Wednesday, Feb 21, 2024

Hunter Biden Probe Upgraded to Special Counsel Status

 

Last week, Attorney General Merrick Garland gave Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss special counsel authority, opening a new chapter in the criminal investigation into the president’s son, Hunter Biden. The investigation has already yielded charges of tax fraud and falsification of a federal gun permit application against the younger Biden. But independent investigations by congressional Republicans have recently brought to light new details of Hunter Biden’s multi-million-dollar influence peddling scheme which sold agents of foreign powers direct access to Biden’s father, Joe, during the years when he was Barack Obama’s vice president.

Meanwhile, Weiss’ prosecutors told U.S. District Court Judge Maryellen Noreika in Wilmington, Delaware, that efforts to resuscitate the no-jail-time plea deal the judge had rejected on July 26, were “at an impasse.” Under the tentative agreement between Weiss’ prosecutors and Hunter Biden’s defense lawyers, he would have pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts for failing to pay his tax bills in 2017 and 2018. Hunter Biden had owed the IRS $2.2 million in back taxes, but they were eventually paid off in 2021 by his close friend, Kevin Morris.

Hunter Biden’s attorneys also agreed to have him enter a no-jail “diversion” agreement for lying on a federal gun purchase form about his drug use. Most important, the proposed plea deal would have granted Hunter Biden full immunity for any and all alleged past crimes, and put an end to any further investigation of the Biden-family influence peddling schemes that he organized.

But because that plea deal is now dead, the federal investigation into Hunter Biden’s shady business dealings will continue, and the now likely eventual trial of Hunter Biden will be moved from Delaware to a federal district court in California or in Washington, DC.

REPUBLICANS UNHAPPY WITH WEISS AS SPECIAL COUNSEL

Republicans have long been calling for the appointment of a special counsel to take over the Hunter Biden investigation, to assure its independence from political interference by the Biden White House. Back in September of 2022, dozens of House Republicans sent a letter to Attorney General Garland requesting that he appoint a special counsel “given the politicization of the DOJ [Department of Justice] under your watch and the importance of avoiding any appearance of impropriety.”

In a separate letter sent to Garland in April of 2022, more than 30 Republican Senators had written, “We believe that in the case of Hunter Biden a Special Counsel must be appointed to preserve the integrity of this investigation and any subsequent prosecution. A Special Counsel would also ensure there is no bias in the investigation or undue influence from the White House.”

But even though now, as a special counsel, Weiss will have broader authority to bring indictments, issue subpoenas and obtain search warrants, some of those same Republicans claim that Weiss’ appointment has come too late, because, according to Senator Lindsay Graham, in an interview with Fox News, “Mr. Weiss has been compromised. His whole team [it seems] to me has been compromised.”

“What they tried to do,” Graham explained, “is give Hunter Biden a [sweetheart plea] deal that no other American would get. The judge asked hard questions. The plea agreement blew up. And to think that the very guy who wrote the plea agreement [Weiss] is seriously going to continue to investigate the Bidens is laughable. Who in their right mind believes that changing the title of what you call Mr. Weiss solves all the problems associated with Mr. Weiss? Nobody.”

Graham also issued a warning to Weiss that his appointment as special counsel “does not absolve him of the obligation” to explain to Congress why he had agreed to such a one-sided plea deal with Hunter Biden’s lawyers. “We’re not gonna let this go. Mr. Weiss,” Graham said. “You’re not off the hook here. This [special counsel] gambit is not going to work. We’re gonna continue to ask questions about the biggest sweetheart deal in the history of America.”

WHISTLE-BLOWERS REVEAL INVESTIGATION INTERFERENCE

Congressional Republicans have also promised to follow up on the whistle-blower testimony by two senior IRS investigators, Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler, which described the efforts by senior Department of Justice prosecutors to delay and obstruct Weiss’ investigation into Hunter Biden. Because of the delays, some of the federal tax crimes that investigators had wanted to pursue can no longer be charged because the statute of limitations on them has expired.

According to the whistle-blowers, Weiss’ top aide, Assistant U.S. Attorney Lesley Wolf, explicitly told them that their office would not pursue any investigative threads that might have implicated Biden’s father, the president. The whistle-blowers also said that they were repeatedly blocked from interviewing certain witnesses and seizing potential evidence that could have exposed the full extent of the influence peddling scheme.

For example, Hunter Biden’s former business partner, Tony Bobulinski, who has claimed to have met jointly with Hunter Biden and his father to discuss business matters, and who volunteered to meet with Weiss’ grand jury investigating these issues, was never asked to give his eyewitness testimony. This fact prompted CBS investigative reporter, Catherine Herridge, to conclude that, “Weiss’ decision not to bring Bobulinski is the latest indication that prosecutors investigating Hunter Biden may have avoided investigating allegations about his father, President Joe Biden.”

As a result, commentator Charles Lipson concludes, it is “Weiss’ own office [that] needs investigating. It has slow-walked the criminal investigation for years, allowed the statute of limitations to expire on key charges, let Hunter Biden escape from taxes he owed on foreign income, proposed to give him an unprecedented sweetheart deal and told IRS investigators they would not pursue any leads, however credible, that might lead to ‘the Big Guy’ [as he is referred to on Hunter Biden’s laptop] Joe Biden.”

