“The Cold War is over,” Tony Bobulinski tells Tucker Carlson, expressing his frustration with allegations that he’s an instrument of Russian intelligence. Hunter Biden’s former business partner says all he really wants in coming forward are retractions from people who made those allegations, and a clear acknowledgment of the e-mails involving their deal-making in China and other countries.

If that’s truly what Bobulinski wants, then his interview with Tucker was a smashing success. As advertised, Bobulinski brought audio recordings of a couple of conversations and briefed the Fox News audience on the details of those deals. Bobulinski makes a clear case for plausibility, and in doing so indicts Adam Schiff and others of McCarthyism. That is a point well worth remembering, especially as the Senate takes testimony today from social-media platform leaders on how they choked this story in a coordinated effort to discredit Bobulinski.

If the idea was to sell the failed Sinohawk-CEFC China Energy proposal as an issue of official corruption, though, it still stumbles over the main obstacle … the year in which it took place:

Tony Bobulinski, a former business partner of Hunter Biden, on Tuesday described his two brief, face-to-face meetings with former Vice President Joe Biden in May 2017.

“There was no other reason for me to be in that bar meeting Joe Biden than to discuss what I was doing with his family’s name and the Chinese CEFC.” (CEFC is a Chinese company with ties to the communist government).

Bobulinski also said he “almost stood up and screamed ‘liar'” when former Vice President Joe Biden, at his Oct. 22 debate with President Trump, denied taking money from foreign countries; denied doing anything “unethical”; and acted like he knew nothing about his son Hunter making millions of dollars by using the Biden family name in China. …

Bobulinski said his second meeting with Joe Biden happened the following day, backstage at the investment conference where Joe Biden had just spoken.

“We joked around for 10 minutes, and then I walked him out to his car. I think they referenced he was off to see lieutenant governor,” Bobulinski said.

“There were ten people running around, getting him something to drink, and we were backstage in a cramped space and he asked me to walk with him out to the car. And he just asked, you know, how I did and what I thought of his speech. And I thought he did a great job in the speech … and then he just sort of asked me to keep an eye on his son and his brother.”

The problem with this reveal is pretty obvious. In 2017, Joe Biden was a private citizen, not Vice President. At that point, it wasn’t even clear that he’d run for office again, as Democrats obsessed over identity politics in the wake of their shocking loss to Donald Trump. If Joe wanted to help out his son and his brother by taking some meetings with investors, it wouldn’t have even been an ethical violation in May 2017. As long as Joe properly reported any income off of the deals he helped grease, there would be nothing out of the ordinary about this.

There are some threads with Hunter’s businesses that are worth tugging, but those involve activities while Biden was vice-president. The Air Force Two ride in 2013 to China that netted Hunter a large investment from a state-owned firm in China is one of those threads. Hunter’s work in Ukraine for big dollars despite not having any background in energy or in Ukraine while Joe conducted an intervention that may have benefited Hunter’s firm is another. And just how did $130 million in stimulus funding, supervised by Sheriff Joe himself, make its way into the coffers of firms connected to Hunter Biden anyway?

Those questions might mine real gold in terms of oppo-research bombs in the last days of a campaign. The Bobulinski deal, however, is a nothingburger in relation to Joe, except to suggest that Joe’s too friendly with China, and that’s a point that doesn’t even come up much in Bobulinski’s narrative. Did Beijing run CEFC China Energy as an attempt to penetrate Washington via the Bidens, and then bail out when Democrats unexpectedly lost the election? That might be an interesting hypothesis to pursue, but Joe’s flacking for fellow Bidens on a deal as a private citizen isn’t a story that will move the needle.

Here’s the full segment with Bobulinski. He comes across as very believable and mostly concerned about disposing of the nonsensical “Russian disinformation” claims from Adam Schiff and others. The Bidens, or at least Hunter and Jim, come across as greedy and grasping, looking to exploit Joe’s name for every last red cent they can grab. However, there’s nothing actually illegal about leveraging a family name, nor would it have been illegal for Joe to be part of it when he was out of office … even if it looks sleazy as hell. Which it does, of course.