Meet the Bidens – The Wall Street Journal

Then-vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden in 2010.

Photo: jonathan ernst/Reuters

What kind of meetings can a Chinese tycoon buy for $10 million a year? A full seven days after the New York Post began publishing emails showing Biden family influence peddling, former Vice President Joe Biden still isn’t saying the emails are fake. But Mr. Biden did finally have to discuss his family business on Tuesday, thanks to Milwaukee television reporter Adrienne Pedersen of ABC affiliate WISN.

Ms. Pederson asked if there is “any legitimacy” to the statement by Sen. Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) that the former vice president’s son and other family members profited off the Biden name. “None whatsoever,” Joe Biden responded, and said it was part of a “last ditch effort in this desperate campaign to smear me and my family.”

If Mr. Biden wants to argue that none of the millions of dollars collected from various overseas tycoons or their companies had anything to do with his name, then he’s making an argument that not even his son Hunter Biden was willing to make in 2019. National Review’s Mairead McArdle reminds:

Joe Biden denied that his family has profited from his public offices, appearing to contradict a statement his son Hunter Biden made last year in which he said he thinks he would “probably not” have been asked to be on the board of a Ukrainian energy company if he were not Biden’s son.

The Post’s Thursday follow-up to its earlier email scoop has made it much harder to believe the current argument from Joe Biden.

As the Post reported, a 2017 Hunter Biden email “involved a deal he struck with the since-vanished chairman of CEFC, Ye Jianming, for half-ownership of a holding company that was expected to provide Biden with more than $10 million a year.” According to the Post’s Emma-Jo Morris and Gabrielle Fonrouge:

Ye, who had ties to the Chinese military and intelligence service, hasn’t been seen since being taken into custody by Chinese authorities in early 2018, and CEFC went bankrupt earlier this year, according to reports.

Biden wrote that Ye had sweetened the terms of an earlier, three-year consulting contract with CEFC that was to pay him $10 million annually “for introductions alone.”

Perhaps at some point the Bidens will choose to offer an explanation. In the meantime, a reasonable person would conclude from this report that the buyer willing to spend this mind-boggling sum was not seeking introductions to former acting assistant agency deputies. And having been introduced, it’s reasonable to assume such a buyer was seeking much more than a pleasant greeting.

Team Biden and much of the press corps would prefer not to have to acknowledge the Post reporting. This morning Biden scoops co-author Ms. Morris tweeted via her personal account about her newspaper and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey:

7 days have passed since the Post published the first story in our Hunter Biden laptop exposé. We still cannot access @nypost Twitter account, despite @jack‘s apology.

If Biden allies in politics and the media decide they can no longer sustain a blackout or credibly claim the emails aren’t real, they may choose to begin arguing that the content of the emails is not that big a deal and proves nothing.

Readers should be especially skeptical of traditional and new media outlets that now attempt to explain that they locked arms to resist a story that actually didn’t matter at all. Particular skepticism should be reserved for those who claimed the report was a Russian disinformation attack but who now may ask us to believe that it was actually an attack devised to expose trivial business communications.

If the emails seemed explosive enough to warrant extreme reactions, even censorship, can anyone pretend they aren’t significant?

What was Ye Jianming expecting to receive in return for $10 million a year?

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Mr. Freeman is the co-author of “The Cost: Trump, China and American Revival.”

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Mr. Freeman is also the co-author of “Borrowed Time.”

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