A lot of information has surfaced about the latest Trump/Fox/Giuliani “scandal” over Hunter Biden’s emails since the original New York Post story – and none of it is good for Donald Trump.
On Wednesday, when the Post broke this “October surprise,” I noted that the bombshell purportedly showing Hunter had arranged a meeting between his father and Vadym Pozharskyi, a top adviser to Burisma, the Ukrainian company on whose board Hunter Biden sat, didn’t actually show such a meeting had occurred. The Biden campaign has said Biden's official schedule shows no such meeting occurred. Politico reports that the Biden camp acknowledges that it’s possible some informal meeting occurred but it would have been cursory. Top Biden advisers have concurred:
[S]enior Biden advisers who spoke to POLITICO on Wednesday — including Michael Carpenter and Amos Hochstein, who staffed the vice president at the time — similarly said that while there was never an official meeting, it's technically conceivable that Pozharskyi would have approached Biden on the sidelines of some broader U.S.-Ukraine event. But they emphasized that they have no indication that happened, and that they had never heard of Pozharskyi before.
Meanwhile, we’ve gotten a look at the guy who supposedly found the emails, avid Trumper John Paul Mac Isaac, after a 52-minute Q&A session that a group of journalists, including one from The Daily Beast took part in. Let’s just say he doesn’t have the kind of credibility you'd want when claiming you've found a smoking gun. Remember, Mac Isaac supposedly hacked into a computer he assumed (but didn’t actually know) belonged to Hunter Biden, made a copy of its contents before turning it over to the FBI and gave the (possibly illegal) copy to a Rudy Giuliani associate, who gave it to the New York Post.
From The Daily Beast:
Mac Isaac said he had a medical condition that prevented him from actually seeing who dropped off the laptop but that he believed it to be Hunter Biden’s because of a sticker related to the Beau Biden Foundation that was on it. He said that Hunter Biden actually dropped off three laptops for repair, an abundance of hardware that he chalked up to the Biden son being “rich.”
Throughout the interview, Mac Isaac switched back and forth from saying he reached out to law enforcement after viewing the files in the laptop to saying that it was actually the Federal Bureau of Investigation that contacted him.
Mac Isaac refused to answer specific questions about whether he had been in contact with Rudy Giuliani before the laptop drop-off or at any other time before the Post article’s publication. Pressed on his relationship with Giuliani, he replied: “When you’re afraid and you don’t know anything about the depth of the waters that you’re in, you want to find a lifeguard.”
Seeming to realize he’d said too much, he added: “Ah, shit.”
Media Matters points out that although the laptop was reportedly dropped off to Mac Isaac in April, 2019, Hunter Biden has been living in Los Angeles since early 2018.
But wait, there’s more.
Steve Bannon’s Chinese allies may be involved, too. According to The Post, it was Bannon who told the paper about the hard drive, in late September, but Giuliani provided the copy of the hard drive to The Post on Sunday.
The Daily Beast has this today:
Weeks before the New York Post began publishing what it claimed were the contents of Hunter Biden’s hard drive, a Sept. 25 segment on a YouTube channel run by a Chinese dissident streamer, who is linked to billionaire and Steve Bannon-backer Guo Wengui, broadcast a bizarre conspiracy theory. According to the streamer, Chinese politburo officials had “sent three hard disks of evidence” to the Justice Department and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi containing damaging information about Joe Biden as well as the origins of the coronavirus in a bid to undermine the rule of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Three days later, a Twitter account linked to Guo and Bannon’s Himalaya movement subsequently amplified an edited clip of the segment alongside the pledge of a “Bombshell… 3 hard disk drives of videos and dossiers of Hunter Biden’s connections with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) have been sent to Nancy Pelosi and DOJ. Big money and sex scandal!”
Many of the claims made in the September video are absurd on their face. And the video leaves it unclear whether Guo and his media empire had foreknowledge of the Post’s impending story or whether their endless conspiracy theorizing simply handed them a lucky coincidence that only looks prescient in hindsight. But this wasn’t the first time that Guo’s media empire reinforced narratives that aligned with Team Trump’s. Guo’s outlets repeatedly pushed various debunked conspiracy theories about the origins of the coronavirus as either a Chinese lab accident or an intentional bioweapon.
And then there’s Giuliani’s connection to sources of Russian-connected purveyors of disinformation. Media Matters does a nice job of documenting that, including the fact that Fox News’ own “Brain Room” warned colleagues to be wary of his claims.
On Wednesday, when the Post broke this “October surprise,” I wrote:
The coronavirus is spiking and millions of Americans face hunger and eviction, it’s hard for me to see how Joe Biden’s son ostensibly arranging a meeting with his father and a foreign company five and a half years ago is going to capture the imagination of the public. But even so, the facts are very suspicious.
Since then, Trump’s poll numbers have not improved, though the election is far from over.
But without much else to sell viewers on Trump, Fox is still all in.
(Giuliani image via screen grab)
CORRECTION: I mistakenly referred to Hunter Biden as Beau Biden in two places in this piece.
Seems obvious that the bogus laptop in question has been stuffed with ACTUAL Hunter emails and pictures copied and hacked from his legitimate accounts. Yet another Keystone Kops Krime to be investigated when legitimacy is returned to America on January 20.
So now we have frantic headlines galore about how awful it is that Twitter and Facebook are not allowing blatant falsehoods to be cited right before an election. We have frantic “whataboutism” regarding this hoax versus the Trump tax papers – except that the tax papers have been confirmed as real and this story is an obvious fabrication.
I’m honestly uncertain which is the stranger approach for angry Right Wingers at this time – pushing desperate fantasies like this one, or pushing desperate fantasies about how Trump is supposedly going to win in a massive landslide in 2 1/2 weeks.
By the way, don’t look now, but I’m ready to wager that Fox News and angry Right Wingers everywhere are going to jump up and down about Tara Reade one week before Election Day, which is when her frantically published tell-all book is going to be inflicted on the public.