Regarding Hunter Biden

Seeking to have a US citizen investigated by a foreign government based on innuendo is a major problem.

AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)

In his now infamous phone call with President Zelensky of Ukraine, Donald Trump asked for two favors. One was in regards to a conspiracy theory that lacks an empirical foundation (which I discussed here) and the other was in regards to an investigation into a private citizen that lacked any evidentiary foundation, which is the subject of this post: the case of Hunter Biden.

Let’s stop and pause on the commonality that these requested favors have. They are both baseless; they both grow out of pro-Trump conspiracy theories; and they both are about influencing the 2020 elections.

The server theory is about casting blame for 2016 election interference on Ukraine instead of Russia so as to blunt the findings of the US intel community and those detailed in the Mueller Report. It is also a narrative being pushed by Russian intelligence, and is thus further election interference by the Russians.

Hunter Biden is a topic of discussion because he just so happens to be the son of one of the candidates Trump has a high probability of facing next year at the polls (and the one conventional wisdom thinks is the most electable).

Let’s go back to the July 25th phone call and the following from the call summary memo:

The President [Trump]: …There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.

I would note the following formulations: “There’s a lot of talk,” “a lot of people want to find out about that,” and “It sounds horrible to me.” These are not statements that come from a position of solid evidence and strong rationales for investigations. No, they are the vague musings of a person who is operating on the level of rumors and innuendo.

Who are these people? Why are they talking? What do they want to find out? The answer is obviously: Trump supporters who want to cast unfounded aspersions. This is not enough to sic another country after a private citizen.

It is important to note that there is no investigation taking place on the US side. The excuse for looking into the matter is basically twofold. One, Hunter Biden’s qualifications for being on the board of Burisma, a gas company, were limited (and that is being charitable). Two, Joe Biden, in his capacity as Vice President, was the Obama administration’s point man in getting a corrupt Ukrainian prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, ousted from office.

As it pertains to the first point, as James Joyner noted weeks ago, the scandal may simply be what is legal, rather than anything else. Yes, it is clear that Burisma offered Hunter Biden the job because of his last name. And, yes, the amount paid to him underscores the degree to which compensation at the upper levels of corporations can be excessive, to put it mildly.

And let me be clear: I have no interest in defending Hunter Biden, per se. Indeed, everything I know about him suggests a person with questionable judgment at best. The basic litany of publicly known foibles include a discharge from the Navy reserves after testing positive for cocaine (and a general history of substance abuse) and a secret child with a stripper (after initially denying being the father). Even before Trump asked Zelensky for a favor, the New Yorker was asking Will Hunter Biden Jeopardize His Father’s Campaign?*

At the same time, the gossip pages have seized on Hunter’s tumultuous private life. He has struggled for decades with alcohol addiction and drug abuse; he went through an acrimonious divorce from his first wife, Kathleen Buhle Biden; and he had a subsequent relationship with Beau’s widow, Hallie. He was recently sued for child support by an Arkansas woman, Lunden Alexis Roberts, who claims that he is the father of her child. (Hunter has denied having sexual relations with Roberts.)

Even beyond all of that, there is no doubt in my mind that he got the offer to work with Burisma because of his last name and that he showed poor judgment in taking the position, since it clearly always had the chance of causing problems for his father.

Let’s return to Trump’s actions. Do we want any President of the United States asking a foreign government to launch a criminal investigation of a US citizen because “There’s a lot of talk” about that citizen? Moreover, do we want a President of the United States using such a reason for an investigation into a political rival’s family?

Let’s look at how the Hunter-Burisma connection happened in the first place. From the aforementioned New Yorker piece:

For another venture, Archer [one of Hunter Biden’s business partners] travelled to Kiev to pitch investors on a real-estate fund he managed, Rosemont Realty. There, he met Mykola Zlochevsky, the co-founder of Burisma, one of Ukraine’s largest natural-gas producers. Zlochevsky had served as ecology minister under the pro-Russian government of Viktor Yanukovych. After public protests in 2013 and early 2014, the Ukrainian parliament had voted to remove Yanukovych and called for his arrest. Under the new Ukrainian government, authorities in Kiev, with the encouragement of the Obama Administration, launched an investigation into whether Zlochevsky had used his cabinet position to grant exploration licenses that benefitted Burisma. (The status of the inquiry is unclear, but no proof of criminal activity has been publicly disclosed. Zlochevsky could not be reached for comment, and Burisma did not respond to queries.) In a related investigation, which was ultimately closed owing to a lack of evidence, British authorities temporarily froze U.K. bank accounts tied to Zlochevsky.

