Hunter Biden – the president’s wayward son – could be about to face the courts for tax-related offenses and false statements related to a gun purchase. Leaks from federal agents responsible for the investigation suggest the FBI has sufficient evidence to charge Hunter but that, ultimately, the decision on whether to prosecute will rest with the US attorney in Delaware.
However, a number of media commentators and legal experts aver that these specific charges are little more than a political whitewash to hide larger crimes.
A Slap on the Wrist for Hunter Biden
Absent from the anonymous agents’ statements are charges related to violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) and any discussion of money laundering or of cashing in on his father’s position. The New York Post’s Miranda Devine argues that “he is getting a sweet deal after a four-year investigation.” Devine notes that if FARA were on the table, it “could lead prosecutors to inspect the president’s involvement in an influence-peddling scheme run by his son and brother Jim Biden during Joe’s time as vice president.”
Instead, as reported by a prominent Washington, DC, newspaper, if the prosecution goes forward at all, it will be focused on an apparently resolved tax non-payment and the incorrect filling out of a form. Although both are serious crimes, they would not in any way be connected to the president.
The American public has become all too familiar with leaks from the federal government to favored media outlets since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. This issue has never seemed to upset the political left – until now. A source close to Hunter Biden told the Post the leaks came from “rogue investigators” who were scared that Delaware US Attorney David Weiss was not going to push for prosecution. He said:
“They want the scalp; they’re putting Weiss in a box. He’s in a horrible, horrible spot. The case has been going for four years and nothing has happened with it … They’ve investigated [Hunter] thoroughly … These people have tried to find everything. These are Trump prosecutors.
The source further stated that investigators are trying to back Weiss into a corner so that if he chooses not to prosecute, “they’ve gotten out in front of it with all this smoke.”
A lawyer for Hunter, Chris Clark, let rip with his anger at the leaks in a statement addressed to the DC paper that broke the story. He writes:
“It is a federal felony for a federal agent to leak information about a Grand Jury investigation such as this one …
“Any agent you cite as a source in your article apparently has committed such a felony. We expect the Department of Justice will diligently investigate and prosecute such bad actors. As is proper and legally required.”
Although both sides of the media divide point out that these potential charges are either not what was expected from the four-year investigation or likely to only result in a window-dressing punishment, the actual crimes could carry a heavy penalty if Hunter is found guilty. The false statements surrounding a gun purchase date back to October 2018. The younger Biden filled out ATF Form 4473, which notes that providing false information on the transaction record could lead to “up to 10 years imprisonment and/or up to a $250,000 fine.”
The pertinent issue for investigators is Question 21(c), which asks:
“Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance? Warning: The use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where you reside.”
Hunter Biden’s record of drug use is both prolific and well-documented – including in his own memoir, where he describes his 2018 addiction to crack.
Politics Always Wins
Whether Hunter Biden has his day in court remains at the discretion of Delaware US Attorney Weiss. Attorney General Merrick Garland has insisted that he will not personally be involved in any decision related to this case. The Post reports that prosecutors wanted to offer the president’s son a plea deal, but that “he refused to plead guilty to a felony.” This refusal could mean that further charges are introduced.
This is a case that, whether it goes to court or not, will be played out in the halls of power, in the arena of Big Box media, and in bars and at kitchen tables across the nation. And while talk of legal angles and minutiae will be prevalent, the real question will ultimately be: How much damage will this cause President Joe Biden?