On Tuesday, Sens. Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley joined forces to formally accuse Secretary of State Antony Blinken of giving Congress a “patently false” account in 2020 of his dealings with Hunter Biden when his father was Vice President.
“On December 22, 2020, you provided false testimony to Congress during your voluntary transcribed interview,” they wrote, going on to remind him that he’d been reminded by staff in the hearing that it was a crime to lie to Congress. “You acknowledged your understanding of that statute and stated there is no reason you would be unable to to provide truthful answers during the interview.”
They helpfully provided the part of his testimony that is demonstrably untrue:
Question: “Did you ever talk with [Hunter Biden] on the phone?”
Blinken: “Not that I recall.”
Question: “Did you have any other means of correspondence with him --- emails, texts?”
Then they included samples of actual email communication --- using his personal email address --- relating to an in-person meeting they’d had at the State Department. Uh-oh.
“Your statement to Congress that you did not email Hunter Bidenis clearly not true and calls into question the veracity of your entire...testimony,” they wrote. “Specifically, you denied having any awareness of Hunter Biden’s association with the corrupt Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings.”
Question: “[Y]ou were not aware that Hunter Biden served on Burisma’s board?”
Blinken: “To the best of my recollection, I was not.”
The senators went on to demolish that testimony, too, saying they were copying Blinken’s wife Evan Ryan on the letter because she had corresponded with Hunter --- also through personal email --- about connecting her husband with Burisma’s U.S. lobbying firm, Blue Star Strategies. Double uh-oh.
“It seems highly unlikely that you had no idea of Hunter Biden’s association with Burisma while your wife was apparently coordinating with Hunter Biden to potentially connect you with Burisma’s U.S. representatives,” they wrote.
They described Blinken as the “catalyst” for Michael Morell’s now-infamous “classic earmarks” letter to discredit the laptop story in October 2020. “It is now apparent that your willingness to deceive the public continued through December 2020 when you failed to tell the whole truth to congressional investigators about your contacts with Hunter Biden.”
“Because your testimony is inaccurate,” they wrote, “Congress and the public must rely on your records as the source for information about your dealings with Hunter Biden. Accordingly, both Blinken and his wife were told to preserve all records relating to Hunter Biden, his business dealings and his family’s business dealings, through both official and personal email and phone, and to provide them no later than May 15.
Since Republicans are the minority in the Senate, their committee members do not have subpoena power. But the letter was copied to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan and House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman James Comer, who do.
On Tuesday, investigative reporter John Solomon characterized the letter as a “dramatic escalation in their feud with Team Biden.” He went on to review what we know about Morell’s testimony before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees in April about a phone conversation with Blinken that led to the creation of the “classic earmarks” letter. Blinken didn’t directly tell him to write the letter, Morell had testified, but Blinken sent him information that was used in the letter. After the presidential debate a few days later, in which then-candidate Biden used the letter to falsely denounce the laptop story, the campaign had called to express their gratitude.
They must’ve been extremely grateful! Talk about a slick move. And then, of course, it was just a few months after Blinken got the ball rolling to discredit the true laptop story that he lied to Congress about ever having contact with Hunter.
As we’ve said, the only defense Blinken has offered is the very narrow statement that the letter wasn’t his idea.
Pennsylvania Rep. Scott Perry has gotten involved, too, writing a letter on April 30 to key oversight committees in both House and Senate urging them to look into whether the ‘Justice’ Department has let Hunter off easy by “knowingly and purposefully” allowing the statute of limitations to expire on certain transactions. (We’ve discussed this; the DOJ’s motivation might be to protect the rest of the family, specifically the “Big Guy,” from revelations about transactions related to Joe Biden’s position as VP.) The ones they seem to be looking at are only smaller, recent transactions.
In fact, last week, Comer told John Solomon that those incidents are “a drop in the bucket” of all Hunter’s potential wrongdoing over the past decade.
Perry’s letter also notes the IRS whistleblower who has come forward with allegations of political interference in that investigation.
Here’s the full letter; you can see all the committee chairs and ranking members it was sent to.
About that IRS whistleblower: his allegations, if substantiated, contradict Attorney General Merrick Garland’s sworn testimony that prosecutors in the case have full authority to pursue it as they wish without interference. On Tuesday, Garland stuck to that statement, saying there is no evidence of interference. (Note: saying there’s “no evidence” of interference isn’t the same as saying there’s no interference.)
More details and additional links to related stories from John Solomon are here:
Legal analyst Margot Cleveland doesn’t seem too concerned that the probe into “Biden Inc.” will end with a few tax charges. In her latest column, she says a move by the House Ways and Means Committee “promises to accelerate the unraveling of the Justice Department’s family protection racket.”
Ways and Means gave two attorneys for that IRS whistleblower the authority to inspect Hunter’s tax returns and related information. This is “6103” material, subject to privacy laws, but there’s an exception that allowed whistleblowers to disclose it either to the House Ways and Means Committee or the Senate Committee on Finance, and that has already taken place. But because the exception doesn’t extend to a whistleblower’s attorneys, Cleveland explains, the whistleblower must face the committees without benefit of legal counsel.
This is why the whistleblower’s attorney, Mark Lytle, explained in his letter to Congress that his client, “out of an abundance of caution,” had “refrained from sharing certain information” with him, and that lacking a full understanding of the situation made it “challenging” for him “to make fully informed judgements about how best to proceed.”
To allow the whistleblower’s attorney to see what his client is dealing with, there’s what Cleveland describes as a “workaround,” allowing the chairs of those two committees to “designate or appoint” an “agent” to inspect the tax returns and related information. Once the attorney is designated, the whistleblower can “freely and fully” discuss the tax information with counsel. The attorney can then brief congressional committees on those details in an appropriately private setting. This might happen in as little as a week, Cleveland says, with the whistleblower testifying soon after.
Cleveland says the decision to appoint two attorneys to inspect Hunter’s tax material is “huge.” Once the closed-door testimony is complete, the committee could decide it’s not confidential under Section 6103 or, as permitted by statute, vote to release it publicly.
Biden’s attorneys met with federal prosecutors last Wednesday, perhaps trying to hurry along a plea agreement (as another legal expert, Jonathan Turley, has recommended), but Cleveland thinks that with this development, cutting a deal won’t stop the damage. The full tax information will show whether or not politics limited the DOJ’s scope of investigation. Also, the whistleblower has other details besides the returns themselves about preferential treatment. Looks as though much of this will be made public soon.
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05/04/2023 11:51 AM
Send him to Ft. Leavenworth for treason.