Getting “Personal”: Chuck Todd Dismisses Investigation into Possible Biden Foreign Influence Peddling

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Below is my column in the New York Post on the new narratives emerging in the media in anticipation of the investigation into Biden influence peddling. The comments by NBC’s Meet the Press host Chuck Todd capture the ongoing efforts to dismiss the serious allegations raised in the scandal.

Here is the column:

“It does sound personal”: NBC’s “Meet the Press” host’s words Sunday capture the new narrative in Washington as the House readies the long-delayed investigation into the Biden family’s foreign influence peddling.

previously wrote how the media was preparing to control the damage from the scandal after spending years falsely calling the Hunter Biden laptop “Russian disinformation.” Even after belatedly acknowledging the laptop’s authenticity two years after The Post’s October 2020 reveal, they continue to bury the story involving Russian, Chinese, Ukrainian and other foreign interests, including figures associated with foreign intelligence.

Now the details of one of the largest and most lucrative influence-peddling operations in history could be made public — along with their effort to conceal it.

Even in a city where influence-peddling is a virtual cottage industry, the Bidens took the corrupt practice to a truly Olympian level. The direct references to Joe Biden receiving money and benefits from these contracts should concern any citizen, let alone any journalist. Yet House Democrats blocked efforts to investigate any Biden influence-peddling.

This obstruction was only possible with an enabling and protective media downplaying the scandal. The press continued the effective blackout even as emails showed Biden repeatedly lied about having no knowledge of his son’s foreign business.

Such denials, however, are getting more difficult. The Associated Press had to withdraw its absurd recent claim there’s no evidence of Biden ever discussing his son’s dealings. There’s even audio of him leaving a message for Hunter specifically about coverage of those dealings.

Dozens of emails, pictures and witness accounts prove the president was not just aware but a possible beneficiary of this corruption. His personal interactions with his son’s business associates include at least 19 visits to the White House by Hunter’s partner, Eric Schwerin, alone from 2009 to 2015, when Biden was vice president.

Emails on Hunter’s laptop make repeated reference to not only Joe’s knowledge but efforts to hide his involvement. In one email, Biden associate James Gilliar instructed Tony Bobulinski, then Hunter’s business partner: “Don’t mention Joe being involved, it’s only when u [sic] are face to face, I know u [sic] know that but they are paranoid.” Bobulinski has given sworn statements that he personally met with Joe Biden to discuss these dealings.

Emails used code names for Joe Biden such as “Celtic” or “the big guy.” In one, “the big guy” is mentioned as possibly receiving a 10% cut on a deal with a Chinese energy firm. There are also references to Hunter paying off his father’s bills from shared accounts.

Code names, cuts for “the big guy” and millions in mysterious foreign transactions would ordinarily send the media into a frenzy. But the Bidens adeptly enlisted the press into suppressing the story. Many in the media became “made men” and women who proved their loyalty. If this is a corruption scandal, there’s little the media can do to spin their own role in concealing it from the public.

For their part, Biden allies are gearing up to attack possible witnesses against the Bidens. For the media, however, it’s hard to acknowledge let alone pursue a scandal that you actively suppressed for years.

That’s what made Chuck Todd’s interview with incoming House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer so revealing. Todd spent most of the interview dismissing the committee’s work as a “political” exercise in targeting opponents. Comer’s efforts to detail the evidence of the president’s role was met by a smirking dismissal from Todd, who ended the interview by saying, “Well, it does sound personal, at that.”

So investigating millions of dollars flowing from foreign interests, including some connected to foreign figures or intelligence operatives, is just a personal attack.

If you’re wondering how the media would have reacted to even a fraction of such concerns being raised about Trump business deals, you don’t have to. They spent years drilling down on every foreign deal, and Todd was one of the most vocal in raising the alarm over foreign influence.

For example, in 2018, Todd doggedly pursued interviews with figures like former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff on Trump foreign deals and bank loans with Russian figures. Schiff declared without contradiction by Todd that “if Trump’s [business dealings] are a form of compromise, it needs to be exposed.”