In early 2014, Zlochevsky sought to assemble a high-profile international board to oversee Burisma, telling prospective members that he wanted the company to adopt Western standards of transparency. Among the board members he recruited was a former President of Poland, Aleksander Kwaśniewski, who had a reputation as a dedicated reformer. In early 2014, at Zlochevsky’s suggestion, Kwaśniewski met with Archer in Warsaw and encouraged him to join Burisma’s board, arguing that the company was critical to Ukraine’s independence from Russia. Archer agreed.

When Archer told Hunter that the board needed advice on how to improve the company’s corporate governance, Hunter recommended the law firm Boies Schiller Flexner, where he was “of counsel.” The firm brought in the investigative agency Nardello & Co. to assess Burisma’s history of corruption. Hunter joined Archer on the Burisma board in April, 2014. Three months later, in a draft report to Boies Schiller, Nardello said that it was “unable to identify any information to date regarding any current government investigation into Zlochevsky or Burisma,” but cited unnamed sources saying that Zlochevsky could be “vulnerable to investigation for financial crimes” and for ”perceived abuse of power.”

Reuters (What Hunter Biden did on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma) reports the following regarding Hunter Biden’s work for Burisma:

Interviews with more than a dozen people, including executives and former prosecutors in Ukraine, paint a picture of a director who provided advice on legal issues, corporate finance and strategy during a five-year term on the board, which ended in April of this year.

Biden never visited Ukraine for company business during that time, according to three of the people.

They also said that his presence on the board didn’t protect the company from its most serious challenge: a series of criminal investigations launched by Ukrainian authorities against its owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, a multimillionaire former minister of ecology and natural resources. The allegations concern tax violations, money-laundering and licences given to Burisma during the period where Zlochevsky was a minister.

I will confess to some surprise that Hunter never actually visited Ukraine and it clearly was an over-compensated position (in my opinion) given the amount of work done/level of expertise involved. These facts underscore, to me, that what Burisma wanted was his last name so as to enhance their reputation.

The piece echoes the reporting from the New Yorker:

Zlochevsky, who founded Burisma in 2002, served as a minister under Ukraine’s then-President Viktor Yanukovich from 2010 to 2012. Burisma then began adding high-profile names to its board, including Biden and a business associate of his called Devon Archer, in April 2014.

The company has said it had wanted to strengthen corporate governance. According to two sources close to the company, Burisma was also looking to attract international investment as well as expand overseas.

Oleksandr Onyshchenko, a businessman and former member of the Ukrainian parliament who knows the Burisma founder, said it had been Zlochevsky’s idea to appoint Biden as a director. “It was to protect (the company)” at a time when it was facing investigations, said Onyshchenko, who left the country in 2016. In the run up to Biden’s appointment, a popular uprising led to the removal of the Russian-backed Yanukovich in February 2014.

[…]

According to four sources close to the company, Biden regularly attended Burisma’s twice annual board meetings – all of which were held outside of Ukraine.

A source close to the company said Biden took part in strategic conversations and shared his opinions and experience. In between board meetings, “there were constant calls, dialogue, sharing of advice, consideration of different options,” the source said. “Expansion to other markets was also discussed,” the source added.

Another source close to Burisma said Biden assisted with analysis of oil and gas assets the company was considering buying abroad, though a deal didn’t go through. The company was considering possible acquisitions in Europe, Kazakhstan and the United States, the source and another person close to Burisma said.

Both sources said that around the time Biden was appointed, Burisma was also looking to secure a financing deal with foreign investment funds, including one in the United States.

Biden helped to find lawyers to work on this process, before it broke down due to the start of the war in east Ukraine, one of those two sources said. “He was a ceremonial figure,” that person added.

Burisma was clearly willing trying to enhance their international reputation by having Americans on their board during. Having the son of the Vice President was clearly a huge bonus. But, again, there is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden.

And in the absence of evidence, there should be no investigation. And if evidence does exist, investigations should be initiated by proper authorities, not because of a phone call between heads of state based on “a lot of talk.”