HUNTER BIDEN WAS AN UNREGISTERED FOREIGN AGENT

Yet another obvious problem with Weiss’ investigation to date was the failure of his office to pursue the obvious criminal charges that Hunter Biden was acting as an agent of foreign powers by trying to influence U.S. policy through his father, and therefore was required to register as a foreign agent under federal law, which he failed to do.

There is also the question of Weiss’ ability to act independently on the evidence he did find. At one point, Attorney General Merrick Garland and Weiss himself declared in letters they sent to Congress that Weiss always enjoyed “ultimate authority” to pursue the Hunter Biden investigation wherever it led. However, IRS agent Shapley testified that at a meeting he had attended with half a dozen tax investigators and FBI agents on October 7, 2022, Weiss admitted to them that he had been denied special counsel status by his superiors at the Biden Justice Department, which he had requested to fully pursue the investigation by filing charges against Hunter Biden in jurisdictions outside Delaware.

Meanwhile, IRS agent Ziegler has testified that Hunter Biden, other members of the Biden family and other business associates, collected $17.3 million as a result of their shady influence peddling schemes with foreign nationals between 2014 and 2019.

FOLLOWING BIDEN’S FOREIGN MONEY TRAIL

What happened to all that foreign money? It disappeared into a web of more than 20 Biden-associated front corporations.

The traced foreign payments include:

$8.1 million from China’s Communist party-linked State Energy HK and CEFC China Energy in 2017

$6.5 million from Ukraine’s Burisma Holdings from 2014 to 2019

$3.5 million from Russian oligarch Yelena Baturina, the former first lady of Moscow, in 2014

$3.1 million from Romanian oligarch Gabriel Popoviciu from 2015 to 2017

$142,300 from Kazakhstan’s Kenes Rakishev in 2014, which Hunter Biden then used a day later to purchase a luxury sports car.

The rest of the money was eventually redistributed to at least nine Biden family members who accepted the payments, but gave back nothing of value in return.

It is interesting to note that the only Russian on Hunter Biden’s payoff list, Yelena Baturina, was one of the few Russian oligarchs not on the list of those hit by U.S. sanctions in retaliation for Putin’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and invasion of Ukraine last year. Was that really just a coincidence?

It is interesting to note that the tax-based and gun-based criminal charges which were brought against Hunter Biden after Weiss’ five-year-long investigation make no reference at all to the broader ramifications of those payments suggesting nepotism, corruption, and high-level foreign influence peddling.

That is why many Republicans are now expressing serious doubts about the choice of Weiss as special counsel. They question, based upon the poor results of his investigation over the past five years, whether he is now able and willing to use his new powers to expose the full extent of the Biden family’s corrupt influence peddling scheme.

One of those raising these questions is George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley. He told Fox News, “The initial concern is that Weiss is damaged goods. These whistle-blowers were critical of Weiss.

“Making him special counsel will now make it more difficult for Congress to get answers from him,” Turley added. “This insulates Weiss and DOJ more than it necessarily moves the investigation forward.”

WEISS IS UNQUALIFIED TO SERVE AS A SPECIAL COUNSEL

As Turley points out, the appointment of Weiss as special counsel is problematic on legal grounds as well. According to the statute, the position is supposed to be filled by an individual from outside the federal government, rather than a U.S. attorney working for the Department of Justice. Furthermore, special counsels are supposed to have “a reputation for integrity and impartial decision-making,” whereas Weiss has been accused of lying to Congress in his previous claim to have “ultimate authority” over the Hunter Biden case, as well as the accusation that as a member of the Biden administration, he also has suffers from an obvious conflict of interest in conducting an investigation of the son of his ultimate boss, the president.

Turley also writes that “The Weiss appointment definitively established Garland as a failure as attorney general. As someone who initially praised Garland’s appointment, I now see that he has repeatedly shown he lacks the strength and leadership to rise to these moments. This is why the Justice Department is now less trusted by the public than it was under his predecessor, Bill Barr…

“Garland’s failure of leadership has undermined key cases. A Harvard-Harris poll this summer showed that 55 percent of the public view the Trump indictment as ‘politically motivated,’ and 56 percent believe that it constitutes election interference.”

Turley also points out that even though Weiss has now belatedly been empowered as a special counsel, his mandate from Garland to investigate is still limited to Hunter Biden, “and the Justice Department [has] refused to respond to questions on the possible inclusion of his father in the investigation.”

Because of this limitation, Turley notes that, “Garland has virtually ensured that Congress will pursue an impeachment inquiry as the only body seriously investigating the scandal. The use of impeachment authority is the only effective way to overcome the roadblocks that the Justice Department is likely to throw up after this new appointment.”

GOP House Speaker Kevin McCarthy asked the most crucial question about the appointment. “If Weiss negotiated the sweetheart deal that couldn’t get approved, how can he be trusted as a Special Counsel?”

REPUBLICANS PURSUING MORE EVIDENCE OF BIDEN FAMILY CORRUPTION

Speaker McCarthy also declared in a tweet that, “House Republicans will continue to pursue the facts for the American people. This action by Biden’s DOJ cannot be used to obstruct congressional investigations or whitewash the Biden family corruption.”

The House Speaker later called upon President Biden to “give us his bank statements,” and then added, “I think there’s enough proof out there that this Biden family needs to come forward and show [that it] wasn’t [involved in] a pay to play [scheme].”

