Hunter Biden is in trouble… again. The question is how big?
This week’s indictment from Special Counsel David Weiss is the latest in a seemingly never-ending saga of legal problems facing the “smartest guy” President Joe Biden knows. The charges, which center on tax evasion, include multiple felonies.
The fifty-six-page indictment, at times, reads like a smut novel. The first son is alleged to have tried to pass off the following as business expenses: hotel rooms he turned into crack dens, strippers and a $10,000 membership to a sex club that he claimed was a “golf club membership.”
Weiss has been the target of ire from many on the right, but this week’s indictment received praise from some unlikely corners. Will Scharf, one of President Donald Trump’s lawyers, noted that “Weiss appears to be playing this straight.” Scharf, a former federal prosecutor and current candidate for attorney general in Missouri, continued, “based on this indictment and the previous firearms indictment, I can’t find fault with his actions thus far. [Weiss] is appropriately and vigorously prosecuting the tax and gun crimes that we already knew about.”
On the Hill side of things, the Oversight Committee’s Pete Sessions sounded optimistic about the developments, but was concerned that they may only have materialized because of whistleblower testimony.
“Yesterday’s indictments represent steps taken to achieve justice,” the former NRCC chair told The Spectator. “However, it is concerning that these charges were only brought forward after two courageous IRS whistleblowers risked their careers and testified before the House Oversight and Accountability Committee about efforts by the IRS and DoJ to ignore Hunter Biden’s tax crimes… No one is above the law.”
Biden’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, said that if Hunter’s last name were anything other than Biden, none of these charges would even be filed. That’s not convincing everyone. Representative Darrell Issa, the GOP’s former top oversight watchdog and current member of Congress’s sub-committee on weaponized government, said these indictments come with good and bad news for Hunter.
“These indictments are a concession from the Biden DoJ that what the IRS whistleblowers said about Hunter Biden’s special treatment was true,” Issa told The Spectator. “But the charges also disappoint on two fronts: they don’t address Joe Biden’s absurd denials that he wasn’t up to his neck in his son’s sketchy business dealings. And they will likely be used as a pretext by Hunter’s lawyers to spare him from testifying under oath before the Judiciary Committee.”
The timing of the indictments also suggest that Christmas at the Bidens will be a bit awkward. They came just hours after a pair of whistleblowers testified behind closed doors to the Ways and Means Committee about “a coordinated effort among the DoJ, Hunter Biden’s attorneys and others to stop the tax investigation of Hunter Biden from following any leads to his father, Joe Biden,” its chair, Representative Jason Smith, said.
Representative Claudia Tenney, who serves on the Ways and Means Committee, said this latest development appears to be “a way to make the Hunter Biden problem go away,” in part because “there’s so much more he could be charged with other than tax evasion and a resurrected gun crime.”
Hunter’s alleged tax evasion while raking in the dough does complicate his father’s repeated promise to crack down on tax evasion by the wealthy. But, maybe the 87,000 new IRS agents could spend some more time on Hunter.
On our radar
TRUMP’S DAY IN COURT Former president Donald Trump said he had a “very good day” in court during his New York fraud trial, as an accounting professor at New York University testified that there was “no evidence” of accounting fraud on Trump’s behalf.
‘HELP IS NOT ON THE WAY’ New York City mayor Eric Adams left Washington, DC demoralized after his attempts to lobby for more resources and changes to immigration policy amid New York’s migrant crisis went unheeded.
BAD NEWS BIDEN Only about a third of Americans approve of President Joe Biden’s response to the Israel-Hamas war, according to Pew Research Center. Biden’s support in relation to the conflict is especially low among young people.
Blinken comes clean
Secretary of state Antony Blinken is finally sounding off on the viral moment where he physically winced as President Joe Biden referred to his Chinese counterpart as a “dictator” during a bilateral meeting. Biden made the comment about Chinese president Xi Jinping during the controversial APEC summit last month in San Francisco, and many assumed it was a blunder as opposed to a strategic word choice. After all, the stated rationale of the summit was to reduce tensions and encourage cooperation.
When reminded about the moment on CNN’s King Charles this Thursday, Blinken chuckled and excused himself.
“I’m tempted to say that we’d had a really long day, a very important and intense conversation with China,” the top diplomat said. “My neck was a little bit stiff. And, you know, that happens.”
Whatever we think about that excuse, Blinken did tell hosts Gayle King and Charles Barkley that “it’s not exactly a secret that we have a very different system from China’s,” attempting to justify the sentiment, not the words, in Biden’s statement. In this, some see a cautious diplomat, but it’s hard not to see a fed-up babysitter as well.
–Juan P Villasmil
Republican mass debate hysteria
Justice Louis D. Brandeis advocated for “more speech” as the best remedy for falsehood. But how much speech is too much speech? The Republican Party is pushing the upper limits, scheduling even more primary debates in the new year — even without President Trump.
CNN is hosting two of them: one on January 10 at Drake University in Iowa and a second on January 21 at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire. Between the two, ABC News and WMUR-TV will host one in coordination with the New Hampshire Republican State Committee on January 18… also at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire. The ABC debate is “subject to RNC guidelines,” rather than being RNC sanctioned.
Why? Per CNN, “The Republican National Committee is expected to announce this week it will release candidates from its requirement that prevents them from participating in non-RNC-sanctioned debates.”
Up to this point, the RNC had reportedly been asking for $2 million from networks and outlets as the price of hosting an officially sanctioned debate — perhaps part of an effort to refill the coffers after splurging on Trump legal bills. That amount was prohibitively expensive to almost every right-leaning outlet except for Fox — a Newsmax source told Cockburn, “I don’t think we have the resources” when he asked why more conservative channels were being passed over for moderate and liberal alternatives. With an RNC rule change though, that could open the door to even more clashes between Ron, Nikki, Vivek and Chris. Cockburn is skeptical that any further debate between the undercard candidates will move the needle much — at least, while Trump remains the front-runner and a free man…