When Peter Schweizer's book Secret Empires was published on March 18, 2018, Joe Biden was not yet a candidate for the presidency. But he was out raising his visibility by campaigning for Democrats in the mid-terms, and he and Trump were already taking shots at each other. https://www.inquirer.com/Philadelphia/news/po ... 80322.html
It was clear to just about everyone that Joe was setting himself up to run, whether he actually would or not.
As I said, Peter Schweizer is no fool. He learned from his experience with Clinton Cash. In that book, he took direct aim at Hillary Clinton, and got caught overplaying his hand on Uranium One. In Secret Empires, he didn't out and out claim that government officials had acted corruptly -- he attacked them through their friends and families under a theory he called: "corruption by proxy." Here's how he defines "corruption"
By corruption, I mean when officials “abuse their positions for private gain . . . Corruption is the dishonest or fraudulent use of power for personal gain.”13
He then segues to how financial fraud in is hidden through the use of offshore financial accounts.
In the world of finance, everyone understands the subterfuge of “offshore” assets. Corporations and high-net-worth individuals stuff their assets and money into obscure limited liability companies or bank accounts in places like Panama, Belize, and Cyprus. By doing so, it becomes very difficult, if not impossible, to map out their transactions.
Then he claims that politicians are "offshoring" their corruption through their families and friends who are paid by foreign interests in countries with weak disclosure laws:
When it comes to corruption in Washington, the same sort of thing is occurring. The American political class is “offshoring” its corruption.
Sometimes, politicians will literally offshore corruption by moving the location of the deal, the entities, and the players involved, abroad. Other times, they offshore corruption metaphorically by shifting the cronyism out of their own hands and into those of their children or a close friend to leverage from afar and avoid detection. Either way, the results are the same: like the financier who puts his assets in a bank in Belize, it becomes very hard to track the flow of money and exchange of services. Politicians and their families are increasingly able to avoid public scrutiny and accountability for the selling of influence. And the sums involved are enormous.
And the best thing about proxy by corruption is that, by definition, you can't prove it by direct evidence:
Besides being off the disclosure grid, offshore transactions provide plausible deniability when facing scrutiny. If money lands in a politician’s bank account, there is evidence of a direct benefit. Even if it shows up in the bank account of their spouse, questions would be raised. But what if the money, the job, or the business opportunity falls to a politician’s adult child or best friend? Even if that transaction were to become public, there would be an added layer of legal protection.
This is pretty genius. The guy who went nuclear on Hillary Clinton was never actually demonstrate corruption on her part in his book -- at lest the way he defines it: "Corruption is the dishonest or fraudulent use of power for personal gain." So, instead of trying to prove corruption in his next book, he creates a new form of corruption that can't be proven. His theory isn't so much "corruption by proxy" -- it's corruption by innuendo. All he has to is find friends or family of governmental officials who leveraged their relation to the official to earn money, and, presto: corruption! He never has to actually demonstrate that the official acted for the benefit of the friend or family member.
And that's what he proceeds to do with various former members of the Obama administration. Oh, he throws in a chapter about Mitch McConnell, who wasn't exactly on the best of terms with the alt-right at that time. And he talks about Trump and his children, although the point seems to be "Democrats were worse." But make no mistake -- this book is about "corruption" within the Obama administration. As foreshadowed in the first chapter, it's long on insinuation and innuendo and short on actual corruption. And it's high profile targets are Joe Biden and John Kerry.
The acknowledgments in the book contain some familiar names:
I cofounded the Government Accountability Institute (GAI) in 2012 with Stephen K. Bannon, who stepped down from the board in 2016 to pursue other noteable goals. Today the organization enjoys the benefits of a tremendous board of directors including Chairman Rebekah Mercer, who has enthusiastically supported our work and provided thoughtful leadership. Thanks also go to board members Hunter Lewis, Ron Robinson, and Owen Smith for their insightful guidance.
At GAI we have a formidable band of professional staff who make us one of the most effective investigative organizations in the world. These include Stuart Christmas our general counsel, research director Eric Eggers, program director Steve Post, and data and technical director Chance Hendrix. Sandy Schulz helps us expertly navigate the world of media and communications. They all contributed mightily to this book. Some GAI employees who also contributed have asked to remain anonymous.
So, the same team except for Bannon, who was on the outs with Trump at the time. He doesn't enter this round until later, when he starts the resurrection of the smear by claiming he has a copy of the hard drive from Hunter Biden's laptop.
With all this as background, let's get to the meeting.