Todd conducted a similar interview in February 2019 on influence-peddling allegations involving the Trump family. As Neal Katyal, former acting solicitor general, breathlessly announced a Russian-collusion indictment of Trump “could be coming,” Todd asked whether foreign business deals “compromised” the president.

Todd was right to ask if Trump was “compromised” by foreign deals like a Trump Tower in Moscow in 2019. It was neither personal nor political to raise such questions.

But it is now. Totally personal and political. Unlike Schiff, who was heralded for his efforts to uncover evidence of “compromise,” Comer was given only two choices by Todd: Will he “de-partisanize” his investigation or “do you expect it to be partisan?”

The problem is that not only will the details of these dealings be made public; the public wants to see those details. Various polls show Americans want an investigation into the matter and believe Congress should address social-media censorship of such stories.

In other words, it’s not working. The public is not going to dismiss this influence-peddling scandal with a smirk and a shrug. There will be a public accounting, and it will not be confined to the Biden family.

Jonathan Turley is an attorney and professor at George Washington University Law School.

198 thoughts on “Getting “Personal”: Chuck Todd Dismisses Investigation into Possible Biden Foreign Influence Peddling”

  1. Jonathan: The avid readers of my comments are ganging up on me! They have complained that my comment (1/10/23 @4:38 pm) on the election and insurrection in Brazil was off-topic and not allowed on your blog. Example from “edwardmahl”: “Why don’t you let JT decide what subject he wants to discuss? You can always start your own blog, and no doubt millions will wait to see your opinions”. Naturally, I am flattered by edward’s compliment. But I think he misses the point. Please correct me if I am mistaken but I thought this was a “free speech” blog and there are no restrictions on what subjects can be discussed. And please inform edward that I play no editorial role in determining what subjects you address in your columns.

    That said, it is a bit ironic that the people who complain that I frequently go off-topic are the same ones that jumped on yesterday’s news that top secret docs were found in a locked closet at the former offices of VP Biden. “S. Meyer”, another frequent blogger here, quickly concluded without any evidence, that “Biden compromised the law and American security”. Funny that S. Meyer didn’t say the same thing just after the search of Mar-a-Lago. “Svelaz”, another frequent contributor of more importance, has already explained the difference between the docs found at Bidden’s former offices and what Trump did to hide top secret docs, refused to return them and obstructed the investigation. So I won’t belabor the point that has been lost by some of your followers.

    1. Hey Dennis, as president, Trump had every authority to declassify and keep any records he chose too. Biden, as VP, had no such privilege. Get a clue, jackwagon.

    2. Sorry, just as with the ridiculous arguments in Vol. 2 of the Mueller fiasco report, it is not obstruction to use legal representation within the process to argue your rights…which is what the obstruction allegations come down to. That the National Archives is politicized and has termed Dem efforts “cooperative” while blowing the smallest thing up about Trump is just indicative of the dual system of Justice we are seeing here.

      As to the documents, the numbers of documents are a canard. The docs Trump had didn’t go towards any investigations or malfeasance that is even alleged by critics. Biden’s documents may well include evidence of wrongdoing relative to China and Ukraine…or be relevent. Also, Biden did not even arguably have the power to declassify any of the documents as Trump, under the Constitutional powers of the President, did.

      1. Biden did not have the power to declare unclassified WH documents personal property – Trump did.

        While you are correct there is a small possiblity this can be tied to quid pro quo corruption – i.. providing the chinese with access to classified documents in return for money – I think that is highly unlikely.

        Regardless, it is Far more disturbing.

        The Biden Center is a PRIVATE foreign policy think Tank – it is not part of the US government. It is not a government contractor.
        It is NOT ex-VP Biden’s home.

        These documents were not accidentally transfered to UofP Biden Center by the GSA.

        These documents were removed by VP Biden or the GSA probably as part of the transition.

        They were moved somewhere – likely Biden’s DE home, which MAY be legal(ish).

