On Thursday I returned to "Tucker Carlson Tonight" to discuss an undoubted casualty of the Democrats' impeachment fevers: the Biden 2020 campaign. Joe Biden is not Bill Clinton in his artful prime; indeed, Hunter Biden does not even rise to Chelsea Clinton at her dopiest. The Dems can accuse Trump of trying to "dirty up" the Bidens, but it's hard to dirty up an overflowing sewer:
The defense of Democrats is that Joe Biden may have said he got rid of this prosecutor, but all the governments, every government in Europe wanted this prosecutor gone. That may be true. But the foreign minister of Germany and the foreign minister of France didn't go on TV and brag about how he gave a six-hour ultimatum to a foreign government to fire its prosecutor-general. The only politician on earth who did that is Joe Biden - and then you're surprised that suddenly people are excited about why Hunter Biden is getting 50 grand a month in a country where the average wage at that time was $200 a month.
Click below to watch:
Time is at a premium on Tucker's show, so if I galloped too briskly over that Biden corruption stuff, here's a little background:
In April 2014, a sleazy Ukrainian oligarch called Mykola Zlochevsky put Hunter Biden and Hunter's business partner, Devon Archer, on the board of Ukraine's biggest oil-&-gas company, Burisma.
How did it get to be so big?
Well, Mr Zlochevsky and his business partner Nikolay Lysin were respectively Minister of Natural Resources and the chairman of the Natural Resources parliamentary committee for much of the previous twelve years. There is a rule in Kiev that no Member of Parliament should have any business beyond his parliamentary responsibilities - so, as Messrs Zlochevsky and Lysin's parliamentary responsibilities included oil and gas, they happily spent their terms of office handing out oil and gas licenses to companies they personally controlled (for which Burisma is the overarching holding company).
Mr Lysin did not live to enjoy his oil-gotten gains. A healthy fortysomething, he swerved to avoid a rabbit in the road one night and ploughed his Lamborghini at 150mph into (appropriately) a set of gas pumps. That's the official story. So now Mr Zlochevsky owns all of Burisma.
That said, it is not, technically, a Ukrainian company. It's registered in Limmerssol, the second biggest city in Cyprus but one that the locals now call Limmerssolgrad, because it's the preferred destination for Russian money-launderers. As to how preferred it is with Ukrainian launderers, by the time Hunter Biden joined Burisma's board virtually the entire national economy was Cypriot: In 2014 92 per cent of Ukraine's outward investment went to Cyprus.
As I said to Tucker, Hunter Biden joined Burisma the same month Britain's Serious Fraud Office froze $23 million of Mr Zlochevsky's money and launched a criminal investigation. Putting the Vice President's son on the Burisma board was intended to deter the US government from doing likewise, and indeed to stymie UK efforts. So Biden Jr got to make millions from a non-job in a country where the average income was two-and-a-half grand per annum.
Is there anything that a man even The Guardian called an undistinguished corporate lawyer could have done to earn that money legitimately? He and John Kerry's step-son and the Kerry kid's college roommate, Devon Archer, had founded a so-called private investment fund. For some reason, that always reminds me of the Sixties pop group Dino, Desi & Billy, founded by Dean Martin Jr, Desi Arnaz Jr and their pal Billy. Two-thirds of the private investment firm of Hunter, Chris & Devon wound up on the board of Burisma, even though neither was an investor in the company. The third member, Theresa Heinz's son Christopher, parted company with his pals over the Ukrainian deal: That's to say, Hunter Biden was too sleazy even for fellow Dem scions milking their family rolodexes.
So the son of the Vice President of the United States was part of the industrial-scale looting of Ukraine. And he continued to loot Ukraine until this year, when he resigned from Burisma the same month his dad launched his presidential campaign. (Ukraine used to be "The Ukraine", but the looting was such that evidently someone eventually filched the "The"; it's probably in Limmerssol by now.)
Can Hunter plead ignorance? Well, if he ever attended any actual board meetings, he might have noticed this was a non-board: His only fellow directors were Zlochevsky's daughter Karina, whose business experience consists of an alligator-shoes boutique she owned in Kiev; the former Polish president (and secret policeman) Aleksander KwaĹ›niewski; and a trio of Limmerssol lawyers and accountants who perform the same local services for a zillion Ukrainian companies registered in Cyprus.
Oh, Hunter Biden was later joined on the board by a Mitt Romney advisor. If an impeachment trial ever happens in the Senate, will Mitt vote to remove Trump from office?
Trump is a businessman: He has spent his life going around the world putting up hotels and golf courses, and making money from those who use them. By contrast, the Bidens and the Clintons are just part of the new corruptocrat class: you're not renting tee time or a junior suite, just their surnames and a little familial proximity to power. Running a centrist kleptocrat didn't work last time round, and the Dems aren't going to take a flyer on it again.
~You can see the full hour with Tucker here. But, if you're in the mood for a conversation a little more sustained than a wham-bam primetime hit, I had the pleasure of being a guest on "The Ann & Phelim Scoop", direct from this year's Mark Steyn Cruise. The live audience enjoyed it, and I hope you will too:
There's lots of other great Ann & Phelim shows over at The Ann & Phelim Scoop.