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Tuesday: CNN Reports Biden Demands Media Be Anti-Impeachment 

Wednesday: CNN Fact Checks Impeachment 

In what must be serendipity at its finest, the past 48 hours have seen CNN both report that the Biden White House is demanding Big Media be anti-impeachment and publish an impeachment fact check that could only be described as…wait for it…anti-impeachment. 

A White House staffer stated directly – in letter form – to every major outlet that “Covering impeachment as a process story – Republicans say X, but the White House says Y – is a disservice to the American public who relies on the independent press to hold those in power accountable… (and) process stories that fail to unpack the illegitimacy of the claims on which House Republicans are basing all their actions only serve to generate confusion, put false premises in people's feeds, and obscure the truth.” 

So don’t do that, wrote the staffer, and look at how baseless the Republican – all “liars and hucksters” - claims against Biden are instead - https://thomas699.substack.com/p/adding-insult-to-injury 

It took the fact checkers at CNN, less than 24 hours (it may have even been nearly simultaneous – the timing seems a bit muddy) to take that advice to heart: https://www.cnn.com/2023/09/13/politics/fact-check-mccarthy-biden-impeachment-claims/index.html 

While I would strongly suggest giving the story a full read, here are just a very few examples of the abject absurdity of the piece (I’m starting from the top – the first one is literally the third paragraph of the story): 

“There is clear evidence that Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, leveraged his famous name while pursuing lucrative foreign deals, which might be untoward but isn’t illegal. And he isn’t a government official – the impeachment inquiry is into his father. 

House Republicans have not presented any proof that Joe Biden ever profited off his son’s business deals or was influenced while in office by his son’s business dealings. “ 

Aww, Hunter is just a bad boy who daddy loves and just because he’s a sleaze doesn’t mean any of his ill-gotten - but not really ill-gotten because he can do whatever he wants - gains ended up in Joe’s pocket and please forget the joint accounts. 

“…past impeachment inquiries in recent history have typically started with more publicly available evidence.” 

Like a single phone call to Ukraine lied about by a staffer who had everything to gain by lying about it (see Trump’s 11th, I think, impeachment) counts as more publicly available “evidence.” 

Claim: “Bank records show that nearly $20 million in payments were directed to the Biden family members and associates through various shell companies.” 

Facts First: This is true about Joe Biden’s family and associates, but there is no public evidence to date that the president personally received any money. 

Well, it is true Joe Biden doesn’t have a giant sign on his beach house saying “Thanks China!!” – I’ll give CNN that. 

“What the records have shown is that during and after Joe Biden’s tenure as vice president, Hunter Biden made millions of dollars through complex financial arrangements from private equity deals, legal fees, and corporate consulting in Ukraine, China, Romania and elsewhere.” 

Deals and arrangements Joe stated repeatedly and publicly that he had no idea about at all because they never talked about business even when they were using each other’s money and it certainly didn’t come up when Joe was on business calls involving foreign nationals with Hunter. 

Claim - Even a trusted FBI informant has alleged a bribe to the Biden family. 

Facts First: It’s true that an informant gave a tip of this nature to the FBI in 2020, and that the bureau had viewed him as a credible informant. But the underlying allegation that the Biden family was given a bribe is totally unproven; the informant was merely reporting something he said he had been told by a Ukrainian businessman. 

Totally unproven. Ignoring, of course, one of the reasons one holds inquiries is to prove (or disprove) things. It should also be noted that the number of “total unproven” allegations that were levelled against the previous administration by CNN is, shall we say, large. They turned out to be false, but that did not stop CNN from grinding them across the screen on a non-stop basis for four years. 

It’s nice to see ethical, responsible, deliberative reporting standards are back at CNN. 

Claim: Eyewitnesses have testified that the president joined on multiple phone calls and had multiple interactions – dinners resulted in cars and millions of dollars into his son’s and his son’s business partners. 

Facts First: (The) claim omits key context about what was – and wasn’t – reportedly discussed in the calls and dinners. A Hunter Biden associate testified that even though Joe Biden was on these calls and at these dinners, he didn’t discuss business. And Republicans have not presented any evidence that Joe Biden himself benefited financially from his appearances at the dinners or on the calls. 

Nope – didn’t discuss business, never happened, can’t prove it, how ‘bout those Red Sox? As with so many other fact checks, CNN dismisses obvious standard human interactions and – and this is incredibly important to overseas business types who want to do deals – the simple fact that you can tell people you had dinner with or talked to the VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES any deal your discussing is half-way home – the value of being to show off such an amazing contact is enormous, enormous enough to pay a great deal of money for, as Hunter figured out. 

Claim: The Treasury Department alone has more than 150 transactions involving the Biden family and other business associates that were flagged as suspicious activity by US banks. 

Facts First: The existence of these suspicious activity reports don’t prove wrongdoing on their own. 

The filing of a SAR, does not prove wrongdoing. Such reports are not conclusive, and are akin to the bank providing a tip to investigators, out of an abundance of caution. Financial institutions file millions of SARs each year, but few lead to law enforcement inquiries. 

While it is theoretically possible that not a single SAR ended up being about something naughty, it would stand to reason at least a few are. And it does raise the question: how many SARs does a typical American family have? 

Claim: Biden lied about his knowledge of family’s business deals 

Facts First: Joe Biden’s unequivocal denials of any business-related contact with his son have been undercut over time. But so far there is no public evidence that his occasional interactions with Hunter Biden’s business partners led to him getting substantively involved in his son’s financial arrangements. 

Undercut over time. Bwwaaaaahhhhh!!!!! Sorry, Coke Zero just came out of my nose. CNN also has the unabashed gall to re-quote – without detrimental comment - White House Press Secretary (and part-time anime character) Karine Jean-Pierre when she said the “answer is not going to change” and – literally in the next breath – changed the answer from we never “discussed business” to “we were never in business.” 

Undercut over time, indeed. 

And the best part of the fact check? It ends with a quote: 

Ian Sams, a spokesperson for the White House Counsel’s Office, said in a statement to CNN, “House Republicans have been investigating the President for 9 months, and they’ve turned up no evidence of wrongdoing. His own Republican members have said so. He vowed to hold a vote to open impeachment, now he flip flopped because he doesn’t have support. This is extreme politics at its worst.” 

Know who Ian Sams is? He’s the guy that wrote the letter to CNN and every other media outlet demanding they be nice to Joe Biden. 

Really – the same guy, CNN? 

C’mon - at least try.