Where’s the beef?

It’s clear why the Trump-supporting circus is so drawn to the Hunter Biden email story. They made a lot of hay out of “What about Hillary’s emails?” for so long that when Anthony Weiner’s laptop showed up for the FBI’s inspection in the final weeks of the 2016 election campaign, it was arguably, after years of casting suspicion on all-things-Clinton, the straw that broke Hillary’s back.

Let’s get some baseline facts out of the way: Vadym Pozharski’s email to Hunter Biden does not actually say that he met with Joe Biden, it expressed gratitude for an opportunity to meet Joe.

“Dear Hunter, 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,” the email, allegedly from Burisma advisor Vadym Pozharski, reads. It was dated April 17, 2015, about a year after the younger Biden took a board job that paid $50,000 per month. (cite)

If there was any such opportunity at all, it was presumably some casual introduction at a public function in Washington D.C. — certainly nothing was on Joe’s official calendar at the time. Hunter did not acknowledge Pozharski’s email and there’s no further “smoke” to that “smoking gun” than that. Whether Joe and Pozharski actually met and, if they did, what they talked about, is not known and at this point, may never be known. Where’s the wrongdoing?

Whatever either Biden was up-to vis a vis Ukraine, it has been extensively investigated; Joe’s anti-corruption efforts there had nothing to do with Burisma.

Trump has claimed that Biden in 2015 pressured the Ukrainian government to fire Viktor Shokin, the top Ukrainian prosecutor, because he was investigating a Ukrainian gas producer, Burisma Holdings, that had added Biden’s son Hunter to its board. But it turns out that the investigation had already been shelved when Biden acted and may have even involved a side company, not Burisma. The Ukrainian prosecutor was regarded as a failure, and “Joe Biden’s efforts to oust Shokin were universally praised,” said Anders Aslund, a Swedish economist heavily involved in Eastern European market reforms. (cite)

Yup, Hunter taking a $50k/mo stipend to take some international macher role on the Burisma board is good gig if you can get it but it’s not a good look. Easy money is nice but it’s not a crime. A lot of public officials have had family members that have done things to leverage the family name to advance their own ambitions and needs, this is nothing particularly new nor necessarily corrupt.

It actually appears that Hunter himself explicitly downplayed his ability to influence his dad:

There’s also a curious email nobody seems to be reporting on. In April of 2014, Hunter is writing to his Ukrainian business partners about a forthcoming visit Joe Biden is making to Ukraine. He says “What he will do and say is out of our hands… In other words it could be a really good thing or it could end up creating too great an expectation. We need to temper expectations regarding that visit.” This flies in the face of allegations that Hunter could influence his dad. It also comports with the other text exchanges and public records that show a strained relationship between the two — not one where Hunter was making and receiving favors from the VP. (cite)

What about the rest of the Hunter materials? Yup, illegal drugs are… illegal. His problems with addiction and in general being a well functioning adult are no secret but they are not rare nor indicative of broader problems with the family. But most of the stuff on Hunter’s laptop is mundane, it seems more fishy that a computer repair shop took it upon themselves to copy a hard drive, inspect private materials and gin it up into a political op.

There is literally nothing that clearly shows that Joe Biden profited from any of Hunter’s activities. Joe has had no shortage of opportunities to make money on the speaking circuit and selling books; reportedly that’s gone well and he never needed to entangle himself with Hunter’s dealings. While Hunter lending his name to a shady company, ostensibly for the purposes of making international introductions, is not a good look — there’s no demonstrated wrongdoing. For Joe, there is literally nothing that suggests wrongdoing on his part. Compared to Trump profiting from his hospitality empire as a way for people to buy access, Hunter just looks foolish and Joe embarrassed for his son.

With Mike Pompeo is returning to beat the “What About Her Emails?” dead horse, Trumpworld is desperate to cast the same suspicions on Joe via Hunter. But as with most things from Trumpworld, it just looks stupid. Illegal drugs are illegal. But, um, Trump’s inflation of assets on loan documents while lessening them to skirt taxes is a much more egregious offense. In the meantime, let’s allow that the emails are authentic (maybe, not confirmed). Let’s also say it was not a Russian op (maybe, not confirmed). There’s still no wrongdoing or crime demonstrated in any of it. Where’s the beef?

Whiskey swillin', card marking pirate and foul mouthed beyond hope. I tweet on my behalf. Usually when I'm closing browser tabs.