Media dismisses the Bidens’ questionable activities as conspiracy theories. Are they?

Media dismisses the Bidens’ questionable activities as conspiracy theories. Are they?

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The mainstream media have been up in arms over President Donald Trump's controversial phone call to his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky yet they have either completely disregarded or downplayed one of the fundamental issues in the scandal: former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

The story: According to the White House-released transcript of the conversation, Trump wanted Zelensky to work with his attorney Rudy Giuliani to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden as Trump suspected Biden had abused his power as vice president to help his son. It's an undeniable fact that Biden pushed Ukraine to fire its top prosecutor who was investigating corruption at the Ukrainian private gas company Burisma Holdings, where Hunter served on the board of directors. Out of this fact stems two narratives: the pro-Biden narrative, and the anti-Biden narrative.

The pro-Biden narrative, pushed by the mainstream media, maintains that there's no evidence of any wrongdoing on Biden's part and that allegations about him engaging in shady dealings in Ukraine have been completely debunked or are nothing more than conspiracy theories.

The anti-Biden narrative postulates that Biden was clearly doing something unethical.

At the end of the day, there's no substantive evidence to prove or disprove either narrative but here's what we know for sure.

The facts: While Biden may enjoy a reputation as a just politician, (or as just as a politician can be) the same cannot be said about his son. In 2014, then-president Barack Obama appointed Biden to help Ukraine in the aftermath of the Russia annexation of Crimea. Biden's mission was clear: help fix a struggling Ukraine, keep Russia at bay, and root out endemic corruption.

Hunter, on the other hand, does not share his father's reputation. He made headlines after being kicked out from the U.S. Naval Reserve on his first day after testing positive for cocaine.

Outside the turbulent personal life came his controversial professional career. When his father became active in China, Hunter partnered with the stepson of then-Secretary of State John Kerry and together raised money in China as financial advisers. Once he even received a 2.8-carat diamond as a "gift" from Chinese energy tycoon Ye Jianming.

Shortly after the Ukrainian revolution and the arrival of the new regime, Hunter and his business partner Devon Archer joined Burisma's board of directors along with other notable individuals ahead of an anti-corruption investigation the company knew was coming. Viktor Shokin was soon appointed as Ukraine's Prosecutor General to investigate Burisma. Shokin was himself a controversial figure, having been accused of impeding anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine.

Vice President Biden pressured Ukraine to fire Shokin and warned he would withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees if the country failed to do so. While the move does raise questions about a possible conflict of interests, the firing of Shokin was applauded both by Ukraine and the European Union and ultimately, there is no evidence that Biden was being unethical by pushing for Shokin's firing. Even Yuriy Lutsenko, the prosecutor came after Shokin, said he found no evidence of wrongdoing by Biden.

But here's where it gets tricky. Lutsenko recently contradicted his past statement and told Giuliani that the Bidens had done something wrong while Shokin publicly said, according to court documents, that he was fired due to his inquiry of Burisma and pointed the finger at Joe Biden. Moreover, an undated Ukraine Prosecutor General's memo suggested that at least some of the accusations against Shokin were fabricated possibly to get rid of him. Joe Biden's recent claim that he had never discussed his son's business dealings with him was contradicted by Hunter himself, who revealed that he discussed his business activities in Ukraine with his father at least once before.

Of course, there's also a picture that circulated online recently of Hunter and Joe Biden golfing with none other than Devon Archer, with whom Hunter served on the Burisma board of directors.

While there's no evidence to prove either Biden did something illegal, the media's assertion that there's nothing here but conspiracy theories is also wrong. The Bidens' activities are, at the very least, a little questionable and suspicious.

For more on this, click here for our video.

photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore

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