Apologies for Hunter Biden’s Laptop
Your not paranoid if they're really out to get you! God I love being a conspiracy theorist! Or maybe I just need a few weeks of rest at Belleview!
Apologies for Hunter Biden’s Laptop
Smeared as stooges for Russia in 2020, Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley can claim vindication in 2022.
By Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ
April 7, 2022 6:30 pm ET
The list of those owed an apology over the Hunter Biden affair may stretch to the moon and back. Due a position at the front of the line are the two men who first blew the lid off the Biden sleaze and endured a smearing for the ages.
Sens. Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson on Tuesday delivered the latest installment of their yearslong investigation into Hunter Biden’s questionable business dealings—laying out in Senate speeches the complex web of banking transactions tying his companies to entities connected to the Chinese government. Their exposé offered more detail into their September 2020 report about the Biden family’s foreign financial entanglements.
As courageous (and accurate) as the New York Post’s October 2020 reporting on the Hunter laptop was, it came after the Johnson-Grassley bombshell. Only now—18 months late—are mainstream media outlets grudgingly confirming the truth of that Senate report. “Inside Hunter Biden’s multi-million-dollar deals with a Chinese energy company,” read last week’s Washington Post story. Reporters acknowledge that many aspects of their account of Hunter’s business dealings with CEFC China Energy were “included in a Republican-led Senate report from 2020,” even if the Post only recently bothered to confirm “key details.”
That’s something, though it’s far from the apology the senators deserve from media outlets that spent 2020 helping Democrats slander them as Russian agents. The Johnson-Grassley probe started as a look into 2016 election shenanigans but expanded when Democrats leveled charges against Donald Trump regarding Ukraine. By the spring of 2020, it was well known the Republicans intended to release a report outlining the Biden family’s seedy financial ties there and elsewhere.
Panicked Democrats defaulted to the scurrilous claim that the Republican senators were spreading Russian disinformation. Top Democrats—including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Leader Chuck Schumer, and Mark Warner and Adam Schiff, the top Democrats on the House and Senate Intelligence committees—in July 2020 publicly released a letter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation expressing worries that Congress had become “the target of a concerted foreign interference campaign.” Attached to it was classified information, which Democrats immediately leaked to the press, claiming the Grassley-Johnson probe specifically had “become a vehicle for ‘laundering’ a foreign influence campaign” to damage Mr. Biden, as Politico helpfully narrated.
All summer, the press piled on with unproven allegations that the Republican duo were receiving information from characters identified as Russian agents, “despite foreign interference concerns,” as the Washington Post put it in August 2020. Mr. Johnson and Mr. Grassley had bluntly refuted the claim, explaining the report was based primarily on U.S. government documents, including Treasury reports. Sen. Richard Blumenthal went so far as to accuse Mr. Johnson in a Washington Post op-ed of basing his report on “documents provided to the senator by the son of a former KGB officer. . . . Think of it: Congress may become a forum for debunked conspiracy theories peddled by Kremlin proxies.” The media became the forum for debunked conspiracy theories peddled by Democrats for partisan gain.
The false-flag operation hit its apex just before the report’s release, with Mr. Schumer and Oregon’s Ron Wyden calling it disinformation and introducing a resolution to block its issue. Mr. Wyden on the Senate floor called it an example of “the spread of Russian propaganda, and the pathway it’s following from Russian agents through the United States Senate to the American public.” Upon the report’s release on Sept. 23, Mr. Schiff issued a statement saying: “the Kremlin must be very pleased.”
In his floor speech this week, Mr. Grassley asked his Democratic colleagues and the media that has confirmed his report to remind him exactly what parts of it were Russian disinformation. Mr. Johnson for his part noted that even now the press is engaging in a Watergate-style “modified limited hangout”—focusing its reporting exclusively on Hunter’s “tax affairs” while continuing to ignore larger questions about Joe Biden’s potential involvement.
Which is of course the point. Although some Republicans are immediately characterizing all this as “corruption,” the more specific issue (and always the focus of the Johnson-Grassley probe) is national security. Hunter Biden spent years entwining the family in questionable ventures in Ukraine, Russia and China, even as his father’s biggest foreign-policy concerns are Ukraine, Russia and China. This history raises legitimate questions about counterintelligence and extortion, even as it puts a spotlight on how honest President Biden has been in claiming no knowledge of his son’s doings.
At the very least, Messrs. Johnson and Grassley are getting satisfaction. Their continued investigation has confirmed their earlier report and portions of the laptop, thereby adding to the pressure on the media finally to do some digging. Though they’d no doubt take that apology, too.