The Golden Rule and the Hunter Biden Scandal: Three Questions Raised by the FBI Leak

Below is my column in the Hill on the noticeably narrow scope of charges referenced in the recent FBI leak from the Delaware investigation. The leak raises a number of intriguing questions in its wake.

Here is the column:

President Biden’s hot mic moment during a visit to hurricane-stricken Florida — in which he muttered that “No one f–ks with a Biden” — left many people confused. His Sopranos-like warning might not deter developing hurricanes but it has succeeded for years in Washington as a kind of “Biden Golden Rule.” Neither prosecutors nor the press have seemed interested in pursuing allegations of criminal or corrupt practices by some members of the Biden family.

Now, after years of investigation, reports indicate that FBI agents are convinced ample evidence exists to charge the president’s son Hunter Biden on gun- and tax-related charges. Those charges (and a possible plea) may be the best-case scenario for the Bidens — and many others in Washington. Indeed, the reported narrow scope of a possible indictment is strikingly similar to what I previously described as the ideal “controlled demolition” of the Hunter Biden scandal.

Three questions immediately arise from this Justice Department leak, and the concern is that all three may be answered by the Biden Golden Rule:

For the Bidens, justice delayed is justice

The first question is why, in an investigation that began in 2018, the Justice Department only now believes it could charge over false statements on a gun registration form and on tax evasion. Both crimes were well established years ago.

The gun charge is based on the fact that Hunter Biden reportedly answered “no” to a standard question about whether he was an “unlawful user of, or addicted to” a narcotic drug or any other controlled substance. He wrote a book detailing his raging drug and alcohol addictions during this period (ironically, even as his father called for stricter enforcement of gun laws).

The FBI has long had the gun registration form, the book and other self-incriminating statements, not to mention President Biden’s repeated references to his son being an addict.

Hunter Biden also apparently did not pay taxes on millions garnered from his foreign business dealings or alleged influence-peddling schemes, and a Hollywood lawyer reportedly paid off as much as $2 million in delinquent taxes on his behalf recently. The FBI has had Hunter Biden’s infamous abandoned laptop since 2019, detailing payments from foreign sources and gifts or benefits, including a diamond.

Yet the long investigation has worked to the advantage of the Bidens as well as the Democrats in pushing any indictment beyond 2020 and, most likely, after the 2022 midterm elections. Indeed, Hunter Biden’s lawyer insisted after the leak of possible charges that prosecutors “should not be pressured, rushed, or criticized” to act.

It is often said that “justice delayed is justice denied” — but in politics, justice delayed is simply justice.

Is this all there is?

A second question concerns what were not referenced as likely charges against Hunter Biden.

For years, some of us have said an obvious, overwhelming argument existed to appoint a special counsel in this case. Yet Attorney General Merrick Garland has refused to do so.

Hunter Biden’s laptop reportedly contained detailed emails about business deals spanning the globe and millions of dollars from foreign sources, including some tied to foreign intelligence operatives. Some of his accounts reportedly were used to pay some of the bills for President Biden.

Even if the Justice Department is set to decline charges linked to foreign money transfers or influence-peddling, there is the obvious omission of charges under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA). The Justice Department has used FARA aggressively in past prosecutions such as that of Trump associate Paul Manafort.

The omission of a charge under FARA would be glaring and troubling in light of those past prosecutions. And with the refusal to appoint a special counsel, that omission would likely avoid a public airing of any influence-peddling allegations tied to the Biden family.

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