        Then atleast a year later they were illegally moved to the Biden Center.
        That is not accidental or careless – these documents are all foreign policy related from the Obama Admin.
        MAYBE they can be in Biden’s personal possession – that is a reach.
        But they can not be in a private think tank.

        This is a black letter violation of the espionage act.

        This is far more egregious that Trump.
        It si PROBABLY less egregious than Clinton – unless this information was being shared with a foreign power – which is possible.

      2. @Trust but Verify…

        The obstruction that Mueller was claiming wasn’t obstruction at all.

        Trump in his role as POTUS has certain rights. The question that Mueller raised as potential obstruction was where Trump could exercise his authority and in doing so stunted the investigation.

        This is something that Bush did when pardoning a few involved in the Iran/Contra fiasco under Reagan. So in exercising his right to pardon, he effectively ended the investigation into Iran / Contra. The net result is that the POTUS’ right to pardon supercedes the investigation so no obstruction occurred. Same for Trump.

        So while the sound byte of Trump obstructing the investigation makes news… it was a non event.


    3. I have no problem with your discussing Brazil.

      But I wonder what is your criteria for a legitimate antigoverment protest ?

      Why is Brazil the same as J6 ? Is it different from Hong Kong ?
      Is it different from current protests in China ?
      Or in Iran ?

      What about Tienamen Square ?
      What about the protests that ended East Germany ?

      What about Prague Spring ?
      What about the Hungarian revolution ?

      What about the portland ICE protests ?

      What about the BLM protests ?

      What is your criteria for distinguishing a legitimate antigovernment protest from an insurrection ?

      1. edwardmahl: More power to you! My wife is from Detroit and complains about the Tigers all the time to me. I’d like to impose some “restrictions” on that subject in my house but, if you are married, you know how far I would get on that one! That’s why I use this blog to vent on subjects my wife is not interested in. There is definitely a double standard in my household!

  2. Early yesterday, in a comment under this blog article, I mentioned the recent revelation of documents retrieved from a Biden office site.
    Svelaz responded,
    “Lin, when you say “discovered” you are implying that they didn’t really discover the documents but they “discovered” them.”
    Here is an excerpt from the congressional House Committee on Oversight and Accountability:
    “…and the White House Counsel’s Office about President Biden’s failure to return highly classified records from his time as vice president. The documents were discovered in an unsecure closet at the Biden Penn Center.”
    Virtually every single media report, left-or-right-wing, has used the word “discovered.”

  3. Comer’s description of the investigation sounded personal the hatred of Biden around here sounds personal.

    1. Can you provide his words that make you believe that? Did you listen to Biden’s criticism of Trump’s MAL papers that were under secure conditions. Did you know it appears the Biden’s center was paid for by the Chinese and the confidential files were in the open without security. Did the Chinese get a good look at those papers? Aren’t you upset?

    2. “. . . sounded personal . . .”

      Your damn right it is!

      When an arsonist torches a building in my neighborhood, that’s personal. When government agents impose censorship, that is very personal — as it ought to be to every American.

    3. Good! It is personal……Biden is bitching, cause two tiered system is obvious
      Age and sinality are not not an excuse and Biden wasn’t the one conducting raids, “they are fine. As long they don’t raid my place!”

  4. In other news today, there were oral arguments before the DC Court of Appeals re: whether E. Jean Carroll’s defamation suit against Trump can continue or if he spoke solely as President in his 2019 remarks about her rape allegation against him. However it’s resolved, she’s filed another suit for statements he made after leaving office, and is using New York’s Adult Survivors Act to file a civil rape suit against him.

    1. If you believe her story, you are nuts and have never been in or seen the dressing room area in Bergdorf Goodman.

  5. There is no question in my mind that Biden is one of THE most corrupt and disingenuous people to ever hold the presidency. If all the coming year accomplishes is shifting perception, that will be enough. The media is never going to regain their credibility.

    1. James – you got that one right. Biden has always been the definition of corrupt and smarmy. That came through loud and clear in the Clarence Thomas hearings. He is a DC swamp rat who has lived his whole life at public expense.

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