*And not to excuse the behaviors in question, but as a column in WaPo (The Hunter Biden story is a troubling tale of privilege) notes, Hunter Biden is man whose mother and sister were killed in a car accident that he survived, along with his brother Beau, who later died of brain cancer as an adult. That he might have personal problems is not a surprise, especially substance abuse.

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Impeachment, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. gVOR08 says:

    So far I haven’t seen WAPO and NYT dive down the Hunter Biden rabbit hole. Maybe they did learn something from 2016. So far.

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  2. CSK says:

    Like you, I hold no special brief for Hunter Biden, but Trump was clearly trying to use Hunter to sully his father’s reputation, which is despicable but characteristic of Trump.

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  3. Gustopher says:

    @CSK:

    Trump was clearly trying to use Hunter to sully his father’s reputation, which is despicable but characteristic of Trump.

    When family members cash on on the political power of relatives, I think that’s a fair criticism — see Blond Fredo, Brunette Fredo, Female Fredo and Prettyboy Fredo-In-Law as examples. They have all been cashing in on the Fredofather’s Presidency. And they’re awful. And the Fredofather has done nothing to distance himself from it, and profits from it himself.

    And, where there is an appearance of impropriety, I fully support an open investigation into the matter — I would be delighted to see public hearings into how getting rid of that Ukrainian prosecutor became US policy, and if it turns out it was all Biden, we have other fine candidates. (It was not all Biden)

    Note that an open investigation into that policy decision is not the same as backchannel calls to Ukraine to demand they publicly claim to have started an investigation of Hunter Biden. That’s what was despicable and characteristic of Trump.

    Accepting a pile of cash to sit on a corporate board is not illegal. Unseemly, sure, but not illegal.

    Using family connections to influence US policy to benefit the corporation you sit on the board of may be illegal (but probably isn’t, or at least is rarely prosecuted), but the first step to investigate that would be to see if Joe Biden even exerted any undue or novel influence on the decision — and that’s something where all the evidence is right here, in America.

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  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Not to mention the fact that if there was any actual evidence of malfeasance, trump has the entire DOJ to investigate it.

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  5. @Gustopher:

    When family members cash on on the political power of relatives, I think that’s a fair criticism —

    I agree.

    The problem for me is, however, that for there to be an investigation, there needs to be evidence of wrongdoing, which is lacking here.

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  6. CSK says:

    @Gustopher: Trump may know there’s no evidence in this country. But then, if there are 9 honest, aboveboard ways to do something, he’ll invariably pick the 10th sleazy one.

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  7. @Steven L. Taylor: And let me emphasize: this is not the way an investigation to be initiated.

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  8. Sleeping Dog says:

    When all of this broke I stated that if the JD has a reasonable suspicion that Hunter Biden committed a crime, they should convene a grand jury and obtain whatever warrants are necessary to uncover the truth. If they can’t do that there is nothing here.

    What we have are a bunch of Failsons (oh thank you Molly Jung-Fast for this framing), Biden and Trumps trying to make a profit on their connections. Corrupt as h#ll, sometimes illegal, but always unsavory.

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  9. Moosebreath says:

    @gVOR08:

    “Maybe they did learn something from 2016. So far.”

    And maybe they weren’t, but are waiting for a time closer to the election to breathlessly report innuendo circulated by Republicans against a Democratic nominee. Like the NYT did at least twice in 2016.

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  10. andros says:

    I do wish I could give Hunter my full sympathy and support, to mitigate the chances of a relapse, but conduct so unseemly just can’t be ignored. What on earth was Joe thinking when he allowed his troubled offspring to peddle, in both Ukraine and China, for millions, the appearance of “insider” influence? (And forget about keeping China out of the inquiry. It’s part of a pattern.) Then there’s the issue of whether Hunter and Devon Archer had anything to do with Burisma getting its clutches on so much U.S. aid cash. (Didn’t George Kent say that State was trying to claw back “tens of millions”)?

    The information required to shed light on these issues, in possession of Ukrainian companies and citizens, is inaccessible to U.S. authorities. It requires participation of the Ukrainian government. We certainly need to know whether Hunter and Devon managed to derail an active investigation of Burisma.

    “But where,” you ask, “is the evidence required to prove criminal activity?” But we aren’t talking about such “proof.” We’re talking about whether an investigation is justified.