Conservative legal commentator Andrew McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor, dismissed Weiss’ appointment as nothing more than, “a sham.”

McCarthy told Fox News, “There is no special counsel investigation, and there is no Biden investigation. The point of having a special counsel is to bring in someone from outside the government who we can trust to do a credible investigation.” But Weiss satisfies neither of those requirements.

Jim Jordan, the GOP chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, was equally skeptical of Weiss’ qualifications. He tweeted, “First, David Weiss said he didn’t have the power he needed and wanted special counsel status. Then, he said he had all the power he needs. Now, he gets special counsel status because he didn’t really have the power he needs? Something’s not right.”

Previously, Jordan’s spokesman told the New York Post, “David Weiss can’t be trusted and this is just a new way to whitewash the Biden family’s corruption. Weiss has already signed off on a sweetheart plea deal that was so awful and unfair that a federal judge rejected it.

“We will continue to pursue facts brought to light by brave whistle-blowers as well as Weiss’ inconsistent statements to Congress,” Jordan’s spokesman added.

House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer said that he expects Weiss to use his new position to reject all requests by Republican-run congressional committees for documents in the Hunter Biden case because, as special counsel, he can claim they are now under his exclusive jurisdiction.

According to Comer, Weiss’ appointment was just another “part of the Justice Department’s efforts to attempt a Biden family coverup in light of the … mounting evidence of President Joe Biden’s role in his family’s schemes selling ‘the [Biden] brand’ for millions of dollars to foreign nationals.”

“Let’s be clear what today’s move is really about,” Comer said in a statement. “The Biden Justice Department is trying to stonewall congressional oversight as we have presented evidence to the American people about the Biden family’s corruption.”

Nevertheless, Comer promised that his panel would “continue to follow the Biden family’s money trail and interview witnesses to determine whether foreign actors targeted the Bidens, President Biden is compromised and corrupt, and our national security is threatened.”

CNN REPORTER STILL DEFENDING BIDEN

In a separate interview with CNN reporter Jake Tapper last week, Comer raised a new suspicion. “I think [there’s] more than enough evidence to show that Joe Biden hasn’t been truthful with the American people, and he had knowledge that his family was money laundering. He had to,” Comer said.

Tapper conceded to Comer that “you definitely have made a case that the people who are around President Biden in terms of the lobbyists and his son Hunter, have trafficked on that connection to the then-vice president now president, but I haven’t yet seen any evidence that the president did anything wrong.” Tapper also argued that the Biden family influence peddling that has been exposed so far is, “frankly … how the world works in Washington, DC.”

Comer responded by listing all of the claims which he and his committee members have disproved since they began looking into the Hunter Biden scandal in January. “Remember, when we started this investigation at the end of January … the narrative was the laptop was Russian disinformation. Joe Biden’s family never received money from China, Joe Biden’s family never received any of this money while he was vice president and Joe Biden never communicated with any of the people that sent his family this money. All four of those things have [now] been proven false,” Comer said. He also suggested to Tapper that liberal news outlets like CNN should stop defending Biden and his family and start to show more interest in the results of the Republican investigation he is leading.

WIDESPREAD BIDEN ADMINISTRATION OBSTRUCTION

Comer then said that the investigation is “very difficult [because] the Biden attorneys are obstructing, they’re intimidating witnesses. The DOJ [Department of Justice] will not cooperate with us. The FBI will not cooperate with us. The IRS will not cooperate with us. Thank G-d we had whistle-blowers from the IRS testify to our committee that they were told to stand down by the DOJ.”

Texas GOP Senator Ted Cruz said that the Weiss appointment “is camouflage, and it’s a cover-up. I think it’s disgraceful. David Weiss was the U.S. attorney handpicked to lead this investigation who spent the last five years covering it up. David Weiss, who was personally selected by the two Democrat senators from Delaware, Tom Carper and Chris Coons. For five years, the investigation has gone nowhere other than to protect Hunter Biden and Joe Biden.”

Cruz also cited the complaints of the whistle-blowers who “said they’d never seen an investigation like this in their entire time in law enforcement. They said that the Department of Justice lawyers working for David Weiss protected the Biden family, that they gave heads up to Hunter Biden before search warrants were executed, presumably so that he could hide incriminating evidence, that they refused to allow them to ask any questions at all about the ‘Big Guy,’ about Joe Biden that they were focused on…

“The result of all of that,” Cruz told Fox Business channel host Maria Bartoromo, “is that David Weiss either was an active participant in covering up this criminality and protecting Joe Biden and in engaging in obstruction of justice.

“That’s option one,” Cruz added. “Or option two – he [Weiss] wasn’t the driver. He was just complicit. He was so weak that he couldn’t stop the Partizans and main justice from turning it into a political effort to protect Joe Biden. Either case, he is a wildly inappropriate person to be a special counsel.”

The only advantage to appointing Weiss as special counsel, rather than naming a new, independent prosecutor to continue the investigation, is that Weiss is already up to speed on the status of the case and could move forward with indictments against Hunter Biden more quickly, if he really wants to.

