On Thursday, CBS News senior investigative correspondent Catherine Herridge vividly illustrated how to be a mouthpiece for fake Republican outrage and contribute to the fabrication of a political scandal, all while missing obvious indicators of just how baseless the latest accusations against President Joe Biden’s family have been.
In a news segment on CBS Mornings, Herridge highlighted the ongoing attempts by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to investigate business dealings by President Joe Biden’s son Hunter and the president’s brother James. Previously, Herridge helped to promote Grassley’s efforts during the 2020 election to smear the Bidens in relation to Hunter’s business ventures during his father’s time in office as vice president. (Herridge actually exaggerated those allegations further, going beyond the statements that even Senate Republicans were willing to make at the time.)
In this latest example, Grassley has expanded his inquiries to a period in which Joe Biden did not hold any public office, by trying to focus on business deals that Hunter and James Biden made in 2017 and 2018. Thus, the two men could not have plausibly had any political influence to sell, even if they’d wanted to.
Keep in mind, this was a time when the Republican Party had total control in Washington, and Joe Biden had seemingly retired from politics after he’d left the vice presidency at the age of 74. As such, his family members could only have been able to peddle political influence on Joe Biden’s name if their business partners somehow knew that he was going to come out of retirement years later, and pull off the rare feat of winning a presidential election against an incumbent.
The insinuations that the Biden family were influence-peddling also lack a key ingredient: Herridge and Grassley cannot point to any policy decisions supposedly influenced by these business ventures — which would, of course, have been completely impossible during those years.
Herridge included the relevant facts and dates, but she has still failed to put those pieces together, all while giving Grassley a platform to look like he’s making some kind of serious case.
Herridge also said that Grassley was waging “nearly a three-year investigation,” as if such a long period of work would grant it credibility. She failed to note the obvious fact that Grassley only became interested in these probes in 2019, once Joe Biden had come out of his retirement to run against then-President Donald Trump. (Grassley’s partner in the investigations, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), openly declared in 2020 that the investigation was a political operation and “would certainly help Donald Trump win reelection.”)
Herridge and CBS News failed to note that Grassley undercut the entire premise of his relentless attempts to connect Joe Biden to some kind of influence-peddling operation — by proving that Hunter and James Biden had the capacity to make major business deals on their own, at a time when it seemed like Joe Biden was never going to hold public office again.
Herridge also made a disingenuous comparison, claiming that “potential conflicts are found on both sides of the aisle,” comparing this fake scandal to a real one. She highlighted Trump’s continued ownership of his businesses while he was president, also briefly noting, “China awarded Ivanka Trump’s fashion brand new trademarks while she was a senior adviser to her president father.”
In that case, obviously, Ivanka Trump was making foreign business deals while her father was president, and while she was working in the White House herself. By comparison, Hunter Biden was making business deals while his father did not hold any public office at all and it seemed unlikely that he ever would again. Somehow, Herridge thinks these two things are equivalent.
Herridge was a part of the Republican propaganda machine at Fox News for much of her career and through most of the Trump years, until she left for CBS in late 2019. During her time at Fox, Herridge helped cover up Trump family scandals and parroted White House talking points to fit Fox's biased political narrative. In one memorable example, her attempt to run interference for Trump's attempted extortion of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in 2019 — which also involved an attempt to manufacture political dirt on the Biden family — resulted in a bizarre on-air moment.