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  11. Gustopher says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    When all of this broke I stated that if the JD has a reasonable suspicion that Hunter Biden committed a crime, they should convene a grand jury and obtain whatever warrants are necessary to uncover the truth. If they can’t do that there is nothing here.

    I want to hand onto that for a moment, and also grab the last paragraph of Steven’s post…

    And in the absence of evidence, there should be no investigation. And if evidence does exist, investigations should be initiated by proper authorities, not because of a phone call between heads of state based on “a lot of talk.”

    The word “investigation” does a lot of work here. There should be no criminal investigation without evidence of a crime.

    Congressional oversight investigation? I think the appearance of impropriety from government officials is a plenty good threshold. Of course, Republicans held both houses of Congress and didn’t bother to look into it at the time, or for years afterwards. They were aware of it, and briefly asked the Ukraine ambassador of it when she was being confirmed. I’m enough of a good governance person that I wish they had done so, at least before it became a FoxNews talking point.

    (Also, the BENGHAZI!!! investigations were a shit show, and the Republican antics ensured that if there was something we could have learned about Benghazi, we didn’t)

    There is, of course, no threshold that makes Trump’s activities here right, acceptable or not an impeachable offense.

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  12. Gustopher says:

    @andros:

    What on earth was Joe thinking when he allowed his troubled offspring

    How is Joe Biden supposed to stop his troubled offspring? Particularly from doing something legal, but unseemly.

    Should he keep his adult son locked in a basement? There are laws against that.

    Joe should have recused himself from Ukraine matters. But, the US policy mirrored the EU policy, so there was very likely no Hunter-via-Joe influence on policy. So, le sigh.

    Do you think the various Trump Fredos are not on corporate bodies?

    And, do you support the next Democratic President doing what Trump has done?

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  13. DrDaveT says:

    @andros:

    but conduct so unseemly just can’t be ignored

    And yet you ignore it every day in people not named ‘Biden’ — and in particular in people named (or married to people named) ‘Trump’.

    If only there were some comprehensive thesis that could explain this paradox…

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  14. Gustopher says:

    @andros:

    The information required to shed light on these issues, in possession of Ukrainian companies and citizens, is inaccessible to U.S. authorities.

    First, this is just wrong. We have paper trails on our side, and we can see if either Biden was influencing the decisions made here.

    Second, this does not require a back channel foreign policy demanding a public announcement of an investigation, let alone as a precondition for releasing foreign aid.

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  15. @Gustopher:

    The word “investigation” does a lot of work here. There should be no criminal investigation without evidence of a crime.

    Congressional oversight investigation? I think the appearance of impropriety from government officials is a plenty good threshold

    Well, Hunter Biden wasn’t a government official. And Joe Biden was acting as a clear agent of US policy (in conjunction with the EU and IMF).

    But sure, if there is an actual reason, have at congressional investigations.

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  16. @andros:

    “But where,” you ask, “is the evidence required to prove criminal activity?” But we aren’t talking about such “proof.” We’re talking about whether an investigation is justified.

    Funny how you transformed a call for “evidence” into “proof”–I never used the word “proof.”

    Investigations require some evidence to initiate.

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  17. andros says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    The mere fact that Joe (as ‘point man’ for Ukraine) makes the outlandish claim that he didn’t even know Hunter served on Burisma’s board would strike most as a confession of such dereliction of duty as to require further inquiry.

    I don’t recall your addressing those State Dept. emails showing that Hunter and Devon protested, to State, the allegations of “corruption” being made against Burisma, shortly before Joe demanded Shokin’s head. What was Joe’s reasoning? What information and advice was he relying on? Was he aware of the protests of Burisma and Archer to the State Dept.? Why is he so loath to explain this dubious business? Is he “taking the Fifth,” as it were? “You got nuttin’ on me.”

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  18. Jax says:

    @andros: I downvoted you because this has ALLLLLLL been addressed, many times, by many different people, and you still seem stuck on this little tiny corner that indicates you do not understand the timeline, AT ALL. In fact, you downright REFUSE to understand the timeline, because there’s this “thing you refuse to look at”, a blind spot. Inside of this blind spot lies a Republican House and a Republican Senate (while Biden was VP and point man, I might add!), and by God, a Republican President for the last three years, who did not think enough of ANY of this to investigate further….until Joe Biden ran for President.

    Now you are determined to beat this dead horse until the bones are nothing but bits and pieces.

