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by Sharon Rondeau

Screenshot: MSNBC interview, May 1, 2020

(Oct. 18, 2020) — CBS News political correspondent Ed O’Keefe said on Sunday morning’s “Face the Nation” that beginning on Monday, Democratic presidential candidate Joseph R. Biden “will not be seen again until Thursday night.”

That evening in Nashville, the final debate between Biden and President Donald Trump prior to the November 3 election will take place at Belmont University.

“This week is mostly about debate prep,” O’Keefe reported. “He will not be seen again after today until Thursday night in Nashville at that next debate. So they’re going to keep him focused on that. That’s a signal that they believe this is still a very big opportunity for them to provide one last contrast with the president and they have to prepare him for potential attacks from the president.”

Last month, the Biden campaign announced frequent “lids” on the candidate’s schedule, signifying that the 77-year-old Biden would not appear in public or answer questions from reporters for the remainder of the day, often beginning in the late-morning hours.

Thursday was originally set to be the third encounter between the two major-party presidential candidates. The October 15 debate was changed to a “virtual” setting by the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) without notification or input from either presidential campaign after Trump was diagnosed with coronavirus, after which Trump declined to take part.  Both candidates made other plans for that evening; the CPD then announced that the debate was canceled.

The Post & Email’s September 28 request to the Biden campaign for an explanation of the “lids” was initially redirected to a campaign media spokesman, who did not respond.

On October 14, The New York Post reported what it said was a trove of emails from a laptop computer brought to a repair shop by Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son, in April of last year.  According to the shop owner, as reported by The Post, the younger Biden never returned to retrieve it, nor was he reachable.  After 90 days, the technician inspected the laptop and reportedly discovered thousands of emails, some of which he said appeared to show that while vice president, Biden was aware of Hunter’s overseas business dealings while publicly denying any knowledge.

Beginning in 2014, Hunter Biden was paid tens of thousands dollars monthly to serve on the Board of Directors of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company suspected of corruption, while his father was “point man” for all things Ukraine for the Obama regime.

According to The Post‘s article, the shop owner contacted the FBI after making the discovery, which reportedly took possession of the laptop.

“Less than eight months after [Burisma Board adviser Vadym] Pozharskyi thanked Hunter Biden for the introduction to his dad, the then-vice president admittedly pressured Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk into getting rid of Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin by threatening to withhold a $1 billion US loan guarantee during a December 2015 trip to Kiev,” The Post reported.

President Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, has long insisted that the elder Biden’s position in the U.S. government enriched his family members and now claims Hunter has been involved in “illegal” activity, citing some of the alleged content of the laptop’s hard drive, which the shop owner reportedly copied and provided to Giuliani’s attorney, Robert Costello.

The story was first suppressed by Twitter and Facebook, after which Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee pledged to issue subpoenas to the CEOs of those companies as well as Google CEO.  Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) asked the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to launch an investigation of Twitter and Facebook for “potential violations” stemming from the “censorship,” The Post reported later Wednesday.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas (R) likewise accused the social-media giants of interfering in the election.

On today’s “Sunday Morning Futures” hosted by Maria Bartiromo on the Fox News Channel, Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson said he wrote two recent letters to the FBI to ask what it knew about the contents of the laptop as impeachment hearings against President Trump proceeded.  In December, the U.S. House of Representatives impeached Trump on two Articles, or charges. stemming from a “whistleblower complaint” arising from Trump’s July 2019 phone call with newly-elected Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky in which he asked Zelensky if he would look into alleged corruption involving the Bidens.

According to The Post‘s reporting, citing the computer shop’s owner and an image of an FBI subpoena, the FBI has had the laptop since December.  Thus far, FBI Director Christopher Wray has not spoken publicly on the recent revelations.

After breaking the story Wednesday, the Biden campaign declared a lid “before 10 a.m.,” The Post reported.

To a CBS reporter’s Friday-night questions about the reported emails, Biden responded that the assertion comprises “a smear campaign” to which he does not wish to comment further.



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