In the world of politics, optics matter. Unfortunately, the Biden White House seems to be grappling with a distorted lens.
Shortly after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy opened the impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden’s and Hunter Biden’s overseas dealings, the administration sent a memo to media executives urging them to use their outlets to discredit the inquiry.
The memo, titled “House Republicans are basing their Biden impeachment stunt on false claims that have been repeatedly debunked,” has raised more than just eyebrows.
The memo states “it’s clear this ‘investigation’ is all politics and no evidence,” and that “virtually every single allegation that House Republicans have suggested would be the basis for pursuing impeachment have been refuted.”
Let’s dive deep into the murky waters of their claims, with a discerning eye.
1. Burisma and the Bidens
The memo states, “No one from Burisma ever had any contacts with VP Biden or people working for him during Hunter Biden’s engagement.”
It also mentions that neither Vice President Biden nor his staff assisted Zlochevsky or Burisma “in any way with business deals or meetings with world leaders or any other assistance.”
However, contradicting this, Zlochevsky noted per FBI documents that Hunter “will take care of all those issues through his dad.” Sen. Chuck Grassley pointed out that a Burisma executive reportedly had multiple audio recordings of phone conversations with both Hunter and Biden. These were allegedly kept as “a sort of insurance policy.”
Grassley also highlighted that these recordings suggest “then-Vice President Joe Biden may have been involved in Burisma employing Hunter Biden.” Hunter’s business associate, Devon Archer, added that Joe Biden was part of at least 24 calls with Hunter’s overseas business associates.
2. The Ukrainian Connection
The memo claims that Republicans believe Joe Biden leveraged foreign aid to protect Burisma. It states that Shokin was “not investigating Burisma or Hunter Biden” and was dismissed for not prosecuting corruption.
Countering this, Biden himself acknowledged having the prosecutor dismissed.
Furthermore, Shokin in an interview stated, “Poroshenko fired me at the insistence of then Vice President, because I was investigating Burisma.”
“There were no complaints whatsoever, no problems, with how I was performing at my job, but because pressure was repeatedly put on President Poroshenko, that is, what ended up in him firing me,” Shokin said.
Shokin added that Biden “was only acting in his own interests” and “handled Ukraine like it was his own backyard.”
3. Hunter’s Business Dealings
The memo claims that “Joe Biden was not involved in Hunter Biden’s business dealings.”
“Hunter Biden’s business associates — the House Republicans’ own hand-picked witnesses — have testified to Congress that Joe Biden was not involved in Hunter Biden’s business dealings,” the memo reads.
Yet, Devon Archer, Hunter’s former business partner, testified that Biden took part in many phone calls and dinners with Hunter and his business partners, including a notable dinner in Washington DC with guests like Russian billionaire Yelena Baturina.
4. The Allegations of Wrongdoing
The memo mentions that no evidence links Joe Biden to Hunter’s business activities or impacts policymaking.
Contrary to this, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene cited an FBI FD-1023 form which showed that Burisma paid both Bidens $5 million each.
Greene stated that an informant was advising Burisma on a more lawful route to address their legal issues.
5. The Biden Administration’s Involvement
The memo states: “President Biden has had no involvement in this case, and chose to keep the Trump-appointed prosecutor in place during his Administration to ensure the independence of the case. The Justice Department and Weiss himself have stressed that he had full authority in the investigation, and even House Republicans’ own witnesses have testified that neither Joe Biden nor his Administration interfered in this case. Weiss now has been given full special counsel authority.”
Yet, IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley previously informed Congress that Biden’s Department of Justice was intervening in the investigation.
“Even after investigative steps were denied, enforcement operations were rejected by DOJ, leading to the election in November 2020, we continued to obtain further leads in the Sportsman’s case and prepared for when we could go overt,” Shapley said.
According to Joseph Ziegler, an IRS veteran, Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss had conflicting statements regarding his authority over the matter.
In July, Ziegler told the House Oversight Committee that Wise disclosed in a letter to Congress that he had been given “ultimate authority over this matter, but then later stated in the same letter that his charging authority is geographically limited, and that he would need a President Biden-appointed US attorney to partner with him in charging the case.”
6. Access to Materials
The memo states that Republicans undermine their obstruction claims by acknowledging the volume of materials they’ve accessed.
“Republicans in Congress have undercut their own claims of obstruction by bragging about the volume of materials they have gained access to in their investigations,” the memo claims.
However, concerns arise as the National Archives has not released 5,400 records related to Biden’s use of pseudonyms, despite a FOIA request in June 2022.
7. Consistency in Statements
The memo claims that statements made by Biden, the White House, and Biden’s 2020 campaign have consistently stated the President was not in business with Hunter.
“The White House’s statement that ‘the President was not in business with his son’ is entirely consistent with past statements,” the memo states.
However, this position seems to have evolved.
Initially, the White House emphasized Biden “has never discussed overseas business dealings with his son.” By July, the language shifted to emphasize Biden never directly participated in Hunter’s deals.
During a July press conference, RealClearPolitics’ Phil Wegmann addressed a question to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
Wegmann pointed out that Jean-Pierre had said “nothing has changed” when asked about Biden’s previous remarks on his son’s business dealings, “but the language has, in fact, changed.”
“Why the updated language?” he pressed. “Which statement is true? Or is this semantics and they’re both true?”
Still, Jean-Pierre insisted that “nothing has changed.”
“You could ask me a million different ways on this question,” she said. “Nothing has changed.”
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