President Donald Trump blasted rival Joe Biden’s family after new emails said to be from Hunter Biden’s laptop were revealed, calling the family ‘grifters.’
Trump used the ‘grifter’ term – which critics including Rep. Adam Schiff recently applied to the president himself – following the release of emails that have unmasked some of Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine at a time when his father had an influential role with the country as vice president.
‘They’re crooks, they’ve always been crooks. They’re grifters and crooks, and this is what we’re running against,’ Trump told the conservative NewsMax network. ‘And it’s a disgrace. It’s a disgrace,’ he continued.
‘They’re crooks, they’ve always been crooks. They’re grifters and crooks, and this is what we’re running against,’ President Donald Trump said of Joe Biden’s family after emails and photos from Hunter Biden’s laptop became public after Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani provided them to a newspaper
Hot water for the Bidens: This is one of the pictures released from Hunter’s laptop
He called the revelations ‘serious stuff’ and termed a New York Post report on the information a ‘major scandal.’
‘It’s a very sad thing when you look at that. Everywhere he goes, his son goes right behind him and grabs money,’ Trump said.
Trump also blasted Facebook and Twitter for quashing retweets of the story due to questions about the authenticity of the information.
‘So terrible that Facebook and Twitter took down the story of ‘Smoking Gun’ emails related to Sleepy Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, in the @NYPost,’ Trump tweeted Wednesday. ‘It is only the beginning for them. There is nothing worse than a corrupt politician. REPEAL SECTION 230!!!’
Facebook spokesman Andy Stone tweeted earlier Wednesday: ‘While I will intentionally not link to the New York Post, I want be clear that this story is eligible to be fact checked by Facebook’s third-party fact checking partners.’
He added: ‘In the meantime, we are reducing its distribution on our platform.’
Twitter said it violated a policy on information that may have been hacked.
Trump’s comments stoked the story amid a furious denial by the Biden camp, even as his lawyer Rudy Giuliani was signaling days of additional revelations, and thousands of additional emails and photos.
Giuliani, who provided the materials to the paper, said the president did not know about the information.
‘Because they covered it up. The president didn’t know this. I didn’t know this, this part, until now, until a few weeks ago, approximately when I found out about it,’ he said.
The president’s attack on the Biden family came amid many un answered questions about how the FBI and Giuliani would come into possession of Hunter Biden’s emails and photos.
A Wilmington, Delaware computer repair shop owner who says he gave the data to Giuliani’s lawyer and to the FBI held back from providing a clear timeline to reporters.
‘I can’t talk about it. I don’t want to talk about the timeline. I don’t want to talk about who reached out to who first,’ John Paul MacIsaac told the Daily Beast.
He claims he passed on the information because he was fearful and that ‘if people knew what I knew then my life would be in danger.’
Nevertheless, he says he provided the information to those recipients after a person claiming to be Hunter Biden sought repair on three laptops, then never returned to pick up the one containing a cache of information.
‘I’m afraid of somebody wanting to make sure that I don’t extort them for money or that I don’t do things with their computer. They would silence people,’ he said.
‘I was afraid for the owner [of the computer], I was afraid for the people involved in the content of it, and I just wanted it out of my shop,’ he said.
Hunter Biden scored a lucrative job at Ukrainian energy firm Burisma Holdings that reportedly paid $50,000 per month.
Trump’s attack comes a week after impeachment manager Schiff wrote of him: ‘Trump claimed to be a great deal maker. He’s not. Just a great grifter.’
The Washington Post reported two days ago that Secret Service details protecting Trump family members have run up U.S. government costs at Trump properties totaling $238,000, the latest report on Trump family business activities while Trump has been in office. Daughter Ivanka Trump is a White House advisor, her husband Jared Kushner is a key aide, and Trump sons Eric and Don Jr. run the Trump Organization along with an executive.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) called Biden a ‘decent man’ Wednesday but says he doesn’t trust information coming out of Ukraine following the report.
