A truism that came out of the Watergate scandal is that often the coverup is worse than the crime. But that is not the case in the unraveling Bidengate scandal. The alleged crime here is so bad that it is probably the worst ever committed by an American president.
Yet the coverup should be studied, too. It deserves superlatives for its longevity, inventiveness, and sheer audacity. The strategy has been simple: deny, deflect, destroy. Deny the facts. Deflect with distractions, and when all else fails, work tirelessly to destroy Trump, who was among the first to raise questions about the Biden family’s shady dealings. At Year 5, it may be the most successful coverup in modern history, especially since so many of the facts have been in plain sight for the entire time.
So what exactly is Bidengate? A decade-long influence-peddling scheme that saw Joe Biden, the former vice president, using his son Hunter as a conduit for millions of dollars in payoffs from foreign entities in Ukraine, China, and elsewhere in exchange for favorable treatment. The most famous instance of this scheme was the millions of dollars paid to Hunter Biden for his role as a board member of the corrupt Burisma energy company in Ukraine. Even Hunter acknowledged that his only qualification for being on the board was his last name.
Trading on one’s name to gain employment is not a crime in itself, but using your father’s public office to influence U.S. policy is definitely against the law – especially when the clout is used to protect your corrupt foreign employer.
That’s just what happened in March of 2016 when Vice President Biden threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S. aid to Ukraine if prosecutor general Viktor Shokin were not immediately fired. Biden even bragged about this escapade a few years later when he told the story to the Council on Foreign Relations.
It’s hard to know whether Biden’s threat to withhold aid was approved by the State Department or whether it was “on the fly” diplomacy, but we do know that Shokin has publicly stated that he was fired because he was investigating Burisma’s alleged corruption, and that after he was fired there was no further substantial investigation of Burisma. Quid pro quo.
Another famous mantra from the Watergate era is “Follow the money.” It almost makes you think Biden was taunting his accusers, quipping to a reporter on June 8, “Where’s the money?” when asked about allegations of corruption.
“That’s what we want to know,” the reporter should have demanded, but of course there was no follow-up question. There never is.
Biden’s cheeky response suggests he had reason to think that he could count on the source of any ill-gotten wealth being kept private. And he may have had good reason for that belief.
On July 20, a little more than a month after Biden asked “Where’s the money?”, Sen. Chuck Grassley released an unclassified FD-1023 FBI informant form alleging that Biden and his son Hunter had split a $10 million payment from Ukrainian oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky, the owner of Burisma. Among the many intriguing breadcrumbs in that document was the informant’s claim that the payment to the Bidens was so well disguised that it would take years to uncover:
Zlochevsky responded he did not send any funds directly to the “Big Guy” (which [the FBI source] understood was a reference to Joe Biden). [The source] asked Zlochevsky how many companies/bank accounts Zlochevsky controls; Zlochevsky responded it would take them (investigators) 10 years to find the records (i.e. illicit payments to Joe Biden).
So that’s one possible answer to Joe Biden’s taunt: “Where’s the money?” Perhaps it’s well-hidden.
There are so many flashing red warning lights in the Biden scandal that a casual observer would be forgiven for assuming he was in Amsterdam. Case in point: The FBI informant reported in his June 2020 statement that Zlochevsky had called Joe Biden the “Big Guy” in 2019. That’s the same gangster nickname that one of Hunter Biden’s business associates used to refer to Joe in an infamous email on the “Laptop from Hell” when discussing what percentage of capital equity was being held by Hunter for Joe in a Chinese investment scheme. The laptop was in FBI hands since December 2019, but the email in question wasn’t circulated in public until the New York Post published it on Oct. 15, 2020. The informant’s use of the phrase prior to that time is strong circumstantial evidence that the FBI’s trusted human source was indeed privy to confidential and damning information about Biden.
But what’s truly maddening about the Biden coverup is just how long it has lasted while more and more evidence has mounted. Recent congressional hearings unearthed a trove of detail about bank payments to Biden family members, and IRS whistleblowers have laid bare the protection racket that the FBI and DOJ have been running for the Bidens. Most of that is just confirmation of what we already knew.
Remember, the first time most Americans heard about the Bidens’ bribery schemes was in September 2019 when the transcript of a phone call between President Trump and then-new Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky was released. In it, Trump raised the issue of former Vice President Biden’s alleged corruption and asked Zelensky to cooperate with U.S. authorities by “looking into” rumors of criminal activity by the Bidens.
Imagine if Congress had opened an inquiry then into the question of Hunter Biden’s huge salary for sitting on the board of Burisma Energy, the company controlled by oligarch Zlochevsky. Hunter Biden might be in prison now, and his father would have retired to Delaware to live out his final years in shame.
Instead, Democrats in Congress put Trump on trial for daring to notice that which must not be named – the influence-peddling scheme run by Joe Biden and his kin. The impeachment was America’s crash course on Ukrainian corruption, but somehow the mainstream media missed the story and tried to convince the public that Biden was the victim. They hid the evidence then, just as they did last week when Hunter Biden’s sweetheart plea deal fell apart.
The Democrat-adjacent media seem to have a hard time understanding the case against Hunter Biden – and Joe Biden – even after five years. It’s not uncommon to hear cable news anchors lamenting that the Republicans are persecuting Joe and that they haven’t proven the president did anything wrong.
Either they don’t understand the meaning of the word proven, or they don’t understand our system of justice. It is not the job of Congress or reporters to prove anything, but rather to investigate and unearth evidence. For anyone who has eyes to see, there is a mountain of evidence against both Hunter and Joe Biden. But what we are still waiting for – what the nation is waiting for – is justice. To get that, we need a prosecutor who will present the evidence to a jury and ask for a verdict. Then and only then will the president’s guilt be proven or unproven.
How many more years do we have to wait?