The Trump regime is throwing as much poop at the walls as it can crap out, and none of it is sticking to Joe Biden or the Democrats as even Rupert Murdoch's boys are bailing on the Tangerine Trashmaster.
By early October, even people inside the White House believed President Trump’s re-election campaign needed a desperate rescue mission. So three men allied with the president gathered at a house in McLean, Va., to launch one.
The host was Arthur Schwartz, a New York public relations man close to President Trump’s eldest son, Donald Jr. The guests were a White House lawyer, Eric Herschmann, and a former deputy White House counsel, Stefan Passantino, according to two people familiar with the meeting.
Mr. Herschmann knew the subject matter they were there to discuss. He had represented Mr. Trump during the impeachment trial early this year, and he tried to deflect allegations against the president in part by pointing to Hunter Biden’s work in Ukraine. More recently, he has been working on the White House payroll with a hazy portfolio, listed as “a senior adviser to the president,” and remains close to Jared Kushner.
The three had pinned their hopes for re-electing the president on a fourth guest, a straight-shooting Wall Street Journal White House reporter named Michael Bender. They delivered the goods to him there: a cache of emails detailing Hunter Biden’s business activities, and, on speaker phone, a former business partner of Hunter Biden’s named Tony Bobulinski. Mr. Bobulinski was willing to go on the record in The Journal with an explosive claim: that Joe Biden, the former vice president, had been aware of, and profited from, his son’s activities. The Trump team left believing that The Journal would blow the thing open and their excitement was conveyed to the president.
The Journal had seemed to be the perfect outlet for a story the Trump advisers believed could sink Mr. Biden’s candidacy. Its small-c conservatism in reporting means the work of its news pages carries credibility across the industry. And its readership leans further right than other big news outlets. Its Washington bureau chief, Paul Beckett, recently remarked at a virtual gathering of Journal reporters and editors that while he knows that the paper often delivers unwelcome news to the many Trump supporters who read it, The Journal should protect its unique position of being trusted across the political spectrum, two people familiar with the remarks said.
As the Trump team waited with excited anticipation for a Journal exposé, the newspaper did its due diligence: Mr. Bender and Mr. Beckett handed the story off to a well-regarded China correspondent, James Areddy, and a Capitol Hill reporter who had followed the Hunter Biden story, Andrew Duehren. Mr. Areddy interviewed Mr. Bobulinski. They began drafting an article.
Then things got messy. Without warning his notional allies, Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor and now a lawyer for President Trump, burst onto the scene with the tabloid version of the McLean crew’s carefully laid plot. Mr. Giuliani delivered a cache of documents of questionable provenance — but containing some of the same emails — to The New York Post, a sister publication to The Journal in Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. Mr. Giuliani had been working with the former Trump aide Steve Bannon, who also began leaking some of the emails to favored right-wing outlets. Mr. Giuliani’s complicated claim that the emails came from a laptop Hunter Biden had abandoned, and his refusal to let some reporters examine the laptop, cast a pall over the story — as did The Post’s reporting, which alleged but could not prove that Joe Biden had been involved in his son’s activities.
Hanlon's Razor -- "Never attribute to malice that which can adequately explained by stupidity" -- in the era of Trump requires Zandar's Addendum: "Sometimes it's both." The Trump White House had an orderly plan to sell the Hunter Biden garbage dump to the Wall Street Journal, and then Rudy Giuliani got wind of it and crashed through the wall like the Kool-Aid Man.
Needless to say, the story fell apart over the weekend, with the NY Times delivering the final blow on Sunday night.
There is no evidence in the records that Mr. Biden was involved in or profited from the joint venture.
Encrypted messages, emails and other documents examined by The New York Times do not show Hunter Biden or James Biden discussing any role for the former vice president in the project.
Mr. Biden’s tax returns, which he has released, show no income from any such venture. There is nothing illegal about doing business in China or with Chinese partners; Mr. Trump long pursued deals in China, had a partnership with a government-controlled enterprise and maintained a corporate bank account there.
The Biden campaign has rejected all assertions that the former vice president had any role in the negotiations over the deal or any stake in it.
Andrew Bates, a Biden campaign spokesman, said the former vice president never had any stake in the project. “Joe Biden has never even considered being involved in business with his family, nor in any overseas business whatsoever,” he said.
At the second presidential debate on Thursday, Mr. Biden said, “I have not taken a penny from any foreign source ever in my life.”
The messages produced by Mr. Bobulinski appear to reflect a meeting between him, the former vice president and James Biden in May 2017 in Beverly Hills, Calif. The messages do not make clear what was discussed.
Mr. Bates did not answer questions about Mr. Bobulinski’s claim that he met with the former vice president. But Mr. Bates said the Chinese deal never was discussed by Mr. Biden with members of his family. “He never had any conversations about these issues at all,” Mr. Bates said.
One email sent on May 13, 2017, by another member of the venture discusses how the various partners in the deal could theoretically split up the equity and makes reference to whether “the big guy” might get 10 percent. The document does not specify who this person is, saying only “10 held by H for the big guy ?”
Mr. Bobulinski has said the reference was clearly to the former vice president.
Mr. Bates said Mr. Biden “has never held stock in any such business arrangements nor has any family member or any other person ever held stock for him.”
And what makes this easy to confirm is that Joe Biden has openly released his tax returns for decades. The evidence is clear that there's nothing there, and this story is just as bogus as it was ten months ago when the Trump regime tried to cover up their Ukraine quid pro quo by screaming HUNTER BIDEN and taking a huge dump on the carpet.
It didn't work then. It's not working now.
That's the biggest difference from 2016.