Thursday, October 29, 2020
Martin Hennecke

Election deja vu as e-mail storm rocks Biden
<p>Four years ago, just eleven days before the US presidential election, Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey said the bureau had restarted an investigation into Hillary Clinton&#39;s use of a private e-mail server when she was the Secretary of State.</p><p>Following the revelation, the story dominated the front pages of every major newspaper in America for an entire week. This gave Trump a much-needed breather, and he went on win the election.</p><p>Four years on, history seems to be repeating itself.</p><p>With less than three weeks to the election, the New York Post published an article resurrecting accusations that Joe Biden was involved in wrongdoing on overseas business deals when he was Vice-President.</p><p>The article focuses on e-mails recovered from a mysterious laptop found at a repair shop in Biden&#39;s home state of Delaware last year.</p><p>The e-mails appear to show that Hunter Biden introduced his father, the then-Vice President Joe Biden, to a top executive at a Ukrainian energy firm less than a year before the elder Biden pressured government officials in Ukraine into firing a prosecutor who was investigating the company.</p><p>In an e-mail from May 2014, Vadym Pozharskyia, Burisma&#39;s number 3 executive and adviser to its board, asks Hunter how he could &quot;use his influence&quot; on behalf of the company, after Hunter was appointed as a director at the energy firm the same year.</p><p>Then, on April 17, 2015, there&#39;s an e-mail sent by Pozharskyi thanking for Hunter inviting him to Washington and introducing him to his father.</p><p>Less than eight months after Pozarsky&#39;s alleged thank-you note, Joe Biden pressed the Ukrainian government to fire Viktor Shokin, the-then Ukraine&#39;s attorney general, who was investigating corruption, money laundering and tax evasion related to Burisma, or risk losing out on a US$1 billion loan from the United States.</p><p>Former Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin came to Biden&#39;s defence last year saying that Shokin was sacked after concerted international pressure - including the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank - to root out corruption in the country.</p><p>Now, the e-mails found on this mysterious computer have turned the accusations against the Bidens into a hot debate once more and could influence the outcome of the US elections.</p><p>Also, the reaction of a number of social media outlets may fan the flames over the Biden family affair, as Facebook and Twitter have treated the reports as inauthentic and blocked them.</p><p>Twitter blocked the personal account of White House Press Secretary John McCain, who had shared the story, while Facebook restricted the spread of the story online.</p><p>The Guardian newspaper in the UK described Twitter&#39;s move as &quot;unprecedented&quot; for a major news event, and said it had &quot;outraged&quot; conservatives in the United States.</p><p>And Republican senator Ted Cruz sent a mail to Twitter president Jack Dorsey, saying that Twitter was hypocritical as it allowed users to share news criticizing other candidates from much weaker sources.</p><p>So, voters in the United States must now think whether Twitter and Facebook are obviously being unfair to Donald Trump, and this may be good for the president&#39;s election prospects.</p><p>As I mentioned last week, the question for American voters&#39; investment intentions is whether to believe Trump can maintain their core values. But with the Bidens once again attacked over allegations of wrongdoing and questions raised over the impartiality of social media in the United States, there&#39;s a good chance that Trump can once again do what he did four years ago and pull off a victory.</p><p>Investors may now need to rethink their strategy.</p><p><em>Andrew Wong is chairman and CEO of Anli Securities</em></p>
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