Complaints from President Donald Trump and his allies are growing stronger as the election approaches: Why doesn’t the mainstream media cover the story of Hunter Biden’s laptop?
Trump and his allies say there is evidence of corruption in emails and documents allegedly found on a laptop belonging to Democrat son Joe Biden. They say these and other documents show that Hunter Biden used his father’s influence to enrich himself through business deals in Ukraine and China, and that his father not only facilitated this, but may have benefited financially.
But the Wall Street Journal and Fox News ̵
As for Ukraine, an email published by the New York Post suggested that Joe Biden may have had a meeting with a representative of a Ukrainian company that employed his son. Trump and his allies say that means Joe Biden lied when he said he never discussed his son’s business roles. Biden’s campaign denies the meeting took place.
The lack of major new discoveries is perhaps the biggest reason why history has not gained strength, but not the only one. Among others: Most mass news organizations, including NBC News, did not have access to the documents. NBC News asked by email, text, phone call and certified mail and was eventually turned down.
And while there is no evidence that the documents are the result of Russian disinformation, as some experts initially suggested, many questions remain about how the materials fell into the hands of Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who met with Russian agents in his efforts. to Dig Dirt on Bidens |
U.S. intelligence agencies have told the White House that Giuliani has been in contact with alleged Russian spies. The FBI is investigating whether the Russians played a role, and no official has ruled that out.
At the same time, dozens of former intelligence officials said the story had the hallmarks of a Russian intelligence operation. Following the interference in the 2016 elections, the media are particularly wary of doing anything to continue the foreign government’s efforts to intervene in the presidential campaign.
Another factor that suppresses the coverage of the story is that there is not much new in what the laptop documents seem to reveal. The allegation that Hunter Biden traded his last name has been studied in detail in previous news, including a lengthy New Yorker investigation last year in which Robert Weissman, chairman of the Public Citizen Advocacy Group, said: “It’s hard to avoid a conclusion that Hunter’s foreign employers and partners seek to exploit Hunter’s relationship with Joe, either by seeking inappropriate influence or by designing access to it. “Reports published while the older Biden was still vice president raised ethical questions about the Burism deal.
While the question of whether Joe Biden allowed his son to take advantage of the vice president’s influence is relevant to the presidential campaign, questions of balance and proportionality also come into play.
Trump, according to the same good government advocates who criticize Hunter Biden, is ethically challenged when it comes to appearing to use the power of his office to enrich himself and his family. David Farrenthold of The Washington Post uses federal and other records to estimate that the federal government has spent at least $ 2.5 million on food and lodging on Trump’s property since Trump took office. Earlier this month, Ben Sasse, a Republican senator from Nebraska who is due to be re-elected, told his supporters that the Trump family “treated the presidency as a business opportunity.”
Yet the stories of Trump’s children and their business deals are not dominant in the news cycle in the days before the election, because they are already covered, just as the story of Hunter Biden is covered. (On the other hand, Trump’s tax information is widely covered by The New York Times because the secret tax information obtained from the newspaper reveals important new information about his tax payments and business transactions.)
“No role for Joe Biden”
The first story about Hunter Biden’s laptop appeared in the New York Post, a conservative tabloid. One outline was that of former Fox News student producer Sean Hannity.
The New York Times reported that a Post reporter who had done much of the work refused to allow his text to appear in history.
The Times also reported that Trump’s campaign initially passed the story on to the Wall Street Journal, hoping that a major news organization would confirm their allegations that the documents hinted at corruption.
The magazine didn’t.
The paper published an article focusing on allegations of a possible deal in China – allegations of a former Hunter Biden associate named Tony Bobulinsky, who came out after the laptop’s story broke to say that senior Biden was well acquainted with his son’s arrangements you are.
After examining text messages provided by Bobulinski, the magazine reported that “the company – set up in 2017 after Mr Biden left the vice presidency and before his presidential campaign – never received any funding from the Chinese company or closed any and any deals, according to people familiar with the matter. The corporate records … show no role for Joe Biden. “
Fox News, meanwhile, said it had “reviewed emails from Bobulinski related to the venture – and they did not show that the older Biden had business deals with SinoHawk Holdings or took payments from them or the Chinese.”
An NBC News correspondent asked Bobulinski for an interview and copies of documents he had, but he refused.