‘He’s a decent man. … what happened with Hunter Biden and the Ukraine is legitimate because he received money,’ Graham said amid Supreme Court confirmation hearings. ‘I don’t trust information coming out of the Ukraine because of the Russian influence.’
Giuliani, the former New York Mayor and Trump lawyer during impeachment, has put forward the extraordinary claim that the Chinese government has obtained explosive non-public emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop – which he says contains ‘illegal’ information which he helped push out and tried to get authorities to probe.
Giuliani says the laptop, the contents of which he says made it his way via a computer repair store owner, contains at least 1,000 photographs, a few of which made it into the New York Post Wednesday in a story that also explored possible influence peddling.
The Donald Trump lawyer says he wanted the information out two years ago – and blasted FBI director Chris Wray for failing to do a ‘damn thing’ after he said the store owner handed over the same information in the fall of 2019.
Their publication at 5am in New York set off a series of developments including:
- The Senate Homeland Security Committee helmed by Republican Ron Johnson said that it has been contacted by the ‘whistleblower’ who had the laptop and is looking into the matter;
- Facebook said the story was ‘eligible for fact checking’ and that it was ‘reducing its distribution on our platform’ prompting the president’s son Don Jr. to accuse the platform of ‘election interference’;
- Democrats accused Giuliani of being untrustworthy, with Connecticut senator Chris Murphy tweeting: ‘Remember he’s been parading around with a Russian secret agent for the last year.’
Speaking on Steve Bannon’s podcast – the former Trump adviser, now indicted on fraud charges over his role in a crowd-funded border wall –
‘I have to tell you – and this is very sensitive. The stuff that we’re in possession of contains 1,000 maybe more photographs that are highly, highly anywhere from inappropriate to illegal and have to be possessed by the Chinese government,’ Giuliani told former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon for his ‘War Room: Pandemic’ pod cast.
Information on Hunter Biden’s laptop has ‘to be possessed by the Chinese government,’ said Donald Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who said it included 1,000 photographs
Giuliani appeared on former chief White House strategist Steve Bannon’s War Room Pandemic show
Hunter Biden and his father Joe Biden in 2016. Hunter’s business dealings in Ukraine were at the center of the Trump impeachment case
HOW HUNTER’S EMAILS EXPLODED AS TWO WORLDS COLLIDED
January 2009: Hunter Biden (right) quits lobbying because his father has become vice president, and sets up investment and advisory firm firm Rosemont Seneca with friends Christopher Heinz – John Kerry’s stepson – and Devon Archer (left), a former Kerry aide
July 2010: Ukrainian oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky, who owns its biggest natural gas company Burisma joins the government of its president Viktor Yanukovych
February 2014: Yanukovych is deposed in a revolution which claims scores of lives and Burisma Zlochevsky is thrown out of government too
April 16: Burisma is secretly accused of money-laundering by Britain’s Serious Fraud Office. On the same day Archer meets Joe Biden at the White House. Six days later Archer joins the board of Burisma
April 28: Britain’s Serious Fraud Office freeze $23 million of Burisma’s cash, every dollar which exists in the UK’s banking system
May 12: Hunter joins the board of Burisma to improve ‘corporate governance.’ Hunter’s salary is later revealed to be $50,000-a-month. Burisma board advisor Vadym Pozharskyi who had met Hunter in Lake Como, Italy, days earlier, emails him asking to ‘use his influence’ to stop prosecutions. During the summer, the new prosecutor-general of Ukraine opens an investigation into Burisma
February 2015: Senior diplomat George Kent, on temporary assignment to Kyiv, learns of Hunter’s role. He phones a staffer at Biden’s office to it could ‘create perception of a conflict of interest.’ That month Viktor Shokin takes office as Ukraine’s prosecutor general, despite already being the subject of questions about his own links to corruption
April 17: Email from Hunter’s laptop shows Pozharskyi writing Hunter: ‘thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent some together.’
