign and domestic.
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“…the FBI can neither confirm nor deny the existence of any ongoing investigation or persons or entities under investigation…”

The FBI in response to requests by Congress about whether or not the FBI is investigating Hunter Biden and/or information on the reported laptop. The New York Post reports it has seen official documents related to a case. The FBI also said the agency had nothing to add to DNI Ratciffe's earlier statement about election interference.
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“The New York Post never asked the Biden campaign about the critical elements of this story … we have reviewed Joe Biden’s official schedules from the time and no meeting, as alleged by the New York Post, ever took place.”

Joe Biden's campaign after NYP reported a meeting arranged by Hunter between his father and a Ukrainian executive. Separately, VP Biden said he forced the resignation of an allegedly corrupt Ukrainian prosecutor (who was also investigating that same company).
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“I have heard Joe Biden say he has never discussed his dealings with Hunter. That is false.”

Investor Tony Bobulinski says he has "first-hand knowledge” of Joe & Hunter Biden leveraging their family's name & influence in a potential business deal in China (which never came to be). He says he shared details with Congress & the FBI (The Wall Street Journal reportedly has seen texts, emails too). The Navy vet says he was motivated by patriotism to come forward after the NY Post report - and to clear his name.
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BIG PICTURE: We can't confirm the NY Post reports OR the existence of the alleged FBI investigation into Hunter Biden. The story could be false, in which case nothing will come of these reports. Or it could be true, and part of a larger story.

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Read

Sources

The original report from the NY Post: READ HERE

Here’s an interview with the former business partner of the Bidens: CLICK HERE

A critical editorial: The Biden ‘Family Legacy’ https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-biden-family-legacy-11603409528

Excerpt: The former vice president is running on trust and good judgment. The Hunter tale is at best the story of a wayward son and indulgent father. At worst, it is an example of the entire Biden clan cashing in on its name with a U.S. rival. As Mr. Biden refuses to answer questions about this case, voters will have to make up their own minds. But given Hunter’s exploits in China, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and elsewhere, much more is yet to come—in the next week and a half and potentially in a Biden presidency.

Counter report with questions on the “NY Post Scoop”: CLICK HERE

An excerpt of an editorial on the claims of Russian disinformation campaign: CLICK HERE

Nevertheless, in the likely continued absence of certainty either way, the Biden leaks deserve the full potential-disinformation treatment. This means three concrete things.

First, every individual little fact — every email, every text, every photo — must be independently verified when data is surfaced in such a suspicious way, not just one piece of information. Genuine photos, for example, could be there simply to add credibility to forged emails surfaced along with the photos — shielding a few forgeries with genuine content would be a time-tested active measures tactic.
Second, the absence of a denial by the Biden campaign or Hunter himself should not be treated as a tacit admission of authenticity. Mixing facts with forgeries has another time-tested effect: It sets a trap for the victim. If Hunter or the Biden campaign started selectively denying pieces of the reporting ostensibly from the laptop, they would give oxygen to the operation, extend its life-cycle and get entangled in a losing battle about discussing what’s fact and what’s not. Verifying large amounts of leaked files, the Democrats learned in 2016, is also hard and labor-intensive.

Finally, and hardest of all, we must resist the temptation to jump to premature conclusions on “a Russian plant” without good evidence — “classic earmarks” are not nearly enough. The Mac Shop story, and even the files, could still be genuine, no matter how unusual the setup sounds. Worse, even if a foreign intelligence service had a role in the strange saga of the Biden leaks — a scenario that remains as likely as not — then the critical enablers at several steps along the way were prominent Americans who decided to act irresponsibly, again and again, by putting party above country — and after four years of publicly discussing useful idiocy, they could no longer be unwitting.

If we continue to ascribe too much power and influence to shadowy foreign spies, downplay our own agency and blame our domestic political problems on outside interference, then we are not only behaving like the old-school Soviet active measures playbook wants us to behave — worse, we’re becoming a little more like Russia ourselves.

Background on Hunter Biden

This was published in the summer of 2019 – It’s a long deep diver into Hunter Biden, with one of the few interviews he’s done in recent years. READ HERE