Rather than concede to the uncomfortable fact that the “star” witness in the GOP’s Biden family business probe blew up much of their narrative, Fox News hosts have instead claimed Hunter Biden’s former business partner Devon Archer said the exact opposite of what he said.
And when they’ve been confronted by liberal pundit Jessica Tarlov’s attempts to burst their bubble about what Archer actually claimed in his testimony, the network’s right-wing stars have reacted by shouting their colleague down.
When they haven’t tried to drown out Tarlov, they’ve insisted that Archer really doesn’t know anything about the allegations of bribery and corruption that Republicans had long insisted Archer would expose.
During Wednesday’s broadcast of The Five, Tarlov—one of the highly rated show’s rotating liberal panelists—pointed out that Archer’s testimony was “terrible for Republicans” as it poked holes in their claims that President Joe Biden was involved in a criminal influence-peddling scheme with foreign oligarchs.
“He was asked if someone concluded from the 1023 form—that you all think is so important—that Joe Biden was bribed, would you disagree with that? ‘Yeah, I would.’ Devon Archer said that,” she noted.
The FD-1023 form Tarlov referenced is an FBI document memorializing a confidential informant’s claims about Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company that Hunter Biden once worked for. The informant said that Burisma founder Mykola Zlochevsky once told him he gave millions of dollars to then-Vice President Joe Biden to help get rid of Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin, who was supposedly investigating Burisma.
Besides the fact that the form noted that the informant said he was “not able to provide any further opinion as the veracity” of Zlochevsky’s claims, and Shokin was actually fired for not investigating corruption (including at Burisma), Zlochevsky also told a Rudy Giuliani associate who was digging up dirt on the Bidens in 2019 that he never had any contact with Joe Biden.
However, Tarlov’s colleagues on The Five immediately dismissed Archer’s assertion that the president had not received a $5 million bribe from a Ukrainian oligarch.
“What does he know about that?!” Jesse Watters exclaimed while Jeanine Pirro added: “Yeah, how does he know?!”
Tarlov snarked in return: “Well, then he doesn’t matter. Then Devon Archer is either the crux of the puzzle that shows that this is a mob family or he doesn’t matter.”
It didn’t matter to her Five co-hosts, in fact.
While the other four panelists piled on, Tarlov attempted to explain that Shokin’s firing was actually not good for Burisma and that the GOP’s release of Biden family bank records still showed no link to the president. But it was all for naught, as Watters and Pirro continued to shout her down.
Over on midday panel show Outnumbered on Thursday, meanwhile, Tarlov sparked outrage among her fellow co-hosts when she said the president was accurate when he told Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy that he “never talked business with anybody.” Biden also blasted Doocy for claiming Archer testified that the president was “on speakerphone a lot with them talking business,” telling the Fox reporter it was a “lousy question.” (Predictably, the network has devoted ample airtime to Biden’s dismissal of Doocy while congratulating the reporter on his “great” question.)
“Frankly, the president is right to say that he didn’t have anything to do with it, because that’s exactly what Devon Archer’s testimony confirmed,” Tarlov said. “I honestly can’t believe it. We were talking about it yesterday on The Five.”
Co-host Kayleigh McEnany, a former Trump press secretary, interrupted to insist Archer “wasn’t on the phone calls,” prompting Tarlov to retort that he also said he “wasn’t aware of wrongdoing by the president.” The show’s anchor, Harris Faulkner, shot back that Archer “isn’t an attorney”—a curious attempt to refute Tarlov.
Eventually, though, the liberal commentator was given a brief opportunity to make her point about how most of the GOP talking points about the Biden family business have “utterly fallen apart” thanks to Archer’s testimony. (Some Republican lawmakers now claim they never accused the president of directly taking money, even though House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer has specifically made that allegation.)
“Devon Archer either matters or he doesn’t. And it was billed as bombshell testimony. I’m here to tell you why it wasn’t a bombshell,” Tarlov said, recalling her commentary from the day prior.
“That 1023 form, that Republicans like Jim Comer and everyone love to wave around, he says it wasn’t evidence of wrongdoing on the part of President Biden,” Tarlov continued. “That it wasn’t evidence of a bribe. He knows nothing of the ‘$5 million’ that the Burisma board allegedly gave to Joe Biden.”
After once again noting that Archer said Shokin was “good for Burisma” because he wasn’t investigating corruption, she advised viewers to watch Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy express skepticism that there were any crimes committed by the president.
Faulkner, at that point, jumped in again to cut off Tarlov and give “somebody else a chance to talk.” But the shouting at Tarlov only commenced. McEnany chastised the liberal panelist for “raising the bar” and expecting the GOP to show that the president broke the law while they call for an impeachment inquiry.
“You say, okay, no crime was committed here. Again, you’re raising the bar. A crime doesn’t have to be committed here,” she insisted. “The whole point is that this is corruption. The American people see this and say this stinks!”
According to the Constitution, the president can be impeached and removed from office upon the conviction of “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”