Summer: The Burisma investigation appears to become dormant
January 2016: Biden travels to Ukraine amid mounting international disgust at Shokin. The European Union and IMF have warned he is corrupt and Biden tells Poroshenko he needs to go. He later boasts: ‘I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money. Well, son of a bitch. He got fired.’ Shokin in fact is finally removed from office in March after internal turmoil in Kyiv
2018: Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani starts ‘investigating’ the Bidens’ links to Ukraine, enlisting the help of Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who are now indicted on fraud charges. Ukraine’s latest prosecutor general announces he will investigate Burisma early the next year
April 12, 2019: Hunter takes three damaged Macs to John Paul MacIsaac’s Apple repair shop in WIlmington, Delaware. MacIsaac puts data from one on a new hard drive
April 25: Joe Biden announces presidential run
Summer: MacIsaac claims he becomes worried that Hunter has not picked up his laptops he has seen some of what is on them, and thinks he might be killed by a Biden associate for having it in his shop
Fall: MacIsaac either contacts the FBI or is contacted by them; he has said both
December 9 or 19: The FBI pick up the laptop, but MacIsaac has made a copy for himself. They give him a grand jury subpoena to hand it over, even though he was going to anyway
Early January 2020: The FBI tell MacIsaac not to talk to anyone and to stall if a Biden representative comes to get the laptop back
February: Trump is acquitted at end of his impeachment trial
September: Steve Bannon, Trump’s ex-aide and now indicted on fraud charges, tells New York Post about existence of laptop
October 11: Giuliani gives Post the hard drive
October 14: Post publishes emails and partially-clothed pictures of Hunter from the laptop – one of them with an apparent crack pipe – and says it has an 11-minute sex-and-drugs video. Giuliani promises there is ‘more to come,’ Republican senators promise to investigate but Democrats say the former New York mayor has ‘paraded with Russian agents’
‘If the Chinese government doesn’t have these photographs, they’re not really a rival,’ Giuliani said.
‘Everything the American people are going to look at in the next five days, China’s been looking at for a long time,’ he said. He did not provide evidence that China had the information on Biden’s son, who has done business there.
His comments pointing at China came as Twitter and Facebook blocked sharing of the New York Post story about the cache of emails pending verification, and some outside observers raised the prospect of a potential Russian-backed hack and leak operation, and pointed to Giuliani’s past collaboration with Ukrainian parliamentarian Andriy Derkach in search of information on the Bidens.
The Treasury Department last month identified Derkach as an ‘active Russian agent.’
Giuliani confirmed information from a computer store owner who told the paper he gave the information to the FBI last fall, and blasted the bureau for taking part in what he called a ‘cover up’ by failing to act.
‘The FBI Director should resign,’ Giuliani said of FBI Director Chris Wray.
Then he stitched together information about impeachment and a document pointing to Russian intelligence that Trump’s intelligence director John Ratcliffe recently declassified.
‘After he covered up the Brennan memo,’ Giuliani said. ‘All this present FBI director’s been doing has been holding back texts and emails that are incriminating of Hillary Clinton, Biden,’ Giuliani said. ‘Now we got another.’ He also added ominously: ‘I happen to know there are others.’
Giuliani also described himself as pushing the bureau to probe the matter, without success.
‘They could have investigated Joe Biden for this beginning in November of 2019 and it wouldn’t be a political issue,’ he continued. ‘I kept telling them. They said you’re trying to raise this the political issue. I said nonsense. I’m raising this because this defends my client’ – Trump, said Giuliani, without saying if he was referring to the laptop specifically or Hunter Biden generally.
Giuliani indicated he may have known about the information for years, although he also said he just learned about the laptop weeks ago.
‘Well the other guy’s committed these crimes. I wanted this out two years ago. I didn’t want it to interfere with Biden’s presidency. It’s the Democrat cover up that makes it happen this way,’ he told Bannon, who also helped helm Trump’s 2016 campaign and who told the publication about the information on Hunter Biden.
