So far in his presidency, Joe Biden has largely been able contain the political fallout of the misdeeds of his son Hunter. He has been helped by a pliant press that, with some honorable exceptions, is reluctant to do anything so indecent as reporting on the president’s family. But another crucial factor has been a Justice Department investigation that has progressed at a snail’s pace.
That ongoing investigation into possible tax evasion and a firearms offense, launched more than five years ago, has left Hunter in a holding pattern that suits his father: the White House has been able to bat away questions about whether Hunter had done anything illegal.
That stalemate is now over. Not because the Justice Department has made a decision on whether or not to indict Hunter, but because a senior IRS agent overseeing the agency’s portion of “an ongoing and sensitive case” is asking Congress for whistleblower protections in order to disclose “examples of preferential treatment and politics improperly infecting decisions and protocols that would normally be followed by career law enforcement professionals in similar circumstances if the subject were not politically connected.”
Republicans on the Hill have specified that the case in question is Hunter’s. The letter from the whistleblower’s lawyer, Mark Lytle, claims he has evidence that contradicts “sworn testimony to Congress by a senior political appointee.” The New York Post reports that the senior appointee in question is Attorney General Merrick Garland. Last month, Garland said in an oversight hearing that David Weiss, the Trump-appointed prosecutor in Delaware who is leading the investigation, had independence to pursue charges against Hunter.
The bombshell letter threatens to transform the White House’s Hunter headache from an annoyance to a far bigger problem. Republican lawmakers are understandably very eager to know more, while their Democratic counterparts will struggle to dismiss a whistleblower who appears to have pursued all the proper channels to air his concerns.
Disclosing taxpayer information is illegal, but the whistleblower is seeking to make use of special provisions that allow for disclosure to certain congressional committees if it relates to possible misconduct.
This year, with Republicans in control of the House of Representatives and with Hunter in their crosshairs, the president’s son has been on the offensive, hiring new lawyers and suing John Paul Mac Isaac, the beret-wearing owner of the Delaware laptop repair shop where Hunter dropped off, then never collected, his laptop and external hard drive back in 2019. (We know what happened next.) Meanwhile, congressional inquiries into the Biden family’s finances are underway.
Add this whistleblower into the mix and you have a very combustible situation indeed.
On our radar
IS SU SUNK? Biden labor secretary nominee Julie Su underwent a Republican grilling in her confirmation hearing yesterday. But Su will be more worried about whether she has the support of Democratic senators. Right now, West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, Arizona’s Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema and Montana’s Jon Tester haven’t made their minds up.
FLORIDA FALL GUY Think you’ve had a bad week? It probably wasn’t as bad as Ryan Tyson’s. Puck’s Tara Palmeri identifies Tyson as the Ron DeSantis consigliere charged with swinging the Florida delegation behind the governor before his trip to Washington. How did that work out, Ryan?
ELDER STATESMAN? Conservative talk radio fixture and 2021 California gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder announced he is running for president Thursday. “We can enter a new American Golden Age, but we must choose a leader who can bring us there. That’s why I’m running for president,” he tweeted.
Mood inside Fox ‘ebullient’ after Dominion settlement
This week’s biggest surprise was Tuesday’s last-ditch $787 million settlement of the Dominion v. Fox News lawsuit. Despite the eye-watering payout, Fox sources tell Cockburn that the mood internally at the network was “ebullient.” This is perhaps unsurprising, given how Fox’s foes were slavering at the prospect of Rupert Murdoch, Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity et al being hauled before the court.
Also Cockburn understands that Fox will only end up shelling out around half of the settlement fee, due to insurance liability coverage. Plus, the payout is tax deductible: what a bargain! Cockburn guesses we’ll have to wait for the next trial of the century…
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Meet the Democrat threatening a journalist with jail
When Twitter Files journalist Matt Taibbi testified before Congress last month, he was given a very frosty reception by Democrats on the House Weaponization subcommittee. But if exchanges on the day weren’t bad-blooded enough, Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett has sent a letter to Taibbi warning that providing false information to Congress is “punishable by up to five years imprisonment.” The letter follows a visit to Taibbi’s New Jersey home that coincided with his trip to Washington. Taibbi explains the farcical saga here.
From the site
PRESIDENT BIDEN JOB APPROVAL
Approve 42.7% | Disapprove 53.5% | Net Approval -10.8
GOP 2024 PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY
Donald Trump 48% | Ron DeSantis 24% | Nikki Haley 5% | Tim Scott 3%
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