SELLING THE BIDEN BRAND BY GETTING THE VICE PRESIDENT ON THE PHONE

Weiss’ appointment comes in the wake of new information about the Biden family influence peddling schemes provided by Hunter Biden’s former business partner, Devon Archer. In his congressional testimony last week, Archer said that during at least 20 different business meetings “to sell the Biden brand” to their clients from Ukraine, China, Russia and Kazakhstan, Hunter Biden demonstrated his access by getting his father, who was then the Vice President of the United States, on the phone. Also, on at least one other occasion, Hunter got his father to meet in person with an executive from Ukraine’s corrupt Burisma energy company.

It also doesn’t matter that on those occasions Joe Biden never actually talked business with his son’s business clients. Just the fact that Hunter could get his father to pick up the phone to say “hi” to his clients any time he wanted to was enough evidence to convince those clients that he really did have powerful connections in the Obama administration. It should also be noted that at that time, President Obama had given Vice President Biden considerable authority over U.S. policy to the same countries whose agents were doing business with Biden’s son.

Archer’s testimony made a mockery of Biden’s repeated claims over the past three years that he had no knowledge at all of his son’s business dealings. It also forced his White House spokesman to scale back that claim to a statement denying that Joe Biden had ever profited from his son’s business dealings.

Chuck Grassley, a senior GOP member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, had previously forced the FBI to produce an evidence form from one of its most trusted informants claiming that then-vice president Joe Biden and Hunter Biden had each received a well-hidden $5 million bribe from notoriously corrupt Burisma owner Mykola Zlochevsky. When Grassley was asked about the Weiss appointment, he said, “You just wonder how thorough Weiss is.”

The New York Times also quoted Grassley as saying, “Given the underhanded plea deal negotiated by the U.S. attorney from President Biden’s home state, it’s clear Mr. Weiss isn’t the right person for the job.”

DEMOCRATS DEFEND WEISS’ APPOINTMENT

However, Democrats have consistently rejected the Republican criticism of Weiss’ performance as the head of the Hunter Biden investigation, noting that he was originally appointed to his post as U.S. Attorney for Delaware by former President Donald Trump.

For example, Jamie Raskin, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, said, “I take Attorney General Garland’s decision to grant U.S. Attorney Weiss’ request for special counsel status to be more evidence of the Department of Justice’s continuing commitment to independence and transparency. Once again, we see that it is Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney Weiss who has essential and ultimate authority over this matter.”

But Trump’s campaign super PAC, Make America Great Again Inc., has no faith at all in Weiss’ integrity. Instead, its spokesman said that with Weiss’ appointment as special counsel, “The fix is in … Biden’s Justice Department will do whatever it takes to cover up the Biden Crime Family’s misdeeds.”

While former Vice President Mike Pence, who is now running for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, welcomed the appointment of Weiss “to get to the bottom of not only what Hunter Biden was doing but what the Biden family was doing,” another GOP presidential candidate, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, was more skeptical, tweeting about the Weiss appointment, “It happened. Good. Now let’s see if it’s more than a fig leaf.”

A Wall Street Journal editorial notes that Attorney General Garland’s appointment as special counsel the same prosecutor who offered the discredited plea deal to Hunter Biden’s lawyers, is unlikely to reassure anybody about the belated application of equal justice in this case.

The editorial expresses grave doubts about whether Weiss is “now going to pursue the Hunter money trail wherever it leads, including perhaps to other members of the Biden family. Keep in mind he isn’t ‘independent’ in any legal sense and still must report to, and have his prosecutions approved by, Mr. Garland. As a career prosecutor, Mr. Weiss has to know that pursuing the Biden money trail with any vigor would make him a political target of the Democratic-media machine. . .

“Mr. Weiss will be obliged to file a report to the AG at the end of his investigation, but the AG doesn’t have to release it to the public. Meanwhile, President Biden will have the excuse of the investigation to refuse to answer questions about the Biden family business during the campaign, and the press corps may give him that pass,” the editorial sadly concludes.

COMPARING THE TWO FEDERAL PROSECUTORS

It will be interesting to watch and compare Weiss’ performance as special counsel, after allowing the Hunter Biden investigation to drag on for five years, to that of Jack Smith, who has been conducting his special counsel investigation of the crimes of former president Donald Trump, real or imagined, at warp speed. So far, Smith, who was appointed just last November, has generated three separate batches of federal indictments of Trump on dozens of charges of highly questionable legal merit, many of which could result in sentences that would doom Trump to spend the rest of his life in jail.

Attorney General Garland has also been criticized for his selection of Smith as the special counsel coordinating both of the federal investigations against Trump, based upon his poor record while he was working for the public integrity unit of the Obama administration’s Justice Department. Smith was involved in the questionable decision to prosecute former Virginia Republican Governor Bob McDonnell for bribery. While McDonnell was convicted in 2014, the Supreme Court, by a unanimous 8-0 vote, vacated the verdict in 2016 because the prosecution had failed to prove that McDonnell had committed a criminal act under the relevant federal bribery law.

Smith was also involved in the failed federal prosecution of former Senator John Edwards, for using campaign funds to make a payoff in order to avoid a scandal while he was running for the Democrat nomination for president in 2008.

THE SHAMEFUL BIDEN PLEA BARGAIN DEAL

Meanwhile, Weiss’ slow-motion five-year investigation of Hunter Biden has yielded only a shameful failed plea bargain offer from prosecutors of two misdemeanor tax evasion charges involving no prison time, a complete pass on a felony federal gun permit infraction, and a “get-out-of-jail” free card for any other federal crimes that Hunter Biden and his associates, including his father, may have committed.

