CNN’s top fact-checker Daniel Dale co-authored a Wednesday article entitled “Fact-checking McCarthy’s claims while launching Biden impeachment inquiry,” which also earned him an appearance on that afternoon’s CNN News Central. Naturally, Dale’s fact-checking was short on facts and heavy on trying to explain why the controversies surrounding President Biden are not as bad as McCarthy claims.
In total, Dale checked six claims, the first of which was “Bank records show that nearly $20 million in payments were directed to the Biden family members and associates through various shell companies.” Dale responded “This is true about Joe Biden’s family and associates, but there is no public evidence to date that the president personally received any money.”
FACT: CNN lies— Nicholas Fondacaro (@NickFondacaro) September 13, 2023
CNN's @ddale8 and @jimsciutto falsely claim there is "no public evidence" that Joe Biden and his son Hunter were influence peddling.
The House Oversight Committee has done pressers reveling the Biden family's financial web to move money around from foreign payers. pic.twitter.com/SSx7pqAX16
Yes, that’s a shell company is for: to hide money. Dale also tried to claim that things aren’t all that bad because some of the money didn’t go to the Biden family, just business associates, as if that makes it any better, “Also, some of the $20 million McCarthy was referring to on Tuesday didn’t go to the Biden family but went to business associates of the family as part of their business activities.”
Second, Dale checked McCarthy’s claim that “Even a trusted FBI informant has alleged a bribe to the Biden family,” to which Dale responded that the existence of an allegation is not proof the allegation is true, “It’s true that an informant gave a tip of this nature to the FBI in 2020, and that the bureau had viewed him as a credible informant. But the underlying allegation that the Biden family was given a bribe is totally unproven; the informant was merely reporting something he said he had been told by a Ukrainian businessman.”
That’s not an unreasonable position, but the inquiry will presumably be able to get clearer answers. Moving on, Dale cites McCarthy’s claim that “Eyewitnesses have testified that the president joined on multiple phone calls and had multiple interactions – dinners resulted in cars and millions of dollars into his son’s and his son’s business partners.”
This is probably the claim Democrats should fear most as it proves that Biden, even if he didn’t change U.S. policy, help facilitate the allusion of access which helped facilitate Hunter’s get rich quick scheme. So, naturally Dale had to downplay it, “McCarthy’s claim omits key context about what was – and wasn’t – reportedly discussed in the calls and dinners. A Hunter Biden associate testified that even though Joe Biden was on these calls and at these dinners, he didn’t discuss business. And Republicans have not presented any evidence that Joe Biden himself benefited financially from his appearances at the dinners or on the calls.”
CNN: "McCarthy claims that Biden participated in calls and dinners with his son's business partners." Yes, that's a fact. But Danny Dale is saying "Devon Archer said they never discussed business, just the weather." Archer also said the phone calls underlined the Biden— Tim Graham (@TimJGraham) September 13, 2023
Fourth, Dale checked the claim that “The Treasury Department alone has more than 150 transactions involving the Biden family and other business associates that were flagged as suspicious activity by US banks.”
Again, Dale argued, “The existence of these suspicious activity reports don’t prove wrongdoing on their own.” No, but like the FBI informant, it means there is something worth looking into.
Dale also dismisses the claim that "Biden used his official office to coordinate with Hunter Biden’s business partners about Hunter’s role in Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company” by claiming “There is no public evidence that Joe Biden abused his government powers to help his family.”
Except for those phone calls that Dale downplayed earlier. Finally, McCarthy stated, “The President did lie to the American people about his own knowledge of his family’s foreign business dealings.”
Even Dale couldn’t argue with this, but that didn’t stop him from moving the goalposts, “Joe Biden’s unequivocal denials of any business-related contact with his son have been undercut over time. But so far there is no public evidence that his occasional interactions with Hunter Biden’s business partners led to him getting substantively involved in his son’s financial arrangements.”
All of the things CNN admits to in the article are evidence:— Bill D'Agostino (@Banned_Bill) September 13, 2023
Witness testimony, bank records, credible whistleblowers, suspicious activity reports. Evidence.
They'll begrudgingly admit it online, meanwhile this was them today on TV. https://t.co/9VFcGjVHoA pic.twitter.com/stkjEDWiog
If there was a common thread throughout the article, it was that nothing McCarthy said was false, but that Dale and his co-authors tried to downplay its significance or by simply ignoring that Joe Biden himself doesn’t need to have made millions of dollars or changed U.S. policy to be a part of Hunter’s schemes.