Each day I grow older at what feels like an increasing clip, so today—and, god forbid, for at least several days to come—we’re going to be forced to talk about EMAILS again.
Not HER EMAILS, silly! This time, Hunter Biden, son of Joe, did the bad emails!! That’s according to a BOMBSHELL EXPOSE out today from the New York Post, which—you guessed it—got a hold of some of Hunter’s emails.
According to the Post, when Joe Biden was vice president, Hunter brokered a meeting between his father and an adviser to the board of Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company where Hunter occupied a plush “consulting” role for five years. That meeting was referenced in an April 2015 email sent by Vadym Pozharskyi, the Burisma executive, to the younger Biden. From the Post:
“Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together. It’s realty [sic] an honor and pleasure,” the email reads.
An earlier email from May 2014 also shows Pozharskyi, reportedly Burisma’s No. 3 exec, asking Hunter for “advice on how you could use your influence” on the company’s behalf.
The blockbuster correspondence — which flies in the face of Joe Biden’s claim that he’s “never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings” — is contained in a massive trove of data recovered from a laptop computer.
Well, that’s not so great, is it! The murkiness around Hunter’s dealings with the company have swirled about Biden’s presidential campaign for months, not unlike a cloud that kinda sorta looks like rain but turns out to be an exhaust plume from the local, uhhhh, fracking plant. The presumptive Democratic nominee has repeatedly denied that any of this was untoward, infamously snapping at NBC’s Savannah Guthrie earlier this year, “You don’t know what you’re talking about” when she asked whether it’s possible Hunter got the gig because the company wanted access to the second in command of the Obama administration.
Something else that feels deeply suspect? The details of how the Post got the emails—along with explicit materials purportedly of Hunter—which were apparently contained on the hard drive of a computer dropped off at a Delaware repair shop and never picked up. From the tabloid again (emphasis mine):
The computer was dropped off at a repair shop in Biden’s home state of Delaware in April 2019, according to the store’s owner.
Other material extracted from the computer includes a raunchy, 12-minute video that appears to show Hunter, who’s admitted struggling with addiction problems, smoking crack while engaged in a sex act with an unidentified woman, as well as numerous other sexually explicit images.
The customer who brought in the water-damaged MacBook Pro for repair never paid for the service or retrieved it or a hard drive on which its contents were stored, according to the shop owner, who said he tried repeatedly to contact the client.
The shop owner couldn’t positively identify the customer as Hunter Biden, but said the laptop bore a sticker from the Beau Biden Foundation, named after Hunter’s late brother and former Delaware attorney general.
But wait, there’s more!
But before turning over the gear, the shop owner says, he made a copy of the hard drive and later gave it to former Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert Costello.
Steve Bannon, former adviser to President Trump, told The Post about the existence of the hard drive in late September and Giuliani provided The Post with a copy of it on Sunday.
All our old faves, back at it!
As you might expect, conservatives are making hay of all this, while people on the more liberal side of things are calling the Post story “disinformation” and offering up a heaping dose of what-about-ism.
At least in Tanden’s case, she’s not wrong. High-ranking public officials love to use their personal emails and communication systems to conduct official business! James Comey used Gmail, Mike Pence used AOL (and got hacked), Jared Kushner used WhatsApp, and Ivanka Trump frequently used a private Microsoft email domain, “ijkfamily.com,” which she shared with Kushner for official business.
And of course, most infamously, Hillary Clinton for years used a private email server as secretary of state. I recently subjected myself to the Showtime miniseries The Comey Rule, in which a beleaguered Jeff Daniels, playing Comey, weighs the implications of his whole back-and-forth with the Clinton email investigation not long before the 2016 election. (We all know what he decided, and how that panned out for him, and us.) It really was a fascinating, darkly funny retelling of very recent events, but as I was triggered by reliving the minutiae of the whole psychodrama, I was yet again reminded of an unpopular fact: Clinton shouldn’t have used that email server! Obviously Comey’s decisions did have a role in swaying the outcome of the election, but so did Clinton’s: She was a candidate uniquely despised by Americans who were convinced that she and her husband operated as if the usual rules didn’t apply to them. And then she proved them right!
“Emails” became a punchline—which wasn’t helped by the most insane right-wingers taking up the cause with their usual unhinged fervor—and Clinton was largely unrepentant for quite a while. (She eventually came around to “I’m sorry about that.”) But amid all the never-ending noise, it’s easy to lose what remains true: public officials mishandling their official communications is wrong, and it indicates that they would prefer their dealings be shielded from public scrutiny. Broadly speaking, that’s corruption—or at the very least a fuck you to the rest of us who might seek to hold our leaders accountable—and that’s why “emails” continues to be a potent symbol of the powerful operating on a higher plane than the rest of us, largely free from retribution for their actions. Clinton’s emails, Hunter’s $50,000-a-month failson job—it’s all crooked as hell on its face, but it will continue, unchecked. That’s the way of the world: Rich people do bad things, we get mad when our faces are rubbed in it, and then nothing substantive changes. Rinse, repeat.
I’ll see you all in hell.