The former mayor also brought reports that he himself was being investigated, and the recent indictment of Bannon for allegedly profiting off the nonprofit group ‘We Build the Wall.’
‘Every piece of information about it was available to the FBI and I might add the Justice Department, and they didn’t do a damn thing with it because all they cared about was trying to prove something they knew from the very beginning wasn’t true: Russian collusion,’ Giuliani said. ‘I can say that about the Southern District [of New York], the Dept of Justice and the FBI,’ he said.
‘This is one of only three or four major things they covered up that would have obviated the need for the kind of persecution they did not only of Donald Trump, but of you, me, I mean they illegally intercepted my communications. It’s been determined to be illegal. Nobody’s apologized to me for doing it,’ he said.
Biden in bed: A photo of the former vice-president’s son apparently asleep is among the pictures Giuliani released. It shows him with a pipe of the type used to smoke crack or marijuana in his mouth
Here’s Hunter: The Democratic candidate’s son’s photos were part of the laptop which was obtained by Rudy Giuliani’s attorney and has now been released by the president’s lawyer
Intimate pictures: An apparent mirror selfie of a topless Hunter Biden is among the cache of information released by Rudy Giuliani
WHO’S WHO IN THE HUNTER BIDEN EMAILS
Joe’s son and Yale-educated attorney who was a lobbyist while his father was senator. Quit lobbying and founded investment and advisory firm Rosemont Seneca with John Kerry’s stepson Christopher Heinz and Kerry adviser Devon Archer and also became lawyer with Boies Schiller Flexner. Now living in Los Angeles with second wife and sixth child after rehab for crack addiction
Ukrainian natural gas producer founded by Mykola Zlochevsky, who was minister of natural resources under Ukraine’s president Viktor Yanukovych, who was deposed in early 2014 in a revolution. That April Hunter Biden was appointed to Burisma’s board to ‘improve corporate governance,’ and at the same time Britain Serious Fraud Office accused the oligarch and his company of money-laundering. Has been the subject of on and off again investigations by Ukrainian prosecutors
Biden’s business partner with Heinz, who was his Yale room mate. Heinz and Archer fell out over Biden being on board of Burisma. Archer is now convicted in a separate fraud after federal prosecution in New York
Adviser to the board of Burisma who thanked Hunter in April 2015 for ‘opportunity to meet’ his father, then the vice-president. In September 2018 he met Trump’s special envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker and other U.S. officials
Controversial Ukrainian prosecutor general from February 2015 until March 2016. Conflicting accounts of whether he ordered a corruption investigation into Burisma; the issue remains unresolved. Widely accused of hindering fight against corruption generally by European Union diplomats, IMF and the U.S. Fired after Joe Biden demanded his removal in moment he later bragged about
Ukrainian president from June 2014 to May 2019 and also an oligarch. Controversial record over corruption: he established an anti-corruption court but his 2019 re-election campaign was hit by claims of graft by his business partners
The Senate Homeland Security Committee says it is seeking to ‘validate’ information provided by a computer store owner who says he copied data from Hunter Biden’s hard drive after the former vice president’s son sought computer repairs.
Joe Biden’s presidential campaign on Wednesday dismissed the story and emails that purported show Hunter making an introduction between his powerful father and a Ukrainian energy firm.
A trove of emails obtained from Hunter’s laptop and revealed by Giuliani showed Hunter making an effort to introduce his father to an adviser at his Ukrainian gas firm before the then-vice president lobbied for the firing of a prosecutor who had investigated the company.
Burisma adviser Vadym Pozharskyi thanked Hunter Biden for ‘an opportunity to meet your father’ in an email sent in 2015, according to the stash of data given to the New York Post by Giuliani.
Hours after the story landed, the Biden camp blasted the report, and said a records search indicated no such meeting occurred.