No doubt the Biden White House is hoping that Weiss will continue his stalling tactics as special counsel, and put off fulfilling the requirement to file a final report on the findings of his investigation until some time after Joe Biden wins the 2024 presidential election next November.

But there is another possible outcome from Attorney General Garland’s choice of David Weiss to serve as special counsel in the Hunter Biden case after Weiss has already proven himself to be incapable of doing the job. It might be seen by the American people as another brazen attempt by the administration to cover up the Biden family influence peddling scandal rather than finally getting to the bottom of it.

BIDEN’S LATTER DAY “SATURDAY NIGHT MASSACRE”

In an op-ed published on the conservative AMAC web site, an anonymous author, using the pen name B.C. Brutus, suggested that the Garland’s appointment of Weiss could backfire disastrously on the Biden administration. It could become the Biden equivalent of the so-called “Saturday Night Massacre,” which led to the end of Richard Nixon’s presidency in disgrace due to the Watergate scandal.

On October 20, 1973, President Nixon ordered his Attorney General, Elliot Richardson, to fire Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox, who was investigating reports of White House involvement in the botched 1972 break-in at the offices of the Democrat National Committee, located in Washington DC’s famous Watergate building. Cox had just issued a subpoena for the audio tapes of Oval Office conversations which would have confirmed that the burglary was carried out by a clandestine group of Nixon White House operatives known as “the plumbers.”

But instead of complying with Nixon’s order to fire Cox, Attorney General Richardson resigned in protest. Nixon then ordered Richardson’s deputy, William Ruckelshaus to fire Cox, but he, too, refused the order and also submitted his resignation.

In the end, Cox was fired on Nixon’s orders by Solicitor General Robert Bork, who had just been sworn in as Acting Attorney General. But by then it had become clear that Nixon had ordered Cox to be fired because he did have something serious to hide. Nixon’s reputation with the American public would never recover.

The end of his presidency came less than two years later. After evidence of White House efforts to cover-up the Watergate scandal became overwhelming, Nixon was informed by Senate Republicans that the only way he could escape the disgrace of being removed from office by congressional impeachment was to resign.

ATTORNEY GENERAL GARLAND FAILED THE TEST OF HIS CHARACTER

However last week, instead of following the highly principled standard set 50 years ago by then-Attorney General Elliot Richardson, Biden’s Attorney General, Merrick Garland, appointed as special counsel David Weiss, the same federal prosecutor who has overseen the coverup of the Hunter Biden scandal for the past five years.

When Weiss’ prosecutors and Hunter Biden’s lawyers agreed on an embarrassingly lenient plea deal earlier this summer, they believed that it would shut down the investigation into Hunter Biden’s shady international influence peddling business before it could become an even greater source of embarrassment to his father’s presidential re-election campaign. But now that the plea deal has fallen apart, the long dormant investigation has finally been placed at the center of public attention, and it is clear that what’s left of President Biden’s already damaged political reputation is bound to suffer even further from such close scrutiny.

Much of the evidence of well-organized Biden family corruption through Hunter Biden’s multi-million-dollar influence peddling schemes has been out in the open for years. Initially effective efforts by Democrats and Biden’s allies in the mainstream media to debunk that evidence have finally collapsed due to a steady stream of new evidence and credible whistle-blower testimony being uncovered on a weekly basis on the Hunter Biden case by Republican congressional investigators.

President Biden’s liberal defenders in the mainstream news media keep harping on the fact that no “smoking gun” evidence has yet been uncovered showing that he directly profited from his son Hunter’s influence peddling.

HUNTER BIDEN PAID FOR HIS FATHER’S EXPENSES

However, there is evidence in a text message found on Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop that he had used up to 50% of the proceeds from his foreign influence peddling schemes to help pay for his father’s lavish living expenses. In a January 2019 text message that Hunter sent to his daughter, Naomi, he wrote, “I hope you all can do what I did and pay for everything for this entire family for 30 years. It’s really hard. But don’t worry, unlike pop [Joe Biden], I won’t make you give me half your salary.”

Another document found on the laptop dating back to 2010 showed that Hunter Biden was routinely paying for his father’s household expenses using money from the bank account of Hunter’s Chinese-linked investment firm, Rosemont Seneca Partners. An email with the heading “JRB Bills” [JRB being the initials of Joseph R. Biden] sent to Hunter by his business partner and Rosemont president, Eric Schwerin, itemized about $5,700 worth of bills that were being paid by the company for the upkeep of Joe Biden’s 4-acre estate in Wilmington, Delaware.

A 2016 document found on the laptop indicated that Hunter was paying $190 a month for an AT&T cell phone that was for Joe Biden’s private use. In another laptop document, Hunter complained that his father was paying for lunches at expensive Washington restaurants by using up most of the credit line on a Wells Fargo bank credit card that Hunter had been paying off over the previous 11 years.

BIDEN BOASTED ABOUT THE FIRED UKRAINE PROSECUTOR

Meanwhile, Joe Biden was so confident that he could evade all criticism for his conduct while vice president that at recorded public event on January 23, 2018, sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations, he joked about how, in 2016, he forced Ukraine’s government to fire the state prosecutor who was investigating Burisma, the company which was paying off Biden’s son.

