Did Joe Biden Take a Bribe?

Did Joe Biden take a bribe? The tech giants and legacy media have taken extreme and unprecedented measures to silence news accounts that probe this question. Beyond Twitter and Facebook, there are reports of TikTok censoring contributors attempting to share the New York Post reporting on Hunter Biden. 

Contrary to the ridiculous attempts to discredit the New York Post reporting, the sourcing in that story is actually far superior to the journalistic standards followed in published attacks on Trump, which often rely on verbal accounts by anonymous sources. To bolster these attacks, other publications “corroborate” anonymous sources with still more anonymous sourcing—leading to the suspicion that it’s all just the same anonymous sources spreading rumors.

In contrast, the New York Post has produced an email trail from a trove of documents obtained from a now on-the-record store owner who received the laptop directly from Hunter Biden. Neither Joe nor Hunter has disputed the authenticity of any specific document. Indeed, as of Monday, the campaign called a “lid” on all public campaign activities until after the Thursday debate. With so few days left before the election, it’s unprecedented to hide a candidate from the public for four days. That’s a desperate measure to avoid answering questions.

Let’s walk through the evidence to consider whether Biden did, in fact, take a bribe.

Federal law defines “bribery of a public official” as when a “public official . . . receives, accepts, or agrees to receive or accept anything of value . . . in return for being influenced in the performance of any official act.” Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani claims to have a screenshot of a text message from Hunter revealing that he was expected to pay for family expenses and give the elder Biden half his salary. This text appears to be evidence that the Democrats’ standard-bearer took a piece of Hunter’s salary (in-kind and directly), which seems to meet the bribery statute’s terms “receive” or “accept” something “of value.” 

But there’s more. 

The Washington Post just published an article recounting an interview with a former advisor to Hunter. According to that account, the advisor warned Hunter Biden, “They’re using you for your name. They will exploit your name to your detriment and your father’s.” Hunter Biden responded, “My mom and dad don’t have any money . . . I have to make money for the family.” This corroborates the text message Giuliani publicized—that Hunter was expected to use his salary to pay family expenses. 

Even if Joe Biden hadn’t accepted money directly, Hunter’s enrichment could qualify under the precedent set in the prosecution of Representative William J. Jefferson (D-La.), who famously stashed $90,000 in cash in a freezer. 

Ukraine, Again

But did the money influence an official act by Biden? The New York Post reporting seems to show evidence of a quid pro quo, i.e. that Hunter received a lavish salary in return for using his father’s influence to stop a prosecution. 

On May 12, 2014, Hunter’s Burisma handler Vadym Pozharskyi wrote Hunter Biden, the new member of the Board of Directors for Burisma holdings, an appeal to help stop prosecutors from moving against “N.Z.” Those initials (N.Z.) are believed to refer to Burisma Founder Mykola Ziochevksy. 

According to Pozharskyi, “representatives of new authorities” were attempting to shake-down Burisma for cash. Burisma reportedly did pay prosecutors a bribe but then these authorities “proceeded with concrete actions.” 

Then came the reason Hunter had anything to do with Burisma in the first place. Pozharskyi wrote, “We urgently need your advice on how you could use your influence to convey a message / signal, etc. to stop what we consider to be politically motivated actions bearing in mind the following…Negative influence on our companies may result in multy(sic)-level negative social, econimical (sic) and political consequnces (sic).” 

The phrase, “our companies,” seems to imply that both Burisma and Hunter’s consulting company would be exposed to an investigation.

The New York Post produced an April 2015 email between Pozharskyi and Hunter Biden. It read, “Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent (sic) some time together.” Joe Biden’s campaign disputed this email, noting that the meeting did not appear on Biden’s official schedule. But, as Politico noted in 2012, “the published schedule offers only a narrow window into his activities,” and that “about one-third of the events depicted [in official White House photographs] were never on his public schedule.” Thus the absence of a schedule entry does not rule out that the meeting took place.

John Solomon places March 2016 as the date of Biden’s demand to fire Burisma’s prosecutor. The Washington Post wrote that Biden’s threat to withhold aid unless the prosecutor was fired actually happened during a 2015 visit. This appears to fulfill the request made by Burisma to Hunter in the 2014 email. There’s no dispute that Biden acted in his official capacity as the vice president when he threatened to withhold aid unless the prosecutor was fired. 

To recap: The emails show Burisma asking Hunter to intercede to protect Burisma from prosecutors. Then the emails show Burisma thanking Hunter for setting up a meeting with Joe Biden. The text message and the Washington Post reporting show that Hunter may have shared his Burisma money with his father. And we know Biden threatened to withhold aid from Ukraine unless it fired the prosecutor tormenting Burisma. That looks like bribery.