Biden spokesman Andrew Bates said the paper ‘never asked the Biden campaign about the critical elements of this story…moreover, we have reviewed Joe Biden’s official schedules from the time and no meeting, as alleged by the New York Post, ever took place.’
Bates said: ‘Investigations by the press, during impeachment, and even by two Republican-led Senate committees whose work was decried as ‘not legitimate’ and political by a GOP colleague have all reached the same conclusion: that Joe Biden carried out official U.S. policy toward Ukraine and engaged in no wrongdoing. Trump Administration officials have attested to these facts under oath,’ he said.
The email is just one among a trove being referenced by Giuliani and his team.
Giuliani lawyer Bob Costello said there are some 40,000 emails on the hard drive including thousands of texts. It also includes images of Hunter ‘in very compromising positions,’ Costello told Fox News.
Trump’s campaign seized on the Biden campaign’s response, claiming it constituted confirmation of the material on Hunter’s hard drive was real, evan as some outside observers raised the prospect it could have been hacked or altered.
‘The Biden campaign does not dispute the authenticity of the emails published by the New York Post, which serves to confirm that they are real. And if Joe Biden never met with Vadym Pozharskyi, the Biden campaign would say so,’ said Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh.
‘They do not say that. Their answer basically is that the entry ‘Meeting with Ukrainian businessman buying access to the Vice President’ does not appear on Joe Biden’s official schedule. Their response is so carefully worded that it reveals the truth in what they don’t deny.
‘They also don’t address the overarching question of why Joe Biden lied to the American people about never discussing with Hunter Biden his corrupt business dealings with the Ukrainian energy company Burisma. Americans deserve a full accounting of the conversations Joe Biden had with Hunter, and what Joe Biden discussed with Vadym Pozharskyi.’
A year after the 2015 email, Joe Biden successfully pushed for the prosecutor’s removal, amid concerns at his failure to tackle corruption which were shared by other countries.
The files also show Hunter repeatedly apparently referring to his father as ‘my guy’ while writing to a colleague at Burisma, and pictures of him engaged in sex, smoking drugs, and partially-naked selfies.
The Post says the collection of messages and images were recovered on a MacBook Pro laptop that was brought into a Delaware computer shop by someone looking like Hunter and never picked up. It had a Beau Biden Foundation sticker on it.
Giuliani said the FBI had investigated it and produced a grand jury subpoena as evidence. It is unknown what the FBI investigation was into or what has happened to it. The Bureau has declined to comment.
The emails shed new light on the younger Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine, which were at the center of the Trump impeachment probe and which the president has repeatedly tried to use against the Democratic nominee.
Joe Biden, who leads the polls with 20 days left until the election, has previously said he never speaks to his son about his overseas business dealings. His campaign offered no comment but Hunter’s attorney accused Giuliani of pushing Russian disinformation.
Other material in the cache is said to include sexually explicit images of Hunter, and footage of him smoking crack while engaged in a sex act with a woman in the course of an 11-minute video.
The Post published four pictures of Biden in states of undress, one apparently in a bath, one in bed, and smoking in two of them.
One shows Hunter with what appeared to be a pipe similar to those used to smoke crack or marijuana.
Hunter, 50, has admitted to cocaine use in the past and received an administrative discharge from the US Navy reserve for that reason in 2014.
The trove of files was given to the Post by Giuliani after the computer store owner gave one copy to the FBI and kept hold of another.
He eventually gave it to Giuliani’s lawyer, and the contents were passed to the Post after the paper learned of its existence from former Trump aide Steve Bannon.
Giuliani has spearheaded claims, fiercely denied by both Bidens, that Joe Biden tried to fire Ukraine’s chief prosecutor Viktor Shokin in order to stop him investigating Burisma.
Shokin had previously led an investigation into the company’s owner.
Responding to the leak, lawyers for Hunter Biden said Giuliani was ‘pushing widely discredited conspiracy theories’.