Biden said that he told the Ukrainian officials, “I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired [by then], you’re not getting the money [$1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees]. Well, [guess what]. He got fired.”

However, President Biden’s more recent attempts to simply dismiss questions about his own involvement in his son’s influence peddling activities no longer have the automatic credibility with reporters from the mainstream media that they had, until very recently, enjoyed.

JOE BIDEN CAN NO LONGER DENY KNOWLEDGE OF HIS SON’S BUSINESS

The evidence that Joe Biden was well aware of his son’s schemes and participated in their implementation is now so overwhelming that even his White House spokeswoman has been forced to retract the president’s previous claims that he had no knowledge of those activities. In that regard, the appointment of a weak special counsel could be seen as a last-ditch effort by the Biden White House to prevent the FBI from uncovering such “smoking gun” evidence, as the investigation continues under Mr. Weiss’ lackluster supervision.

However, the already vigorous efforts by congressional Republicans to uncover that “smoking gun” evidence on their own are now bound to increase, especially if GOP House Speaker Kevin McCarthy goes through with his threat to call for the launching of a formal House impeachment investigation of President Biden after Congress returns from its summer vacation.

Even a recent New York Times front-page article by Peter Baker, which sought to minimize the long-term impact of the recent developments in the Hunter Biden case, was forced to admit that, after the implosion of Hunter Biden’s plea deal and the appointment of a special counsel, “Questions about Hunter Biden’s conduct may be harder for the White House to dismiss as politically motivated.”

FAILED PLEA DEAL HAS KEPT THE HUNTER BIDEN CASE ALIVE

According to Baker, before the Hunter Biden’s plea deal collapsed, President Biden’s supporters thought that the potential scandal “was over; that they could put it in the rearview mirror. All that Hunter Biden had to do was show up in a courtroom, answer a few questions, sign some paperwork and that would be it. . . Any real danger would be past.”

When the proposed terms of the plea deal were first announced, “The Biden camp was deeply relieved that five years of investigation had added up to nothing more serious,” Baker wrote.

“The president made a point of inviting his son, who has struggled with a crack cocaine addiction, to a high-profile state dinner two days later in what was taken as a spike-the-ball moment declaring victory over the family’s pursuers …”

But any sense of relief was premature. When Hunter Biden showed up at U.S. District Court in Wilmington, Delaware, on July 26 to finalize the plea deal, it unraveled under questioning from a judge in just a few hours. . .

“The criminal investigation that President Joe Biden’s advisers believed was all but done has instead been given new life.”

BREAKING THROUGH THE “CONSERVATIVE ECHO CHAMBER”

The main danger to Biden’s presidential campaign now, as Baker explains, is that it will no longer be able to restrict reports of the incriminating evidence to “the conservative echo chamber” which has been deliberately created by liberal social and mainstream media outlets to prevent such stories from reaching “the general public, which has largely not paid much attention until now.”

In addition, Baker noted, “a trial by a jury of Hunter Biden’s peers would be a spectacle that could prove distracting and embarrassing for the White House while providing more fodder to Republicans.”

Garland’s announcement of his appointment of Weiss as special counsel also happened on the same day that Washington DC District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan held the first pre-trial hearing on Trump’s indictment on charges related to the January 6 riot at the Capitol building. As CNN political commentator Stephen Collinson noted, “A [TV] viewer unfamiliar with the details of each case might get the erroneous impression that Biden and his potential Republican rival in the 2024 election were facing equivalent legal duress.”

During that hearing, Judge Chutkan, as expected, imposed strict limits on Trump’s ability to speak publicly about the “sensitive testimony” expected from various witnesses that will be called during the trial.

She issued the order in response to a complaint from special counsel Jack Smith about a provocative statement which Trump posted on his Truth Social account in response to his January 6-related indictment last week. In it, the former president warned, “If you go after me, I’m coming after you.”

TRUMP’S COMPLAINTS ABOUT THE WASHINGTON DC JUDGE

Trump had also complained on his Truth Social account that he would not be able to get a fair trial under Judge Chutkan, and that his lawyers would also be requesting a change of venue for his January 6 trial to someplace other than Washington, DC.

Judge Chutkan noted that, “Mr. Trump, like every American, has a First Amendment right to free speech, but that right is not absolute. In a criminal case such as this one, a defendant’s free speech is subject to release conditions … and must yield to the orderly administration of justice.

“If that means he can’t say exactly what he wants to say about witnesses in this case, then that’s how it’s going to be.” To emphasize the point, Judge Chutkan then told Trump’s attorneys, “your client’s defense is supposed to happen in this courtroom, not on the internet.”

The judge also said that she would try to ensure that there will be no “carnival atmosphere of unchecked publicity and trial by media, [and that] the existence of a political campaign is not going to have any bearing on my decision [about the limits on what Trump can say]. I intend to keep politics out of this. I cannot and I will not factor into my decisions the influence it will have on a political campaign on either side.”

In the end, Judge Chutkan largely sided with the federal prosecutors in deciding which witness testimony would be classified as “sensitive,” which would prevent Trump from sharing it with anyone outside of his official team of defense lawyers. She also issued an order barring Trump from using any electronic device while reviewing trial documents in order to prevent him from copying them for later distribution.

