I’m grateful for supporters’ comments on Friday’s Live Stream about whether Joe Biden is being extorted by the Justice Department. I wanted to follow up with some more cogent thoughts on the subject, which seemed more useful after I'd made similar remarks on Devin Nunes' podcast.
Rudolph Giuliani was the first person who pointed out that the Bidens were running a protection racket in Ukraine. While I was interviewing him for my 2020 book The Permanent Coup, he explained that the owner of the Ukrainian energy company paying Hunter Biden $80,000 a month didn’t care about Hunter Biden — he was buying protection from the most powerful man he could find, the Vice President of the United States.
It’s an index of how easy it is to frighten Republican party political and ideological leadership that so many gave Giuliani the cold shoulder after the 2020 election. He’s a historical figure on account of how he led New York after the 9/11 attacks but he’s also one of the greatest investigators in US history so when he sees a racket and explains the shot, it’s based on a lifetime of hunting corruption.
Last week Sen Charles Grassley disclosed that the FBI has documentary evidence alleging that Joe and Hunter Biden each demanded $5 million from Mykola Zlochevksy, the owner of the Ukrainian firm that was paying Hunter’s big monthly fee, Burisma. At the time, Burisma had been under international as well as Ukrainian investigations for corruption. Biden famously bragged about using a $1 billion US loan guarantee as leverage to get the Ukrainian government to fire the prosecutor investigating Burisma.
That was the quid pro quo that the left, US spy agencies, and the media turned around on Trump to impeach him — it was Biden, not Trump, who’d used US taxpayer resources to strong-arm the Ukrainians into playing ball on a sensitive investigation. And it seems that is how the Bidens earned their $10 million payout.
When I first heard Grassley’s Senate statement, I thought first of Giuliani. Then I started to wonder if it meant the DOJ has been running an operation against Biden similar to the one he’d run against Burisma. After all, the FBI has been holding the documents since 2017. Even if the FBI’s intent was to shield Biden by burying them, the Burisma information gave the Bureau and their DOJ colleagues considerable leverage on him. Had it gone public during his presidential run, it would have destroyed Biden’s campaign while proving that Trump was right about Biden and that he had been unjustly impeached. Had it leaked during the 2019-20 impeachment proceedings, Trump wouldn't have been impeached. And who knows but if the information might have even led to charges against Biden.
The Grassley disclosure dovetailed with some of my previous reporting on Biden, especially an article from Tablet Magazine last July, where I describe him as a “frontman for America’s national security state.” It was inconceivable that among the 51 former spy chiefs who’d signed the letter dismissing Hunter Biden’s laptop as “Russian disinformation” none of them knew what Biden’s son was doing in Ukraine and elsewhere.
John Brennan, Leon Panetta, Michael Hayden, and James Clapper—had directed America’s foreign intelligence services while Biden was vice president and before that chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. They knew what his son Hunter was doing abroad, because it was their job to know what foreign services know about leading U.S. officials and their families, and how it might affect U.S. national security.
Hunter Biden is an obvious target for foreign intelligence services whose primary goal is to compromise US national security — like those belonging to Russia, China, Iran, and the various terror organizations affiliated with the rising anti-US bloc. His problems with substance abuse, women, and money are known around the world, and yet it seems clear that none of the spy masters whose signatures are on the 51 Spies letter had ever convinced the Vice President that his son’s foreign arrangements not only jeopardized the country’s defenses but also risked embroiling the entire Barack Obama administration in a scandal.
Because Obama himself would have been implicated by Hunter’s doings, there’s no doubt he was briefed on the matter, but also failed to persuade his Vice President to cut it out. Or, more likely, he never said anything about it to his number two.
At least two State Department officials tried to warn Biden about Hunter’s activities. Amos Hocshtein spoke with the Vice President and Hunter about the younger Biden’s position at Burisma. George Kent, who later testified against Trump during the Ukraine-related impeachment, warned Biden aides about Hunter’s business when they visited the career diplomat in Kyiv.
The CIA handled the issue in characteristic fashion by spying on the Bidens. CIA official Eric Ciaramella was detailed to the office of the Vice President, where he became Biden’s point-man for Ukraine. A former Obama administration intelligence official told me that Ciaramella was responsible for keeping the book on all Biden’s meetings and calls with Ukrainian officials. Ciaramella shared that record with his superiors at Langley, to where he returned after a brief spell on Trump’s National Security Council (NSC) staff.
It was known throughout the government that Ciaramella was the chief curator of Biden’s Ukraine secrets. In July 2019, Trump spoke on the phone with the Ukrainian president and asked him to help his attorney general William Barr and Giuliani find out about the Bidens’ business in Kyiv. One of the policymakers listening in on the call, NSC staffer Alexander Vindman, went straight to Ciaramella and told him Trump was nosing around in Biden’s Ukraine business. The phony whistleblower’s complaint that Ciaramella filed with the Intelligence Community's Inspector General initiated the Trump impeachment proceedings.
So, here’s a running count of all the government agencies that were aware of the Bidens’ Ukraine-related activities by the time Trump came to the White House: The DOJ, FBI, CIA, State Department, Biden aides from the VP’s office, and the former President of the United States. To put it another way, if a mid-level bureaucrat like Vindman, detailed to the NSC staff from the Pentagon, knew that the questions Trump was asking were likely to prove dangerous for the former Vice President, then virtually the entire national security apparatus knew about the Bidens.
The Treasury Department certainly knew about Hunter Biden’s financial arrangements with foreign powers. Treasury provided Grassley and his Senate colleague Ron Johnson with the suspicious activity reports used to compile their September 2020 report, “Hunter Biden, Burisma, and Corruption: The Impact on U.S. Government Policy and Related Concerns.” According to the report, Secretary of State John Kerry knew that Hunter Biden was getting paid by a Ukrainian oligarch whose company was under investigation. So did Obama’s first Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.
It's worth keeping mind that the Clinton Foundation wasn't just set up as a mechanism for the 42nd President and his wife to pocket foreign donations in exchange for future considerations. Given the nature of its relationships with high-ranking foreign officials and businessmen, the Clinton Foundation is also a global intelligence-gathering organization of the first order. Thus, it was through the foundation and her own contacts throughout the US government that Hillary Clinton was able to piece together the fullest picture of the Biden family’s activities in Ukraine.
In order to keep Joe Biden from re-entering the 2016 race for president, the Clintons, according to a source, leaked information to the New York Times for the first detailed press account of Hunter’s presence on Burisma’s board. According to the December 8, 2015 article, timed to coincide with a Joe Biden visit to Kyiv, Hunter’s work for Burisma was “undercutting” his father’s anti-corruption message in Ukraine. In other words, the Clintons were firing a shot across Biden’s bow, warning that if he didn’t stay out of the race, there’d be worse to come.
I’ve speculated previously that the Clinton campaign may have originally formatted the Steele dossier to target Biden when it looked like he might challenge her for the Democratic Party nomination. Its central motif, foreign corruption in Eastern Europe, comports with what we now know about the Biden family’s entanglements there and elsewhere. And its minor themes of dissolution, prostitution, and sexual deviancy are in Hunter's key. But Biden backed out of the 2016 campaign and the family’s Ukraine secrets were kept.
The fact that so many people knew about Biden’s corruption tells us a few important things about his presidency, starting with his 2020 campaign: