The Illusion of Scandal: How Washington is Attempting to Dismiss $20 Million as an Illusion

I previously wrote a column marveling at the success of the Bidens in pulling off one of the neatest tricks in political history. I analogized it to how Houdini used to make his 10,000-pound elephant Jennie disappear on a stage in front of a live audience. The media and political establishment is now striving to top that performance by declaring $20 million in payments to Biden family members as an “illusion” of influence. At the heart of this scandal is the BFF, the Biden Family Fund.

Here is the column:

This week, President Joe Biden responded to calls for greater access to the media with a blockbuster interview with . . . the Weather Channel.

The interview immediately prompted critics to speculate that the president wanted to continue to talk about the weather — the same claim made after the disclosure of his participation in various dinners with his son’s foreign associates.

As the number of these dinners, meetings and outings increase, Joe Biden appears to have covered more meteorological subjects than Al Roker.

The problem is that conditions are worsening in Washington.

This week, House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer released a third report on the ongoing investigations into the Biden corruption scandal.

The latest bank records indicate the Biden family has received more than $20 million, including from corrupt Kazakh figures.

Some of this money provided Hunter Biden with extravagant toys. On April 22, 2014, Kazakh oligarch Kenes Rakishev wired $142,300 to the Rosemont Seneca Bohai bank account.

That account then shows the exact same amount being wired to a New Jersey car dealership for a Fisker sports car for Hunter. Finding the Fisker unsuitable, Hunter traded it in for a Porsche.

Notably, these payments often coincided with dinners and meetings with Joe Biden.

Russian oligarch Yelena Baturina, the widow of Moscow ex-Mayor Yury Luzhkov, wired $3.5 million to Rosemont Seneca Thornton Feb. 14, 2014.

She later attended a dinner with Joe and Hunter Biden at Washington, DC, hotspot Café Milano.

For weeks, Joe Biden’s prior claims have been collapsing as his allies in the media and Congress struggle for an alternative spin on these new disclosures.

The president’s denials of any knowledge of his son’s foreign dealings finally have been exposed as a lie.

Even the Washington Post has acknowledged Biden lied when he insisted that Hunter never made any money in China.

It was always a boldfaced falsehood (and a confusing claim from a man who insisted that he had no knowledge of his son’s foreign dealings).

But the testimony of associate Devon Archer and new bank records forced the paper and others to recognize the falsehood.

There is also the confirmation that Biden’s long denials that he attended key dinners with Hunter’s business associates were false.

Most notably, the media are grudgingly admitting that Hunter was openly selling influence peddling and access to his father as part of what Archer called “selling the brand.”

The final line of defense is now that Hunter Biden was selling access to Joe Biden but it was an “illusion.” The reason, they claim, is there is no evidence of direct payments to Joe and Jill Biden.

There is, of course, nothing “illusionary” about tens of millions moving to Hunter and other family members.

But political spins are often built on illusions. The latest is that Joe Biden only benefits from these payments if they were directly deposited in his accounts.

For a family that Hunter explained was “the best” at this type of dealing, it is absurd to expect a deposit slip from a corrupt Ukrainian official to the account of Joe and Jill Biden, one of the most vulnerable accounts in the world to review and monitoring.

These claims, moreover, ignore emails discussing Hunter’s and his father’s use of joint accounts to pay for expenses, including how one account was used to pay Joe’s taxes. There is also Hunter’s complaint that he was using half of his earnings to support his father. Indeed, one trusted FBI informant said that, in planning a bribe, one foreign figure was told to avoid direct payments to Joe Biden. Today, that is as amateurish as an envelope of cash and the Bidens have been in the business of influence peddling for decades.

Responding to the new evidence, Washington Post columnist Phillip Bump led the charge in asking: Where’s the bribe?

In other words, as long as Hunter got the luxury car, Joe didn’t benefit or receive a bribe.

(Notably, Bump did not have the same high standards when he pushed the false claim over a photo op in Lafayette Park and later refused to concede with the rest of the media on the lack of Russian collusion with Donald Trump.)

Not even millions to Biden children and grandchildren would seem to satisfy Bump as an inducement for the then-vice president.

Yet the greatest illusion is the claim Joe Biden would only be motivated by a direct payment to one of his accounts.

Biden clearly benefited from millions going to the Biden Family Fund (BFF). Even grandchildren received some of the transfers funneled through a labyrinth of accounts.

Joe Biden is 80 years old. Despite holding only government jobs in his career, he is worth an estimated $8 million.

Forbes reported he earned $17.3 million over the four years he was out of office. He will never spend his fortune. Any additional money would have to pass to his descendants.

For most wealthy people in their final years, the challenge is not raising more money but getting that money to your children without heavy taxes or delays.

This money was going to his BFF. That is a benefit and probably of greater value to a man of Joe Biden’s age and wealth.

None of this has stopped politicians, press and pundits from insisting that absent a direct payment to the president’s account, there is no corruption or crime.

After all, $20 million going to a president’s family is like complaining about the weather in Washington.