TRUMP’S TRIALS ENTERING UNCHARTED WATERS

In response, Trump defense attorney John Lauro argued, “We have to face the fact we are in uncharted waters here, where we have a defendant running for office, and the opposing administration is bringing criminal charges against him. [That is why] President Trump has [to have] the ability to respond fairly to political opponents” and not be forced to campaign under a court-imposed “chill.”

Judge Chutkan said that at the next court hearing in the case, scheduled for August 28, she would discuss setting a trial date. Federal prosecutors have already proposed beginning the trial on January 2, but because they also announced their intention to submit 11.6 million pages of evidence in the trial, Judge Chutkin said she was expecting Trump’s lawyers to ask for a lot more time to properly review that amount of evidence.

Another source of potential worry for the Biden White House is that the ever since the Clinton administration, special counsels and independent prosecutors have had a history of expanding the scope of their investigations beyond the original issues which prompted their appointments, making it impossible to predict exactly where their investigations will go and how they will end.

MAINSTREAM MEDIA CAN’T IGNORE HUNTER BIDEN ANY MORE

The mere fact that Attorney General Garland was forced to publicly admit last week that “the extraordinary circumstances relating to this matter,” required him to appoint a special counsel, was widely seen, even by the mainstream media outlets which had agreed to minimize coverage of the Hunter Biden story until now, that the allegations and evidence of wrongdoing are much more serious than Biden and his liberal Democrat allies had led them to believe.

According to a separate New York Times article by Luke Broadwater and Maggie Haberman, Garland’s elevation of Weiss to the position of special counsel was also seen as a vindication of Republican claims over the past three years that the evidence of corrupt political influence peddling found on Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop was deserving of a much more serious criminal investigation, and that “it ensured that in the minds of some voters the names Trump and Biden would both be linked to scandal.”

NEUTRALIZING BIDEN’S LEGAL ADVANTAGE

If voters come to believe that President Biden is also guilty of corruption through his support of his son’s influence peddling scheme, it could help to neutralize the negative impact of Trump’s current legal troubles, and encourage voters to decide between the two primarily on the basis of a comparison of their performance as president, in which case Trump would gain the advantage.

An average of recent national polls shows that if a presidential election were to be held today between Biden and Trump, the likely outcome would be too close to call, and would probably be decided in the Electoral College based upon a relatively small number of votes in a handful of battleground states.

Democrats have always believed that Joe Biden’s best chance to win re-election in 2024 was to run against Donald Trump after his reputation had been fatally damaged by the multiple criminal prosecutions that he is now facing. But if Biden’s own reputation for honesty has also been compromised in the eyes of enough swing voters by the growing evidence of his involvement in his son’s influence peddling schemes, then that strategy may no longer be valid.

IMPORTANT QUESTIONS WHICH STILL NEED ANSWERS

In addition, the heightened level of public scrutiny of the Hunter Biden investigation resulting from the appointment of a special prosecutor may produce enough pressure to generate much more credible answers to the following important questions:

  1. What did Hunter Biden’s foreign clients receive in return for the $17.3 million they gave him, much of which was then distributed to at least nine members of the extended Biden family through a network of more than 20 shell companies?
  2. What did then-Vice President Joe Biden discuss with his son’s Russian, Ukrainian and Kazakhstani business partners during their dinners at Georgetown’s exclusive Cafe Milano restaurant in 2014 and 2015?
  3. Did Hunter Biden ask his father, who was then the vice president, to issue an ultimatum to the leaders of Ukraine’s government, threatening to cancel a billion dollars in promised U.S. loan guarantees unless they agreed to fire the state prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who was investigating Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company that was paying Hunter $80,000 a month to sit on its board of directors?
  4. Has the FBI ever bother to investigate the documented 2016 claim by one of its most reliable informants that Mykola Zlochevsky, the owner of Burisma, paid cleverly hidden $5 million bribes, each, to Joe and Hunter Biden, and has tape recorded evidence to prove it?
  5. Is President Biden “the big guy” who is mentioned as due to receive 10% of the equity in 2017 emails exchanged with the Chinese energy firm CEFC, that were found on Hunter’s abandoned laptop, as Hunter’s former business partners, Tony Bobulinski and James Gilliar, have claimed?
  6. How much of Hunter Biden’s multi-million-dollar foreign income did he spend on paying down his father’s bills for housing, credit cards and other expenses, enabling his father to indirectly benefit from Hunter’s influence peddling scheme?
  7. Did Hunter Biden violate the federal Foreign Agents Registration Act by accepting payment for his work on behalf of clients from Ukraine and China, and if so, why wasn’t that violation part of David Weiss’ investigation?
  8. Who reportedly spent $1.3 million to buy novice painter Hunter Biden’s “artwork,” and were those sales set up to camouflage new influence peddling schemes?
  9. Who was really responsible for the sweetheart proposed plea bargain deal between Weiss’ prosecutors and Hunter Biden’s lawyers, that ultimately came apart when the federal judge in the case started asking obvious questions?
  10. Why, during the weeks just prior to the 2020 presidential election, did the FBI encourage social media outlets and the news media to suppress the New York Post story about the emails found on Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop, on the grounds that it was Russian disinformation, when the FBI had confirmed that the information on the laptop was authentic?
  11. Did Attorney General Merrick Garland and prosecutor David Weiss commit perjury when they claimed in letters to Congress that Weiss had the authority to independently bring criminal charges against Hunter Biden in Washington DC and California?

