Hunter Biden Keeps Impeachment Alive
The lawyers got too greedy and dug too deep
The latest Thunderdome podcast dropped after yesterday’s edition — I encourage you to listen to it here. We’ll have one more edition, a year end wrap up, and then take off a couple weeks for the holidays. I hope you’re enjoying these, as I know it’s been fun following all the twists and turns of 2024 — and we’ll carry on next year until we know who’s won!
For much of 2023, the media’s focus has been overwhelmingly on the many cases faced by Donald Trump up and down the east coast. But just because they’ve been generally uninterested in Hunter Biden doesn’t mean his story stopped rolling on — and the latest is nine new indictments in California, brought by special counsel David Weiss, carrying with them potential penalties of up to 17 years in prison. It’s a far cry from the sweetheart deal he almost pulled off to make the whole thing go away. And he drew a Trump appointed judge, too.
Read Jonathan Turley on how we got here, and why he thinks Hunter has now become expendable for Democrats:
None of this would have happened if Judge Noreika did not ask a very simple question about the plea agreement and a sweeping immunity provision buried in its language. Many judges would have likely flagged through the agreement and given Hunter the sweetest of sweetheart deals.
Noreika noticed that the deal seemed to give Hunter immunity for any crime going forward and asked the prosecutor if he had ever seen any agreement like this one. He honestly answered “no.”
It was later learned that there was a push within the Justice Department to have no charges at all brought against Hunter in an investigation that was heavily laden with special treatment, according to IRS whistleblowers.
The investigation by the House has shown how Hunter and his counsel allowed their appetite for special treatment to turn into a raging disorder. The Justice Department reportedly gave Hunter a “heads up” about planned searches and interviews, scuttling those efforts. Even though the Justice Department had an agreement to “toll the statute” to prevent the early charges from expiring, the Special Counsel just let them die without any rational reason.
In this “all-you-can-eat” legal Smorgasbord, it is little surprise that the Biden team would demand an unprecedented immunity deal and just two misdemeanors after years of tax evasion covering millions from insider trading.
After all, Attorney General Merrick Garland had refused the calls of many of us to appoint a Special Counsel to look into the corruption scandal. The scandal was capped off legally and the media was running cover for Hunter.
The laptop was falsely denounced as Russian disinformation and the media largely dismissed influence peddling claims. Whenever new allegations surfaced, the President and the media would literally run to the nearest ice cream shop to discuss the President’s favorite flavors.
In other words, why ask for a sweeping immunity deal? The answer was why not. That all came crashing down when Judge Noreika just cleared her throat in court.
As the prosecutors struggled to explain the absurd immunity provision, the Biden legal team was obviously shocked at the notion that they might have to exercise portion control. After all, the President himself has declared “no one f**ks with a Biden.”
That is when they told the prosecutors to “just rip it up.” Those are the four most dangerous words that a criminal defendant could utter in a hearing on a plea deal. They could have immediately narrowed the immunity deal and even added a few misdemeanors to salvage the deal. Instead, they shredded their client.
What followed was performative and frankly a tad pathetic. To the thrill of some in the media, the Biden team promised to get aggressive with witnesses and critics. They started to make demands as if they still controlled events, including saying that they would only comply with a congressional subpoena on their own terms.
It won’t work. A bill has come due. While Garland is still protecting President Biden from a Special Counsel, Hunter Biden is going to have to face these alleged crimes and corruption. Even the media is now admitting that he was influence peddling, though maintaining a final line of defense for the president. The last defense is that it was corrupt, but merely illusory because it did not actually influence Joe Biden.
In other words, Hunter is rapidly becoming expendable.
Now, I’ve been emphatic that no matter what, President Biden will never let his one remaining son see the inside of a jail cell — he will absolutely pardon Hunter, win or lose in November. (I’ll put money on it if you want to bet.) The question is how much damage Hunter does to Joe in the interim — particularly in the context of impeachment, which the House seems to be creeping towards in the spring, at roughly the same time former president Trump’s cases are set to begin in earnest. And as Charles Lipson writes, Hunter’s “aggressive” legal and PR antics, while perhaps satisfying to him and his team, have only served to make Republicans more unified on the question of an impeachment committee.
Out of the first 41 presidents, just one was impeached. Now we’ll likely see three of the last five. It’s a good time to be in media — but not in politics.