The corporate news media all but refused to cover the opening hearing of the House impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden on Thursday, and to the extent they did, it was only to repeat, at the behest of the White House, the exhausted mantra that there’s “no evidence” connecting Biden to his son Hunter’s international bribery scheme.
(The New York Times ran with a cursory and misleadingly headlined article, “First Impeachment Hearing Yields No New Information on Biden,” that boasted “even their [Republicans’] witnesses said the case for impeachment hadn’t been made.” Which, of course the case hasn’t been made yet. That’s why you launch an inquiry, of which Thursday was day one.)
But if the media had actually covered it, the American public might have heard more about the mounds of damning evidence now piling up by the day, including the release on Wednesday by the House Ways and Means Committee of reams of text messages and emails between Hunter Biden, his uncle James Biden, and a colorful array of foreign oligarchs, business associates, and bagmen. All told, House Republicans presented more than two dozen pieces of evidence on Thursday linking Joe Biden to his son’s overseas business dealings.
This evidence was the centerpiece of the hearing Thursday, which served to lay the groundwork for the impeachment inquiry. So far, the evidence suggests the Biden family “business” is exactly what it appears to be: an influence-peddling scheme on a scale never before seen in American history. George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, who testified at the hearing, said that even though Washington, D.C., is “awash” in influence-peddling, he’s never seen “anything of this size and complexity,” and that Congress has a “duty to determine if the president is involved in what is a known form of corruption.”
Based on what we already know, it’s hard to see how Joe Biden couldn’t have been involved or couldn’t have benefited from his son’s corrupt dealings. Consider just a few items of evidence mentioned during Thursday’s hearing. In one text exchange with his uncle in June 2017, Hunter refers to his father as his “family’s brand” and “only asset.” That echoes something Devon Archer, Hunter’s former business partner, said in his July testimony to the House Oversight Committee, that the value of adding Hunter to the board of the Ukrainian energy firm Burisma was “the brand” — clearly a reference to then-Vice President Joe Biden. (Hunter had no experience in the energy sector and brought no value to the company other than access to his father.)
Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina brought up an FBI memo released Wednesday by the House Ways and Means Committee about another former business partner of Hunter’s, Tony Bobulinksi. In an FBI interview, Bobulinksi said that in 2015-16 Hunter and Hunter’s uncle James did business with CEFC, a Chinese company with close ties to the Chinese government. But because Biden was still vice president, Hunter and James weren’t paid right away. “There was a concern it would be improper,” Bobulinksi said, because of the company’s affiliation with the Chinese Communist Party.
But Hunter and James wanted to get paid. According to Bobulinksi, “they believed CEFC owed them money for the benefits that accrued to CEFC through its use of the Biden family name to advance their business dealings.” Once Biden left office, Hunter and James were paid more than a million dollars by CEFC. “Now we know why,” said Mace. “Because it was back-pay.”
Later in the hearing, Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida showed organizational charts of Hunter Biden’s businesses created by the IRS team investigating the president’s son, including from 2014, when Joe Biden was vice president, and 2018, when he was a private citizen. The charts show a dizzying array of interrelated companies — none of which involved real estate or any other industry where you would typically see this kind of complex matrix of different business entities and shell companies. Donalds then shared a text message between Hunter and James Biden in which Hunter, discussing a business deal, tells his uncle, “You’ve been drawn into something purely for the purpose of protecting Dad.”
This is just a sample, but you get the idea. Hunter was engaged in a patently corrupt scheme that involved selling access to his father, one of the most powerful politicians on the planet. The question the impeachment inquiry has to answer is whether Joe Biden knew about the scheme, whether he profited from it, whether he intentionally helped Hunter, and whether he changed U.S. policy as part of rendering that help. On every count, there is mounting evidence that the answer is “yes.”
But don’t expect Democrats to take any of this more seriously than the corporate media are. Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, never one to miss an opportunity for self-parody, gravely asked all three Republican witnesses whether they were “presenting any firsthand witness account of crimes committed by the president of the United States,” as if the only evidence that counts is video footage of Joe Biden stuffing cash into a duffel bag marked “$$$ from China.”
Not to be outdone in performative stupidity, Rep. Jasmine Crockett, a Democrat from Texas, went on a bizarre, emotional rant claiming President Biden is only “guilty of loving his child unconditionally,” which is the only evidence Republicans have brought forward. She added, “And honestly, I hope and pray that my parents love me half as much as he loves his child.” Ah yes, Joe Biden loved his son so much that he made him the frontman of an international bribery scheme and money-laundering operation.
So much for the opposition (including the corporate press). They aren’t going to take this seriously, even if the impeachment inquiry turns up audio recordings of Joe Biden saying, “Why yes, I did fire that Ukrainian prosecutor for $5 million from Burisma.” Democrats and the media don’t care about Biden’s corruption and won’t tell the truth about it, no matter what evidence comes to light. After Thursday’s hearing, at least that much is clear.