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  19. Jax says:

    @andros: So let me ask you this, seriously…..do you think ANY of this would’ve come up if Joe Biden had decided not to run?

    You are fooling yourself if you answer yes. NONE of this would be an issue right now if Biden wasn’t running. Trump would’ve done gone and impeached himself asking some other foreign government to investigate whoever looked to be the frontrunner at that time. Whoever was most likely to get him the dirt. (eyeroll)

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  20. andros says:

    @Jax:
    It came up at this time with Zelensky, who had recently been elected, and Trump was conferring with him. Trump had doubtless been “briefed” on these issues well beforehand.

    As I’ve said many times before, you have the burden here of demonstrating a conflict between Trump’s personal interest and the public interest. Are you seriously proposing that the general public doesn’t believe an investigation here is warranted? You can’t open a newspaper without seeing questions about it.

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  21. @andros:

    Trump had doubtless been “briefed” on these issues well beforehand.

    Not by any of the experts who dealt with Ukraine policy (this is clear from the testimony of Hill, Vindamen, Taylor, Clark and others). Even John Bolton thought the whole thing was a “drug deal.” The only person peddling this nonsense was Giuliani–because Biden was running for president.

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  22. @andros:

    As I’ve said many times before, you have the burden here of demonstrating a conflict between Trump’s personal interest and the public interest.

    The person who benefits from the Biden investigations is Trump. It does not benefit US foreign policy. By definition it is in his private interest. Even Rudy said, which I quoted in a post I know you read, that he was operating in Trump’s interest.

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  23. @andros:

    Are you seriously proposing that the general public doesn’t believe an investigation here is warranted?

    I am guessing that most of the “general public” has not much of an opinion on Hunter Biden.

    You can’t open a newspaper without seeing questions about it.

    It’s in the news because Trump is being impeached over the favors he asked for from Ukraine.

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  24. Jax says:

    @andros: So you refuse to answer whether you think this would be happening if Biden didn’t happen to be Trump’s political opponent?

    The ONLY reason this is happening is because Biden is Trump’s political opponent. As evidenced by the fact that a Republican House/Senate during the Obama years did not investigate this when they had every reason to find something Obama did wrong.

    That’s also what makes it illegal.

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  25. andros says:

    @Gustopher:
    So Trump was constitutionally required to gather information through bureaucrats opposed to his policies? And the demand for an “announcement” these functionaries speak of, wasn’t that in regard to Zelensky’s request for a public meeting? As concerns the military aid, it appears that Trump may have decided to hold off on delivery, until he had obtained the assurances he wanted from Zelensky, with Zelensky being none the wiser. Is this “bribery”? No big deal, in any event, in view of the ceasefire, in effect since March. The public interest in getting Zelensky committed to the investigation justified bringing a little suasion to bear.

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  26. Jax says:

    @andros: The only reason the bureaucrats were opposed to his “policies” is because they were illegal. You get that, right?

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  27. Gustopher says:

    @andros:

    As I’ve said many times before, you have the burden here of demonstrating a conflict between Trump’s personal interest and the public interest.

    This is a really stupid argument.

    It is not in the public interest for the president to be running a second, secret, contradictory foreign policy using his private lawyer and a bunch of Ukrainian lowlife criminal adjacent helpers.

    Among things, it means the two teams are working at cross purposes. One team will undermine the goals of the other.

    It also means that the President could be subject to blackmail — if Zelensky was threatening to release his transcripts (or tapes, if he they tape things on that end) that showed an impeachable offense, he could have had Trump over a barrel.

    It’s a huge, unwarranted and unnecessary risk.

    And for what? Hunter Biden? If we take the Trumpkins at their word, they’re very concerned about a random failson — and are apparently willing to risk enormous problems to get him investigated by a prosecutor in a country they call corrupt, rather than pursue charges here, because… reasons.

    Where do we draw the line? Should we take similar risks for Roman Polanski, who skipped bail and is living in France?

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  28. Gustopher says:

    @andros: There is remarkably little that is truthful in your statement.

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  29. Scott F. says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    But, Steven, you’re not abiding by the andros rules. See, if there is even one member of the “general public” quoted in a “newspaper” that andros is most definitely unable to cite, then it isn’t serious to propose that Trump’s obvious self-interest in smearing Biden doesn’t also redound to the broader interests of American foreign policy, because… um, give me a minute… there’s gotta be something here in the cloud of dust he’s kicking up…

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  30. andros says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    So it’s your contention something that serves Trump’s personal interest is necessarily contrary to the public interest? What curious logic.

