Those are major developments, but perhaps the most important thing Americans learned last week is that the media is immune to embarrassment.
The White House letter demanding that news outlets “ramp up scrutiny” of the GOP revealed the unspoken assumption that the Washington press corps can be counted on to rescue a failing Democratic president.
As such, it is a giant insult to the outlets that proclaim themselves free of both fear and favor.
How strange, then, that there was nary a peep of media protest over the expectation they would do the president’s bidding.
If there was outrage at being outed for rank partisanship, it remains a secret.
Most media treated the letter as no big deal.
In truth, it was a very big deal, and the SOS from the Biden White House tore the cover off any claim the media is fair.
No Republican president would dare make such a demand, knowing he would be ripped to shreds.
The strangest reaction came from Axios, which used the letter to give friendly political advice to the White House.
It warned the missive “could backfire” because any media attacks on Republicans “will now look like they’re kowtowing to White House pressure.”
In other words, make such demands privately!
A quick quiz: Does the press corps attract leftists, or create them?
The answer of course is both, but here’s the good news: Even if the letter boosts biased coverage, the benefit to the White House will be temporary because the media can no longer save Joe Biden and his family from their own dirty deeds.
For all its noisy, sweaty effort, the protection racket has failed.
Look at it this way: If the media had won, Hunter Biden would have walked free instead of facing up to 25 years in prison on federal charges involving his illegal purchase of a pistol while he was hooked on drugs.
He also would have skipped on everything else; but now that his preferential treatment and proposed sweet-heart plea deal have been exposed, additional charges on taxes and other matters are likely.
And if the Grand Pooh-bBahs had absolution power, there would be no GOP impeachment inquiry at all.
Media censors, including Big Tech and even the FBI, did all they could to bury reporting by The Post showing that the president was involved in his family’s foreign business schemes, and yet the public has managed to see through the cover-up and believes Joe is crooked.
A YouGov/The Economist poll conducted in August, after the collapse of the plea deal, found that 72% of Americans think the son personally profited from his father’s positions in government, including — get this — a majority of Democrats.
And a CNN poll in the first week of September found that 61% of respondents believe Joe Biden was involved in his son’s business dealings with Ukraine and China while he served as vice president.
Overall, 42% believe Joe acted illegally, while an additional 18% say his actions were unethical but not illegal, CNN reports.
Clearly, the keyboard warriors with press passes haven’t done a very good job of protecting the “Big Guy.”
That’s not to say they’ve given up, and the usual suspects are trying to kill the impeachment probe before it gets going.
The New York Times carried a Friday story headlined, “Witness Testimony Casts Doubt on Some Biden Impeachment Allegations.”
Read a little more and you learn the story was based on “notes taken by Democratic congressional aides and summarized in a report they released this week.”
Similarly, an Associated Press reporter questioned Speaker Kevin McCarthy about the lack of an “impeachable offense,” a line of questioning faithful to the White House letter.
McCarthy, after noting some of the damning evidence already gathered, reminded the reporter that the impeachment probe is about finding answers, not starting with them.
Still, the challenges are instructive about what it will take to make the case to the public: Compelling evidence the president either shared in the $20 million his son’s schemes yielded or took official actions to reward the family’s foreign paymasters.
Either one would be game over.
While I have little doubt such evidence exists, finding and exposing it remains the Republicans’ challenge.
If and when that happens, Biden’s support among Democrats would collapse and there could be 67 Senate votes to convict and remove him.
But it’s possible, and more likely, the process will never get that far because Biden will abort it.
He is on thin ice with voters, the vast majority of whom believe he is too old for a second term, and it would make sense for him to voluntarily move off stage.
His obvious mental and physical decline, combined with the unpopularity of his policies, especially on the economy and border, are leading even many Dems to urge him to drop his re-election campaign.
Suspicions about his role in the family’s lucrative schemes are certain to grow, with Hunter likely to face trial during the campaign.
Besides, Joe knows the extent of his own misconduct, and he can’t stand still as the proof emerges and he becomes the first president to be impeached, convicted and removed from office.
Hence the growing talk of potential escape routes.
One way out is for him to pardon Hunter, and announce he will not seek a second term.
A speech where he falls on his sword while defending his troubled, surviving son could satisfy his media defenders, and might make him sympathetic enough to buy time.
However, it’s also possible a tearful performance and a promise not to run would be seen as insufficient half-way measures.
Dem leaders would also fear his continued presence in office could lead to a red wave on Election Day.
In that case, he would have just one more card to play: resign to try to avoid a Republican sweep and, possibly, prosecution.
Anybody ready for President Kamala Harris?
An additional factor is timing.
The primaries begin in January, giving Biden only a few months to make up his mind so alternatives can get going if he withdraws.
To be sure, none of these scenarios is certain.
Republicans could shoot themselves in both feet by provoking a lengthy government shutdown, which could make the president appear sympathetic and give the media a fresh excuse to change the subject and demonize the GOP.
And there’s always the slim chance Biden was so careful about helping his son’s schemes that the GOP can find no clear evidence of a quid pro quo or that Joe financially benefited.
That’s unlikely, but in politics, as in life, nothing is guaranteed.
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