RealClearInvestigations' Picks of the Week

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RealClearInvestigations' Picks of the Week
October 11 to October 17, 2020

 

 

Featured Investigation:
Joe Biden's Boosters Wrote
Prodigal Son Hunter's Entire Resume
 

Hunter Biden profited from his father’s connections long before he struck questionable deals in countries where Joe Biden was a diplomatic heavy-hitter as vice president, Paul Sperry reports in a 4,500-word exposé for RealClearInvestigations. In fact, virtually all the jobs listed on his resume going back decades to his first position out of college, which paid six figures, came courtesy of the former six-term senator’s donors, lobbyists and allies, a RealClearInvestigations examination has found:

  • In one document, a Biden associate admitted “finding employment” for Hunter specifically as a special favor to his father, then a Senate leader running for president.
  • It was a $1.2 million gig on Wall Street, even though it was understood that Hunter had no experience in high finance.
  • Many of Hunter's patrons won favorable treatment.
  • The long pattern of nepotism casts new doubt on Joe Biden’s vows that he “never discussed" business with his son, and that there were "no conflicts of interest."
  • Sperry's comprehensive account of Hunter Biden’s “unique career trajectory,” as one ex-Biden family friend put it, was pieced together through interviews with more than a dozen people, and after an in-depth examination of public records.
  • Three committees in the Republican-controlled Senate have opened probes into potential Biden family conflicts.

Featured Column:
Deceptive Washington Post Story
Gives Bidens Benefits of Its Doubts

In an Investigative Issues column, RealClearInvestigations editor J. Peder Zane deconstructs a Washington Post story as an example of efforts by anti-Trump journalists to discredit the New York Post's report last week of emails found on a computer allegedly owned by Hunter Biden.
The emails suggest Joe Biden was lying when he said he knew nothing of the lucrative deals his son had cut with a Ukrainian gas company. They were immediately dismissed by Democrats as bogus and mentions of them were curtailed on social media (see below), provoking an outcry from conservatives.
Likewise, the Washington Post article dances around the fact that the emails could be genuine. Among other things, Zane writes, it credulously accepts ambiguous Biden campaign statements to pour cold water on the story and resorts to ad hominem slights to discredit some of the people behind it like Rudolph Giuliani and Rupert Murdoch (owner of the New York Post). It's quite instructive, Zane writes:
While the veracity of the emails is not firmly established, this article shows how the Washington Post – along with other prestigious news outlets that credulously reported the allegations of often anonymous sources to advance the Russiagate conspiracy theory – have weaponized skepticism to attack unwelcome assertions and facts. The most common strategy is to say that figures they do not support – especially President Trump – have made claims “without evidence.” But, as this article shows, they also do it through news reports that use selective skepticism to push an agenda.

Trump-Russia/2020 Election News

Emails Tie Both Bidens to Burisma Exec New York Post
Hunter Emails: Pics, Pain, and Partying New York Post
Hunter Biden's Family Chinese Takeout New York Post
Black Church Members Don't Recall Biden's Attendance Free Beacon
Trump's Own Swamp ... at His Hotels and Resorts New York Times
Trump Taxes Show Sudden 2016 Boost as Campaign Cash Fell New York Times
No Smoking Gun Found in Cambridge Analytica Probe Financial Times
FBI Relied on Clinton Ally Cody Shearer to Verify Dossier Daily Caller
Bruce Ohr Retires as DoJ Disciplinary Decision Looms USA Today
The Peril Posed by Rejected Mail Ballots USA Today, CJI, 'Frontline'

Other Noteworthy Articles and Series

Biden Laptop Uproar: Twitter Bows to GOP Critics
New York Times
Facebook and Twitter do not produce news, but they are media giants because they control the distribution of a great deal of information. And, like the legacy outfits that they have in many ways supplanted, the companies lean left. The social media behemoths provided more clear evidence of this last week when they limited or blocked the distribution of a New York Post article about emails found on a laptop that allegedly belong to Hunter Biden,  contradicting Joe Biden’s denials that he knew much about his son’s questionable business dealings. The sites said they blocked the story because it was unverified – as if every other piece of information they run, including the ads that pay their bills, is. It’s true the emails have not been verified, but the Biden camp has not said they were fabrications; instead it has implicitly suggested they are real by contesting some of the claims within them. Nevertheless, this article reports that Twitter “locked the personal account of Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, late Wednesday after she posted the article, and on Thursday it briefly blocked a link to a House Judiciary Committee webpage. The Trump campaign said Twitter had also locked its official account after it tried promoting the article.” In a separate article, the Federalist reports on multiple occasions when Twitter and Facebook failed to stop stolen, illegally leaked or false information that aimed to damage President Trump.

