When The New Yorker Tried to Preempt a Future Biden Impeachment

In 2019, The New Yorker‘s partisan Jane Mayer tried to blame Republicans for “conspiracy theories” that now make up substantial evidence in Joe Biden’s impeachment inquiry, wrote Joe Lauria.

In trying to get Joe Biden elected in 2020, hyper-partisan journalists, like Jane Mayer of the once-storied New Yorker magazine, tried to dismiss then emerging evidence of Biden corruption in Ukraine as mere Republican fabrications. While Mayer, a once premier reporter, and other Democratic Party hacks helped Biden get elected, without them realizing it at the time, the evidence they were trying to debunk will be tested in an impeachment inquiry in the U.S. House of Representatives that will begin next year.

Since this article appeared, Donald Trump was impeached and acquitted for trying to dig up this dirt, using usual U.S. tactics. The Trump administration at the time was also beginning a largely fruitless probe into the origins of Russiagate, hatched by the Hillary Clinton campaign and U.S. intelligence services.

Hunter Biden, at right, as his father took the oath of office Jan. 20, 2021. (White House/Chuck Kennedy)

By Joe Lauria
in Washington
Special to Consortium News
Oct. 8, 2019

The New Yorker‘s Jane Mayer has gained a reputation as one of the best reporters in Washington, but in her latest piece on Ukraine and former Vice President Joe Biden, Mayer has succumbed to the partisan mania ripping apart this city and much of the country.  

There is little subtlety in her argument, as evidenced by the title of the piece: “The Invention of the Conspiracy Theory on Biden and Ukraine.” Rather than taking an impartial, non-partisan view — needed now more than ever in journalism — Mayer neglects evidence that would have produced a more nuanced report on this increasingly volatile story.

Such a result required the suppression of a seasoned reporter’s natural curiosity. In other words, maybe the other side has evidence worth examining too.  

Mayer is not alone in dismissing serious questions about Biden as merely “a repeatedly discredited conspiracy theory involving Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s work in Ukraine.”

In doing so, Mayer has joined an unthinking media consensus protecting Biden and the media’s own interests to save itself from the shame of having pushed the now discredited conspiracy theory of Trump’s collusion with Russia.

With the Trump Justice Department digging into the origins of that fiasco it was the perfect time to preempt its findings with a trumped up impeachment scandal. The last thing the intelligence agencies and their compliant media need are revelations about how they together duped the country.

Jane Mayer in 2008. (Wikipedia)

Mayer, who distinguished herself on many stories, including a defense of the wrongly accused National Security Agency senior executive Tom Drake—an actual whistleblower—reduced herself to the journalists’ herd that gave Russiagate credence, and in the process undermined scores of media reputations.

Instead of owning up to it, Mayer writes that the media was manipulated in 2016, not by Democrats or intelligence officials, but by Republican partisans.  She produces a line about Ukrainegate that would more credibly describe media accomplices in Russiagate: “News organizations continue to be just as susceptible to manipulation by political partisans pushing complicated and hard-to-check foreign narratives as they were in 2016.”  

Mayer’s unwillingness to see the corruption of both major parties is stunning. 

She writes: “Anyone trying to track the Ukrainian conspiracy stories that were eventually embraced by President Trump is likely to get mired in the same echo chamber of right-wing news purveyors that misinformed voters in 2016” (except that in 2016 it was an echo chamber aligned with Democrats). 

Mayer only blames Republicans who were largely on the defensive during Russiagate.  Her exoneration of Democrats then and now for misinforming voters, extends to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s approval of an uranium deal with Russia, after which, Mayer reports, “more than two million dollars in contributions” came to “the Clinton Foundation from the businessmen behind the deal.”  

She says Clinton is in the clear though because other U.S. agencies also approved the deal and the amount of uranium was “negligible.” It was all just a conservative plot, Mayer tells us.

The Biggest Omissions

Mayer attributes the origins of Biden’s appearance of conflict of interest in Ukraine solely to a disinformation campaign run by a shadowy group set up by Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, the right wing activist, Steve Bannon. 

This is intended to put a nail in the story at its origins, portraying it as just a nutty conservative conspiracy, and thus no one needs to be concerned about significant evidence that followed. “For nearly two years, conservative operatives have been trying to weaponize the Ukraine-based story that has led Trump to the brink of impeachment,” Mayer wrote.

She takes at face value Bannon’s braggadocio about his so-called Government Accountability Initiative being “key” and the “predicate” to the Biden-Ukraine story, allowing her to easily dismiss an array of facts, including a public admission of corruption by Biden himself, as merely an “unethically seeming morass.”  

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Of all the evidence missing from Mayer’s piece, perhaps the most important is the opening act of this Washington drama: the U.S.-backed coup that overthrew an elected Ukrainian government in 2014.

