If you stand on the Kansas & Oklahoma line railroad tracks in Scott City, Kansas and look east, you can see the train coming from Dighton, 23 miles away. Straight and flat all the way. Like a train coming, since before the 2016 election, the Biden family, and then-Vice President Biden were deeply involved in Ukrainian politics and business. Biden knew that these facts would play a role in his 2020 presidential campaign, and that he would have to answer some, umm, inconvenient questions.
Conveniently, stories about the Bidens and Ukraine were attributed to Russian intelligence, and poo-poohed by the media. Now to be clear, some of these wereRussian red herrings and propaganda. But the media, and the FBI, tended to dismissthe Biden stories while believing stories about Trump, like the Steele dossier.
Trump deeply damaged the impact of any Biden ties to Ukraine when he resorted to strong-arming newly-elected Volodymyr Zelenskyy, hoping for the Ukrainians to do his dirty work, in exchange for congressionally-approved aid that Trump had no legal right to withhold.
But the ties are there, and Biden has known Republicans would be gunning for him once he took office. On January 20, 2017, the Washington Post ran a headline “The campaign to impeach President Trump has begun.” After spending nearly four years fighting presumed-guilty headlines in the media, and investigations by the FBI regarding Trump’s ties to Russia, Trump’s loyalists were not going to forego revenge.
From the get-go, Biden and his staff knew that Speaker Kevin McCarthy would be forced to open an impeachment investigation. And here we are.
So what are the facts?
Biden did spent time in Ukraine, and was familiar with the political power structure there. Look at the photo above: Biden standing with the political elite in 2016 Ukraine.
Going through the people in the photo: On Biden’s left (where Biden is looking), Petro Poroshenko was a billionaire who became Ukraine’s president, where he presided over the Russian takeover in Crimea and control of the Donbas. He was also implicated in various scandals, created the National Anti-Corruption Bureau but then made it toothless when it came across illegal payments to Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, paid to lobby for former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. Poroshenko know how to play all the sides.
Once Zelenskyy became president of Ukraine in 2019, he quickly had his police raid Poroshenko’s party headquarters, and a gym he operated, where he was secretly recording clients—including lots of politicians and businessmen. Biden has, over the years, had many phone conversations with Poroshenko. Russian intelligence has tried to frame these as corruption.
Volodymyr Groysman stood to Biden’s right (left in the photo). He was Ukraine’s equivalent to Speaker of the House until 2019. Groysman stood staunchly against corruption and influence by Moscow. In Biden’s calls to both Groysman and Poroshenko, he praised Ukraine’s decision to unilaterally release 15 Russia-aligned prisoners. The final call was made on December 15, 2016, while the FBI was investigating then President-elect Trump as part of “Crossfire Hurricane.”
On Poroshenko’s left (far right in the photo), stood Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who was then prime minister. Yatsenyuk has always been a Ukrainian patriot. He now owns Kyiv-based Espreso TV, a media outlet that regularly documents Russian war crimes and offers opinions on everything from Elon Musk to Russian threats of escalation.
The Biden White House can’t claim their man didn’t have ties to Ukraine. They can’t claim Hunter didn’t have ties to Ukraine. They can’t claim Hunter didn’t have conversations and dinners with his father. All they can claim is that Biden’s pristine soul is as white as the driven snow, and it’s simply impossible that he would involve himself in such thuggery and corruption. That would be much too Trumpy, worthy of Republicans. They can also claim that there’s no smoking gun (unless one materializes).
But none of that matters, because it’s all about what people choose to believe and what they’re willing to suspend belief about.
Biden’s strategy is to feign the high road while wallowing in the mud below. The APreported the president’s public reaction:
“Look, I’ve got a job to do,” the president said later, away from the cameras, to a roomful of supporters at a reelection fundraiser in Virginia in his most extensive comments yet about the inquiry. “I get up every day — not a joke — not focusing on impeachment. I’ve got a job to do. I’ve got to deal with the issues that affect the American people every single solitary day.”
The AP report goes on to detail that the White House has assigned about two dozen staffers to the impeachment matter, who have been working since the midterms. “The White House impeachment playbook so far has been: Dismiss. Compartmentalize. Scold.”
And now Hunter Biden, whose gold-plated plea deal fell apart, has been indicted on federal gun charges. What happens to Hunter is merely incidental to the real show. We already know that there’s practically no chance Biden will be impeached and convicted. The FBI could find a briefcase filled with gold, accompanied by a personally signed note from Mykola Zlochevsky (head of Burisma), “A bribe for my eternal friend, Joe” and Democrats would still as one bloc vote against conviction.
The media would simply refuse to believe any story linking Biden to Hunter’s shady business dealings. It would have to be Russian disinformation, or Trumpist conspiratorial lies. And the thing is, it could be. In this world, the truth has to compete with lies, and there’s only one thread of truth, while there’s a whole loom weaving lies 24/7.
According to an AP/NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll, most adults (“voters”) have little confidence in the DOJ investigation.
The poll also found that just 19% of Americans are very or extremely confident that the Justice Department is handling its investigation in a fair and nonpartisan way. An additional 30% are somewhat confident, and 50% say they are not too confident or not at all confident.
That view is especially common among Republicans: 79% say they have little to no confidence in the fairness of the investigation. Even Democrats express mediocre levels of confidence: 33% are highly confident, 36% are somewhat confident and 29% have little confidence.
The big loser here is the validity of and trust in institutions like the FBI and the DOJ. And Congress, which can’t be trusted to flush its own toilet.
Biden knew this investigation was coming. The media saw it miles away, like a freight train on the prairie. The results are pre-ordained. No evidence will be found (because most of the people looking for it aren’t really looking, including Republicans in Congress, who would rather run against Biden than impeach him).
Perhaps new evidence will emerge, but we all know it won’t matter. It’s really tempting to turn to nihilism here and say nothing matters.
If you want my take, neither Trump nor Hunter Biden is going to prison and nobody is going to be removed from office. They’ll be free, and we’ll be the ones locked up, with our useless government serving as warden, guard, and stoolie.
Follow Steve on Twitter @stevengberman.
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