The walls evidently aren’t closing in on President Joe Biden.

Despite the mainstream press finally taking up the sleazy business dealings discussed in emails found on Hunter Biden’s laptop, the media’s lack of interest in the president’s knowledge or involvement in this lucrative part of the family business is palpable.

If President Donald Trump were caught up in similar circumstances, he’d be hounded at every press conference and during every walk to Marine One with the question of what he knew and when he knew it. It’d dominate cable news and the Sunday shows, newspaper editorials and op-ed pages.

While it’s nice that the laptop, once dismissed as Russian disinformation, is now finally considered a legitimate source of news by what are supposed to be news outlets, the reporting comes a year and half late and doesn’t add new information commensurate with the delay.

At this rate, the press will develop a keen interest in the Joe Biden angle to the story – the most newsworthy and consequential angle – sometime in late 2023.

The president’s son, Hunter, and his brother, Jim, have made a living from trafficking on their family name and political connections. The laptop is a guide to a particularly ripe example, a deal with CEFC China Energy, a cat’s paw of the Communist Party of China, that funneled nearly $5 million to Hunter and his uncle.

The president has said that he’s “never spoken” to Hunter about “his overseas business dealings.” Let’s stipulate that’s true. It still wouldn’t have taken much conversation for the then-vice president to understand why his son was hitching a ride on Air Force Two with him on a trip to China in 2013. It wasn’t for sightseeing.

Hunter met with banker Jonathan Li, whose private equity fund got approved by Chinese authorities shortly afterward. Hunter sat on the board.

Until they had a falling out over Hunter joining the board of the Ukrainian energy firm Burisma, Biden’s son was in business with John Kerry’s stepson, Chris Heinz. So, that’s two relations of Democrats who had run for president and occupied high government office coincidentally doing buckraking together.

How could Joe Biden and John Kerry, these sophisticated statesmen, not notice what was going on? Had they never encountered the phenomenon of relatives of government officials cashing in on proximity to power before?

Even if Joe Biden wanted to avert his gaze from Hunter, in the grip of a terrible addiction, what about his brother, Jim? Did Joe never talk to him about business either?

Even though we knew about it back in 2020, the CEFC deal remains jaw dropping. The company sought to extend Chinese influence as part of Beijing’s “Belt and Road” initiative. The founder of CEFC, Ye Jianming, roped in Hunter Biden, infamously giving him a 2.8 carat diamond after their first meeting. Everyone knew the score.

Hunter referred to another CEFC official as “the fing spy chief” and was under no illusions about his own value to the firm. He told Tony Bobulinski, recruited to structure the deal, that CEFC was “coming to be MY partner to be partners with the Bidens.”

The only one who didn’t understand the nature of this relationship was Joe Biden, who must have believed well-heeled Chinese companies sought out his son for his business acumen and sound judgment.

A notorious e-mail says that “the big guy,” identified by Bobulinksi as Joe Biden, was going to get a 10 percent cut of the deal. In a text, Hunter’s associate James Gilliar reminded Bobulinksi, “Don’t mention Joe being involved, it’s only when u are face to face.”

If Republicans take the House, they should make all of this a major focus of investigation. In the meantime, the press ought – out of shame, if nothing else – to bring more skepticism to assurances that Joe Biden knew nothing. Even the president’s fiercest critics don’t believe that he’s that clueless.

Rich Lowry is editor-in-chief of National Review, a conservative magazine. He is on Twitter @RichLowry

(Rich Lowry is on Twitter @RichLowry)

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