Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine and China and former Vice President Joe Biden’s alleged participation in them are now a central pillar in President Donald Trump’s final bid for reelection, but the story is evolving daily. Here are the must-read articles to get a grip on where the Biden allegations stand.
Allegations that Biden both knew of, and participated in, his son’s business dealings were first published in the New York Post. The articles reported that Hunter Biden had dropped off a laptop at a computer repair shop in Delaware and never returned to pick up the device.
The store owner — a Trump supporter — says he found lewd images and video of Biden on the laptop’s hard drive, alongside emails that, if authentic, would suggest Hunter Biden arranged a meeting between his father and an executive of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma.
Hunter Biden joined Burisma’s board of directors in April 2014, shortly after his father took over as the Obama administration’s chief liaison to Ukraine.
Later reports detailed further alleged emails and text messages suggesting the elder Biden also stood to gain monetarily from his son’s dealings with a Chinese investment firm.
The Daily Caller News Foundation (DCNF) obtained a Senate report in late September supporting the allegations leveled in the original news articles. The report says several U.S. banks flagged “suspicious financial transactions between Hunter Biden’s firms and Russian and Chinese nationals, including a businessman with extensive ties to the Chinese Communist Party.”
The allegations relating to China received further support after one of Hunter’s business associates, Tony Bobulinski, came forward to corroborate emails alleging Biden was going to receive monetary compensation thanks to his son’s dealings with a Chinese firm.
Bobulinski told reporters in a much-publicized press conference last week that he had met personally with Joe Biden regarding his family’s business ties to China, with which he said the presidential candidate was “plainly familiar.”
“I have heard Joe Biden say he’s never discussed business with Hunter. That is false,” Bobulinski said. “I have firsthand knowledge about this because I directly dealt with the Biden family, including Joe Biden.”
While Biden’s presidential campaign was quick to message against allegations reported in the Post, neither Hunter nor Joe explicitly denied that a meeting occurred or that Hunter had dropped off his laptop at the Delaware repair shop.
Emails say the proposed structure for the Chinese firm stipulated that Hunter Biden, Bobulinski, and two others would each hold a 20% equity stake in the firm, while Joe Biden’s brother, Jim Biden, would hold a 10% stake in the venture, according to the alleged emails.
The email adds that an additional 10 percent would be “held by H for the big guy.” Bobulinski says “the big guy” does in fact refer to Joe Biden.
The Media’s Response:
Many news outlets and major social media platforms discounted the story outright thanks to its originating with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and a Trump-supporting shop owner.
One widespread knee-jerk reaction was to discount the allegations as “Russian disinformation,” an angle on the story that has now been largely debunked. Director of National Intelligence (DNI) John Ratcliffe announced last week that there is no evidence to suggest the laptop is part of a Russian disinformation campaign.
Other organizations were more dogged. National Public Radio (NPR) said outright that the allegations were a “waste” of readers’ time.
“We don’t want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories, and we don’t want to waste the listeners’ and readers’ time on stories that are just pure distractions,” NPR Managing Editor for News Terence Samuel said according to the newsletter. “And quite frankly, that’s where we ended up, this was … a politically driven event and we decided to treat it that way.”
— NPR Public Editor (@NPRpubliceditor) October 22, 2020
“60 Minutes” host Lesley Stahl repeatedly insisted to Trump himself in an interview last week that the alleged emails on the laptop “can’t be verified.”
This exchange between Trump and Lesley Stahl is insane. She repeatedly insists the Biden laptops “can’t be verified” so reporters shouldn’t talk about it.
Trump asks her why it can’t be verified.
Her answer: “Because it can’t be verified.” pic.twitter.com/cf9hcSGnrm
— Anders Hagstrom (@Hagstrom_Anders) October 22, 2020
Nevertheless, questions remain about the allegations and, more specifically, about how they have been released to the media.
Giuliani Could Clear This Up:
When Daily Caller White House Correspondent Christian Datoc asked Giuliani to release the laptop hard drive to the public in a one-on-one interview, Giuliani said that suggestion was “pettifogging nonsense” and that he had verified the emails himself.
The DCNF reported last week, however, that the emails on the hard drive could “be absolutely verified, beyond a shadow of a doubt” if Giuliani released the hard drive containing the email metadata to the public. according to cyber security expert and founder of Errata Security, Robert Graham. (RELATED: Twitter Reverses Censorship Of House GOP Committee Webpage, Says It Was Blocked ‘In Error’)
Graham explained that emails sent from Gmail accounts, such as the messages reportedly sent from Burisma Executive Vadym Pozharsky, to Hunter Biden in 2015, are each provided a unique DKIM signature from Gmail’s servers that can be used to verify definitively whether the subject, sender, recipients, date and body of the messages are legitimate.
“The fact that these emails can be absolutely verified, beyond a shadow of a doubt, but that Rudy refuses to do so, is important,” Graham told the DCNF. “Once you produce the original emails, with all the metadata, nobody can claim they are fake.”
Giuliani has yet to release the hard drive more than a week later, however.