Bruce Murphy
Back in the News

Ron Johnson Report a Hatchet Job?

Media condemn report on Hunter Biden for proving "no evidence of wrongdoing."

By - Sep 23rd, 2020 03:15 pm
Ron Johnson. Photo by Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

Ron Johnson. Photo by Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America / (CC BY-SA)

Wisconsin’s Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson released a report today by the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee that dug around for dirt on Democratic candidate Joe Biden‘s son Hunter Biden and came up with nothing.

“The probe was launched despite no evidence of any wrongdoing by Hunter Biden ever being established,” as the Daily Beast noted, and proceeded to find “No Evidence,” the New York Times headline declared. The report “appeared to be little more than a rehashing of unproven allegations,” the story noted. The “87-page document… contained no evidence that the former vice president improperly manipulated American policy toward Ukraine or committed any other misdeed.”

Johnson “had made little secret of his political ambitions for his report, boasting for weeks that his findings would demonstrate Mr. Biden’s ‘unfitness for office’. Instead, the result… appeared to be little more than a rehashing of unproven allegations that echo a Russian disinformation campaign and have been pushed by Mr. Trump and his allies,” the story reported.

The report “is largely a compilation of previously public information, some of it… by witnesses who already testified during the House’s impeachment inquiry last year — as well as news articles and strongly worded insinuations with little evidence to back them up,” a story in Politico concludes.

The report was “a hatchet job,” the Daily Beast declared and “doesn’t back up Trump’s actual conspiracy theory” on Hunter Biden “or anything close to it”, the headline of the Washington Post story announced. The report “is perhaps most notable for what it doesn’t show — specifically, anything to back up the conspiracy theory which spurred this whole saga,” the story concluded.

The star witness in the report was supposed to be George Kent, a top State Department official, but as a second Washington Post story reported, Kent “knocked down every key pillar of the GOP story line” in his testimony to the committee.

The timing of the report, just six weeks before the election, was also noted and criticized by the media.

Even before the report was released Republican Senator Mitt Romney had condemned the inquiry, calling it “a political exercise.”

“Obviously, it is the province of campaigns and political parties’ opposition research, the media, to carry out political endeavors, to learn about or dust up one’s opponent. But it’s not the legitimate role of government or Congress, or for taxpayer expense to be used in an effort to damage political opponents.”

The Biden campaign had earlier changed that Johnson “could be at the receiving end of a pipeline of disinformation that originates in Russia.” In response to release of the report, Andrew Bates, a spokesperson for the campaign, accused Johnson of subsidizing “a foreign attack against the sovereignty of our elections with taxpayer dollars” by promulgating “a long-disproved hard-core right wing conspiracy theory.”

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9 thoughts on “Back in the News: Ron Johnson Report a Hatchet Job?”

  1. SFGiants58 says:

    A hatchet job, say “the media”? Quite a shock that reporters who have blown off this story will not minimize it. As for no solid information, consider:

    Hunter Biden, Andrew Cuomo and the Russian Billionaire
    A Senate report finds another big flow of questionable cash.

    By James Freeman
    Sept. 23, 2020 3:54 pm ET
    SAVE
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    TEXT
    135

    Hunter Biden, son of former Vice President and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, appears in a video at the virtual Democratic National Convention in August.
    PHOTO: DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
    How many millions of dollars did Hunter Biden collect from foreign tycoons while his father was vice president? A new Senate report makes some headway toward answering this question. As for the related question of what exactly Joe Biden’s son was supposedly doing in return for this gusher of foreign money, Americans are still waiting for a precise answer.

    Hunter Biden’s lucrative arrangements in Ukrainian natural gas, Chinese finance and Romanian real estate have been attracting attention because he had no particular expertise in Ukrainian natural gas, Chinese finance or Romanian real estate. But he did have a father who was leading U.S. policy in these countries.

    Now Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R., Wis.), and Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) report on still more income sources for Hunter Biden ventures, including a Russian billionaire named Elena Baturina.

    The Senators report today:

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    On Feb. 14, 2014, Baturina wired $3.5 million to a Rosemont Seneca Thornton LLC (Rosemont Seneca Thornton) bank account for a “Consultancy Agreement DD12.02.2014.”
    Rosemont Seneca Thornton is an investment firm co-founded by Hunter Biden that was incorporated on May 28, 2013 in Wilmington, Del.
    Consulting is a wonderfully vague description of the services rendered. Was Ms. Baturina, who made her fortune in Moscow real estate, paying for Mr. Biden’s sage financial advice? As with other Hunter Biden deals struck while his father was vice president, this one appears to be a highly lucrative arrangement for which Hunter Biden was not highly qualified. What exactly did Ms. Baturina think she was buying? The Senators also report:

    Separately, between May 6, 2015 and Dec. 8, 2015, Baturina sent 11 wires in the amount of $391,968.21 to a bank account belonging to BAK USA LLC (BAK USA). Nine of the 11 transactions, totaling $241,797.14 were sent from Baturina’s accounts to a Rosemont Seneca Thornton bank account, which then transferred to the money to BAK USA.
    The 11 transactions all listed “Loan Agreement” in the payment details section. BAK USA was a startup technology company headquartered in Buffalo, N.Y., that produced tablet computers in cooperation with unnamed Chinese business partners.

