Election 2020

They’ve Got Nothin’

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

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.

From Politico:

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.

  • katanahamon

    Problem is, now Rump has installed a zillion extremist federal judges and is on the cusp of securing the Supreme Court, so these rulings we usually count on to be knocked down or dismissed are soon to be judged in the right wing’s favor. Not in this case as it’s a bogus investigation, but you get the drift. Now Rump has openly said he won’t accept anything as legitimate but a victory in the upcoming election, between him, Barr and DeJoy they’ve actually not only rigged the election but are grandstanding a means of contesting what little remains of a fair election. It’s not looking good, folks..

    • Christopher Foxx

      And their latest move is to try to have state legislatures appoint their own slate of presidential electors to (ahem) exercise the will of the people by overruling the popular votes.

      https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/11/what-if-trump-refuses-concede/616424/

      “According to sources in the Republican Party at the state and national levels, the Trump campaign is discussing contingency plans to bypass election results and appoint loyal electors in battleground states where Republicans hold the legislative majority. With a justification based on claims of rampant fraud, Trump would ask state legislators to set aside the popular vote and exercise their power to choose a slate of electors directly.

      The Trump-campaign legal adviser I spoke with told me the push to appoint electors would be framed in terms of protecting the people’s will. Once committed to the position that the overtime count has been rigged, the adviser said, state lawmakers will want to judge for themselves what the voters intended.

      “The state legislatures will say, ‘All right, we’ve been given this constitutional power. We don’t think the results of our own state are accurate, so here’s our slate of electors that we think properly reflect the results of our state,’ ” the adviser said.

      war is peace
      freedom is slavery
      ignorance is strength

  • muselet

    The headline on this story at TPM is a classic:

    RonJohn Expends Remaining Dignity On Rehash Of Bogus, Tired Biden Allegations

    Ron Johnson’s report is a collection of long-discredited rumor and innuendo (and, of course, outright libel) that would have the average conspiracy theorist shaking his head and muttering, “No, that’s ridiculous. It makes no sense.” Taking a year to generate this steaming heap is bad enough, but using magazine clippings to bulk the thing up is somewhere between embarrassing and a cry for help.

    As Gertrude Stein famously said of Oakland, “There is no there there.”

    –alopecia

    • Draxiar

      Now let’s turn this machine back on Eric trump and the trump Organization who really did do engage in hinky shenanigans.

      Side Note: I purposely do not capitalize the name “trump” because I’m a petty, snarky commenter who can’t offer certain people associated with that name the respect through grammar. Mary Trump, that’s fine, donald trump…nopity nope.

      • Christopher Foxx

        I’m usually turned off when folks resort to criticizing someone for their looks. McConnell’s turtle-like neck, trump’s skin tone, etc. With all the legitimate things to go after them for (thousands), resorting to that makes us look petty and as if we don’t really have something valid to complain about.

        But I think I’ll be joining you in “decapitating” trump.