The lawyers did not comment directly on the content of the emails, while Joe Biden and his campaign have yet to respond.
The April 2015 email from Pozharskyi came a year after the Burisma adviser had written to Hunter asking for ‘advice on how you could use your influence’.
Discussing his apparent meeting with Biden senior, Pozharskyi said it was an ‘honor and a pleasure’ to be introduced to the then-vice president.
However the email itself does not confirm that Biden met with Pozharaskyi, or that Hunter spoke to his father about the intended get-together.
By late 2015, Biden was lobbying for the removal of Shokin, a position supported by the Obama administration, the IMF and other Western countries who regarded him as ineffective and an obstacle to corruption.
In one phone call, then-Vice President Biden told Ukraine’s president that he would commit a $1billion loan guarantee to the country once Shokin was fired.
Biden, 77, described this in a speech in 2018, saying: ‘I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.
‘Well, son of a b****. He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.’
The IMF also threatened to withhold $40billion to Ukraine if it failed to remove Shokin.
Burisma adviser Vadym Pozharskyi (pictured) thanked Hunter Biden for ‘an opportunity to meet your father’ in an email sent in 2015
The Hunter Biden issue came rushing into the political spotlight last year after Donald Trump (pictured) lobbied Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, leading to his impeachment
Shokin was indeed fired in March 2016, by which time his investigation into Burisma had already been lying dormant for a time, according to reports last year.
However, Burisma did have a reputation for corruption and last year’s impeachment inquiry was told that Hunter Biden’s involvement ‘created the potential for the appearance of a conflict of interest’.
Hunter joined the Burisma board in 2014 and served a five-year term, but reputedly never visited Ukraine for company business in that time.
Joe Biden has previously accused Giuliani of peddling ‘false, debunked conspiracy theories’ about his son’s involvement in Ukraine.
The issue came rushing back into the spotlight last year after President Trump lobbied Ukraine’s new president to investigate the Bidens’ dealings.
Trump’s request led to his impeachment after Democrats said he had abused his powers to strong-arm Ukraine into granting him a personal political favor.
Democrats said Trump had used $391million of foreign aid as a threat to pressure Ukraine, but the president denied there was any ‘quid pro quo’. He was acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate.
A report by the Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee said last year there was ‘no legitimate basis’ to accuse Joe Biden of wrongdoing.
The report argued that Shokin’s removal ‘would have increased the likelihood that Burisma would be investigated for corruption, not the opposite, given that Mr. Shokin was widely considered to be both ineffective and corrupt’.
Trump tried to bring up Hunter at last month’s presidential debate in Cleveland, saying he was ‘given tens of millions of dollars’ in his business dealings.
The president also referred to Hunter’s cocaine use, while incorrectly claiming that Hunter had been dishonorably discharged from the US Navy Reserve.
The Democratic nominee’s son was actually handed a less severe administrative discharge after failing a drug test.
Joe Biden said in the debate: ‘My son, like a lot of people, had a drug problem. He’s overtaken it. He’s fixed it. He’s worked on it. And I’m proud of him.’
Hunter Biden’s activities at Burisma have also been the target of scrutiny by a committee in the Senate.
One email sent to his business partner Devon Archer around the time Hunter joined the company’s corporate board repeatedly refers to his father as ‘my guy’.
In the same email, Hunter discussed a Burisma contract which he felt ‘should include a retainer in the range of 25k per month’.
It is reportedly dated just over a week before Joe Biden held a press conference in Ukraine with the country’s PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk in April 2014.
‘The announcement of my guys [sic] upcoming travels should be characterized as part of our advice and thinking – but what he will say and do is out of our hands,’ Hunter Biden wrote on April 13, 2014.
‘In other words it could be a really good thing or it could end up creating too great an expectation. We need to temper expectations regarding that visit.’
Unwittingly caught up in the impeachment row last year, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said Ukrainians are ‘tired’ of the issue and does not want Ukraine being dragged into the 2020 presidential race.
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