    We’ll see, soon enough, whether the broader public is willing to accept your characterization of the questions surrounding the Bidens as mere “innuendo.” Or was it “piffle”?

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  31. An Interested Party says:

    What curious logic.

    Not as curious as your logic in not addressing Trump’s own children benefiting from Trump’s position in ways far more outrageous than anything Hunter Biden did and the fact that the Republican-controlled Congress did nothing about this when they had the chance…perhaps you would care to address those two points before you spout anymore nonsense…and spare us all the sanctimony, as your only motive (as is Trump’s) is to smear Joe Biden, not really do anything about corruption…

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  32. @andros:

    So it’s your contention something that serves Trump’s personal interest is necessarily contrary to the public interest?

    I would love for you to show me where that is what I said.

    You are not arguing in good faith.

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  33. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @andros:

    Trump had doubtless been “briefed” on these issues well beforehand

    by Alex Jones

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  34. Jax says:

    @andros: Considering Trump requires his briefings in pictures, I can draw you a picture that explains about how that went…..

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  35. Jax says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: He’s not. He’s really not. I really don’t think he’s Jenos, but daaammmmn, he’s frustrating! Those of us who like to discuss things are never gonna be able to talk about Ukraine and Trump without him cornering up right here, every single time. It’s his own personal dog whistle.

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  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @andros:

    “But where,” you ask, “is the evidence required to prove criminal activity?” But we aren’t talking about such “proof.”

    If you don’t know the difference between evidence and proof, you are a lawyers dream juror. The only thing you are lacking is a ring thru your nose. Or maybe not.

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  37. Nickel Front says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    The problem for me is, however, that for there to be an investigation, there needs to be evidence of wrongdoing, which is lacking here.

    Where was this during the Kavanaugh hearings? You need to have an investigation to establish that there was indeed no wrongdoing. Innocent people fully embrace investigations.

    That’s The Normal way of doing things, right?

    The proper way to establish an investigation is to take a phony, foreign sourced dossier and forged documents and get FISA warrant.

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  38. Nickel Front says:

    Personally tho, I think Trump needs to drop all this anti Biden stuff immediately.

    Biden NEEDS to be the Dem nominee.

    The finger biting guy who likes children to sit in his lap and rub his leg hair MUST be the Standard Bearer for the Democrat Party!

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  39. OzarkHillbilly says:

    And Penny Back proves once again that you can’t fix stupid.

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  40. mattbernius says:

    @Nickel Front:

    The proper way to establish an investigation is to take a phony, foreign sourced dossier and forged documents and get FISA warrant.

    Constantly repeating a lie (one that Barr’s own Justice Department has stated is a lie) doesn’t make it true, but it does tell us a lot about the quality of your character.

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  41. DrDaveT says:

    @Nickel Front:

    Where was this during the Kavanaugh hearings?

    Um, you do realize that a direct accusation by the alleged victim counts as “evidence of wrongdoing”, right?

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  42. DrDaveT says:

    @An Interested Party:

    as your only motive (as is Trump’s) is to smear Joe Biden

    Gotta disagree here. He has two possible motives: (1) to distract from Trump’s crimes, and (2) to tweak the noses of those outside the cult. He’s probably getting a twofer. Trump himself doesn’t actually care about Biden; he only cares about protecting Trump and stoking his base.

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  43. mattbernius says:

    @mattbernius:
    So I had thought the Dunham report was officially released prior to Thanksgiving. I was wrong about that — the release date now looks to be 12/8. So technically @Nickel Front you have up until that date to keep circulating that lie.

    (However all the reporting to date about the investigation keeps suggesting that the FSA warrants were still legit and not based on either the Dossier or the tampered document).

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  44. gVOR08 says:

    @mattbernius: The IG’s report said the warrants were legit. I’ve seen nothing about what might be in Durham’s report. Except that it appears Barr has been heavily involved, which gives me scant hope for an honest report.

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  45. Mikey says:

    @gVOR08:

    The IG’s report said the warrants were legit.