Outline on FBI, Steele Use of Media Reporting
Conservative Treehouse
A 94-page spreadsheet obtained by CBS News reporter Catherine Herridge provides further confirmation that Democrat Party operatives, law enforcement officials and members of the media colluded to spread false allegations that fueled Russiagate. This article reports that the spreadsheet shows that former Senate Select Committee on Intelligence staffer Dan Jones, Glenn Simpson, and Simpson’s crew at opposition research firm Fusion-GPS ...

pitched and planted phony Trump-Russia evidence with the media and simultaneously gave those fake points to Chris Steele to supplement the dossier. … The FBI, specifically Lisa Page, Peter Strzok and public information office Mike Kortan, then leak[ed] the outcomes of the FBI Dossier investigative processes to the same media that have reported on the originating material. It is all a big circle of planting and laundering the same originating false material; aka a "wrap up smear.”

In sum, Steele was meeting with journalists, the journalists were writing articles; the FBI was leaking to media and simultaneously citing those same articles as underlying evidence to support their counterintelligence investigations. And all of this was used to validate the investigative documents the FBI was receiving from Steele; who, along with the leaking FBI officials, was also the source of the media articles. 

How FBI Tracked the Plot to Kidnap Michigan's Governor
Detroit Free Press
This chilling article uses secret recordings made by FBI agents and government informers to detail a plot by right-wing militia members to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer from her vacation home, blow up a bridge, storm the state Capitol and target police. Members of the Wolverine Watchmen started planning the mayhem in early 2020, hoping to execute their plans before election day. They engaged in firearms training, combat drills and tried to attain and build explosive devices. The article reports that on Sept. 30, the leader, Adam Fox ...

called the undercover informant and discussed purchasing a taser for the kidnapping operation. On October 2, Fox confirmed that he had purchased an 800,000-volt taser in an encrypted chat message with the informant. The plan would go as follows: On Wednesday, Oct. 7, the group would meet with a man - who it turns out was an undercover FBI agent - to pay for explosives and exchange tactical gear. The rendezvous didn't go as planned. It was a setup. Instead of meeting with the man who would sell them explosives, the five Michigan suspects were arrested by FBI agents.

Majority Getting Coronavirus Say They Wore Masks
The Federalist
As data accumulate, the two chief strategies aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 response – mask wearing and economic lockdown – are coming into question. This article reports that a Centers for Disease Control study of people who fell ill with the virus found that over 70 percent of them said they “always” wore a mask; 14 percent said they “often” wore a mask while just under 4 percent of the case-patients sick with the virus said they “never” wore a mask or face covering. “Always” of course, doesn’t really mean “always” – most people do not wear a mask at home or while eating and drinking. But the study does suggest that many people are “always” wearing a mask in places where they are highly unlikely to contract the virus. In a separate article, the Wall Street Journal reports that “thousands of public-health experts” have signed a document, the Great Barrington Declaration, that argues broad lockdowns are a misguided, one-size-fits-all response to an illness that is far more lethal for the old and sick than the young and healthy. While this view isn’t universally shared among epidemiologists, the article notes a growing consensus among public health experts in the Europe and the U.S. that the public will not tolerate a repeat of the sweeping lockdowns imposed in March if a second wave of the virus occurs this fall and winter. This echoes other recent studies questioning the effectiveness of lockdowns

I Called Everyone in Jeffrey Epstein's Little Black Book
Mother Jones
That headline is an all-time grabber – and the reporter did a lot of work to earn it. She reports making close to 2,000 phone calls: “I spoke to billionaires, CEOs, bankers, models, celebrities, scientists, a Kennedy, and some of Epstein’s closest friends and confidants. I sat on my couch and phoned up royalty, spoke to ambassadors, irritated a senior adviser at Blackstone, and left squeaky voicemails for what must constitute a considerable percentage of the world oligarchy.” The resulting story is very long and mildly interesting. It quotes a handful of people who do not offer earth-shattering insights into Epstein. “He had a really disarming way of making himself appear brighter than he was,” one woman said. “But you knew you weren’t sitting with the brightest person in the room.” Stuart Pivar, a 90-year-old scientist, art collector and founder (alongside Andy Warhol) of the New York Academy of Art, seemed to offer a defense of Epstein: “Anyone who did one thing, let us say, to some 16-year-old trollop who would come to his house time after time after time and then afterwards bitch about it – why, no one would pay attention. Except Jeffrey made an industry out of it.”

Coronavirus Investigations

Thousands Signing Up to Be Exposed to Virus CNN
An Epidemic of Bicycle Thievery New York Times
The Guardians of Elmhurst Hospital Glamour
She Hunts Viral Rumors About Vaccines New York Times
$52,112 Helicopter Ride and More Surprise Corona Bills, New York Times 

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