Facebook has throttled distribution of a bombshell New York Post report Wednesday contradicting Joe Biden’s claim that he knew nothing about his son Hunter Biden’s lucrative deal with a corrupt Ukrainian firm while the former vice president was overseeing Ukraine policy.
The social-media giant said it reduced distribution of the story even before it could be “independently fact-checked.”
Later Wednesday, attempts to post the article to Twitter were being blocked, with a message saying: “We can’t complete this request because this link has been identified by Twitter or our partners as being potentially harmful. Visit our Help Center to learn more.”
The Post reported earlier Wednesday the FBI’s seizure in December of a MacBook Pro that apparently once belonged to Hunter Biden. It contained emails showing Joe Biden was aware of and apparently involved in his son’s dealings with Burisma. A federal subpoena obtained by the Post shows the computer and the hard drive were seized from a repair shop after the owner alerted federal authorities.
In a follow-up report Wednesday, the Post said the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is working with the repairman to verify the documents.
Hunter Biden was paid some $50,000 a month to serve on the Burisma board at a time when the company was the target of a corruption investigation. Meanwhile, Joe Biden was the Obama administration’s point man for Ukraine policy, which was focused on an anti-corruption campaign. The former vice president is on video boasting that he, threatening to withhold a $1 billion loan guarantee, pressured Ukrainian officials to fire the country’s top prosecutor, who was investigating Burisma at the time.
Andy Stone, Facebook’s policy communications director, a former staffer for Democratic PACs and Congress members, explained on Twitter why the article was censored shortly after its publication
“While I will intentionally not link to the New York Post, I want be clear that this story is eligible to be fact checked by Facebook’s third-party fact checking partners. In the meantime, we are reducing its distribution on our platform,” Stone wrote.
Is Facebook engaging in illegal election interference?
About an hour later, he explained the move was “part of our standard process to reduce the spread of misinformation.”
“We temporarily reduce distribution pending fact-checker review,” he tweeted.
After the story broke, Joe Biden’s campaign called a lid on the day, shutting down campaigning at 9:41 a.m.
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., immediately fired off a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking him to explain the decision and to disclose whether or not the Biden campaign requested the censorship.
The Federalist noted Facebook didn’t specify who will fact-check the story. Facebook has censored numerous pro-life videos, articles by conservative media and Trump campaign ads, judging them “false” or “misleading.”
The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway reacted.
“Holy bleeping bleep. Facebook explicitly admitting it is protecting Biden — and interfering in the presidential election — by censoring media outlets and limiting discussion of today’s breaking news about Biden’s engagement with Burisma,” she wrote on Twitter.
Allum Bohkari of Breitbart News tweeted “the mask is off.”
“Big tech is deploying its power to help Biden get elected, and this statement (from a former Democrat staffer no less) confirms it,” he wrote.
“Not only is the platform intervening to protect Biden from a scandal, it is doing so *before* its ‘fact checkers’ say anything,” he wrote.
Jessica O’Donnell, social media editor for The Blaze, called it “actual election interference from facebook.”
Biden: I never spoke to my son about it
The New York Post reported Wednesday Vadym Pozharskyi, an adviser to the board of Burisma, allegedly sent an email to Hunter Biden on April 17, 2015, about one year after Hunter joined the company’s board for a salary of up to $50,000 a month.
Contrary to Joe Biden’s claims, it indicates the former vice president was introduced by his son to a top Burisma official one year before the the elder Biden pressured Ukraine officials to fire the country’s top prosecutor while he was investigating Burisma.
Biden has insisted he has “never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings.”
“Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together,” Pozharskyi wrote. “It’s realty [sic] an honor and pleasure.”
See the video of Joe Biden boasting he pressure Ukrainian officials to fire the country’s top prosecutor:
See Joe Biden insist he had never discussed Hunter Biden’s business dealings with him:
The Post reported that in another email, in May 2014, Pozharskyi asked Hunter Biden for “advice on how you could use your influence” to benefit the company.
The Post reported the emails were on a computer that was dropped off at a repair shop in Delaware in April 2019 and never reclaimed.
The Post said other files found on the laptop included “a raunchy, 12-minute video that appears to show Hunter, who’s admitted struggling with addiction problems, smoking crack while engaged in a sex act with an unidentified woman, as well as numerous other sexually explicit images.”
The repair shop owner explained the MacBook Pro had water damage, but the customer never paid for the repairs or retrieved the computer or a hard drive on which the contents were stored.
“The shop owner couldn’t positively identify the customer as Hunter Biden, but said the laptop bore a sticker from the Beau Biden Foundation, named after Hunter’s late brother and former Delaware attorney general,” the Post reported.
The items were seized by the FBI in December, the report said.
But the shop owner made a copy of the hard drive before turning it over and gave the copy to former Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert Costello, the report said.
Steve Bannon, former adviser to President Trump, told the Post about the existence of the hard drive in late September. And Giuliani provided the Post with a copy of it on Sunday.
Joe Biden’s pressuring of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk to fire prosecutor Viktor Shokin came a few months after the thank-you note.
Shokin has said that when he was fired, he had plans to interview Burisma officials, including Hunter Biden.
Months later, Hunter Biden’s business partner Devon Archer, also a Burisma board member, sent Hunter Biden an email chain about plans for tax increases.
In the emails, Pozharskyi said the Ukrainian cabinet had submitted new tax legislation to the parliament that “would kill the entire private gas production sector in the bud.”
Pozharskyi also said he was sharing the information with the U.S. Embassy in Kiev as will as the office of Amos Hochstein, the State Department’s envoy for international energy affairs.
Joe Biden repeatedly has rejected charges that there was a conflict of interest in Hunter Biden’s business operations.
In an interview with NBC’s ‘Today’ show last February, co-host Savannah Guthrie asked whether it was “wrong for [Hunter] to take that position, knowing that it was really because that company wanted access to you.”
“Well, that’s not true. You’re saying things you do not know what you’re talking about,’ Joe Biden said.
During a campaign event last winter in Iowa, Joe Biden scolded a man who raised the issue of Hunter Biden and Ukraine, saying, “You’re a damn liar man.”
“Biden continued berated the man, calling him “fat” challenging him to “do push-ups together, man.”
The Post said the FBI referred questions about the laptop to the Delaware U.S. Attorney’s Office, which said it would neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation.
Hunter Biden’s lawyer charged that Giuliani has been peddling conspiracy theories about the Biden family, the Post said.