Will the Hunter Biden Senate Report Hurt Democrats in November?

A recent poll suggests many voters have been persuaded by the allegations against Hunter Biden. Is this “Hillary Clinton’s emails” all over again?

A supporter at a phone bank at former Vice President of the United States Joe Biden’s presidential campaign office in Des Moines, Iowa. January 13, 2020. (photo: Gage Skidmore)

The Hunter Biden Senate Report

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (HSGAC) and Committee on Finance recently released a report with a series of allegations against Hunter Biden, son of Democrat presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden.

The controversial report was made public just weeks before the November presidential election and days before the first debate between President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden. GOP senators acknowledge that “the extent to which Hunter Biden’s role on Burisma’s board affected U.S. policy toward Ukraine is not clear,” but they argue it created an “awkwardness” for Obama administration officials.

“What the Chairmen discovered during the course of this investigation is that the Obama administration knew that Hunter Biden’s position on Burisma’s board was problematic and did interfere in the efficient execution of policy with respect to Ukraine,” the GOP chairmen wrote in their report.

In early 2015, George Kent, the former Acting Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, raised concerns to officials in then Vice President Joe Biden’s office that Hunter Biden’s role on Burisma’s board appeared to be a conflict of interest.

“Furthermore, the presence of Hunter Biden on the Burisma board was very awkward for all U.S. officials pushing an anticorruption agenda in Ukraine,” Kent said in an email to his colleagues in September 2016. The only other individual who voiced their concern was Amos Hochstein, former U.S. Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs.

The Obama administration “knew that Hunter Biden’s position on Burisma’s board was problematic and did interfere in the efficient execution of policy with respect to Ukraine,” according to the report.

However, the report says that concerns brought up by officials “fell on deaf ears,” as the Obama administration “ignored the glaring warning signs.” The report alleges that not only Hunter Biden, but other members of the Biden family “were involved in a vast financial network that connected them to foreign nationals and foreign governments across the globe.”

According to the joint report, Rosemont Seneca Thorton, an investment firm co-founded by Hunter Biden “received $3.5 million in a wire transfer” from Elena Baturina, the widow of Yur Luzhkov, former mayor of Moscow, while Joe Biden was vice president in 2014. The other co-founder of the firm is Christopher Heinz, the stepson of Secretary of State at the time, John Kerry. Heinz dissolved his business partnership with Hunter Biden over concerns about the Burisma board seat.

The Senate report states that Hunter Biden “opened a bank account” with a Gongwen Dong, which “financed a $100,000 global spending spree” for the former vice president’s brother James Biden and his wife, Sara Biden.

Hunter Biden sent “thousands of dollars” to people who have “either been involved in transactions consistent with possible human trafficking; an association with the adult entertainment industry; or potential association with prostitution,” according the to report.

The report also stated that Hunter Biden “has sent funds to non-resident alien women in the United States who are citizens of Russia and Ukraine and who have subsequently wired funds they have received from Hunter Biden to individuals located in Russia and Ukraine.” The records also note that some of these transactions are linked to what “appears to be an Eastern European prostitution or human trafficking ring”.

“Records on file with the Committees do not directly confirm or refute these individual reports,” the report says. “However, they do confirm that Hunter Biden sent thousands of dollars to individuals who have either: 1) been involved in transactions consistent with possible human trafficking; 2) an association with the adult entertainment industry; or 3) potential association with prostitution.”

On Wednesday, Joe Biden was questioned by a reporter about the information in the Senate report. Biden was visibly rattled by the question, claiming “it’s not a conflict of interest. There’s been no indication of any conflict of interest from Ukraine or anywhere else. Period.”

“I’m not gonna- I’m not gonna respond to that,” Biden continued. “Lets focus on the problem. Focus on this man. What he’s doing. That no president has ever done. No president.”

Spokesperson for the Biden Campaign Andrew Bates blasted the investigation and Johnson for pursuing a “conspiracy theory.”

“As the coronavirus death toll climbs and Wisconsinites struggle with joblessness, Ron Johnson has wasted months diverting the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee away from any oversight of the catastrophically botched federal response to the pandemic, a threat Sen. Johnson has dismissed by saying that ‘death is an unavoidable part of life.’ Why?” Bates said in a statement to The New York Post Wednesday.

“To subsidize a foreign attack against the sovereignty of our elections with taxpayer dollars — an attack founded on a long-disproven, hardcore rightwing conspiracy theory that hinges on Sen. Johnson himself being corrupt and that the Senator has now explicitly stated he is attempting to exploit to bail out Donald Trump’s re-election campaign,” Bates added.

However, a recent poll indicates voters have been persuaded by the allegations against Hunter Biden levied in the press over the past months and corroborated by this Senate report. 57% of voters in a recent poll said they do believe Hunter Biden and other members of the Biden family have financially profited from former vice president Joe Biden’s office.

While these allegations aren’t likely to persuade many hardcore liberal Democrats or never-Trumpers into voting for Donald Trump in November, these charges do have the potential to dampen enthusiasm for Joe Biden. A level of enthusiasm, it hardly need be noted, which isn’t comfortably high to begin with.

The charges against Hunter Biden are a little like the recent revelations of Trump’s tax records. Neither the New York Times examination of Donald Trump’s taxes nor the U.S. Senate investigation into Hunter Biden revealed anything illegal. Objectionable, depending on your perspective, but not illegal.

Even the far-left publication the Intercept has admitted Democrats must acknowledge the extent to which Joe Biden’s family has profited from his various offices over the decades.

Some independent and undecided voters may see the allegations of unchecked Biden family profiteering, decide there is far too much similarity between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, and just stay home.

In this scenario, Donald Trump is likely to come out on top. His base is more unified than they were in 2016. Unlike in 2016, Trump has consolidated the support of the entire Republican Party behind him and Trump voters are twice as enthusiastic to vote for him as they were in 2016.

(Contributing journalist, Allegra Nokaj) (Contributing writer, Brooke Bell)

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