Joe Biden
Credit: Marc Nozell/Flickr

In August 2017, the Berkman Klien Center published a report that documented media failures in the 2016 presidential election titled: “Partisanship, Propaganda and Disinformation.” A section of that report outlined how Steve Bannon and Peter Schweizer weaponized the narrative that Hillary was corrupt by planting a story in the New York Times from the latter’s book Clinton Cash on the so-called “Uranium One deal,” which eventually became a major story during the campaign. No one has done more to keep that particular conspiracy theory alive—even after it has been repeatedly debunked—than John Solomon.

Over the last month, Schweizer and Solomon have teamed up for a repeat performance, only this time they are going after Joe Biden. Solomon kicked things off with an article titled, “Joe Biden’s 2020 Ukrainian Nightmare.” Two days later, the folks at Breitbart talked to Schweizer about the story.

What they claim is that, during a time when then Vice President Biden was pressuring Ukrainian officials to prosecute more corruption among oligarchs, his son Hunter Biden was on the payroll of one via his company Rosemont Seneca Partners. Where the story gets a bit murky is that apparently Biden threatened to pull $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees if Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko didn’t fire the country’s top prosecutor for giving the oligarchs a pass. However, there actually was an investigation into the company that was purchasing services from Hunter Biden’s company. The vice president’s pressure worked and the prosecutor was fired.

In a repeat performance from 2016, the other media outlet that picked up the story is the New York Times. Kenneth P. Vogel and Iuliia Mendel recount the same story Solomon and Schweizer are peddling. You have to read all the way to the 19th paragraph to catch this little nugget.

No evidence has surfaced that the former vice president intentionally tried to help his son by pressing for the prosecutor general’s dismissal. Some of his former associates, moreover, said Mr. Biden never did anything to deter other Obama administration officials who were pushing for the United States to support criminal investigations by Ukrainian and British authorities — and potentially to start its own investigation — into Burisma and its owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, for possible money laundering and abuse of office.

That is exactly what outlets like the New York Times did to Clinton in 2016. As Paul Glastris wrote, “In virtually every case we know of, it’s clear that Hillary and her staff behaved appropriately. Yet instead of accepting the evidence of their own investigations, much of the mainstream media expresses the attitude that these are still wide open questions.”

Of course, we now have an attorney general who has stated that “he sees more basis for investigating the uranium deal than any supposed collusion between Mr. Trump and Russia.” That’s what makes this part of the story so disturbing.

Mr. Giuliani…acknowledged that he has discussed the matter with the president on multiple occasions. Mr. Trump, in turn, recently suggested he would like Attorney General William P. Barr to look into the material gathered by the Ukrainian prosecutors — echoing repeated calls from Mr. Giuliani for the Justice Department to investigate the Bidens’ Ukrainian work and other connections between Ukraine and the United States.

That might shed some light on the line of questioning Senator Kamala Harris pursued with Attorney General Barr on Wednesday.

In other words, has the president or anyone in the White House suggested, hinted, or inferred that the attorney general should investigate whether the former vice president intentionally tried to help his son by pressing for the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s dismissal? As we say in Minnesota, “youbetcha!”

Nancy LeTourneau

Follow Nancy on Twitter @Smartypants60.