A President’s ”Perfect Phone Call” and the Biden-Ukraine Connection
A president once defended himself from an impeachment inquiry by claiming to have made a “perfect phone call” concerning the Bidens and Ukraine.
We may not be there quite yet, but we are entering that territory once again.
President Joe Biden’s Conversations with Hunter Biden’s Business Associates
President Joe Biden spoke multiple times on the telephone to his son’s business associates, a former Hunter Biden business partner told a House panel.
This was said to have occurred when the younger Biden was affiliated with a Ukrainian energy company and his father was vice president and an Obama administration point man on Ukraine.
One congressional Democrat who heard the testimony more or less confirmed the particulars but said this was nothing untoward.
The elder Biden didn’t talk business, Rep. Dan Goldman (D-NY) assured reporters on Monday.
Instead Biden engaged in “casual conversation, niceties, the weather, what’s going on” when his son put him on speakerphone for his friends and business partners.
Approximately 20 perfect phone calls.
This falls well short of proving the worst allegations against the president, though it doesn’t exactly refute them either.
It does suggest that the wall of separation between Hunter Biden’s business dealings and his father’s public life is rather less robust than originally advertised — long before the father’s donors and commission appointees were purchasing the son’s artwork.
Much like the gradual shift from the Hunter Biden laptop going from not real to not a big deal, the White House goalposts have slowly moved from the Bidens never talking shop to them never being business partners.
Congressional Democrats are left insisting, perhaps correctly, that Hunter Biden was simply creating the illusion of influence derived from his father’s name and power.
But prior to Devon Archer’s testimony, it was easy to argue that the worst thing the elder Biden could be accused of was not being forceful enough in telling his son to knock it off. It was also possible that Biden was simply not sufficiently aware of what his wayward son was doing.
The phone calls suggest that Biden was at least somewhat aware of his son’s activities. They also indicate that Biden played a role, unwittingly or not, in helping his son create the illusion of influence in the first place.
Making himself available for these calls, even if only the weather was discussed, would help Hunter Biden make claims of influence that went beyond his surname. And Hunter Biden, at least, was paid handsomely for it.
House Republicans are now going to set out to prove that it wasn’t an illusion and that there was real access being sold. This could turn into another impeachment, or it could simply leave the same handful of committees pressing for answers.
All this is happening against the backdrop of Hunter Biden’s plea deal for tax and gun crimes falling apart, while his father is gearing up for a possible rematch with former President Donald Trump, who will surely use these revelations to further rehabilitate his own Biden-Ukraine phone call.
Trump will also use any questions swirling around the Biden family to lessen perceptions of the justice and severity of his own legal problems.
And it is indeed difficult to imagine the Democrats now defending Biden singing the same tune if the president’s name was Trump.
But Democrats who once seemed confident there was no there there with the Hunter Biden saga now sound like they are phoning it in.
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