The president of the United States has been accused by a credible FBI informant of allegedly taking $5 million in “a bribery scheme with a foreign national” while he was the sitting vice president. That seems like a pretty big story, but what do I know?
Apparently, there’s a document laying out the accusation in some detail — and not one cooked up by an oppo-research firm for the RNC and then disseminated to saps in the media to try to delegitimize a presidential election. No, it’s in an unclassified FD-1023 form, used by law enforcement to record credible tips. Granted, it’s not in the possession of Buzzfeed, but rather the vaunted FBI, which refused to hand it to Congress for some reason. And there is little curiosity on the part of establishment media to find out what it says.
I know, I know, it’s getting tedious asking people to imagine the thermonuclear media blast they’d be swept up in if a Republican president had been accused of bribery by an FBI informant. This is the way of the world. To this point, the debate over the proper pronunciation of Ron DeSantis’ last name has gotten more coverage than the president possibly pocketing millions of dollars through shell corporations.
Though, I suppose that’s not exactly right. Biden’s Praetorian Guard have begun to preemptively frame the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, James Comer, as some devious nut for demanding the FBI hand over documents. This is what they did to Devin Nunes, who turned out to be correct in his assessment of the Russia-collusion investigation.
There isn’t a real journalist in the universe — not a beat reporter or opinion writer or copy editor — who wouldn’t want to read an informant’s account of a sitting president taking a bribe. You can debunk it. You can prove it. But you want to see it. But therein lies the problem. There aren’t many journalists left.
Take Philip Bump, who contends that “James Comer’s bribery allegations are out on a very shaky limb,” even though Comer has never once made any bribery allegations. The House investigation is focused on the “decision-making process” that followed the informant’s accusation.
Last week, CNN ran a piece that might well have been sent verbatim from the FBI press shop. CNN’s “sources” claimed that “the form in question has origins in a tranche of documents that Rudy Giuliani provided to the Justice Department in 2020” and the investigation led nowhere. A big nothingburger.
It’s this CNN story, and another version in The Washington Post (almost surely from the same sources), that allowed Jamie Raskin, ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, to claim that “Rudy Giuliani surfaced these allegations,” and that a “team” had looked at the document and “in August determined that there was no grounds to escalate from an initial assessment to a preliminary investigation.”
None of that, apparently, is true. As my colleagues Margot Cleveland and Mollie Hemingway report, former Attorney General William Barr told The Federalist that the investigation had never been closed, it had merely been sent to an office in Delaware. And the document did not emanate from Giuliani — the same ploy used to undercut the New York Post’s reporting on the Hunter Biden laptop story — but from a 2017 whistleblower report that showed up in a 2020 search. No one has come forward to accuse Barr of lying, so I assume the above is true.
Who knows what this is all about? I’ve learned not to make too many assumptions. For all I know, this all leads to a rickety accusation and a dead end.
There is, however, already tons of circumstantial evidence that Joe Biden participated in his family’s shady business, which makes the existence of this document highly newsworthy. We know that the president lied about his knowledge of Hunter’s relationships with Ukrainian energy concerns and Chinese interests. We have emails implicating the president as a participant in Hunter’s schemes — emails authenticated by forensic specialists. We have witnesses, including a retired Navy veteran, contending that Biden is the “big guy” Hunter is talking about in those emails. Even the Obama administration was alarmed about the Biden family business.
Almost a year ago, former Trump White House adviser Peter Navarro was indicted and arrested by the FBI for ignoring a congressional subpoena by the Jan. 6 commission. He was handcuffed and reportedly denied permission to make a phone call to a lawyer. Today, it’s the FBI that is ignoring subpoenas. And there will be no one to arrest FBI Director Chris Wray for contempt.
There will also be no more sanctimonious speeches or grandstanding from Democrats regarding the sacred need for transparency and separation of powers. “Democracy” is no longer in danger, apparently. Of course, we expect jaw-dropping hypocrisy from politicians. We expect a politicized Justice Department to protect Democrats. Nowadays, we also expect the complete abdication of journalistic responsibility from a partisan big media. And that’s a massive problem.