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At the end of the first year of the Biden administration, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain sought to end on a high mark, or at least higher, by retweeting a column saying 2021 was not not “all bad”. It was like bragging that a bad first date told you the night could have been worse.
However, what really stands out from Albert Hunt’s column is the main rationale: the first year went “without scandal“.
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Calling 2021 “scandal-free” is not just an example of blind comment, it is an exercise in willful blindness. This is why magicians often make spectators part of the illusion. Houdini didn’t make his 10,000 pound elephant Jennie disappear. It was there all the time, but the audience didn’t want to see it. This is the trick.
During his inauguration, President Joe Biden promised the return of good government, and newspapers like the Washington Post announced the end of Trump’s “scandal-ridden single term”. Now, at the end of the first year, readers are asked to “think back to four years ago: the Trump administration was more like ‘The Godfather’ – without the skills.”
There are many reasons for the White House and many media outlets to celebrate the absence of scandals in the Biden administration because it was a collective effort. Of course, four years ago the media was all in on the allegations of Russian collusion. The media continuously covered Steele’s case with little scrutiny or effort to find out who had funded it.
The case was later discredited and the US Secret Service warned that Russian Secret Service may have used it to sow disinformation. While the Clinton campaign has repeatedly denied funding for the case, it was revealed (after the election) that the Clinton campaign not only funded and pushed the case, but also allegedly lied to Congress, the media and to the FBI. Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta has reportedly denied such funding to congressional staff. According to reports, sitting next to him was Clinton’s attorney, Marc Elias (who was later found to have funded the case through the Clinton campaign legal account).
The only thing more impressive than the relentless coverage of the Trump scandals in 2017 was the relentless avoidance of the Biden scandals in 2020. The media have given the host fleeting coverage of false allegations and Biden stories that range from saying he was “arrested trying to see Nelson Mandela” at his evolution Amtrak claims to be reinventing its positions on foreign wars like Afghanistan. There have also been federal violations by Biden officials and allegations of inappropriate presidential influence over ongoing investigations. However, when it came to really scandalous things, the media didn’t care at all.
Consider just three of the Voldemort scandals of 2020, or those scandals that should not be named by the media:
The Hunter Biden Laptop
The successful effort to bury the Hunter Biden story is the greatest political achievement in modern politics, but it took a concerted effort on the part of journalists and columnists in Washington. What was most impressive was that the Biden campaign and the family never denied that the laptop was genuine. The laptop details Hunter Biden’s potential criminal acts, from heavy drug use and hiring prostitutes to alleged financial and tax violations.
It also included his admission that previous files were likely in the hands of foreign intelligence services to blackmail him and his father. There is also the “red flag” gun controversy involving Hunter Biden. Not only did social media companies withhold references to the laptop, but the media continued to steadfastly refuse to prosecute these potential criminal acts. The laptop was seized by the FBI as part of an ongoing federal investigation into possible tax and financial crimes.
Biden family influence peddling
Influence peddling has long been associated with the Biden family, but has only been reported sparingly, even though President Biden’s two brothers, Frank and James, are accused of openly peddling their ties to him. Hunter’s laptop computer added evidence from hundreds of emails about the transactions of Hunter Biden, his uncle James Biden, and Joe Biden. The emails amplify earlier claims that the Biden family engaged in overt influence peddling when Joe Biden was vice president with an assortment of prominent figures and foreign countries. Some of these transactions continued under Biden’s presidency.
Hunter Biden admits he was a desperate drug addict during his father’s presidential campaign. However, these foreign figures continued to give Hunter millions, and Hunter openly attended their meetings with his father and made connections with administration officials. One of the key figures in these deals claimed that he personally met Joe Biden to discuss the deals.
These meetings and dinners directly contradict the denials of President Biden, who is mentioned extensively in emails regarding payments and meetings as “the big guy”, “Celtic” and other names. President Biden appears to have had bills paid from these accounts and his shared card may have been used in some of the more questionable transactions. Some transactions have direct implications for the national security of the United States. Despite the ongoing federal investigation, no special counsel has been requested, even though President Biden is referenced and potentially involved in some of these deals. Nonetheless, Hunter continues to amass dough through other means, including art contracts that have been exposed as ethically corrupt.
Ashley Biden’s Diary
The latest scandal involves the other first child, Ashley Biden. Like her brother Hunter, Ashley struggled with addiction and left her journal with clothes at a home in Delray, Florida. The newspaper was then sent to Project Veritas, a conservative publication which decided not to release the information. The contents of the diary, however, were reported on other sites, including allegations against her father involving “inappropriate” contact.
As with the Hunter Biden laptop, the Biden family have not denied the authenticity of the diary or the underlying passages. He also did not sue other conservative sites for libel by posting what they claimed were passages from the newspaper. Instead, the family’s lawyers have asked the Justice Department to deal with the case of a missing newspaper. The response from the Department of Justice was so overwhelming that you would have thought they were investigating Lindbergh’s baby kidnapping rather than Ashley’s diary. He raided journalists and seized confidential documents across the country.
The media were not interested in using the FBI to launch a national investigation into the missing newspaper. Indeed, the search of a conservative publisher’s home was barely noticed even though the New York Times could also have been searched for the same reasons as Project Veritas. The Times acquired confidential and presumably stolen legal documents from Project Veritas and, unlike Project Veritas, published the presumably stolen information. However, Biden’s Justice Department was only interested in cracking down on the acquisition or coverage of Ashley Biden’s journal.
As you review these scandals, ask yourself what the media would have done with an Ivanka Trump newspaper with these allegations or foreign influence peddling by the Trump children. You don’t have to wonder.
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They covered every possible source of foreign influence, from hotel rentals to loans, in exhaustive detail, including the “influence peddling” of the Trump children. I thought the interest and coverage was justified. However, when hundreds of emails and transactions have shown gross influence peddling by the Biden family (including President Biden’s involvement), neither the media nor members of Congress have could be disturbed. There would be no “scandalous single term” for President Biden.
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Let the media (and Ron Klain) say the Biden administration “without scandal” is akin to the NFL which once denied traumatic brain injury was rampant in football. If there is no cover, there is no scandal. It is certainly an accomplishment worth celebrating, but hardly worth celebrating.
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