After the Introductory Chapter, the next Chapter is titled "American Princelings -- Two Sons and a Roommate. And it's all about the three friends with connections: Hunter Biden, Chris Heinz (John Kerry's step-son) and Devon Archer. Fairly early in the Chapter we get a good look at the depth of analysis we're going to get:
By their own account, Joe and Hunter are extraordinarily close. “The single best thing [Ilearned from my father],” Hunter once said, “is family comes first. Over everything.” We have an expression in our family,” says Vice President Biden. “If you have to ask for help, it’s too late. We’re there for each other.”17
By 2009, Hunter’s father was the vice president of the United States.
This is Schweizer's stock in trade. It's not that anything in that passage is inaccurate. However, it insinuates that, based on two quotes about the importance of family, if Hunter Biden was able to trade on his father's name, it means that Joe corruptly help him do it. That's the formula for the whole book: insinuation and innuendo.
But Chapter 2 is mostly about China. Ukraine gets its own Chapter, titled "Bidens in Ukraine." Keep in mind that the fact that Hunter Biden had joined the Burisma Board of Directors was a story that got quite a bit of coverage at the time in the mainstream media.
https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424 ... 2284706288 https://www.usatoday.com/story/theoval/ ... s/9047751/
What Chapter 2 adds is the insinuation that Joe Biden used his government position corruptly to financially enrich his son and the other princes. And, after reviewing some history of the Ukraine and Barisma, Schweizer starts the insinuation like this:
On April 16, 2014, Devon Archer made a private visit to the White House for a meeting with Vice President Biden. We do not know the duration because, according to White House records, the meeting lasted until 11:59 p.m., the end-of-the-day placeholder when the meeting’s end was not recorded.25
Less than a week later, on April 22, there was a public announcement that Devon Archer had to join the board of Burisma. Three weeks after that, on May 13, it was announced that Hunter Biden would join, too. Neither Biden nor Archer had any background or experience in the energy sector.26.
The timing of the announcement is significant. The day before Archer’s appointment, on April 21, Vice President Joe Biden landed in Kiev for a series of high-level meetings with Ukrainian officials. The vice president was bringing with him highly welcomed terms of a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) program to assist the Ukrainian natural gas industry, and promises of more U.S. financial assistance and loans. Soon the United States and the International Monetary Fund would be pumping more than $1 billion into the Ukrainian economy.
The insinuation is pretty clear. As they say, connect the dots. Devon Archer makes a "private visit" to the White house "for a meeting" with VP Joe Biden. Six days later, Biden flies to Ukraine with a boatload of dollars for the natural gas industry. And the next day,
Archer is awarded with a spot on the Burisma Board with a huuuuge salary. OMG, there it is. Corruption by proxy.
Like Schweizer's other books, this one is filled with end notes. This Chapter alone has 84. And the paragraph about Devon Archer's private meeting has a footnote. Here's the source: 25 “White House Visitor Logs,” InsideGov, http://white-house-logs.insidegov.com
So far, we've only looked at Wikipedia for background, Schweizer's book, and a couple media articles. Now it's time to do "the research." Instead of taking Schweizer's word for what he said, let's look at his source. As a step to increase transparency, the Obama administration made the White House visitor logs publicly available online. And they're still available right here: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/br ... or-records
I downloaded the logs released in 2014, and was rewarded with an enormous spreadsheet with tens of thousands of lines. (Have a boatload of RAM if you try this at home.)
And after search for "Archer" in the last name column, I finally found it. Here's a picture of that part of the log:
I did two things to the log for that screenshot. I hid a bunch of columns that don't have relevant information so that I could get the relavant columns in the same screenshot. And I highlighted the row to make it easy to see.
So, let's check. Yup, Devon Archer. Yup, April 16. Yup, 11:30, Yup, placeholder for ending, but that's true of all the entries in that shot. Yup, VPOTUS. Yup, White House, West Wing. There is a column for purpose of the visit, but it is blank in most entries. A couple said "lunch." On other pages it says "tour group." Some say "meeting." Devon's is blank, like most of them are.
So, we know he went to the White House to see Joe Biden. But why? The log entry doesn't say "meeting." But, wait. If you look at the column headers for the entries "White House" and "West Wing," they are "MEETING_LOC" and "MEETING_ROOM." Aha! So it was a MEETING!! Except, maybe not. The West Wing is a building, not a room. And all the entries I saw had entries under those entries, even tours. So, no real evidence of a "meeting."
But why else would he be there? Everything else checks out, so maybe Schweizer's right...
But what's that pesky little "2" in the row for? Well that's the number in the party. So, not just Devon Archer. Who else was there? Did anyone other than Marcus catch it? Look at the row under Devon's. It's for Lukas Archer. Both Archers have the same number starting with "U" in the column to the right of their names. The header for that column is UIN. And the handy dandy explainer for the column headings that you can also download from the webpage says this: "UIN - Appointment Number "
So, who is Lukas Archer, and why are we hearing about him for the first time from an internet rando who calls himself Res Ipsa?