Without that evidence it is impossible to understand the context of the nauseating Biden/Ukraine impeachment story against Trump. She is not alone in this either. The entire elite liberal media and Fox News won’t mention it in a bipartisan cover-up of rapacious American foreign policy.

The press usually takes 25 years, after the declassification of documents, to admit the United States routinely breaks international law by overthrowing sovereign governments, and not in the name of spreading democracy, but in the interests of capital and geo-strategy. That was the case with Ukraine in 2014.

Hunter and Joe Biden at Obama’s 2009 inaugural parade.

Can you imagine if the Trump administration finally succeeds in overthrowing the Venezuelan government and a couple of months later Vice President Mike Pence’s son (who wasn’t kicked out of the Navy for drug use) lands a spot on the board of a privatized Venezuelan national oil company?  

That is exactly what happened with Biden and his son Hunter in Ukraine.

And then imagine that the U.S.-installed government of Juan Guaidó begins an investigation into corruption at the oil company and wants to question Pence’s son.

So Pence flies to Caracas and tells Guaidó he won’t get a $1 billion U.S. credit line until the prosecutor is fired. Six hours later the prosecutor begins cleaning out his desk and Pence later brags about it in an open forum at the Council on Foreign Relations.  

That is exactly what Biden did in Ukraine. 

The fired Venezuelan prosecutor then gives an affidavit under oath that Pence had him fired because he was investigating his son’s company and that the U.S. had taken over the country’s prosecutor’s office.

That is exactly what the Ukrainian prosecutor testified.

But none of these facts are in Mayer’s story. In the face of the affidavit and Biden’s open admission on video, she still somehow calls these “baseless tales claiming that Biden corruptly intervened on behalf of his son’s Ukrainian business interests.”

Instead Mayer attacks the reporter who revealed most of these facts, John Solomon of The Hill. A partisan reporter attacking another partisan reporter is what passes for journalism these days.

Being non-partisan — a requirement to practice serious journalism — means looking past the politics of a reporter or a news outlet, and even overlooking their partisan motivation, if they present documented evidence. The motive is irrelevant if the evidence is substantiated.

There was no such evidence in the Russiagate farce, but that never stopped partisans in the Democratic media. The same lack of skepticism has accepted now two C.I.A. officials as “whistleblowers” without questioning their motives, while showing no interest in real whistleblowers who challenge the Establishment on behalf of the nation.

If the Department of Justice and its investigation into the origins of Russiagate is serious and reveals wrongdoing by intelligence officials and by extension the media, the best move those officials and journalists can make is to go on offense as their best defense.  

It also gives them another crack at Trump after failing with Russiagate. And Trump gave them the opening to do it.

Trump’s Blunder

Zelensky and Trump at the UN last month. (Wikimedia Commons)

Trump’s mistake was to get personally involved in the investigations into the origins of Russiagate and the Bidens. By mentioning both in a telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, he broke the wall that should exist between the White House and the Justice Department.

Though there was no clear quid-pro-quo, Trump hinted that he would release military aid to Ukraine in exchange for the investigations. If Trump did that it is the routine corrupt way the U.S. carries out foreign policy, as Biden openly admitted.

Trump compounded his problems by publicly calling for China to investigate Hunter Biden’s dealings in that country. By getting personally involved, instead of leaving it up to the DOJ to investigate his possible challenger in next year’s presidential election, Trump allowed his enemies in intelligence and the media to portray his conversation as an impeachable offense.

Every move the DOJ or Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, makes in investigating Russiagate or the Bidens’ corruption, including legitimately asking foreign governments for assistance, is now tainted as political because of Trump’s unwise intervention.  He threw a lifeline to intelligence officers and journalists like Mayer, who will continue to make the most of it even if it means turning their backs on their professional commitments.  

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former U.N. correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and other newspapers, including The Montreal Gazette, the London Daily Mail and The Star of Johannesburg. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London, a financial reporter for Bloomberg News and began his professional work as a 19-year old stringer for The New York Times. He is the author of two books, A Political Odyssey, with Sen. Mike Gravel, foreword by Daniel Ellsberg; and How I Lost By Hillary Clinton, foreword by Julian Assange. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @unjoe

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23 comments for “When The New Yorker Tried to Preempt a Future Biden Impeachment

  1. James White
    December 25, 2023 at 07:12

    We have arrived into an era of excess. It is defined by the willful deception of the public by our government and our press. These people are not just telling simple lies, they float massive Psychological Operations on a continuous basis. They got away with telling lies about Trump-Russia collusion that fell apart when held to even the most partisan analysis. No one has ever been held to account in any kind of meaningful way for that blatant miscarriage of justice.
    The lack of accountability has led to ever more massive obvious lies:
    1. Russia has already lost the war in Ukraine and seeks to annex all of Europe.
    2. Israel is defending itself from an entirely unprovoked attack and therefore bears no responsibility whatsoever in bombing Gaza’s inhabitants to dust. Only an anti-semite disagrees.
    3. Joe Biden and his family are innocent of all charges of corruption, tax evasion, influence peddling, obstruction of justice.
    4. Trump led an insurrection on 6-Jan.
    5. Spending more trillions of debt will reduce inflation.
    November 2024 will be a referendum on whether the liars in charge will be held to account for their subterfuge or else we will learn that more than half of the people can be fooled all of the time.

