White House lawyer helped shop controversial Hunter Biden story to Wall Street Journal: NYT
A controversial story alleging wrongdoing by former Vice President Joe Biden’s family in foreign business dealings was pitched by Trump allies to The Wall Street Journal before it appeared in the New York Post, The New York Times reported.
According to the Times, White House lawyer Eric Herschmann and former deputy White House counsel Stefan Passantino were among those within President Trump’s circle who had pitched the Biden story to Wall Street Journal reporters. Trump’s allies reportedly hoped the story in the Journal, a trusted paper, would play in Trump’s favor ahead of the November election.
The story pitched by the White House insiders alleged that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was involved in his son Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings related to China and Ukraine. Herschmann and Passantino handed over emails and told the Journal that Hunter Biden’s former business partner Tony Bobulinski was willing to go on the record with them.
As The Wall Street Journal sought to report the story out and confirm or deny the allegations made by Herschmann and Passantino, however, Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani gave the story to the New York Post, which published the allegations.
According to the Times, the story in the Post cast a shadow over the Wall Street Journal report, as the sourcing of the Post’s story drew widespread scrutiny.
Giuliani had told the Post that emails came from Hunter Biden’s laptop that was discarded at a store. Facebook and Twitter, for example, immediately limited sharing of the story, claiming it violated their policies on sharing hacked materials.
The Wall Street Journal eventually posted a story on the subject, but it did not conclude that Joe Biden was involved in his son’s activities abroad, as Herschmann and Passantino reportedly pitched. Instead, its headline read “Hunter Biden’s ex-business partner alleges father knew about venture.”
The New York Times report sheds light on the Trump circle’s push to highlight what they call wrongdoing by Joe Biden in foreign countries.
Most recently, the Trump campaign tried to surprise the former vice president two hours before Thursday’s debate in Nashville, Tenn., by organizing a press conference with Bobulinski, who claimed that Joe Biden was involved in his son’s efforts to launch a business venture with a Chinese energy company.
But the story has drawn scrutiny, as Democrats have said the way the Hunter Biden allegations were discovered — through a laptop that he allegedly dropped off at a repair shop and never picked up — has the hallmarks of a Russian disinformation campaign, although the director of national intelligence says there is no evidence of this. It also follows intelligence officials saying Giuliani was a target of a Russian influence campaign.