Joe Biden was confronted by reporters on Wednesday about whether he was in the room while his son shook down a Chinese official. Surprisingly (or not given Biden’s typically public persona), the president was willing to answer the question his own comms team has been painfully avoiding.

A WhatsApp message revealed by an IRS Whistleblower (whose testimony has now been partially confirmed by The New York Times) showing Hunter Biden threatening a Chinese official by saying that he was “sitting here with my father.” The president’s troubled son would go on to reiterate that threat, claiming that “the man sitting next to me” will exact vengeance if he isn’t paid and that “I am sitting here waiting for the call with my father.”

HUNTER BIDEN: I am sitting here with my father and we would like to understand why the commitment made has not been fulfilled. Tell the director that I would like to resolve this now before it gets out of hand, and now means tonight. And, Z, if I get a call or text from anyone involved in this other than you, Zhang, or the chairman, I will make certain that between the man sitting next to me and every person he knows and my ability to forever hold a grudge that you will regret not following my direction. I am sitting here waiting for the call with my father

After being read and pressed on the message by reporters, White House comms leads Karine Jean-Pierre and John Kirby refused to answer questions about it. Instead, they repeatedly cited a White House Counsel statement that hedged on whether Biden had ever discussed his son’s business dealings, instead saying they weren’t “in business” together.

Biden has no filter, though, and on Wednesday, he not only fielded a question about the WhatsApp message, but he started shouting at reporters in response.

That’s an unequivocal denial, and unfortunately, it may be enough if the only evidence is the message itself. There’s no chance Hunter Biden flips on his father, especially after garnering a sweetheart deal regarding his tax and gun crimes (among other possible crimes which weren’t charged at all). That leaves the excuse that this was just a drug-addicted son mouthing off viable, though I don’t personally believe it. Of course, the fact that there’s another message in which Hunter Biden mentions the “Bidens” being in partnership with the Chinese is also notable.

Regardless, these denials make no sense. What exactly was the “commitment” to “the Chairman” mentioned by Hunter Biden in the first message? What is the “partnership” with the “Bidens” mentioned in the second message? As I’ve said before, the biggest elephant in the room is what Hunter Biden would have had to offer that was worth millions of dollars without his father being involved. The answer is pretty clearly nothing. In short, the allegation that Hunter Biden was flying solo doesn’t begin to add up.

Lastly, while Biden may be want to hide behind his denial about the WhatsApp message, he can’t hide from where the money went. That is still the key piece of evidence that House investigators have to finish tracking down. The web of shell companies that the Bidens operated makes that a time-consuming affair, with the mere existence of those companies raising serious red flags. Something went on here, and the American people deserve answers.

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