  2. Bushrod Lake
    December 24, 2023 at 12:57

    Mayer’s failure to include all the evidence in Biden’s Ukrainian deals is disappointing. I read her Dark Money book and it followed capitalist corruption influences in politics very closely. People change and people mistake.
    The Biden Family’s twenty (20) shell companies needs explaining. Why would one use so many shell companies unless for crooked, money laundering purposes? And $240,000 dollar loan repaid to Joe from his brother, James. There is no paper record of a loan to James, so Joe just pulled out his wallet at the time and gave him a quarter million? Pocket money with no record? BS.

  3. firstpersoninfinite
    December 24, 2023 at 12:49

    Thank you Joe Lauria for fighting for a reality that actually resembles a living reality. The New Yorker, like the rest of that once-storied, legacy media, is living on borrowed time. They know that nothing is going to change the rules of the game, so they are hedging their bets to keep the milk of iniquity flowing for as long as it pays. As Spengler pointed out, at this stage of civilization money becomes thought, and thought becomes merely the rhetoric for keeping money and sterility in place. That the New Yorker is now just a mouth-piece for Wall Street and the Democratic party is obvious. All that is left for us are further delineations of thought into meaningless jargon establishing a new status quo. In the end, the media will be merely a circus, one in which victims of their ire are paraded into spectacles where the public decides what qualities will be the new winning qualities that week. It’s a way to cower the populace into not knowing what’s next until new rules are made for that new contingency. And we’ll say “that’s okay,” while we wait for new versions of old Disney movies or old Marvel Comics movies to be released. The whole culture will be turned into a scripted, but unimpeachable spectacle. Therefore, the truth has nothing to lose in this battle.

  4. hetro
    December 24, 2023 at 12:36

    A recent Duran conversation featuring John Mearsheimer adds to this loose fiasco the US has become. Mearsheimer addresses the US “joined at the hip” with Israel consideration, concluding that two major aspects of this union a) strategic and b) moral do NOT apply to the relationship which leaves the question of then why this allegiance? The answer is not new and reminds of a raw and servile reality: It’s the Israel lobby as employer of who’s running what, with Biden et al in a “yes, boss” position with Netanyahu.

    See the following starting about minute 42:


  5. Realist
    December 24, 2023 at 01:27

    I guess that after 50 years of blatant shameless adoption of the most despicable and corrupt ethical practices imaginable, which no longer even feigns the slightest bit of honesty or integrity, this entire country, but especially the mass media, its degenerate punditry, and decadent ownership owe Richard Nixon one massive apology for mendaciously defending his personal paranoias which now, in retrospect, appear to be almost virtuous by today’s standards. All those arguments with my old man would today be entirely beside the point. I’d have to say to my 102 year old father (if he were still alive): Dad, you were right, they all do it so who the hell cares? What was once considered reprehensible is now considered no more than a joke or a quaint superstition. Lies are SOP in the USA. Just lie to the public’s faces, they will never take issue. Let the Biden Crime Family lead the parade: Old Joe, you’ve actually dragged us down to the level of Ukraine itself, the publicly acclaimed “most corrupt nation in the Western world.”

  6. Cell Block 9
    December 23, 2023 at 23:51

    America needs a non-partisan compromise. Lock them all up!

    Hunter, Joe, Jared, Donald, and that’s just the start. Let not let anyone feel left out. Lock them all up!

  7. Carolyn/Cookie out west
    December 23, 2023 at 18:48

    The New Yorker has been (is) very anti-Russian, totally anti-Trump…no criticism of Russiagate. It has become a mouthpiece for the Democratic party. Because it was a gift subscription for me, I’ll continue getting it. As a New Yorker, born and raised but living in California….I am tired of these 2 states preaching to the rest of the country: how enlightened we are! Freud warned of this type of “enlightened super ego” personal/political as aggressive in itself, lacking compassion, and feeling superior to others. Gone are the days of dialogue, respect . . . And the New Yorker negative articles as re: Mayor Eric Adams! Where is the outcry re: an African-American mayor trying…..But perfection is the prescription…and if you disagree with the self-righteous beware of being cast outside…..The prophet said: I come to seek the lost sheep and lift them to my shoulders! Peace to our war weary world. Thank you Joe Lauria for daring to even raise criticism of the Bidens.