“All your questions will be answered by Tucker Carlson tonight,” Bobulinski wrote on October 27.
On the air, to prove that Joe Biden was involved in his son’s business dealings, Bobulinsky described a meeting he said he had with senior Biden.
At a meeting in Los Angeles in May 2017, Bobulinski said that Hunter Biden introduced him to the former vice president, saying: “This is Tony, Dad, the man I told you about helps us in the business we work in, and the Chinese. ”
Even if that statement was made, it says very little about how much Joe Biden knew and nothing about whether he was involved.
Biden’s campaign denied that Biden knew of the venture or benefited from it.
NBC News tried to obtain documents for the alleged Hunter Biden laptop, but was denied.
An NBC News correspondent sent a letter to Giuliani two weeks ago asking for copies of the material.
His lawyer, Robert Costello, gave the reporter the opportunity to personally review Hunter Biden’s emails and other materials. The materials include copies of Hunter Biden’s identity documents that appear to be genuine. But without the copies, it was not possible to perform the forensic analysis that could help verify emails and documents.
Giuliani eventually told NBC News that he would not provide a copy of the hard drive. NBC News responded by asking if instead of a full copy of the hard drive, it could simply provide copies of the full set of emails. Giuliani did not agree to this proposal. NBC News then declined an offer to copy a small group of emails.
NBC News also asked Republicans for documents from the Senate National Security Committee, but received no response.
Key questions remain about the laptop’s origins and how it fell into Giuliani’s hands.
The owner of a computer repair shop in Wilmington, Delaware, John Paul Mac Isaac, said that a man he thought was Hunter Biden had left a water-damaged Apple computer in his store in April 2019 for data repair and recovery.
But Biden never took out the machine, Mac Isaac said, and at one point he began examining the data. He said he found material that bothered him, although he never explained publicly what it was. His lawyer said he contacted the FBI, which eventually served a summons to a grand jury for the laptop and hard drive.
After hearing nothing from the FBI for months, Mac Isaac said he was disappointed and handed a copy of the contents of the laptop to Giuliani’s lawyer.
A spokesman for Giuliani said one of Giuliani’s companies had received an email from Mac Isaac saying he had the laptop and thought Giuliani should be aware of its contents. The spokesman said Mac Isaac had provided a copy of Giuliani’s team’s hard drive.
According to the spokesman, Mac Isaac said he wrote to Giuliani’s team after trying to contact Republican members of Congress without success.
Giuliani’s lawyer said Mac Isaac did not want or pay for the copy of the device.
The summons, published by the New York Post, was signed by a federal prosecutor at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Wilmington.
A photo of a receipt provided to Mac Isaac by FBI agents was posted on the Fox News website. It contained an FBI code, 272D, which the bureau uses to denote a money laundering investigation when the illegal activity is unknown.
US officials declined to explain why they seized the laptops and what, if any, they were investigating.
NBC News tried to speak to Mac Isaac, but he did not respond to requests for comment. NBC News published an article quoting answers he gave to The Daily Beast. His lawyer then sent him a letter to NBC News, saying, “Your network and affiliates should stop any further discussion with Mr. Mac Isaac because much of the information you provide is incorrect.”
James Rosen, a reporter for the conservative Sinclair Broadcast Group, the country’s largest local television operator, said this week that a Justice Department official told him the FBI had opened a criminal investigation against Hunter Biden and his associates last year. focused on allegations of money laundering – and that the investigation remains active.
NBC News does not confirm such an investigation.
Rosen also said the FBI had interviewed Biden Bobulin’s former associate last week.
A senior law enforcement official told NBC News that Bobulinsky had initiated the interview.
Bobulinski said the FBI had told him he was “registered as a material witness”, but law enforcement officials said the FBI did not use the term in this context.
Hunter Biden’s lawyer, George Messires, did not respond to a request for comment from NBC News. He does not claim – nor Biden’s campaign – that the laptop did not belong to Hunter Biden.
If he left the machine in Delaware, it would mean at least the second time he left a laptop.
According to two people familiar with the matter, a different Hunter Biden laptop was arrested by the DEA in February when they carried out a search warrant at the Massachusetts office for a psychiatrist accused of professional misconduct. The psychiatrist has not been charged with a crime.
Hunter Biden was not the target of the search or investigation, and eventually his lawyer returned his laptop. It is not clear why his computer was left in the doctor’s office.