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People frequently allege that the American right wing creates a lot of conspiracy theories. Things like whether the Bidens engaged in influence peddling/protection and whether there were lies on the FISA application to spy on Carter Page and the Trump campaign.
No doubt there are conspiracies. The founders of America engaged in a conspiracy to declare independence from Britain, where they met in Masonic lodges to discuss their plans. The leaders of the revolutions of 1848 all across Europe engaged in a massive conspiracy. People meet to conspire and intrigue against office peers. Conspiring is part of human nature.
People also look for conspiracies. Does something look weird and suspicious and out of the ordinary? Do people give explanations that seem weak and contrived? That’s when people start to theorize that there might be a conspiracy–when people start to perceive the elements of a coverup. And that’s when their opponents start calling them “conspiracy theories” in an attempt to tag the “conspiracy theorists” as kooks and prevent investigation of the initial thing that looked weird and suspicious and out of the ordinary.
So how do you evaluate claims about a conspiracy or about corruption? First, is there prima facie evidence that warrants an investigation. Second, who benefits? Follow the money. Third, is there an attempt to obstruct investigation? This may include false claims that an investigation has been done which did not show corruption. Typically, this will also include attempts to tar their opponents as “kooks” and “conspiracy theorists.”
So, we end up being forced to choose whether to favor an investigation into corruption and be called “conspiracy theorists” or whether we favot obstructing an investigation. A lot of times, people on the side of justice are demeaned and people on the side of corruption are lauded. Given time and diligence and persistence, the people on the side of justice tend to win.
So, let’s consider the Biden affair. Was there prima facie evidence of corruption? Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company with a reputation of corruption offered Hunter Biden a job making between 600 thousand and a million dollars a year. Hunter had no experience in the Ukraine or in energy. Hunter had no experience in business. Hunter didn’t even have to go to the Ukraine or show up to work. There is prima facie evidence of influence peddling.
At one point, a Ukrainian prosecutor, Victory Shokin, started actively investigating Burisma. Joe Biden bragged at the Council of Foreign Relations that he got Shokin fired over that by threatening to withhold U.S. aid to Ukraine if the prosecutor weren’t fired. The Ukrainian prosecutor was fired and the aid was subsequently released. This is strong prima facie evidence of coercion and corruption.
Still, all this evidence is only prima facie and warrants further investigation. President Trump called on the president of the Ukraine to assist his Attorney General in the investigation, which is necessary for the investigation to proceed. But Biden is also a presidential candidate in the democratic primary and the democrats allege that Trump is engaging in an abuse of power by asking foreign governments to “meddle in a U.S. election.”
If you side with the democrats, then you are giving Biden a pass and are siding with obstruction of justice. The President is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States and has the duty to investigate corruption. However, it would be unlawful for a president to ask a foreign government to “dig up dirt” on a political rival. The only time, it seems to me, that a president is justified in askin a foreign government for help with an investigation is when an investigator must look at facts that can only be found in a foreign country–and there must be prima facie evidence that those facts actually exist.