Given to them by Rudy Giuliani, no less. According to the New York Post, an e-mail found on a laptop in a Delaware repair center shows that Hunter Biden introduced Burisma executives to Joe Biden a year before Biden intervened in Ukraine to demand the firing of their top prosecutor. That contradicts an number of denials from Joe Biden, who has insisted that he had never gotten involved in his son’s business dealings, in Ukraine, Romania, China, or anywhere else while he was vice president.
But is this on the level?
The never-before-revealed meeting is mentioned in a message of appreciation that Vadym Pozharskyi, an adviser to the board of Burisma, allegedly sent Hunter Biden on April 17, 2015, about a year after Hunter joined the Burisma board at a reported salary of up to $50,000 a month.
“Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together. It’s realty [sic] an honor and pleasure,” the e-mail reads.
An earlier e-mail from May 2014 also shows Pozharskyi, reportedly Burisma’s No. 3 exec, asking Hunter for “advice on how you could use your influence” on the company’s behalf.
The blockbuster correspondence — which flies in the face of Joe Biden’s claim that he’s “never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings” — is contained in a massive trove of data recovered from a laptop computer.
There are all sorts of questions this raises, but not just for the Bidens. For them, the questions are simple: if this is on the level, how do they explain lying all this time about their actions with Burisma and Ukraine? For House Democrats who impeached Donald Trump over his phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymir Zelensky by claiming it was corrupt, this raises a huge problem right before they have to go home to voters who will want to know what they will do about Biden. The same is true for Senate Democrats who tried to remove Trump over it.
That’s if this is on the level. How do we know this laptop had Hunter Biden’s information on it? According to the Post, it held a number of business and personal data connected to Hunter, including a twelve-minute video allegedly showing Hunter smoking crack and having sex. The Post uses a couple of other personal pics found on the drive, including one of Hunter and his family with Joe himself, and another of Hunter apparently smoking a cigarette in bed.
So the data at least appears to have come from Hunter Biden, but what about the laptop? Was it really Hunter’s, and how exactly did this computer data get to Giuliani? Well, that’s a fairly convoluted tale, at least as the Post tells it. Someone dropped off the laptop (with a Beau Biden Foundation sticker on it) to repair water damage but never came back to pick it up, despite a number of calls to the owner. In December, the shop owner looked at the hard drive and alerted the FBI about the contents, who then subpoenaed the shop owner to seize both the laptop and the hard drive. The Post has a photo of the grand-jury subpoena in the story.
But that was in December. How did Giuliani get the data, and why is it only coming out now?
Photos of a Delaware federal court subpoena given to The Post show that both the computer and hard drive were seized by the FBI in December, after the shop’s owner says he alerted the feds to their existence.
But before turning over the gear, the shop owner says he made a copy of the hard drive and later gave it to former Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert Costello.
Steve Bannon, former adviser to President Trump, told The Post about the existence of the hard drive in late September and Giuliani provided The Post with a copy of it on Sunday.
So the shop owner “later” gave the copy to Giuliani’s lawyer. When was “later”? Presumably after the impeachment and Senate trial; if Giuliani had this information and could authenticate it, he would have leaked it then to embarrass Democrats into ending that effort. Maybe he waited until September to pass it along, but that seems rather odd, given the political context of Joe Biden’s win in the primaries and the narrative-busting nature of this information. The timing of this seems pretty suspicious — it looks like a deliberate October surprise.
Meanwhile, where is the FBI in all of this? They had the laptop in December. If they authenticated it, why haven’t they acted on it, especially with the grand-jury subpoena? The FBI refused to confirm or deny that an investigation exists, as is their practice, but the long delay on any action could mean that they haven’t yet authenticated anything. It’s possible that this could be more game-playing by outside sources, especially since this just seems waaay too good to be true. Hunter Biden might be an idiot, but would even he leave a laptop at a repair center with the Burisma smoking gun on its hard drive? And not go back to get it when the repair center called? Or did someone manage to hack into Hunter’s files, retrieve some personal data, create the “smoking gun,” and then leave it all on a laptop with a Beau Biden Foundation sticker at a repair center while leaving the owner with an unpaid bill?
This might be entirely on the level, of course. There’s enough smoke around Joe Biden and the way his family members manage to get wealthy in areas where Biden takes policy interests to suspect multiple points of corruption fire. But until this gets some authentication, stay skeptical, or at least remember that things too good to be true usually aren’t.