POLITICALLY ORCHESTRATED LEGAL ATTACKS

The convenient timing of the Justice Department’s relentless multiple prosecutions of former President Donald Trump only add to the public’s impression that they are being orchestrated to provide the maximum public relations advantage for Biden’s reelection campaign.

Every time another new piece of evidence surfaces in the Biden family’s “pay for play” influence peddling schemes, local Democrat prosecutors or federal Justice Department officials immediately announce a new “bombshell” development in their overlapping investigations of Trump. This has happened too often to be chalked up to mere coincidence.

The politically propitious timing of each new effort to persecute the former president has now become a familiar pattern. It appears to be a transparent attempt to distract the attention of the American people away from the growing body of evidence of serious corruption involving the entire Biden family, and not just his son.

This was made even more clear when, just hours after Garland announced Weiss’ appointment as special counsel, news was leaked that Trump, would be facing another indictment by a Georgia grand jury for pressuring state election officials to overturn the official statewide vote count in the 2020 presidential election.

ARE TRUMP INDICTMENTS ATTEMPTS AT BIDEN DAMAGE CONTROL?

The release of the Georgia grand jury story on the heels of the news of Weiss’ appointment once again appeared to be an orchestrated attempt at damage control by Biden’s supporters in the mainstream media. It was another reminder that, as bad as the growing evidence of Biden family corruption might look, the charges being lodge against Donald Trump are potentially far more serious. However, as the legal quality of each new criminal indictment against Trump looks shakier than the last, the effectiveness of that Biden damage control strategy is further reduced.

In fact, the indictment which was filed by the Georgia grand jury against Trump and 18 others on Monday night is the most sweeping accusation against him yet. It accuses Trump and some of his lawyers, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, of having acted like racketeers by creating a “criminal enterprise” to reverse the true results of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia.

Many legal experts have noted that all of the various indictments filed against Trump to date rely on non-traditional interpretations extending existing statutes in an attempt to criminalize Trump’s actions. For example, the first indictment filed against Trump by Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg attempts to inflate a misleading business bookkeeping entry regarding an expense reimbursement to Trump’s lawyer, which normally, at worst, would be regarded as a minor misdemeanor, into a major felony.

The dispute between Trump and the National Archives regarding the presidential documents he retained at Mar-a-Lago after the end of his term as president would normally be resolved through cordial extended negotiations, rather than the dramatic FBI raid on Trump’s home, followed by a 37-count indictment based upon an obsolete federal law which is rarely used. As far as the national security issues that were involved, Trump unquestionably had the power, while he was still president, to declassify all of the documents in his possession, and the prosecution has no way to disprove Trump’s claim that he did so.

Furthermore, in all previous cases involving documents found illegally in the possession of senior former federal officials, such as Hillary Clinton and Sandy Berger, no serious legal action was taken by federal prosecutors against either one.

TRUMP’S STATEMENTS WERE PROTECTED UNDER FREEDOM OF SPEECH

In the criminal indictments filed against Trump by special counsel Jack Smith regarding his actions on the day of the riot at the Capital building on January 6, 2021, it is important to note that they do not include any accusation that Trump was plotting with the protesters to overthrow the government. The federal indictment also notes that, under the First Amendment to the Constitution, Trump had every right to claim as protected political free speech, that victory in the 2020 election had been stolen from him by voter fraud in several states. The only crime that Trump is accused of in that indictment is based upon a claim, which is virtually impossible to prove, that Trump knew that he had actually lost the election and was deliberately trying to steal the presidency from Biden, whom he knew to be the legitimate winner.

The far-reaching indictment handed down by the Georgia grand jury on Monday suffers from the same legal flaw. It simply assumes that Trump and the others charged had known and accepted as a fact that he had lost the election in Georgia to Joe Biden, and that they had then “knowingly and willfully joined a conspiracy to unlawfully change the outcome of the election in favor of Trump.”

IF TRUMP REALLY BELIEVED HE WON THE 2020 ELECTION HE WAS INNOCENT

But if Trump and the other defendants honestly believed that he had won the 2020 election in Georgia, then all of their efforts to challenge the initial vote count would have been legal and protected as free political speech under the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Once again, the main difficulty facing the Georgia prosecutor, Fulton County district attorney Fani T. Willis, will be convincing a jury “beyond a reasonable doubt” that Trump and his fellow defendants had always known that he had really lost the Georgia presidential election, despite their repeated and insistent public claims to the contrary. But if Trump and his fellow defendants sincerely believed that Trump did win the election in George, then the fundamental basis for that criminal indictment falls away.

While Trump and his lawyers have a good chance of proving him innocent of all the politically inspired criminal charges that have been filed against him, the task of mounting an effective defense for him simultaneously in four different courtrooms across the country will make it very difficult for him to conduct an effective presidential election campaign at the same time.

On the other hand, if enough swing voters realize that all of these show trials are part of a cynical coordinated Democrat strategy to cripple Trump’s re-election campaign, it could turn an otherwise close presidential election into a Trump-Republican landslide of historic proportions.

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