Senate Republicans spent the past year on a Benghazi-style investigation of Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden in an attempt to implicate them in -- something -- connected to the latter's time as a member of the board of Ukranian gas company Burisma, but their new report on the matter is dead on arrival.
Although Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson spent an entire year on this, and even though he was literally fed information from Russian intelligence, he still couldn't find anything incriminating or even anything new.
The report does little to substantiate allegations against the Democratic presidential nominee, which have been fueled in part by foreign actors linked to the Kremlin whom U.S. officials have said are attempting to interfere in the 2020 election.
The report relies on vague assessments already revealed publicly — namely, from top State Department official George Kent, who said Hunter Biden’s role on the board of a Ukrainian energy company was “very awkward” for U.S. officials who were carrying out an anti-corruption policy in Ukraine. Kent made a similar remark during his impeachment testimony last fall.
The report also highlights a year-old New Yorker article describing a conversation between Biden and a top aide about his son’s role on the board of the Ukrainian energy company, Burisma, but notes that the article provided no evidence about how Biden reacted.
One of Ron Johnson's primary sources for this dud report was Andriy Derkach, a Ukranian lawmaker who was sanctioned by the Treasury Department just two weeks ago.
The Treasury Department said the lawmaker, Andriy Derkach, has been an "active Russian agent" for more than a decade and has close ties to Russian intelligence. Since late 2019, Derkach has "waged a covert influence campaign centered on cultivating false and unsubstantiated narratives concerning U.S. officials in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, spurring corruption investigations in both Ukraine and the U.S. designed to culminate prior to election day," the agency said. [...]
The Ukrainian lawmaker is also mentioned by name in an assessment by the U.S. intelligence community that found Russia is actively trying to "denigrate" Biden.
"For example, pro-Russia Ukrainian parliamentarian Andriy Derkach is spreading claims about corruption – including through publicizing leaked phone calls – to undermine former Vice President Biden's candidacy and the Democratic Party," the assessment said.
In other words, Ron Johnson sold out his own country in an attempt to smear Joe Biden and all he got for it was a stupid t-shirt.
It feels imperative to acknowledge that if Joe Biden were a woman or if his name was Hillary Clinton, Ron Johnson's report would probably be covered very differently today. The former first lady and secretary of state was never implicated in a crime, but that did not stop headline writers including those who worked for Politico at the time from making it appear that her actions were suspicious or possibly criminal.
Writing Joe Biden up as a secret mastermind or criminal simply does not generate the same level of interest or traffic. Sexism and several decades of anti-Clinton bias were baked into the 2016 election and media coverage of virtually everything related to it.
The same attacks do not work on Joe Biden because he's an honest person with decades of public service in his record, but also because he's a man.