No need to wait for the official announcement: Campaigns for the presidential election are already underway. Joe Biden is picking voters out of Donald Trump’s pocket, and the former president’s supporters are digging through Biden’s dirty laundry.
The political week in Washington was marked by two big moments: President Biden’s State of the Union address and a hearing of an influential House of Representatives committee.
Biden’s one hour and 13 minute speech to Congress will stand out for the protectionist policies he advocated and the populist tone he adopted in his confrontations with Republicans.
The Democratic president is confident that he will be successful in bringing working and middle class voters, who have been tempted by Trump, back to his camp. One passage, among many, could well have been in a speech by his predecessor: “My economic plan is about investing in places and people that have been forgotten … Amid the economic upheaval of the past four decades, too many people have been left behind or treated like they’re invisible.” Textbook Trump!
Aim for One Thing, Target Another
Alongside this, reeling from their newfound authority thanks to a slim midterm election victory, Republicans in the House of Representatives held their first hearing for an investigation of Hunter Biden, the president’s troubled son. The real target, of course, was the president himself.
In fact, the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability hearing held Twitter accountable for blocking a New York Post story on Hunter Biden’s laptop in October 2020. It goes without saying that Republicans in Congress live in paranoia that social media is scheming to censor conservative speech.
However, the real purpose of this first hearing was to bring to the surface the allegations in said New York Post newspaper article, inspired by the contents of Biden’s son’s laptop. A few days before the 2020 presidential election, after being left at a repair shop in Delaware, the device ended up in the hands of Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City, now a Trump supporter and consummate conspiracy theorist.
Embarrassing, Disturbing Even
There is nothing simple about Hunter Biden’s life. He lost his brother, Beau, whom he loved deeply, to brain cancer in 2015. Old substance abuse issues came back to haunt him. His marriage disintegrated. He dated prostitutes but also had a relationship for a time with his brother’s widow, a relationship that upset the entire Biden family.
All this, in various forms, was found on his laptop. So were details of his business dealings with Ukrainian and Chinese companies that earned him millions of dollars. Republicans claim that it was by exploiting his father’s name that Hunter became rich. More seriously, they argue that Joe Biden, while vice president, twisted U.S. foreign policy to favor his son. The Republicans have found a bone; they intend to gnaw on it.
Hunter and Joe, Conflicts of Interest?
• 53 years old
• Law degree from Yale University
• Youngest son of President Biden
Between 2014 and 2019,
• Hunter served on the board of Burisma, the largest gas company in Ukraine. He was reportedly paid $50,000 a month.
• At the same time, Joe Biden, as vice president, was overseeing U.S. policy toward the Ukrainian government.
• According to an email found on his laptop, a Burisma advisor thanked Hunter Biden for the invitation to meet with his father in Washington.
Between 2013 and 2016,
• Hunter served on the board of a Chinese private equity fund, BHR.
• BHR is backed by some of China’s largest state-owned banks.
• Throughout this period, his father, as vice president, made numerous trips to China.
• Another email, also allegedly from his laptop, suggests that he received $10 million from a Chinese billionaire for introducing him to people.
• An analysis by NBC News concludes that Hunter and his company pocketed about $11 million from his contracts in Ukraine and China between 2013 and 2019.