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


196 thoughts on “The Illusion of Scandal: How Washington is Attempting to Dismiss $20 Million as an Illusion”

  1. This is an incredibly stupid argument.

    If you beleive that those unsavory individuals paying the Biden’s millions did NOT benefit greatly from VP Biden’s use of public power that means the Biden’s have pulled off the the worlds largest fraud targeting some really bad and dangerous people.

    One way or the other they are criminals.

    Either The Biden’s traded Joe’s public power for personal financial gain to the benefit of some bad and dangerous people,
    Our the Biden’s defrauded bad and dangerous people of tens of millions of dollars.

    What you can not credibly beleive is that these people – more noted for their own ruthlessness gave tens of millions in charity to the Biden family.

    The Clinton’s at the very least created a Fake Charitable Foundation to launder their public graft.

    1. And now, the money is likely flowing the other way in the form of payoffs to lose the 17 recordings, etc. Watch the outflows of those 220 shell companies!. And, I’ve thought all along that if Hunter delivered nothing, or the illusion of something, these bad guys would take him out in a second…they must have gotten their money’s worth…

  2. Jonathan, you are likely the only one who can organize a response to the corruption sweeping our judiciary. Why you? You have the respect and status necessary. We can complain about all these travesties til next Thursday, and it won’t do a bit of good. We need someone like you to guide those of us willing to demand the much needed changes to this once revered third branch of our government.

  3. Tucker Carlson
    Watch: It Was Pelosi: 𝐅𝐨𝐫𝐦𝐞𝐫 𝐂𝐚𝐩𝐢𝐭𝐨𝐥 𝐏𝐨𝐥𝐢𝐜𝐞 𝐂𝐡𝐢𝐞𝐟 𝐑𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐬 ‘𝐒𝐞𝐭 𝐔𝐩’ 𝐁𝐞𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐝 𝐉𝐚𝐧𝐮𝐚𝐫𝐲 𝟔
    Tucker Carlson released a bombshell interview with former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund on Wednesday, during which Sund explains what happened on January 6, 2021 in great detail.

    … Perhaps most damning is Sund’s claim that then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) refused to authorize the deployment of the National Guard at the Capitol despite Sund’s pleas, and that federal agencies withheld information and warning signs of potential dangers prior to the riot. …

    Ep. 15 Former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund
    Tucker Carlson · Aug 10, 2023


    1. The Jan 6th commitee was a kangaroo court, a “show trial” I never watched one minute of the hearings. Evidence favorable to Trump was not allowed to be entered into the record, important wittneses – like Nancy Pelsoi were not interviewed. How many federal agents were on site that day that day, that was never explored, nor was the glaring failure of the Capitol Police to protect the capital explained. The Democrats put on evidence that only favored the Dem’s “version” of what happened. GOP leadership was not allowed to put members on the commitee – members that would have asked questions that needed to be asked. I don’t understand why Democrats believe they can “try” a party withoput any due process at all. Had they had a “normal” committe looking into this you would have gotten both sides of the story. What the House Democrats wanted – and got because the GOP refused to be involved in this phony “show trial”, was a one one sided story that made the Democrats look good, and the GOP look bad. The Capitol police screwed everything up, we got to see up front that government just doesn’t work very well often, even if you fund the agencies to the max (which was the case with the Capitol police). To me, that was the real story of Jan 6th – the incredibibly bad job the capitol police did protecting the capitol.

  4. It is telling that the Biden Syndicate did *not* seek bribes (that we know of) from those in semi-civilized countries, such as France or England. Instead, they got in bed with the crookedest of the crooked.

    Birds of a feather.

    1. @Sam,

      You’re overthinking.
      France, England, or any of the major 1st world countries have checks and balances which make it more difficult.
      Hunter used to use a certain bank known for its lax record keeping. That is until it was shut down.

      There’s a lot you can find in the data if you have a history of all of the SWIFT transactions for the past decade or so and the SARS.

      Then you can create knowledge graphs that detail who did what and with whom.

      This is only 1/2 the solution. You also need to have news accounts, and communication files. (emails, texts, appointment calendars, travel logs, etc …)

      Then you can create a very detailed picture.

      Want to go for the bonus credit… then do the same for the FBI, Treasury, IRS, DoJ and Secret Service.
      That will open a huge can of worms.

      The data volume isn’t that great. Nor is the Data Science that difficult.
      You’ll find obstruction and a conspiracy to obstruct.

      And if you want to go even further… get the cell tower data if they still have it. For the entire set of all telcos.
      Here you’ll discover any burner phones that may have been used. Of course for most of the data… this may end up being too late due to lax data retention rules and the time delay.

      But what do I know?
      I just do data architecture


  5. Also, Peter Ducci is just another hack reporter/agent provocateur. A serious journalist would have followed up his question to Biden when Biden responded that’s a lousy question, with were you aware who was on the other end of those 20 phone calls?
    A good journalist is like a good lawyer, he knows the answer to the question before he asks it. And he is ready with his follow up. Nailing a lifetime, liar, sneak, crook like Biden is a chess match. You’re not going to win with one move.

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