CNN inadvertently confirmed several key claims regarding the corruption allegations against President Joe Biden when the network’s “fact checkers” tried Wednesday to debunk claims House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) made Tuesday when announcing a formal impeachment inquiry into the president.
“House Republicans have uncovered serious and credible allegations into President Biden’s conduct,” McCarthy announced Tuesday. “Taken together, these allegations paint a picture of a culture of corruption.”
“These are allegations of abuse of power, obstruction, and corruption, and they warrant further investigation by House of Representatives,” he said.
The CNN article comes just two days after White House spokesperson Iam Sams sent a memo to the editorial leadership at major U.S. news media organizations urging them to “do more to scrutinize the House Republicans’ demonstrably false claims that they’re basing impeachment stunt on.”
“It’s time for the media to ramp up its scrutiny of House Republicans for opening
an impeachment inquiry based on lies,” Sams wrote in the memo, including a 14-page appendix giving the media outlets a playbook for addressing the House Republicans’ claims.
CNN — “THE MOST TRUSTED NAME IN NEWS” — appears to have taken their White House marching orders seriously.
The CNN fact checkers, led by Capitol Hill reporter Annie Grayer, wrote Wednesday that McCarthy made “several unproven claims” in his announcement.
But the attempt to debunk McCarthy’s allegations was largely viewed as a spectacular fail considering the individual items of the fact check all confirmed that McCarthy had spoke the truth.
CNN acknowledged that Hunter Biden “leveraged his famous name while pursuing lucrative foreign deals” — a fact that CNN calls “untoward” but not illegal.
The first among the claims CNN attempts to disprove is that the Bidens and their business associates received $20 million from foreign sources through a series of shell companies.
“Bank records show that nearly $20 million in payments were directed to the Biden family members and associates through various shell companies,” McCarthy claimed Tuesday.
“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,” the CNN article reads.
“The phrase ‘Biden family’ is doing a lot of work for McCarthy,” the fact checkers wrote, arguing that a lack of evidence directly implicating President Biden in the wire transfers to his immediate family members undermines McCarthy’s claim.
The second claim McCarthy made is that a “trusted FBI informant has alleged a bribe to the Biden family.”
“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,” the fact checkers wrote. “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.”
An FBI informant met with federal investigators in 2020 to inform them of an alleged bribery scheme between Hunter Biden and the Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma, where Hunter was on the board.
The informant alleged that in 2016 the CEO of Burisma made two $5 million payments to the Bidens.
Then-Vice President Biden openly bragged in 2018 that during a December 2015 trip to Kyiv he leveraged $1 billion in aid to Ukraine in order to oust Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin.
Hunter Biden’s former business partner Devon Archer told Tucker Carlson on his new show that Shokin “was a threat” to Burisma.
Despite Archer’s testimony and interview statements, CNN says that “there is no public evidence that Joe Biden abused his government powers to help his family.”
Archer also testified to the House Oversight Committee in July that Hunter Biden had put his then-VP father on the phone during business meetings over 20 times in order to sell the Biden “brand.”
“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,” McCarthy said Tuesday in his announcement of the impeachment inquiry.
CNN assures its readers that McCarthy’s claim “omits key context about what was – and wasn’t – discussed in the calls and dinners.”
“A Hunter Biden associate [Devon Archer] testified that even though Joe Biden was on these calls and at these dinners, he didn’t discuss business,” the CNN fact checker argue. “And Republicans have not presented any evidence that Joe Biden himself benefited financially from his appearances at the dinners or on the calls.”
The fact checkers apparently miss the context of the phone calls being instances in which Hunter Biden used his father’s position as vice president in order to impress and signal to his business partners the influence that he has — even if they were just discussing “the weather.”
CNN also acknowledged Archer’s testimony that in 2014 and 2015 Joe Biden attended dinners with Hunter Biden and his foreign business associates at a café in Washington D.C — but that business was not discussed at these dinners.
There’s nothing to see here, the CNN fact checkers argue.
The final claim tackled by the fact checkers is that President Biden lied to the American people about his knowledge of his family’s business deals.
During the 2020 presidential race, Biden repeatedly claimed that he had “never discussed” business with his son Hunter, and had “never spoken” about his overseas dealings.
“The answer is not going to change,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters in July .”The answer remains the same: The President was never in business with his son. I just don’t have anything else to add.”
“Joe Biden’s unequivocal denials of any business-related contact with his son have been undercut over time,” the CNN fact checkers are forced to concede.
“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,” the CNN article reads, helpfully shifting the goalposts for the president.
In June, an IRS whistleblower testified to congress that in a 2017 WhatsApp message Hunter Biden told a Chinese businessman while shaking him down for a payment that his then-VP father was in the room with him.
“Hunter Biden’s lawyers and Joe Biden himself have denied that he was in the room,” the CNN fact checkers wrote.
CNN fact checkers have a history of running interference for the Democratic Party and intelligence agencies.
In 2017, CNN Editor-at-Large Chris Cillizza wrote an article entitled “Donald Trump just suggested the FBI, Democrats and Russia might all be co-conspirators,” arguing that the infamous Steele Dossier was legitimate.
An probe led by special counsel John Durham into the FBI’s conduct during their Crossfire Hurricane investigation of alleged Trump-Russia collusion found that the FBI “did not and could not corroborate any of the substantive allegations” in the “unvetted and unverified” Steele dossier.
The Durham report also confirmed that an attorney working for the Clinton campaign met with the FBI general counsel in September of 2016 in order to provide the agency with baseless claims of ties between a Russian bank and the Trump Organization.
In January, Charles F. McGonigal, 54, a former FBI Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field office, was arrested on charges relating to his receipt of $225,000 in cash from Russian cutouts in return for favors.