Hunter Biden’s claim demands responses from Facebook and Twitter

Hunter Biden's claim demands responses from Facebook and Twitter

On Wednesday, the Biden campaign rejected a New York Post report about Joseph R.

The report, which appeared only three weeks before the election, was based on materials provided by President Trump’s Republican allies who tried months ago to discredit Biden because of his son. It is alleged that Elder Biden has met an adviser to Hunter Biden, a Ukrainian energy company, who serves on its board.

Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said Biden’s official schedules did not show any meeting between Biden and Chancellor Vadim Pozharsky.

“We have reviewed Joe Biden’s official schedules since that time and no meeting has taken place, as the New York Post claims,” ​​Mr. Bates said.

The Post quoted an email allegedly sent to Hunter Biden by Mr. Pozharsky thanking him for “giving him the opportunity to meet your father” and for spending “some time together”. The email correspondence cited by The Post could not be independently verified.

Hours after Washington published its article, Facebook said on Wednesday that it had decided to limit distribution of the story on its platform until it could. Validate the allegations. Twitter said it was blocking the article because it included people’s personal phone numbers and email addresses, violating their privacy rules, and because the article violated their policy on the compromised material.

The actions of Facebook and Twitter immediately sparked strong reactions from Republicans because social media platforms were censoring them, a cry that escalated later Wednesday when the Trump campaign said the personal account of White House press secretary, Kylie McNani, had been shut down because it was. Publish the story of the New York Post. Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, a staunch Trump ally, called Twitter A “despicable” act, describing it as “genuine interference in the elections.”

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have been under fire from Mr. Trump and other Republicans for years for censoring their views. Companies located in liberal Silicon Valley have denied the allegations.

Hunter Biden’s business dealings abroad have been the focus of intense Republican focus over the past year, including his ties to a Ukrainian company, Porisma, while Biden served, as vice president, on Ukraine policy. Both Biden said the two had not discussed Ukraine with each other. A Republican Senate investigation – and scrutiny of the case over the past year – found no evidence that Mr. Biden, the former vice president, was involved in wrongdoing over his son’s business dealings.

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Asked about the possibility of a short meeting with Mr. Pozharskyi, the Biden campaign official said that it was “technically possible” but not likely. The official said there was “no indication whatsoever” of such an interaction, and regardless of that, Mr. Biden had not discussed anything related to Porisma.

Keeping up with the 2020 elections

Mr. Trump, who succeeded Biden in several of the key battlefield states, has struggled for months to negatively define Biden. The president has taken care of Biden’s baseless attacks on his mind to portray him as an enemy of law enforcement and even the suburbs.

However, Mr. Trump’s criticism of Hunter Biden has been consistent throughout the election cycle, usually including questionable allegations about the activities of the elder Biden. Mr. Trump’s attack on the scene last month of Hunter Biden’s struggle with addiction was one of the fiercest personal attacks in the campaign. Mr Trump has been impeached in connection with encouraging the Ukrainian leader to investigate Biden.

At a rally Wednesday evening in Des Moines, Mr. Trump opened his remarks by describing the Post article and presenting a series of baseless allegations against Biden and Hunter Biden, describing the former vice president as a “corrupt politician.”

The Post described a twisted and unusual path through which the newspaper obtained email correspondence involving two of Trump’s most powerful allies: Rudolf W. Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney and former New York City mayor, and Stephen K. , A former White House adviser.

The article said the emails were part of a batch of material on a laptop that was dropped for repair at a store in Delaware, Mr. Biden’s home, and were never recovered. She added that the shopkeeper made a copy of the correspondence and presented it to Mr. Giuliani’s lawyer.

Mr. Bannon, who was arrested in August and charged with fraud, reported The Post about the hard drive, and on Sunday, Mr. Giuliani – who has been accused in this election cycle of taking information from Russian agents – submitted a copy to the mail, the article said.

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Mr. Bates, a Biden spokesman, said the newspaper did not ask the Biden campaign about “the critical elements of this story.”

“It is certain that they have never raised that Rudy Giuliani – who has been widely reported on corrupt conspiracy theories and his alliance with figures linked to Russian intelligence – has such material,” he said in his statement.

The report raises a host of unanswered questions, starting with whether the email referring to the meeting was genuine, and if so, to what Mr. Pozharsky was referring specifically to when it was said that he thanked Hunter Biden for the “opportunity” of the meeting. He spends time with his father.

It was also unclear who brought the laptop to the repair shop. The Post reported that the FBI seized the computer and hard drive in December, but did not specify what authorities might investigate.

The article also does not explain any relationship between the shopkeeper and Mr. Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert J. Costello, or why the owner gave him a copy of the hard drive.

In an interview Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Costello said that someone he described as a “source” sent an email to one of Mr. Giuliani’s companies in September, adding that he had harmful information about Hunter Biden. (Although Mr. Costello declined to specify the source, his description indicates that he is the owner of the store.)

Mr. Costello said he called the person who agreed to send him the hard drive overnight by charging. In the weeks that followed, Mr. Costello examined its contents, which he said contained text messages, photos, videos and emails.

At first, when no one had come to recover the hard drive for 90 days, Mr. Costello said, he checked the source contents, he thought they were spam and then called the FBI

Costello said that after the documents failed to appear at the impeachment hearings, the source became annoyed and began reaching out to lawmakers who failed to return his messages. It is unclear why it would take nine months for a person to reach Mr. Giuliani in September.

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Some security experts have expressed doubts about the source and authenticity of the emails.

The Times reported last January that the same Russian GRU had infiltrated Burisma, which was one of two groups that infiltrated the Democratic National Committee in 2016. Last month, US intelligence analysts contacted several people with knowledge of the Burisma hack for more information after they picked up chats. That e-mails stolen from Burisma will be leaked in the form of “October Surprise”.

Among their main concerns, according to people familiar with the discussions, is that the Burisma material will be leaked alongside forged materials in an attempt to damage Mr. Biden’s candidacy – as did Russian hackers when they dumped real emails alongside fake messages prior to 2017 French. Elections – Little change to the rules of the game in Russia in 2016 when they pulled leaked emails from DNC via fake characters on Twitter and WikiLeaks.

Facebook said that shortly after the story was published, it noticed the controversy over the validity of its claims and over how The Post obtained the evidence. As the story spread, the company said it had moved to limit its ability to spread.

Basically, this meant that Facebook would show fewer shared posts featuring the story in users’ news feeds, and the main way to view and share links and other stories is via Facebook.

“I want to be clear that this story qualifies as fact checking by third-party fact-checking partners at Facebook,” Andy Stone, a spokesperson for the social media company, said in a tweet.

Although Mr. Trump and his allies have been attacking Mr. Biden over his son’s business dealings for several months, they do not appear to have significantly altered voters’ perceptions of Biden’s integrity.

In a Fox News poll in October 2019, 48% of voters nationally said they believed Biden was honest and trustworthy. When voters were asked the same question in a Fox News poll in August, the percentage they hold is the same: 48%.

Additional reporting by Nicole Berleroth, Kate Conger, Thomas Kaplan, Giovanni Rusonello and Nicholas Fandus.

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