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In the Hunter Biden controversy, sometimes a laptop is just a laptop

May 4

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Hunter Biden’s laptop continues to be a source of political intrigue. Emails from the laptop purportedly implicated President Biden and his son in questionable business dealings with Ukraine while Biden was vice president. Now the House Judiciary Committee has asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken, a former advisor to then-VP Biden, to provide documents related to a 2020 letter that implied the laptop story was part of a Russia disinformation campaign.

With thousands of news stories covering the controversy, it might be easy to lose the thread. Straight Arrow News contributor Jordan Reid revisits some of the facts and argues that sometimes a laptop is just a laptop.

I watch a lot of news, as you might imagine. And the other day something occurred to me. I don’t actually know what the deal is with Hunter Biden’s laptop, despite the fact that the laptop is still absolutely a thing cited all the time in right-wing media to suggest that something deeply nefarious but very unclear is transpiring within the Biden world. 

What is it? So I did a little deep dive. Okay, so, Hunter Biden’s laptop was abandoned at a Delaware computer repair shop in 2019, when he was in a clear grief spiral following the death of his brother Beau, during which he took up with his brother’s widow. And while allegedly in the throes of an addiction to crack cocaine, got up to just all sorts of deeply unsavory stuff like prostitutes, financial problems, drugs and alcohol, et cetera. The owner of the shop argued that after 90 days of abandonment, the laptop was his property. And then he [the shop owner] made some of the information on that laptop, including photographs of Hunter in various highly compromising positions, available to right-wing media and political operatives, including Rudy Giuliani. There was also information on the laptop that points to Hunter doing something called influence peddling, basically trading proximity to his father for money — money, incidentally, with ties to China and Ukraine. 

I’m not here to defend Hunter Biden. I don’t know him. It sounds like he’s had a tough go of it and has dealt with some serious personal issues over the years. None of this is for me to speculate on because even though he’s the son of a president, he is still a private citizen who is entitled to privacy. I do agree that said right to privacy becomes somewhat conflated when you start using your father’s political power to make a better living for yourself, which, from what I can tell, he absolutely did, winning sort of nominal but very highly-paid gigs that a man with a different last name simply would not have won. 

It’s nepotism. And it’s both annoying and not actually illegal. It also bears repeating that this is the Trump family specialty.

I watch a lot of news, as you might imagine. And the other day something occurred to me. I don’t actually know what the deal is with Hunter Biden’s laptop, despite the fact that oh, the laptop is still absolutely a thing cited all the time and right wing media to suggest that something deeply nefarious but very unclear is transpiring within the Biden world. What is it? So I did a little deep dive. Okay, so, Hunter Biden’s laptop was abandoned at a Delaware computer repair shop in 2019, when he was in a clear grief spiral following the death of his brother Bo, during which he took up with his brother’s widow. And while allegedly in the throes of an addiction to crack cocaine got up to just all sorts of deeply unsavory stuff like you know, prostitutes, financial problems, drugs and alcohol, etc. The owner of the shop argued that after 90 days of abandonment, the laptop was his property. And then he made some of the information on that laptop, including photographs of hunter in various highly compromising positions available to right wing media and political operatives, including Rudy Giuliani. There was also information on the laptop that points to Hunter doing something called influence peddling, basically trading proximity to his father for money, money, incidentally, with ties to China and Ukraine. I’m not here to defend Hunter Biden. I don’t know him. It sounds like he’s had a tough go of it and has dealt with some serious personal issues over the years. None of this is for me to speculate on because even though he’s the son of a president, he is still a private citizen who is entitled to privacy. Now, now I also I do agree that said right to privacy becomes somewhat conflated when you start using your father’s political power to make a better living for yourself, which, from what I can tell he absolutely did, winning sort of nominal but very highly paid gigs that a man with a different last name simply would not have won. It’s nepotism. And it’s both annoying and not actually illegal. It also bears repeating that this is the Trump family specialty. But what bugs me about the Republican refusal to let this laptop thing go is twofold? One, just the just the wild hypocrisy with the Trump kids, we can move on from that, but to the laptop has become this sort of Rorschach test for the Republican Party. It’s this very theoretical thing where it’s like copies of copies of information from God knows where on the internet and it’s sort of like, whatever scandal you want to put on that laptop you can.

Biden’s are nepotistic. Biden’s are in bed with political operatives from other countries. Maybe Biden’s eat pizza rats with Jewish space laser pedophiles. Yes, that too. It’s almost like the laptop itself is an avatar for democratic corruption, when it’s really just the digital footprint of a troubled man. And I would challenge any of us to have our online history subjected to the kind of scrutiny we see here and come out unscathed. Did Hunter benefit from nepotism? Yeah, I think he did. Is this just sort of how Washington works? Perhaps I’ve been alive long enough to be suspicious of virtually all politicians motivations and backdoor dealings. And this is something we should absolutely address across the board. But in this case, I don’t see how one private citizens choices are reflective of an entire family, let alone an entire party. Sometimes a laptop is just a laptop. I’ll say that again. So it’s weird. Sometimes a laptop is just a laptop.

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