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It is hardly vindication of The Post’s flawless reporting on the Hunter Biden laptop that 17 months late, the New York Times has admitted the laptop is real.
It is an indictment of the Times and a betrayal of their readers who were kept in the dark about the true nature of Joe Biden before the 2020 election. But now that we are all on the same page, there are some serious questions the administration needs to answer, which go to America’s national security at a time of international peril.
President Biden’s press secretary, Jen Psaki, refused to answer The Post’s White House reporter, Steven Nelson, when he had the rare opportunity to ask her two of those questions last week.
Psaki’s excuse was that Hunter Biden “doesn’t work in the government.”
But she wasn’t being asked about Hunter. She was being asked about her boss, the president.
“How is President Biden navigating conflicts of interest when it comes to sanctioning people who have done business with his family?” asked Nelson. “What would be his conflicts of interest?” Psaki coolly replied.
Well, just for starters, Russian oligarch Yelena Baturina, who paid $3.5 million into a bank account associated with Hunter and his business partner Devon Archer, was not sanctioned along with other oligarchs allied with President Vladimir Putin this month.
Why not? Was it an oversight? A favor?
It’s a serious question that deserves a serious answer.
Baturina wired $3.5 million on Feb. 14, 2014, to Rosemont Seneca Thornton, a consortium formed between Rosemont Seneca — the firm co-founded by Hunter, Archer and Chris Heinz — and the Thornton Group.
Baturina’s wires were flagged in “suspicious activity reports” provided by the Treasury Department to a Senate Republican inquiry by the Finance and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committees.
Hunter’s lawyer has denied Hunter profited from the transaction, telling CNN: “The claim that he was paid $3.5 million is false.”
So who received the $3.5 million and did they pay tax on it?
Seven weeks after Baturina’s wire transfer, Hunter and Archer flew to Lake Como, Italy, and had a meeting with her at Villa d’Este, a favorite haunt of Russian oligarchs.
A year later, in April 2015, Baturina and her husband, the former corrupt mayor of Moscow and political ally of Putin, Yury Luzhkov, would appear on a guest list Hunter prepared for a dinner at Washington’s Cafe Milano where his father, then VP, would meet with his son’s overseas business partners from Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.
After The Post published details of that dinner last year, the White House quietly admitted to a Washington Post fact-checker that Biden did attend the dinner, but only briefly.
That’s a pretty important admission, because during the election campaign, Biden repeatedly denied meeting Hunter’s overseas business partners. Specifically, he denied meeting Hunter’s Ukrainian paymaster, Vadym Pozharskyi, who also was invited to the dinner.
Pozharskyi was an executive of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, owned by Russia-aligned oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky, who was paying Hunter $83,333 a month.
“Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together,” Pozharskyi wrote in an email to Hunter on April 17, 2015, two days after the dinner.
That email, found on Hunter’s abandoned laptop, was the basis of the bombshell story The Post published three weeks before the 2020 election.
It was that email that 51 former intelligence officials declared without evidence, in a partisan letter issued five days after The Post’s story, had all the “hallmarks” of Russian disinformation.
Biden used that letter from the Dirty 51 to get off the hook in an election-eve debate against President Donald Trump. He called The Post’s reporting a “bunch of garbage” and the laptop a “Russian plant.”
Nelson’s second question to Psaki last week was about China.
“My question about the conflict of interest when it comes to China is, last year the first son’s attorney said that he divested from a Chinese investment fund controlled by Chinese state-owned entities … Did he actually divest and can you —”
Psaki cut him off.
“He’s a private citizen. He doesn’t work for the government, I point you to his representatives,” she said curtly.
“I think we’re done here.”
Not so fast, lady.
If the president’s son is in business with the government of Communist China, that is not a private matter, but a matter of urgent public interest.
She told us last year that Hunter was in the process of divesting his 10% share of the Chinese investment firm BHR Partners, which is co-owned by the Bank of China and has $2.4 billion of funds under management.
Last November, Hunter’s lawyer told the Times he no longer owns a share of BHR.
But, according to online records of the Chinese business registry Baidu, as of Wednesday, Hunter’s company Skaneateles LLC continues to hold a 10% stake in BHR. Hunter is still named on corporate records as sole governor of Skaneateles, although the company is listed as “revoked” on the website of the Washington, DC, Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. That is because a $300 “reinstatement fee” has not been paid, the Washington Examiner reported this month.
Clearly, if Hunter retains his shareholding, that should be disclosed.
The same media organs that ignored and traduced The Post’s laptop reporting still show no curiosity about the tens of millions of dollars that the Biden family has collected from oligarchs in Russia, Ukraine and China.
The Times didn’t need to rely on the laptop to do basic journalism on this scheme. They could have asked Tony Bobulinski, Hunter’s former business partner, who made himself available to the media before the 2020 election. He gave the FBI emails, documents and WhatsApp messages that corroborate and augment material on the laptop.
In addition, the Grassley-Johnson inquiry provided an official money trail from overseas interests to bank accounts associated with the Bidens and their partners.
The refusal of the Times and the rest of the media to cover this story amounted to election interference.
Polls show that about 10% of Biden voters would have changed their vote if they had known about the scandal. That would have had a material effect on the result. Which, of course, was the point.