    If there’s one thing we know about Trumpists, it’s that they treat any evidence contradicting their opinions as nonexistent. They just keep spewing the same debunked garbage, over and over, just like Nickelback here with the bogus crap about the basis of the FISA warrant.

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  46. al Ameda says:

    @andros:

    “But where,” you ask, “is the evidence required to prove criminal activity?” But we aren’t talking about such “proof.” We’re talking about whether an investigation is justified.

    Point of Clarification: Actually, we’re talking about a president who wanted to use a foreign government to advance his personal political interest and the 2020 election by investigating a political rival. That rises to a level that supports articles of impeachment.

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  47. Nickel Front says:

    @Jax:

    So let me ask you this, seriously…..do you think ANY of this would’ve come up if Joe Biden had decided not to run?

    Probably not. Because it would be irrelevant if Joe is not holding power any longer. However, as someone who could possibly be compromised in some way because of his son’s position, then it’s relevant to know more. What world President Joe do if a policy would benefit Hunter? What would Joe do if Burisma or Ukrainian officials had embarrassing info on Hunter that Joe wants kept hidden (like a love child or more encounters with prostitutes)?

    More information is better.

    Embrace the investigation.

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  48. Nickel Front says:

    @Mikey:

    they treat any evidence contradicting their opinions as nonexistent.

    Collusion!
    Obstruction!

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  49. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Nickel Front:

    However, as someone who could possibly be compromised in some way because of his son’s position, then it’s relevant to know more. What world President Joe do if a policy would benefit Hunter? What would Joe do if Burisma or Ukrainian officials had embarrassing info on Hunter that Joe wants kept hidden (like a love child or more encounters with prostitutes)?

    More information is better.

    I’m glad to hear you desire trump’s releasing his tax returns and accountant files, and bank loan papers etc etc etc. You also want witnesses in the room when trump meets Putin, right? And MBS. And Kim. And Erdogan. and…

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  50. Mikey says:

    @Nickel Front:

    Collusion!
    Obstruction!

    There is clear and convincing evidence of both. You ignore it, thereby proving my point.

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  51. An Interested Party says:

    What would Joe do if Burisma or Ukrainian officials had embarrassing info on Hunter that Joe wants kept hidden (like a love child or more encounters with prostitutes)?

    Well hell, that type of information/behavior didn’t hurt Trump, so if done by a potential future president’s son, why would it hurt that president…

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  52. DrDaveT says:

    @Nickel Front:

    So let me ask you this, seriously…..do you think ANY of this would’ve come up if Joe Biden had decided not to run?

    Probably not.

    Thank you for admitting that none of this has anything to do with corruption, or national interest, or general rule of law.

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  53. MarcIa Fritz says:

    EY, a major international accounting firm, performed an audit of Ukraine’s extraction industry in 2018. Barisma Holdings’ subsidiaries were included. Oil and gas extraction is a major source of revenue for Ukraine’s government in royalties, corporate taxes, and excise taxes. EY’s report included a MAJOR red star finding that contracts between Ukraine and private companies are considered state secrets and even EY, their auditor, was denied access. Also, EY criticized Ukraine for not auctioning extraction contracts. Trump is right to question whether Barisma, whose secret contracts obtained through self dealing, is paying fairly for extraction leases. Why should US taxpayers prop up Barisma and it’s overpaid board of directors who likely aren’t paying their fair share of taxes and lease revenue to Ukraine?

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  54. MarcIa Fritz says:

    Oil extraction leases in Ukraine are state secrets. EY, who audited Ukraine’s extraction industry in 2018, did not have access to the contracts. Only Ukraine officials can perform an audit of Barisma without a scope limitation…at least until Ukraine changes it’s laws and makes the contracts available to the public (which it now does for NEW contracts issued after January 1, 2017. Barisma’s extraction leases were granted in 2012.

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  55. Mister Bluster says:

    @MarcIa Fritz:..Barisma (sic)…

    Burisma

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  56. gVOR08 says:

    @Mister Bluster: Probably just an ambiguity in transliteration. Ms. Fritz was probably working from notes in Cyrillic.

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  57. An Interested Party says:

    EY’s report included a MAJOR red star finding that contracts between Ukraine and private companies are considered state secrets and even EY, their auditor, was denied access.

    Oh my, this looks exactly like the behavior of the president who is supposedly fighting corruption…so before he goes around calling anyone else crooked, he should release his tax returns…

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