  8. Geoff
    December 23, 2023 at 13:49

    I remember Biden bragging about getting Shokin fired and then saying that he was replaced by a stand up guy. That stand up guy was Yuriy Lutsenko. He wasn’t even a lawyer, but he had some experience in the courtroom…. as the defendant in a corruption trial in which he was found guilty and sentenced to four years in prison. Soon after Lutsenko took office he dropped the multiple investigations of Burisma that the Prosecutor General’s office had been conducting under Shokin’s direction. An interesting side note is that prior to Biden getting Shokin fired the state department wrote Shokin a letter thanking him for his anti-corruption work.

    • TDillon
      December 23, 2023 at 20:28

      I too remember watching that video of Biden bragging about coercing the Ukraine president to fire that prosecutor, who was investigating the company paying Hunter millions! That was several years ago. Jane Meyer must be aware of it. All these corporate reporters parroting the “no evidence” script are, it seems to me, working for the mob. But their cut pays well.

    • michael888
      December 25, 2023 at 17:21

      ukrainegate.info/ While dated, this investigation is still timely.

  9. Lee Sterling
    December 23, 2023 at 13:26

    CN, thanks for keeping recent history fresh, and for the link to Taibbi’s article, which helped add another dose of context to the journalistic malpractice that is, well, woven into our media to a large degree.

    I recall Glen Greenwald feeling he had to resign from The Intercept, which he co-founded, because the editorial board spiked his story on the Bidens. True journalism seems to be the outlier nowadays. QED. And thanks Joe!


  10. Eric Foor
    December 23, 2023 at 13:09

    Joe, Your sentence “Meyer’s unwillingness to see the corruption of both major Parties is stunning” sums it up. Hillary, Trump and Biden are all political puppets serving masters that remain anonymous. The War in Ukraine and the Holocaust in Gaza would have occurred no matter who was President. Those decisions are not being made in Washington. Our democracy has been gamed by influential individuals who are using American might and prestige as their tool. We have all been dumbed downed to accept their strategy as good for America…by a bought off media. Our country is dangerously adrift…the rocks of cultural and financial ruin are not far off.

    Joe, “Consortium News” is a brilliant light in the darkness. Thank you for the fair alternative information you provide. My donation check is in the mail!

  11. December 23, 2023 at 12:14

    Does it really matter who is the most corrupt? It’s like choosing the lesser of two evils – it’s still evil.

    • michael888
      December 25, 2023 at 17:17

      As is always the case with our Presidential candidates, chosen for us by the UniParty and State Media, whose “journalists” serve at the behest of the federal government.

  12. Valerie
    December 23, 2023 at 12:00

    That photo of the father and son circa 2009. They look like a couple of mafia dons. Only thing missing is the violin cases. OMGodzilla.

    • TDillon
      December 23, 2023 at 20:21

      They are mafia, but the dons are the war profiteering banksters who hire them.

  13. SteveK9
    December 23, 2023 at 11:11

    Good piece, although sane Democrats like Lauria always throw in a few comments of how both parties are bad. That is NOT the case here. The Democratic Party is actively attempting to remake the country, apparently by first destroying it, in myriad ways, vaccines, climate crisis, border crisis, transgender lunacy, and on an on. The Republicans are merely useless for the most part, not actively evil.

    • Consortiumnews.com
      December 23, 2023 at 11:49

      Joe Lauria has never belonged to any political party. The Republican Party used to be known as the “party of the rich” until the Democrats joined them. Right now the GOP is an even stronger supporter of Israel’s ongoing genocide than Democrats. We think that constitutes evil.

      • December 23, 2023 at 12:26

        Thank you for clearing that up.

    • Carolyn L Zaremba
      December 23, 2023 at 13:26

      I have no time for bourgeois Democrats or either of the two-party one-party corrupt government of the United States. Capitalism is an evil system and must be resisted and then taken down and replaced by socialism. Otherwise, that asteroid might a well hit us sooner than later, as the world sinks into barbarity.

      • Valerie
        December 23, 2023 at 16:27

        There are quite a few NEO’s circulating our planet. It’s just a matter of time before one of them collides with us. (As the dinosaurs discovered much to their chagrin and innocent naïvety.) The barbarity you speak of has been with us for aeons. We are a barbaric species. Socialism is a preferred concept to the hoi polloi. But the clutches and talons of the capitalists have embedded themselves so deeply into the “system” that only the asteroid you speak of Carolyn, will be able to eliminate the greed and hubris.

  14. December 23, 2023 at 10:32

    Fantastic story on much-needed subject. Love Lauria’s characterizations: “once-storied New Yorker magazine,” and “Mayer, a once premier reporter”. How apt, how true, as this former reader of The New Yorker can attest. Thank you very much, Joe Lauria

    • Carolyn L Zaremba
      December 23, 2023 at 13:24


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