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Washington Post Fact-Checker’s New Approach to Suggesting Hunter Biden’s Laptop Misinformation: Ignoring Key Documents


The media’s recent adoption of the Hunter Biden laptop as a legitimate news source is a major win for accountability reporting. Unfortunately, this has not meant the end of media scrutiny of investigative leads that can be considered legitimate information.

In his last dispatch, for example, Washington Post Fact-checker Glenn Kessler challenges former President Donald Trump’s (characteristically botched) allegations of a mysterious $3.5 million wire transfer from Yelena Baturina, a Russian billionaire, to a company linked to Hunter Biden. “He talked about it again recently, prompting us to finally resolve what’s going on here,” Kessler announcement on Twitter.

Instead of taking full advantage of the washington post access to original documents, Kessler’s analysis is based on the words of anonymous sources, some of whom have links with the companies examined.

A bit of history: In December 2013, Hunter Biden helped start a Chinese private equity fund called Bohai Harvest RST (BHR). The American partners held their interests in the venture through a shell company called Rosemont Seneca Thornton. Senate investigators later revealed that Yelena Baturina, the billionaire ex-wife of the longtime Moscow mayor, transferred $3.5 million to Rosemont Seneca Thornton on February 14, 2014, raising concerns about the possible Hunter Biden’s relationship with the Russian oligarch.

This is where Kessler raised an important objection:

[A]almost as immediately as Rosemont Seneca Thornton was created, the partners decided to dissolve it, according to a person with access to board minutes…

Within a year, Chinese company records showed that foreign investors in BHR were Rosemont Seneca Bohai LLC, with 20%, and Thornton Group LLC, with 10%. Company records show that Rosemont Seneca Bohai, the replacement legal entity, was created on February 13, 2014, the day before Baturina’s transfer..

In theory, for Hunter Biden, Rosemont Seneca Thornton was no more.” [Emphasis added]

So in this narrative, Hunter Biden had no reason to be involved with Rosemont Seneca Thornton at the time he received Baturina’s millions.

Former Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov (L) and his wife, businesswoman Yelena Baturina, walk through a polling station during the parliamentary elections in Moscow on September 18, 2016. (YURI KADOBNOV/AFP via Getty Images)

But emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop show the board’s resolution to split Rosemont’s Seneca Thornton stake was not released until October 2014, eight months later than Kessler acknowledges. And a February 2015 email to Hunter from one of BHR’s partners confronts him with the possibility of a capital injection from Rosemont Seneca Thornton. And publicly available Chinese company records listed Rosemont Seneca Thornton as a shareholder until June 2015, 16 months after the company was supposed to be “no longer,” as far as Hunter is concerned.

Strangely, none of these details were factored into the fact check.

Yet the laptop is mentioned elsewhere in the story. Kessler noted that the Washington Post did not find “significant evidence of direct interaction” between Hunter and Baturina on the laptop. They also did not find any documents showing that Hunter personally received $3.5 million in 2014. Yet when it comes to establishing the timeline of Hunter Biden’s relationship with Rosemont Seneca Thornton, Kessler exclusively cites “someone with access to [BHR’s] minutes of the council”, as if there was nowhere to look.

Similarly, where Kessler acknowledged that Rosemont Seneca Thornton “unexpectedly” lived under the control of Devon Archer, Hunter Biden’s longtime business partner, he apparently believed that RST continued to exist for the sole benefit of Archer.

Former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter are golfing in the Hamptons with Devon Archer, who served on the board of Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings with Hunter.

Devon Archer (far left) with former Vice President Joe Biden (center right) and his son Hunter (far right) playing golf in the Hamptons.

The company records in Delaware, where Rosemont Seneca Thornton was registered, make it almost impossible for the public to know who controls the company, but it’s hard to ignore that 10% of the stake originally held by Rosemont Seneca Thornton eventually found herself in the hands of Hunter Biden. And it’s also hard to ignore that companies controlled by Archer routinely accepted payments on Hunter’s behalf, as in the case of Burisma.

This is the knot that Senate investigators, law enforcement officials and journalists across the country are struggling to unravel. The evidence presented by Kessler does little to “finally solve” the problem anyway. More disturbingly, its fact-checking creates a false appearance of clarity by omitting documents directly relevant to the issue at hand that explain precisely why this is all a mystery in the first place.

This does not reduce the overheated political rhetoric, but gives the impression that the underlying problem is somehow fixed and therefore further reporting may fall under the dreaded banner of ” disinformation “. For a newspaper that counts on the failure of the media as a whole to seriously consider the laptop, this is a huge step backwards. From a fact-checking perspective, this is outright professional misconduct.

Peter Schweizer is the president of the Government Accountability Institute, a senior contributor to Breitbart News, and the best-selling author of Red-Handed: How American Elites Get Rich Helping China Win.

Jacob McLeod is Director of Research at the Government Accountability Institute. Follow him on Twitter at @tweetsbymcleod.




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