It is almost as if the New Yorker prepared for this moment.
In early July of 2019, just more than two months after former Vice President Joe Biden kicked off his campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, the magazine published a more than 10,000 word piece attempting to whitewash misconduct by the candidate’s troubled son, Hunter.
The article chronicled Hunter Biden’s upbringing, a senator’s son as a sympathetic figure who has struggled with heartbreak and addiction while, unlike many children of prominent politicians, still had to work part-time jobs in college to make ends meet. Most striking about the New Yorker essay however, was its explicit attempts to get ahead of a news cycle prophesied by the eventual Democratic nominee’s son himself.
Here is the fourth paragraph of the feature-length profile:
Donald J. Trump and some of his allies, in their eagerness to undermine Biden’s candidacy, and possibly to deflect attention from their own ethical lapses, have gone to extreme lengths, promoting, without evidence, the dubious narrative that Biden used the office of the Vice President to advance and protect his son’s interests.
Later, the piece continued to forecast what the next few months would look like, which would also ultimately feature Democrats going nuclear – all the way to a six-month impeachment trial while the coronavirus brewed overseas – to deter any real investigation of Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings. Democrats would even charge a Senate investigation launched in 2017 by Republican Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Chuck Grassley of Iowa as Russian interference, a favorite and increasingly familiar line of attack based on nothing more than a political motivation to merely link “Russia” with “Republican” in the same sentence. After all, a considerable population remains absolutely convinced that the president sits in the Oval Office operating as a Russian agent as a consequence of a four-year media campaign to legitimize the Democratic conspiracy.
“Through weeks of conversations, [Hunter] became increasingly open about his setbacks, aware that many of the stories that he told me would otherwise emerge, likely in a distorted form, in Breitbart or on ‘Hannity,’” the New Yorker piece read.
He wanted to protect his father from a trickle of disclosures, and to share a personal narrative that he sees no reason to hide. ‘Look, everybody faced pain,’ he said. ‘Everybody has trauma. There’s addiction in every family. I was in that darkness. I was in that tunnel – it’s a never-ending tunnel. You don’t get rid of it. You figure out how to deal with it.
Of course new revelations taking focus on Hunter Biden’s personal impropriety would indeed come out. Just several months later, Lunden Alexis Roberts, an Arkansas woman mentioned in the piece suing Hunter Biden for child support would win her case against the son of the Democratic presidential frontrunner. Roberts was a stripper at a D.C. strip club that Hunter Biden reportedly frequented. And last month, Hunter Biden was accused by Senate investigators of making payments to eastern European hookers who may have been victims of sex trafficking. And on Wednesday, the New York Post published that among the incriminating materials found on a Delaware computer include “a raunchy 12-minute video” appearing to show Hunter “smoking crack while engaged in a sex act with an unidentified woman,” in addition to “other sexually explicit images.”
Casting Hunter Biden as a sympathetic survivor of addiction to get out in front of the subsequent stories on his personal life that would emerge, did emerge, and continue to emerge, would constitute only half the article’s preemptive protection.
A recurring theme throughout the profile was Hunter Biden’s apparent commitment to consistently recuse himself from his own priorities in order to protect his father from holding appearances of conflicts of interest. Hunter Biden refrained from early lobbying gigs that involved his father serving in the Senate. He resigned from his unpaid role at Amtrak when his father ran ran for vice president in 2008. He would tell clients that he could no longer represent them upon election.
The article even addressed Hunter Biden’s foreign trip to China in 2013, where he flew aboard Air Force Two with his vice president father while building a private equity firm.
Hunter Biden used the platform offered in the New Yorker to dismiss criticism of the trip showing a conflict of interest as merely mingling with close associates. Senate investigators would later point out that Hunter Biden’s Chinese business partners held strong ties to the Chinese Communist Party who lawmakers accused Hunter Biden, and Joe Biden’s brother James of engaging in criminal financial activity with.
“How do I go to Beijing, halfway around the world, and not see them for a cup of coffee?” Hunter Biden said at the time.
On Thursday, the New York Post broke another blockbuster story showing that Hunter Biden stood to rake in $10 million a year for “introductions alone,” from Ye Jianming, the founder of CEFC China Energy Co. Ltd (CEFC). Ye, the Senate report showed last month, formerly held positions with the People’s Liberation Army.
The New Yorker also addressed Hunter Biden’s role on the Ukrainian energy firm Burisma, playing down the apparent conflict of interest presented with Joe Biden playing a “central role” in dictating U.S. policy towards Ukraine.
“Jen Psaki, a State Department spokesperson, said that the State Department was not concerned about perceived conflicts of interest, because Hunter was a ‘private citizen,’” the paper wrote, including additional testimony from administration officials that Hunter Biden’s position was of little concern. “Hunter told Burisma’s management and other board members that he would not be involved in any matters that were connected to the U.S. government or to his father.”
For the next 15 months, Joe Biden would repeatedly deny that he spoke about business with his son as more revelations surrounding the questionable arrangement would surface over the course of the campaign.
“I have never discussed, with my son or my brother or with anyone else, anything having to do with their businesses. Period,” Biden said in August last year.
On Wednesday however, the bombshell story from the New York Post would show that was not true. According to emails obtained by the paper, Hunter Biden had in fact introduced a top advisor for Burisma to Joe Biden. While the Biden campaign initially denied any such meeting took place, Politico later reported Wednesday night that the campaign “would not rule out the possibility that the former VP had some kind of interaction,” with his son’s Ukrainian business associate.
Further, several top State Department officials were very concerned about Hunter Biden’s board position in Ukraine.
U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent, the State Department’s top official on Ukraine testified during House impeachment proceedings that he had called the vice president’s office upon learning of Hunter Biden’s lucrative gig but was dismissed by White House staff.
“The message that I recall hearing back was that the vice president’s son Beau was dying of cancer and that there was no further bandwidth to deal with family-related issues at that time… That was the end of that conversation,” Kent said.