Donald Trump, a guy whose entire family lives off his name, is trying to gin up a scandal because Hunter Biden monetized his own father's name. That's it, that's the tweet.

Or really, that's the entire stupid, last minute, Hail Mary pass from Team Trump. Half a mile from the White House is a Trump-branded hotel where foreign governments, lobbyists, and corporate entities slip millions of dollars directly into the president's pocket every year. But Donald Trump wants to make hay out of Hunter Biden trying — and mostly failing — to cash in on his connections. And he's doing it with the aid of not one, not two, but three Rupert Murdoch-owned media outlets, because those are the only ones who'll touch this shit with a 10-foot pole.

And now we have to learn about some asshole named Tony Bobulinski!

This year SUUUUUUUUUUUUCKS.


Okay, fine. Let's start with "Hunter Biden's" laptop, which was supposedly abandoned at a repair shop in Delaware in April 2019. This week we learned from Time that back in September 2019, someone in Ukraine was trying to sell the same set of images and texts supposedly found on Hunter Biden's hard drive for $5 million. Why, yes, that is when Rudy Giuliani was traveling around Ukraine trying to gin up dirt on Trump's electoral rival!

Over at Salon, Roger Sollenberger reports that Giuliani was approached in May with a trove of Hunter Biden's texts and emails, but passed on them because it seemed too sketchy.

It certainly looks like some portion of the data is genuine, likely the product of a phone hack. (Who uses their laptop to text?) And it's been floating around for upwards of a year.

Wikileaks is out of commission as a cutout to selectively leak real or doctored versions of hacked data into the public domain, but then AMAZINGLY, it just turns up on a laptop in some random computer repair shop in Delaware. Lucky break for Rudy and his team, huh?

Assuming the New York Post screenshot of a subpoena is genuine, the FBI took possession of the data in December of 2019, since which time it has done exactly nothing with it. Because there's nothing illegal about Hunter Biden being a sleaze with a drug problem.

But let's note that Rudy's Eastern European peregrinations were picked up by US intelligence agencies trying to combat foreign election interference, and those same agencies have been working hand-in-glove with social media companies this cycle. Is it a coincidence that Twitter and Facebook both immediately tripped the breaker on this story to limit its spread? Maybe. Or maybe not.

Increasingly desperate to make something stick to Joe Biden, Rudy Giuliani and Steve Bannon are currently tucking their shirts in all over "Hunter Biden's" hard drive. NBC has a terrific deep dive into how this story worked its way up through the feverswamp into Pizzagate-style allegations of child pornography. And for her pains, reporter Brandy Zadrozny found herself with a giant target painted on her back courtesy of Tucker Carlson. Ain't he a peach?

Because Rupert Murdoch's entire army has laid down on that bed with Rudy and joined the circle "tuck," with the New York Post playing the role of cutout, allowing Fox News to pass up the original story, then devote a thousand hours to reporting on the Post's reporting. Which in turn allowed the Wall Street Journal to launder it up from Fox to its own opinion page. It's the circle of li-i-ife!

Which brings us to Tony Bobulinski. Back in 2017, Boba Fett was part of a group trying to get a deal going with Chinese oil company CEFC China Energy Co. Bobble Head produced a series of texts in which Hunter Biden allegedly acknowledged that his family name was the main lure for the project.

Whoa if true! And also, not illegal.

Anyway, the deal fell through and no money ever changed hands. But later, Hunter Biden went into business himself with CEFC, and Bubble Tea was PISSED.

Yesterday Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo put out a statement in the New York Post saying that Joe Biden was a silent partner in the CEFC deal and that Hunter always discussed his business dealings with his father. At a press conference yesterday, the Bluetick Coonhound produced three old cellphones as proof. No, you cannot examine Borat's cellphones; you just have to take it on faith.

Biden has flatly denied Bhagavad Gita's allegations, and pointed to the 22 years of tax returns he's released as proof that he never had a penny of foreign income.

Nevertheless, diehard winger Kimberly Strassel has happily treated Bob's Burgers's allegations as gospel truth on the Wall Street Journal's Opinion page. Even as she admitted that Biden was out of office by 2017 and entitled to enter into business with anyone he liked, she tut-tuts that "CEFC was always a suspicious company with ties to a rival government. It would have a been risky for any public figure to deal with it, much less a potential presidential candidate." She has no tuts to give over Donald Trump's myriad connections to the Chinese government, including renting three floors of Trump Tower in Manhattan to a state-owned bank and continuing negotiations for a Trump development in China well into 2016. Plus the Chinese bank account and the taxes he paid to the Chinese government, and the dozens of Chinese trademarks awarded to Ivanka Trump when she was theoretically working for the people as a senior White House aide.

There's also the minor detail that Joe Biden was never involved in a deal with CEFC, and there's no proof that he ever even knew about his son's business negotiations. All of which is confirmed by the Journal's news side, which published a piece noting that "Corporate records reviewed by The Wall Street Journal show no role for Joe Biden," and that "Text messages and emails related to the venture that were provided to the Journal by Mr. Bobulinski, mainly from the spring and summer of 2017, don't show either Hunter Biden or James Biden discussing a role for Joe Biden in the venture."

The authors of the piece, Andrew Duehren and James T. Areddy, also add in a few more details that Strassel omitted from her piece, although she had access to exactly the same set of documents they did.

Here's a statement from another partner on the proposed CEFC deal, James Gilliar:

I would like to clear up any speculation that former Vice President Biden was involved with the 2017 discussions about our potential business structure. I am unaware of any involvement at anytime of the former Vice President. The activity in question never delivered any project revenue.

And although Strassel updates her piece after the debate with "Mr. Biden was given ample opportunity to deny the authenticity or facts of the Bobulinski information at Thursday's debate; he didn't," she neglects to address her own newspaper's news side story completely debunking her own. Nor does she mention that Biden's spokesman Andrew Bates categorically denied Benihana's allegations, saying, "Joe Biden has never even considered being involved in business with his family, nor in any overseas business whatsoever. He has never held stock in any such business arrangements nor has any family member or any other person ever held stock for him."

Probably an oversight by Kim Strassel, whose journalistic integrity is beyond question. AHEM.

All of which is part of an ongoing battle between the news and editorial sides at the Journal, where opinion writers regularly publish statements contradicted by the paper's own, fact-based reporting. Because, forget this dumb Hunter Biden shit — the issue of WHAT IS NEWS is the real, enduring legacy of this idiotic saga capping off a truly idiotic presidency.

This isn't story about Mr. Bubble or whatever that guy's name is appearing as Trump's guest at a presser before last night's debate. It's about how the media ecosystem deals with literal FAKE NEWS being weaponized to pervert our political processes. And it turns out we have learned something from the 2016 disaster when Bannon and Giuliani's bullshit about the Clinton Foundation and her Buttery Males was treated by the news side as worthy of coverage as if it might be true. Which it very clearly wasn't.

Trump's efforts to make The Blob a thing failed. No one knows who that guy is, the social media platforms signaled hard that the story was bullshit, and outside of the wingnuttosphere, it hasn't penetrated. They tried to October Surprise us, and it didn't work.

We don't have to forget all about Barney Rubble, because we never bothered to learn his name in the first place. The dam held.

ELEVEN DAYS.

[WSJ]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.

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