In one of the most stunning examples of phony “journalism” I’ve witnessed in my 47-year
career in the news business (I got my first byline in 1976) the New York Times ran this headline after yesterday’s House Oversight and Investigations Committee media briefing on their investigation into the Biden family’s influence peddling schemes:
Before moving on we should note for the record that congressional Democrats showed “no proof” that former President Trump “colluded” with Russians to steal the 2016 election, or do anything else, but New York Times and Washington Post reporters received Pulitzer Prizes for their “reporting” on the bogus story.
So, the New York Times’ “no proof” standard appears to apply to Republican investigations only – but we already knew that – so on to the facts presented in Wednesday’s media briefing by Chairman James Comer and other Republican members of the Committee.
The first proof of a crime is in the negative – none of the Bidens ever registered as a foreign agent. Failure to register as a foreign agent is one of the charges initially leveled against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and one to which he pled guilty.
So, failure to comply with a lawfully required duty to register as a foreign agent is, as a lawyer friend of mine is fond of saying, “a res ipsa” or the fact speaks for itself and is prima facia “proof” of the crime of failing to register as a foreign agent.
But we already know FARA only applies to Republicans, so on to the next obvious crime documented in the House Oversight and Investigations Committee report on the Biden family’s influence peddling schemes.
The second obvious crime is “structuring” with a possible addition of “smurfing.” There’s a good explanation of those two terms for non-lawyers available here.
The Bidens set up at least 20 different shell corporations, mostly Limited Liability Companies (LLC) through which millions of dollars flowed in payments deliberately divided into a series of smaller transactions with the specific aim of avoiding scrutiny from regulators and law enforcement officials.
These shell corporations produced nothing – their only asset was Joe Biden’s influence, first as a Senator, and then most spectacularly as Vice President and President.
“There’s not going to be anybody left for a Christmas picture if the [Department of Justice] did their job and went in there and indicted everyone that has any type of fingerprints involved in this influence-peddling scheme,” Comer told Fox News last month.
Now, here’s where “smurfing” or using a false payee to collect and pass through funds to avoid detection (or taxes) comes into the picture.
Practically every Biden who was out of diapers was getting paid or received episodic payments through these schemes, so were some tag-along associates like Rob Welker, who passed along about $1,065,000 to the Bidens, and there’s no evidence so far that any of them did any real work or produced anything of value to earn the payments.
Money for no demonstrable work is a classic hallmark of a smurfing operation, which begs the question of where was the next stop for the smurfed money?
We know Welker smurfed over $1 million for the Bidens. Smurfing “10% for the Big Guy” is one logical conclusion needing further investigation. Or maybe they are just very generous to their impecunious relatives and friends… oops gift tax reporting required and another prima facia crime if that’s the case.
So, “check” there’s proof of the crime of “structuring” or money laundering to avoid triggering financial transaction reporting requirements and evidence of a possible smurfing operation to pass money through straw payees to a third party, or at a minimum failure to file and pay taxes on cash gifts.
Next, we have evidence of the crime of influence peddling, which is the one that lands directly on Joe Biden.
Interestingly, 18 U.S. Code § 201 – the statute making bribery of public officials and witnesses a crime – doesn’t list the President or Vice President among the specific officials subject to the statute, but one may logically conclude they are covered by the term, “officer or employee or person acting for or on behalf of the United States.”
This statute is very broad and covers any act intended to influence a public official “directly or indirectly” which brings us to the various trips, meetings and phone calls Hunter Biden and others made in the company of Joe Biden.
Why was Hunter Biden on Joe Biden’s trip to Red China? Why was Hunter Biden on Joe Biden’s trip to Mexico? Why was Hunter Biden contracted to do what for a Romanian oligarch accused of corruption immediately after Barack Obama appointed Joe Biden to be the point man on corruption in Romania. Same question about Ukraine and Russia.
The answer is that Hunter was there to monetize the Biden name and in return the Red Chinese, the Romanian, Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs, and the Mexicans, expected Hunter to influence the “Big Guy” not to do any actual work – and the statute doesn’t demand a direct quid pro quo – it merely says influence “any official act.”
Clearly, Joe Biden threatening to withhold funds from Ukraine unless the Ukrainian government fired the prosecutor investigating Hunter’s no-show employer Burisma Holdings Limited was an official act – was it “influenced” by the fact that Hunter was getting $11 million from Burisma, or was it done out of the goodness of Joe’s heart and his deep knowledge of corruption in Ukraine?
It is pretty clear there was an understanding on the part of the Ukrainians what they were paying for and what they were supposed to be getting in return for their $11 million, because two months after Joe Biden left office Hunter Biden’s payments were cut in half.
You can read the news release summarizing the Committee’s findings to-date through this link, and the two memoranda on the evidence of the Biden family’s influence peddling operation here and here and then make up your own mind whether there’s any proof of the Biden family’s corruption in these reports.
Biden family businesses
House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer
Hunter Biden laptop
Biden family influence peddling
New York Post
Chinese energy company