Deflecting Attention

The media response to this has been to raise spurious questions about the “authenticity” of the evidence. 

Twitter and Facebook censored links to the Post account on the grounds that the emails were “eligible for fact checking” or “hacked materials.” The censorship backfired, drawing bipartisan criticism. On Thursday, NBC published a completely ridiculous story (anonymously sourced) that the FBI was already investigating whether the entire chain of evidence might be a product of Russian disinformation. 

Journalists have gamely cited Giuliani’s ties to a mysterious Russian intelligence figure and the fact that Steve Bannon (who also played a role in the publication of the emails) has been charged with a crime. But the FBI has been in possession of the Hunter Biden laptop since December. Only after the emails went public do anonymous sources suggest the FBI is suddenly investigating a “Russia” angle. 

If Giuliani and Bannon were producing hearsay accounts from anonymous sources, their credibility would be highly relevant. But we don’t need to rely on the credibility of the messenger when the message comes in the form of original documents. 

Perhaps the lamest criticism came from Andrew Bates, a Biden campaign spokesman who complained, “The New York Post never asked the Biden campaign about the critical elements of this story.” Yet NBC failed to report the Biden campaign’s explanation that Bates says the Post article lacked. And again, the Biden campaign has not actually identified any document it claims to be a forgery.

Contrary to the media’s attempts to cast doubt on the quality of the documents and the chain of custody of the evidence, it’s actually quite strong based upon publicly available documents.

On April 12, 2019, Hunter Biden signed a document labeled, “Quote #7469,” in which he agreed to pay $85 to repair a device he dropped off for service. John Paul Mac Isaac, the owner of The Mac Shop in Wilmington, Delaware, has been identified and has gone on the record to confirm the transaction. When Hunter failed to pay the bill, the owner exercised his prerogative under the “quote” to take legal ownership of the laptop. Thus, the Post has established a pretty solid explanation for the chain of custody. 

But here’s the real kicker: Hunter’s attorney contacted the shop owner to inquire about retrieving the laptop. Contrary to the Twitter and Facebook allegations that the emails were “hacked,” the evidence to the contrary appears much stronger.

Suppression of Evidence?

More troubling is that the FBI could have produced this information to clear up the impeachment controversy earlier in the year. 

Recall that the House report accompanying the articles of impeachment against President Trump claimed, “Any suggestion that the former Vice President called for Mr. Shokin’s removal in order to stop an investigation of Burisma, the Company whose board Hunter Biden sat on, is inconsistent with these facts.” 

True to the last four years, the FBI again staked out a political position as part of the resistance. Only by the FBI suppressing the laptop could House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the architect of impeachment, make the claim of “no evidence” in his report. 

According to the New York Post, in December 2019, at the same time that Democrats were preparing to forward articles of impeachment to the Senate, the U.S. District Court in Delaware issued a subpoena for Hunter Biden’s laptop. The Post provided a screenshot of the subpoena in its reporting. 

In releasing these documents, the Post has followed a strategy to discourage the Biden campaign from issuing bad-faith or untruthful denials. It has dribbled out the original accusation giving the Biden campaign a chance to respond without fully knowing how well-documented the claims are. Then it has crushed early denials with additional documentary evidence. Fox News independently verified the authenticity of some of the Post emails by asking some of the recipients. The Biden campaign is completely flat-footed, unable to deny the authenticity of emails. 

The entire impeachment theory hinged on the central question: Did the Biden family take a bribe to ensure the removal of a prosecutor? Bizarrely, the Democrats have always maintained that the question was not relevant. Schiff told CBS News that witnesses like Hunter Biden, former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, are “immaterial” and would constitute an “abuse” of the Senate trial.

Joe Biden, on a number of occasions, has floated the argument that the prosecutor should have been fired anyway. That’s irrelevant. Even if firing the prosecutor was in the best interest of the United States, a public official should never allow his son (or himself personally) to receive a payoff for an official act.

Remember, the Ukraine scandal is only one of many pay-for-play controversies surrounding the Bidens. There are very troubling questions about the Biden family’s relationship with Communist China. It’s not hard to figure out why the tech companies might find a bribe-accepting potential president to be palatable, even desirable. The tech companies are long-overdue for public action. But they have plenty of money to pay “consulting fees” to protect themselves. A lot of money is on the line.

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About Adam Mill

Adam Mill is a pen name. He is an adjunct fellow of the Center for American Greatness and works in Kansas City, Missouri as an attorney specializing in labor and employment and public administration law. He graduated from the University of Kansas and has been admitted to practice in Kansas and Missouri. Mill has contributed to The Federalist, American Greatness, and The Daily Caller.

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images