Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward

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Rudy’s questionable Hunter Biden emails from a questionable source

Jonathan Chait writes:

Rudy Giuliani has spent at least two years attempting to find some kind of Ukrainian dirt that can be used to discredit Joe Biden. Now he has unveiled his October surprise: emails, or images of what purport to be emails, between Hunter Biden and Burisma officials.

The conservative New York Post has a credulous account of how Rudy came across these emails. The Post claims somebody brought the computer to a repair shop in Delaware, but then never bothered to pay for the repair. The shop owner saw that the computer had a sticker for the Beau Biden Foundation. But instead of returning the computer to the Biden family, he made a copy of the hard drive and gave it to Rudy Giuliani’s lawyer, before turning it over to the FBI.

Before we consider the plausibility of that story, the substance is worth briefly addressing. The emails, if they are legitimate, show once again that Hunter Biden was trying to gain influence for Burisma, the Ukrainian energy firm that hired him, in an obvious ploy to gain an entry into Joe Biden’s inner circle.

The primary lie in the Post’s account is the claim that Burisma was being investigated by the Ukrainian prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who Biden demanded be fired. If that were true, it would suggest a quid pro quo: Burisma hires Biden’s son Hunter, Biden demands firing of prosecutor investigating Burisma. The Post, echoing the Trump campaign’s disinformation, claims “Biden later bragged about forcing Ukrainian officials to fire a state prosecutor who was investigating Burisma.”

In fact, though, Shokin was not investigating Burisma. Shokin was considered corrupt and ineffectual, and Biden and the entire democratic world wanted him gone precisely because he was not probing corruption. “Shokin was not investigating. He didn’t want to investigate Burisma,” Daria Kaleniuk, executive director of the Ukrainian Anti-Corruption Action Center, told the Washington Post in July. “And Shokin was fired not because he wanted to do that investigation, but quite to the contrary, because he failed that investigation.” Kaleniuk also told Radio-Free Europe/Radio Liberty last year that Shokin “dumped important criminal investigations on corruption associated with [former President Viktor] Yanukovych, including the Burisma case.”

Was Burisma paying Hunter Biden in an attempt to influence his father? Yes. Did Hunter deliver that influence? No. Biden did the opposite of what Burisma wanted. [Continue reading…]

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