    Will we now be treated to a lengthy explanation of Hunter Biden’s previously unreported passion for computer manufacturing? This connection is interesting because at the time Bak USA just happened to be serving as a model for a particular tax-break scheme promoted by another prominent politician.

    A few months before the first Baturina wire transfer to Bak, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D., N.Y.) announced in a press release the grand opening of the company’s new global headquarters, which he counted as a win for his program to bring jobs to the Empire State:

    “Bak’s decision to locate its global headquarters in Buffalo is another success story for this city and for START-UP NY,” Governor Cuomo said.
    The next year on Facebook, Gov. Cuomo said:

    BAK USA’s success is a significant victory for the city of Buffalo, the START-UP NY program, and the future of American-made technology products.
    In comments posted in response, some questioned why the state had to provide tax breaks for such ventures. One commenter noted that simply allowing fracking in New York would create more jobs.

    But Mr. Cuomo seems to have been determined to present Bak as a validation of his model. In 2017 another press release proclaimed:

    Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the expansion of the global headquarters of Bak USA, one of the first American firms to produce its own-branded electronic tablets, is complete…
    “Buffalo has become a leader in high-tech manufacturing and Bak USA’s newly completed expansion in the heart of the city means new jobs, more economic activity and more momentum for a region already on the move.” Governor Cuomo said. “Bak USA’s successful expansion in Western New York is yet another example of companies coming to New York and staying here to grow their businesses in our state.”

    The following year Bak USA went out of business.

    In 2019 Stephen Watson of the Buffalo News reported, “The company’s recent filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation shows Bak USA has $39.4 million in debts and just $147,000 in assets.”

    There seem to be plenty of questions here for the workers and taxpayers of New York State and for all the voters of the United States.

    ***

    Speaking of odd arrangements involving Hunter Biden and large checks from foreign oligarchs, the Senators have come up with an estimate of the amount collected by him and his associates from that Ukrainian energy firm—more than $4 million.

  2. SFGiants58 says:

    I meant to say “now minimize” not “not minimize.”

  3. Thomas Martinsen says:

    SFG,

    If you are concerned with “big flows of questionable cash,” read THE MUELLER REPORT. The so called Johnson report was all gasbag, without evidence. Remember: Russians with intent to damage this country were primary sources in the Johnson faux report.

  4. SFGiants58 says:

    When you don’t have an argument, change the subject.

  5. kcoyromano@sbcglobal.net says:

    Sen. Johnson continues to be an embarrassment to Wisconsin and to the nation. If he would please stop being a lap dog for this corrupt president, perhaps he could do something that is beneficial for Wisconsin residents.

    If there is any finger-pointing to be done, let’s take a long look at the nepotism and corrupt practices of Donny’s family and the questionable and surely illegal foreign financial dealings of his children. Putin is still jumping up and down with glee at how he has been able to take America down the road to become the new Russia.

  6. Thomas Martinsen says:

    SFG,

    I returned to the subject you tried to change. Trump and his pals are corrupt. They beg Russian spies to help them find corruption in their opponents to change the subject from the corruption in the Trump camp evident in many investigations.

  7. Thomas Martinsen says:

    SFG,

    I returned to the subject you had turned away from. I did not change the subject. The Johnson faux report suggests (without evidence) corruption on the part of the Bidens to change the subject from the massive evidence of corruption on the part of Trump buddies – including Russian spies who corrupted our 2016 election and are working to do the same this year.

    Among the many press secretaries Trump has employed, Kelly Ann Conway was perhaps the best at changing the subject. (Scaramucci lasted only 9 days perhaps because he changed the subject to himself.) Many press secretaries later, the current one is doing all she can to change the subject from the 2 hundred thousand plus American citizens who have died in recent months from Covid 19 – many of whom may not have died if our President had formed a national response to this virus.

  8. Alan Bartelme says:

    How about we all agree that Hunter Biden shouldn’t be president? He’s not running for president, but I think we can all agree on that.

    If we’re determined to claim that a child’s activities can disqualify their parent from being president, how about we look at Ivanka, Eric and Don Jr. Trump? Ivanka has businesses with Chinese activities who had their patents and IP agreements strangely approved after Trump was elected, Eric and Don Jr. have tons of investments across the globe including in Russia, the Middle East, and China which seem to be frequented by questionable people, and the whole family has real estate investments in the US and abroad that solicits foreign countries to spend money at in exchange for favors.

    Show us where Joe Biden did a favor for Ukraine or China, and if you do, show us also how that’s any different from Trump’s constant shakedown of foreign countries for favors.

  9. kcoyromano@sbcglobal.net says:

    Thank you Alan! Ditto Ditto Ditto

    Ron–get your head out of the sand.
    Why are you so afraid to challenge Trump’s ridiculous statements?

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