The Wall Street Journal published a short article Thursday night on Hunter Biden’s business dealings that concluded: “Corporate records reviewed by The Wall Street Journal show no role for Joe Biden.” The same night, the Journal published an opinion piece that asserted the Democratic presidential nominee had been aware of and/or involved in his son’s business endeavors, about 24 hours after Breitbart News published a statement from a former Hunter Biden business partner, Tony Bobulinksi.
That wasn’t how President Trump’s allies had wanted this to go, Ben Smith reports in The New York Times.
In early October, three men allied with Trump — Arthur Schwartz, a public relations man close to Donald Trump Jr.; former deputy White House Counsel Stefan Passantino; and Eric Herschmann, a White House lawyer currently on the public payroll as “senior adviser to the president” — met in a McLean, Virginia, house and pitched the Hunter Biden story to Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender, Smith reports, citing two people familiar with the meeting. Bobulinksi called in and offered to go on the record.
The trio gave Bender a cache of Hunter Biden emails and ended the meeting “believing that the Journal would blow the thing open, and their excitement was conveyed to the president,” who said on an Oct. 19 conference call that an “important piece” was coming in the Journal, Smith reports. The Journal had assigned a group of reporters to dig in to the allegations, and Trump and his allies expected their article to appear in the Journal that day, former Trump campaign chairman Stephen Bannon told Smith.
“The editors didn’t like Trump’s insinuation that we were being teed up to do this hit job,” a Journal reporter not directly involved in the story told Smith. But the Journal continued working on the report. But by that point, things had already gotten “messy,” Smith reports. Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s political operative, had “delivered a cache of documents of questionable provenance — but containing some of the same emails — to the New York Post, a sister publication to the Journal in Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.,” casting “a pall over the story.”
Smith, a media reporter, splits his weekly column between a report on “the McLean group’s failed attempt to sway the election” and an analysis of the media’s gatekeeper role. Read the entire column at The New York Times. Peter Weber