When President Donald Trump released the transcript of his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in 2019, The New York Times and The Washington Post were eager to manipulate the text to craft a convenient narrative. That narrative, of course, was designed to fuel the impeachment passed by House Democrats weeks later.
Trump released the transcript of his call in question immediately after an anonymous White House whistleblower filed a gossip-ridden complaint, with help from some of the same corrupt actors who pushed the deep state conspiracy to smear the president as a Russian agent during and after the 2016 election. The whistleblower, whose identity remained protected by the press and congressional Democrats throughout the entire saga, was identified as Eric Ciaramella by RealClearInvestigations.
According to Trump’s opponents, the transcript of the call revealed the commander-in-chief exploiting presidential privileges to pressure a foreign government into investigating a top political opponent. Trump, the story went, unilaterally held $400 million in military aid until Zelensky pledged to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden’s activities in Ukraine.
California Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who presided over the House as speaker during both impeachments, said on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday that “when the president made that phone call in terms of Ukraine, there was no choice.”
“He must be impeached,” Pelosi said.
In other words, as soon as Trump even broached the subject of Biden family corruption to the Kyiv regime, Democrats knew they had to launch a preemptive impeachment. Biden’s business dealings were not to be investigated. It was Trump that Democrats needed to indict.
Even when the transcript’s release revealed a story far different than the fabricated tale peddled by the whistleblower, The New York Times and The Washington Post were quick to slice and dice the transcript to accuse Trump of requesting a favor that he never asked for.
“Trump offered Justice’s aid for a probe of Biden,” read the front page of the Washington Post.
“Trump asked for ‘favor’ in call, memo shows,” The New York Times declared.
The two papers erased or minimized entire portions of the transcript to connect “favor” to demands about looking into the Democrat president’s son. CNN and the rest of the legacy media followed suit, fanning the flames of an impeachment showdown Democrats had demanded from the day Trump took the oath of office.
The “favor” Trump requested was help with the Justice Department’s probe into 2016 election interference by Ukraine. Nowhere in the unclassified and unredacted transcript did Trump demand Zelensky investigate former Vice President Joe Biden or Hunter Biden in an apparent “quid pro quo” for military aid.
A Different Standard for the Bidens
Fast-forward four years later, and the press seems uninterested in probing credible allegations of a legitimate quid pro quo that involves Trump’s Democrat successor.
Last week, Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley released an FD-1023 document housed by the FBI that implicates President Biden in a $10 million bribery scheme with Ukrainian energy executive Mykola Zlochevsky. Hunter Biden served on the board of Zlochevsky’s firm, Burisma, raking in a salary far above comparable board compensation despite having no prior industry experience. Another Burisma executive was quoted in the FD-1023 document saying the firm had hired Hunter to “protect us, through his dad, from all kinds of problems.” In 2018, Joe Biden bragged about bribing Ukraine to fire the country’s top prosecutor, who was investigating Burisma.
The FD-1023’s release last week escalated calls from Republicans to impeach the sitting president. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Monday the evidence against the Bien family “is rising to the level of impeachment inquiry.”
It’s surprising that the speaker isn’t already there.
In contrast to the single anonymous whistleblower whose claims kicked off Trump’s first impeachment, multiple people have corroborated details of Biden family corruption. Two whistleblowers from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have gone on record to claim federal tax investigators were left in the dark by the Justice Department about the document alleging a bribery scheme. Federalist Senior Legal Correspondent Margot Cleveland reported Monday that the FBI told the Delaware U.S. attorney’s office investigating Hunter that the bureau had corroborated certain details from the FD-1023 document. The form itself, Cleveland reported, is just the tip of the iceberg.
The lead stories from The New York Times and The Washington Post, however, are not focused on the credible allegations of bribery, the more than 200 alleged interactions between Joe Biden and his son’s business partners, or the bombshell testimony from veteran IRS whistleblowers who testified publicly. Instead, Monday’s lineup included a story in The New York Times about how the pair of IRS whistleblowers were prepped by former Grassley staffers (who’ve also worked for Democrats) and a column in The Washington Post about Republican efforts to “impugn Biden.” On Tuesday, readers had to scroll to the politics pages of each paper to find anything about the president’s Ukrainian scandals. Even then, readers were met with skepticism of Republican charges instead of the pro-impeachment coverage that defined the corporate media’s approach to the Trump administration.
“Trump wanted Ukraine to impugn Biden. D.C. Republicans finally delivered,” was the full headline of Monday’s Washington Post piece, written by Philip Bump.
Bump complained about Grassley waiting months to release the FD-1023 after revealing the document’s existence in May. Of course, Bump glossed over the entire fight between the FBI and the House Oversight Committee to allow members to even view the document. The back-and-forth led Chairman James Comer of Kentucky to trigger contempt proceedings for FBI Director Christopher Wray before the agency ultimately capitulated.
“Since then, nothing much has changed,” Bump wrote, except of course the whistleblower testimony about the document, and credible corroboration of key details from multiple sources.
“We learned that the informant is considered credible, given their history, but that of course doesn’t extend to the executive with whom the informant was speaking,” Bump added, with a complete lack of journalistic curiosity. Bump dismissed Cleveland’s Monday reporting as a “rhetorical leap” from a “right-wing blog.”
The New York Times and The Washington Post were never going to approach the Biden administration the same way they and the rest of the press covered Trump. The latest impeachment saga is no different.