Dem 51
image description
GOP 49
image description

Biden Legal News: Do You Want to Know a Secret?

This item is most certainly not the third most important of the day. But it pairs with the previous items, so we'll put it here nonetheless. This time, the song in the headline is definitely not one for the kiddies. And we're also using "secret" in the same way we used it in the item at the top, namely to refer to something that you already knew without having to be told.

Actually, there were four separate news items over the past several days, and we're not sure which one was the least surprising. Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. Benghazi, Redux: We are not legal experts, nor did we read the now-defunct plea agreement, nor attend the court hearing at which the agreement was (tentatively) rejected. By all indications, it looks to us like the system is grinding along as it should. And people who are in a far better position to judge than we are would seem to agree (see here, here, here, and here for some examples). Nonetheless, House Republicans have already announced they will launch an investigation. Shocking! Here's hoping nobody has pictures of Hunter Biden jaywalking or littering.

  2. Smoke and Mirrors: Meanwhile, the same guy who just announced a new investigation of Hunter Biden, namely Rep. James Comer (R-KY), appeared on Fox to talk about the already underway investigation of Biden. During that appearance, Sean Hannity asked point-blank whether Comer would be able to prove that the First Son and/or his father took bribes. Comer's answer: "I sure hope so. And I do believe that there's a lot of smoke. And where there's smoke, there's fire." In case there is anyone who isn't fluent in politician-speak, let us translate Comer's answer for you: "No."

    Comer has previously had no problem grossly over-selling the strength of his case. When even he is tempering expectations, it tells you he doesn't have anything firm in hand, and that he doesn't particularly expect to get anything firm. Launching a second investigation is also consistent with that; there's no need for it unless you don't think investigation v1.0 is going to land.

  3. Sleight of Hand: Devon Archer, who is a former business partner of Hunter Biden, appeared before the House Oversight Committee yesterday. Republicans were, of course, hoping for some juicy stuff, and they didn't get it. Archer said that he knew of nothing that connected Joe Biden to Hunter Biden's business dealings, and that what Hunter was selling was "the illusion" of access to Joe.

    This is entirely believable to us. As we have noted many times, many unscrupulous presidential relatives have raked in the bucks claiming that they had an inside track to the fellow in the big chair. But for a president, selling access makes little sense. It would be very unethical, first of all, and most of them really do care about ethics. It would also be incredibly risky, as a president's finances are a semi-open book, and it would be rather hard to hide hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in secret income. And it wouldn't make much sense. Ex-presidents can make tens of millions of dollars without breaking the law by delivering speeches, writing books and serving on corporate boards.

    If a president is going to sell access these days, he or she would have to check most or all of these boxes: (1) low on ethics, (2) willing to do nearly anything for money, (3) in possession of a complex web of businesses/financial instruments that make it plausible to hide a few million here and a few million there, and (4) persuaded that he or she is invulnerable to legal prosecution. We can think of roughly one president in the last 50 years who fits the profile. Yes, it's that peanut-shilling sleazeball Jimmy Carter.

  4. Pardon Me?: Speaking of ethics, the White House has already announced, through White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and through allies in Congress, that no pardon for Hunter is forthcoming.

    This promise means... nothing. At the moment, there is no way that the President would give even the slightest indication that a pardon is under consideration, as that would provide fuel for months and months of "Biden is corrupt" carping. We believe that the President is an ethical fellow, but we also believe he's a father who has great empathy for his son, and who knows that the son is paying a price for the political career of the father. Certainly, nobody else's naughty pictures get blown up to poster size and paraded around in a House committee hearing.

    If the plea deal is reworked, and accepted by Judge Maryellen Noreika, then we'll never know how serious the administration really is about not giving special treatment to the First Son. Failing that, however, there are potentially two moments where the rubber will meet the road: (1) the day that Hunter is scheduled to report to prison, should that come to pass (note that it's not currently in the plans), and (2) the last week of Joe Biden's presidential term.

And now you have a rundown of all the entirely predictable Hunter Biden news. (Z)

This item appeared on Read it Monday through Friday for political and election news, Saturday for answers to reader's questions, and Sunday for letters from readers.                     State polls                     All Senate candidates