GOP House investigation of President Joe Biden follow along thread

The problem seems to be trying to figure out what on the laptop was on the laptop the day Hunter Biden dropped it off and what has been added/deleted/changed since then. Some quotes from a WaPo analysis:

Among the reasons for the inconclusive findings was sloppy handling of the data, which damaged some records. The experts found the data had been repeatedly accessed and copied by people other than Hunter Biden over nearly three years.

The security experts who examined the data for The Post struggled to reach definitive conclusions about the contents as a whole, including whether all of it originated from a single computer or could have been assembled from files from multiple computers and put on the portable drive.

Analysis was made significantly more difficult, both experts said, because the data had been handled repeatedly in a manner that deleted logs and other files that forensic experts use to establish a file’s authenticity.

This is where the story starts not to make sense. A laptop full of compromising information just never retrieved?

You mean, at the beginning?

Something I’ve said before, and will say again…….

The presence of Paul Manafort in a high level position in an US Presidential campaign should’ve triggered an investigation, even in the absence of any other evidence, and the FBI would’ve been negligent in not investigating.

I think if the investigation of Hunter is warranted, then the FBI needs to investigate the children of every private citizen that has benefited from their family’s name and connection. Was he supposed to change his name?

I agree that Hunter is less than a model citizen, but there is absolutely no evidence that he was ever involved in his father’s professional or political life.

The linked article is paywalled, but I think that the title says it all. “Why hasn’t the rest of America?” Biden’s opponents have had complete access to the laptop and have claimed that it is chocked full of smoking guns that prove Biden Sr. is horribly corrupt, but the most we’ve seen so far is vague references to Mr. Big. If there were these giant smoking guns, they would have been made public.

Wait what……….your really think that there is an equivalence between a political candidate interacting with a hostile foreign government and a political candidate “interacting” with his own child?

Do you have any comment on the two billion dollars that Jared Kushner received from the Saudi government, or do you think they would’ve made that investment of Kushner wasn’t related to Trump and hadn’t been involved in Trumps foreign policy?

It may surprise you that I have followed the laptop story. The NY Post printed excerpts from the emails with section highlighted that allegedly implicated Joe Biden. However, the rest of the content of those emails seemed to refute that allegation.

Here’s a question that I would like you to answer? Do you think the 2014 Ukrainian presidential election was the most important event in Joe Biden’s political career? Unless it was, Biden’s not the “Big Guy”.

Michael Bender of the conservative WSJ wanted to cover the laptop story, but at the time the people with the laptop wouldn’t give him anything but selective excerpts from the e-mails. So he passed, much as all the reputable news organizations passed on reporting on the Steele dossier prior to the 2016 election.

Thanks. I’ll read the linked article tomorrow. But just to point out the sub-headline:

Two experts confirm the veracity of thousands of emails, but say a thorough examination was stymied by missing data

There’s no question it was Hunter’s laptop. There’s no question that it contains thousands of emails that clearly came from Hunter. The question you’re raising is if somebody tampered with the hard drive to insert false emails, or otherwise tampered with existing emails, as opposed to the likelihood that the emails on the hard drive were the ones sent and received by Hunter. My opinion is that an assertion of tampering requires evidence. A mistake in the chain-of-custody is good for US TV crime dramas. I don’t think it should have much bearing in Congress ascertaining facts.

It makes sense if you understand that Hunter Biden was an idiot with a drug addiction problem. Apparently, there are self-filmed videos of him having sex with prostitutes. I doubt those are faked. There are also thousands of mundane emails, many of them verifiable. I don’t believe there’s a question about the veracity of the laptop. A question is whether its contents were altered. When huge portions of the laptop’s contents are verifiable, the claim that the controversial emails were surreptitiously inserted needs to be proved. I haven’t seen any proof of such, merely allegations that it was possible.

So, guilt by association should be investigated?

The WaPo article provides evidence that the hard drive was tampered with; more than a year after Hunter dropped off the machine at the Delaware repair shop, folders called “Biden Burisma” and “Salacious Pics Package” were created on the drive (among other provable changes). It is not possible Hunter created those, so who did?

It’s not just a mistake in the chain of custody; the drive has been tampered with. What specifically got altered? The drive contains emails indisputably sent or received by Hunter, and files indisputably added after it left his possession, and then a huge cache of material that is somewhere in the middle: not provable one way or another. There’s something like a hundred thousand emails on the drive, and the two experts were able to authenticate about 22,000 (less than a quarter), mostly emails sent through Google. That’s because nobody seriously believes Google’s cryptographic keys have been compromised. Burisma used cryptographic signing as well, but the integrity of their keys is not as well established, and a lot of email senders don’t use any form of cryptography so there’s nothing against which to (dis)authenticate the email in the first place.

IANAL but I don’t think that’s how things work. In a criminal trial, it’s not for the defense to prove that the evidence was tainted but instead for the prosecution to demonstrate the chain of custody was maintained so that it could not have been.

IANAL, but I’ve been involved with an FBI investigation. I was in the middle of one for months. Chain of custody is extremely important. I had to fill out SO MANY of those stupid forms for everything. The FBI had me pulling all sorts of logs, reports, records, etc. Every little thing was accounted for, every time it changed hands. There was a date and signature of everyone who held a disk or flash drive or computer. They take that stuff seriously, because once it gets to court it’s going to be a big deal, regardless of your personal opinion.

The question is whether there is evidence that Joe Biden acted in a corrupt manner. Did he do so by supporting his son’s activities to gain wealth using his last name and his influence with a powerful father? There’s very strong evidence that Hunter used his last name and relationship with his father to gain wealth. How far did Hunter’s influence impact Joe’s activities and decisions? The impact was non-zero - Joe met with people who paid Hunter for his connections.

What’s the threshold for suspicious activity being worthy of Congressional investigation? Repeating myself, Democrats set an extremely low bar. Why shouldn’t a Republican HOR use the same threshold?

Not really.

In fact, it’s not clear which Democrats you’re referring to here.

I think there are questions.

Where is your certainty coming from?

Well, gee, the repair guy said it was Biden’s, and it has his emails on it.

(Note: I am being sarcastic.)

I’m slow on the uptake here. Can you explain how any of this is worthy of a congressional investigation? What’s the end game?

The article I quoted earlier acknowledges that folders were added to the hard drive. They were desktop folders containing copies of emails in order to support the case that there was an issue of political corruption. There doesn’t seem to be any indication that the emails in the folder are inauthentic.

I’ll also note that the word in the thread title is “investigation”. Shouldn’t an investigation receive a credible allegation of wrongdoing, examine the evidence supporting the allegation, and then proceed from the conclusions based on examination of the evidence? Is that what happened with President Trump? Or was there perhaps some political bias involved and some totally facetious accusations made by Trump’s opponents.

(Aside question: Was Trump’s debate invitation to Russia to search for Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails ever investigated? I remember that being proposed as evidence of Trump’s treason by political agitators, but I’m not sure if it was ever taken seriously by Congress.)

The idea that an allegation of wrongdoing shouldn’t be investigated because the evidence of the wrongdoing might be falsified doesn’t really make sense. Prioritise the investigation of the evidence. In this circumstance, it seems likely the evidence is true and should be considered on its own. Opinionated leftists can reject a fair evaluation of the evidence, but Congress shouldn’t.

Are only “leftists” opinionated on this laptop issue? The right has no opinions on it either way?

What evidence? The laptop story is nothing but rumor and innuendo. The existence of emails isn’t a story.