Wednesday, May 10, 2023


Yesterday, a jury declared that Donald Trump had sexually abused and defamed E. Jean Carroll, awarding her $5 million in damages. Also yesterday, it was reported that Congressman George Santos was about to be indicted on federal charges; this morning, he surrendered to authorities and was charged with 13 counts of money laundering, theft of public funds, and lying on federal disclosure forms.

Oh, and Trump will do a CNN town hall tonight, at which the Carroll verdict is likely to be discussed at length.

Under these circumstances, if you were a Republican and the head of the House Oversight Committee, and you'd been telling people for days that this morning you'd hold a press conference to discuss all sorts of skeezy things the Biden family has allegedly done, the sole purpose of which would be to embarrass the president, wouldn't you consider postponing that press conference to a time when it might get a little more public attention?

James Comer and his fellow Oversight Committee members just plowed ahead, and while their press conference is, naturally, the lead story on the Fox News and New Yok Post sites, no one else cares. Okay, CNN cares -- a little. Here's CNN's story:
House Oversight Chairman James Comer laid out new details to support allegations that members of Joe Biden’s family including his son Hunter received millions of dollars in payments from foreign entities in China and Romania including when Biden was vice president....
... the committee does not suggest any illegality about the payments from foreign sources. The bank records by themselves also do not indicate the purpose of the payments that were made.

... Comer has suggested that Biden may have been improperly influenced by the financial dealings, particularly by his family’s foreign business partners, but the latest report does not show any payments made directly to Joe Biden, either as vice president or after leaving office.
Among the committee's allegations, according to Fox:
... the committee said it discovered that Hunter Biden, through his associate Rob Walker, received more than $1 million from a foreign company reportedly controlled by Gabriel Popoviciu, the subject of a criminal probe and prosecution for corruption in Romania.
But as The New York Times reported in 2019, Rudy Giuliani
participated in an effort that would have helped [Popoviciu], and was in fact recruited to do so by Louis J. Freeh, a former F.B.I. director who had been brought onto the matter by Hunter Biden.
A 2018 Times story was headlined "Giuliani Criticizes Crackdown on Corruption in Romania."
... Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, has waded into the debate on the side of the accused, sending a letter to Romania’s president, Klaus Iohannis, criticizing the country’s anticorruption efforts.

The letter, dated Aug. 22, expressed concern about the “continuing damage to the rule of law being done under the guise of effective law enforcement” in Romania — a position that seemed at odds with official United States policy.

Mr. Giuliani wrote that an amnesty should be given to those who had been convicted in the crackdown, citing the “excesses” of the country’s anticorruption agency.
Hunter Biden -- like Rudy Giuliani -- appears to be an influence peddler. But I don't see any evidence that Joe Biden pocketed any money or moved to alter any government policies on the basis of what his son said or did.

Today's press conference apparently didn't even mention the "Biden crime family finances global prostitution ring!!1!!!" allegations that have been sending tingles up right-wingers' legs recently. These allegations came up in yesterday's Times profile of Congresswoman Nancy Mace, which linked to this tweet:

Senator Ron Johnson has been worked up about this, too:

But no, Joe Biden isn't the head of a global prostitution operation. Even the New York Post, in a story published last year about Hunter's reported "dalliances with a Russia-linked escort ring," said that Joe Biden "inadvertently financed" the sexual encounters.

I'm sure I speak for many Democrats when I say that Hunter Biden has probably done quite a few unsavory and probably illegal things, but Joe Biden appears to have done nothing worse than support his son emotionally and financially, with some of the cash likely to have been spent in very dubious ways. If Hunter is indicted, it's probably for a good reason. It still won't prevent me from voting for Joe.

Today's House GOP press conference will be completely ignored by most Americans. Either Comer and his cronies don't understand that the rest of us aren't obsessed with Hunter Biden or they just want to preach to the right-wing choir. If they were interested only in reaching other people in their bubble, they probably succeeded. If they wanted to try getting the rest of us to care, they should have waited a few days.

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