Patterico's Pontifications


WSJ News Side: No Evidence of a Role for Joe Biden in Bobulinski Venture

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:18 pm

The Wall Street Journal news side has an article refuting the nonsense the opinion side has been spouting over the last 24 hours:

In a statement to reporters Thursday, Anthony Bobulinski said that in 2017 Hunter Biden consulted his father about a planned venture with Chinese oil company CEFC China Energy Co. to invest in the U.S. and elsewhere. Mr. Bobulinski was also a partner.

The venture—set up in 2017 after Mr. Biden left the vice presidency and before his presidential campaign—never received proposed funds from the Chinese company or completed any deals, according to people familiar with the matter. Corporate records reviewed by The Wall Street Journal show no role for Joe Biden.

“Joe Biden has never even considered being involved in business with his family, nor in any overseas business whatsoever. He has never held stock in any such business arrangements nor has any family member or any other person ever held stock for him,” said Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates in a statement.

. . . .

Text messages and emails related to the venture that were provided to the Journal by Mr. Bobulinski, mainly the spring and summer of 2017, don’t show either Hunter Biden or James Biden discussing a role for Joe Biden in the venture.

Mr. Gilliar, told the Journal: “I would like to clear up any speculation that former Vice President Biden was involved with the 2017 discussions about our potential business structure. I am unaware of any involvement at anytime of the former Vice President. The activity in question never delivered any project revenue.”

Losing presidential candidate Donald J. Trump hardest hit.

(Final) Presidential Debate Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 4:41 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Tonight’s the big night. The final presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. We have been informed that Biden has been doing some serious prep work for tonight’s event, while Trump has reportedly been so casual about preparing that he’s done even less of it this time than with the previous debate.

Anyway, here’s how the microphone muting will work:

“Under the agreed upon debate rules, each candidate is to have two minutes of uninterrupted time to make remarks at the beginning of each 15 minute segment of the debate. These remarks are to be followed by a period of open discussion,” the commission said in a statement. “Both campaigns this week again reaffirmed their agreement to the two-minute, uninterrupted rule.”
The statement continued: “The Commission is announcing today that in order to enforce this agreed upon rule, the only candidate whose microphone will be open during these two-minute periods is the candidate who has the floor under the rules. For the balance of each segment, which by design is intended to be dedicated to open discussion, both candidates’ microphones will be open.”

Both microphones will be unmuted after each candidate delivers their two-minute answer.

This will obviously be a problem for both candidates who are frequently afflicted with verbal diarrhea and an inability to Just. Be. Quiet. Trump aggressively talks over Biden in an effort to drown him out, provoke him, and frankly, wear him down. Meanwhile, Biden knows his stuff, but if Joe isn’t hopping mad and rambling, he is confused and rambling on, and on, and on, and oh my God, I’m already nodding off.

The topics for tonight’s debate are:

“Fighting COVID-19”
“American Families”
“Race in America”
“Climate Change”
“National Security”

Each segment will last about 15 minutes, and the candidates will have two minutes to respond after the moderator, NBC’s Kristen Welker, opens each segment with a question.

I suppose I should say something about the moderator, but I really don’t know too much about her, and I really can’t gin up any interest. Half of America is convinced she’s top drawer, the other half have condemned her as a biased hack. Previous presidential debate moderator Chris Wallace certainly struggled to stay in control during the previous debate melee and he has far more experience than does the 44-year old Welker. So good luck there.

And given that both candidates tested negative today, there will be no plexiglass separating them. I guess if tempers flare, and everything goes to hell, there really could be an actual throw-down between these two rich, old white guys because unfortunately, this is where we’re at. America!

President Trump wants you to know he is on his way:

Joe Biden wants you to know this is it:

And the inimitable P.J. O’Rourke wants to talk Biden and pixie dust rainbows, and Trump, the toddler-in-chief:

It can only get better, people. Right??


Trump: I May Fire Wray for Doing the Opposite of What I Supposedly Fired Comey For

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am


President Trump and his advisers have repeatedly discussed whether to fire FBI Director Christopher A. Wray after Election Day — a scenario that also could imperil the tenure of Attorney General William P. Barr as the president grows increasingly frustrated that federal law enforcement has not delivered his campaign the kind of last-minute boost that the FBI provided in 2016, according to people familiar with the matter.

The conversations among the president and senior aides stem in part from their disappointment that Wray in particular but Barr as well have not done what Trump had hoped — indicate that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden or other Biden associates are under investigation, these people say. Like others, they spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose internal discussions.

In the campaign’s closing weeks, the president has intensified public calls for jailing his challenger, much as he did for Hillary Clinton, his opponent in 2016. Trump has called Biden a “criminal” without articulating what laws he believes the former vice president has broken.

Bob Woodward’s Rage (affiliate link) gave the fullest account I had read to date of Trump trying to use Rod Rosenstein’s memo about Comey as a justification for firing Comey. Rosenstein (who was clearly a source for the book) was called into Trump’s office, where Trump told him he had been working for days on a long (and, as it turns out, completely crazy) letter that would justify a decision he had made days earlier to fire Comey. Rosenstein mentioned that he believed Comey’s handling of the Clinton matter was against law enforcement standards and justified his firing. Trump was thrilled to hear that and told Rosenstein to write it up. Rosenstein stayed up all night to write his memo justifying the firing of Comey. He gave it to the White House in the morning and Trump immediately fired Comey. Then the White House said it was Rosenstein’s idea and told him to hold a press conference saying so. Rosenstein said he was not going to do a press conference because he would have to tell the truth at such a conference, and that would directly contradict the version of events being put out by the White House.

Rosenstein’s memo concentrated primarily on Comey’s decision to announce the Clinton declination himself — a clear usurpation of prosecutorial prerogative — as well as his decision to hold a press conference disparaging Clinton although she had not been charged. This runs counter to all law enforcement traditions in the federal government. Rosenstein did, however, also criticize Comey for his decision to make a public announcement in October 2016 that the investigation had been reopened:

Concerning his letter to the Congress on October 28, 2016, the Director cast his decision as a choice between whether he would “speak” about the FBI’s decision to investigate the newly-discovered email messages or “conceal” it. “Conceal” is a loaded term that misstates the issue. When federal agents and prosecutors quietly open a criminal investigation, we are not concealing anything; we are simply following the longstanding policy that we refrain from publicizing non-public information. In that context, silence is not concealment.

Although Rosenstein’s criticism of Comey ultimately centered on the July 2016 decision and not the October 2016 decision to announce the investigation had been reopened, he clearly disapproved of both decisions. Rosenstein’s criticism of Comey’s October 2016 can be seen as part of the justification for the firing that the memo all but recommends. And Trump cited (falsely) Rosenstein’s memo as the justification for firing Comey. (Which nobody believed, and which he ultimately revealed was not true, in an interview with Lester Holt.)

As implausible as it sounds, it’s fair to say that Comey’s announcement that the FBI had reopened a criminal investigation of Trump’s political opponent was part of the justification Trump offered for firing Comey. Sure, nobody believed it, but it was part of the public justification.

Now Trump is reportedly considering firing Christopher Wray for not giving an October announcement that the FBI is investigating his political opponent. In other words, the precise opposite behavior Comey engaged in.

Trump’s dishonesty is on full display here, and the nose can detect his desperation from over a thousand miles away.

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