Patterico's Pontifications

12/18/2020

Needed: A Special Counsel for the Hunter Biden Investigation

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:33 am



Yesterday Joe Biden said that accusations about his son Hunter are “foul play” designed to get to him. Ed Morrissey says that the context of the statement shows Biden was talking about political attacks and not the federal investigation into Hunter Biden’s taxes. But Biden’s clearly expressed and very normal love for his son will create a complication when Biden takes office on January 20. It is better for the country, for the Department of Justice, and for Joe Biden if that investigation is protected from even the appearance of interference by Biden.

The way to do that is a special counsel, and either Trump’s AG of the week or Biden’s AG should appoint one promptly.

37 Responses to “Needed: A Special Counsel for the Hunter Biden Investigation”

  1. Heavens no. Put aside the hammer. Not everything is a nail.

    And, who craves a President Harris anyway?

    beer ‘n pretzels (042d67)

  2. Yes. And for the first of probably thousands of times I’ll be saying this over the next four to eight years, it should be done despite, not because ridiculously hypocritical Trumpkins are demanding it.

    lurker (d8c5bc)

  3. I thought all the emails and data regarding Hunter Biden and his taxes and relationships with China were fake news and a creation of Russian agents.

    no?

    Hoi Polloi (139bf6)

  4. Biden should pardon Hunter on January 21 and save the taxpayers some money. Or does anybody think he’d let his son ever go to prison?

    nk (1d9030)

  5. The problem with creating a special counsel is that there’s no conflict of interest with the current president (since the conflict of interest ethics requirements are written with the idea of bias in favor, not bias against.)

    Trump, by the way, has tweeted that he has had nothing to do with any investigation of Hunter Biden (caveat: so far) and finds it sad. Maybe he will pardon Hunter Biden. (with maybe good reason. After all, do you want anyone in China holding something over President Biden’s head?)

    The way the issue of special counsel will be handled is that they will ask Merrick Garland, at his confirmation hearing for Attorney General (and Merrick Garland, who wants a Supreme Court appointment, and is now a federal judge, will be more credible at that than Doug Jones) to make a commitment either to advise President Biden to leave the U.S. Attorney in Delaware in place until he’s completed all investigations related to Hunter and James Biden, or to appoint a special counsel if he is replaced, and to resign if that doesn’t happen or the special counsel is removed.

    And the same for the nominees for deputy attorney general and head of the criminal division.

    Sammy Finkelman (ab7073)

  6. If Trump pardons his own kids, then Biden could pardon Hunter and say he’s following precedent, but I’d rather he didn’t.
    The Special Counsel idea isn’t a bad one, and I don’t see this investigation taking long. Other than issues with the IRS, it’s not clear to me what legal transgressions he committed.

    Paul Montagu (77c694)

  7. @4. I thought all the emails and data regarding Hunter Biden and his taxes and relationships with China were fake news and a creation of Russian agents. no? Hoi Polloi (139bf6) — 12/18/2020 @ 9:06 am

    ‘Hoi’ on there; per your comment posted w/t host 60 days ago, no:

    “Social Media Platforms Block Sharing of New York Post Story About Hunter Biden Emails”

    1.I still think it’s likely this is a Russian operation of some sort.
    Patterico — 10/15/2020 @ 8:41 am

    2.But I guess we’ll see!
    Patterico — 10/15/2020 @ 8:43 am

    3.It definitely sounds sketchy. The problem is, if the press is allowed to bury it, or does not digging, we may never know.

    The interview with the computer repair shop owner was definitely weird, to the say the least.

    The social media companies’ actions make it seem like they want to kill this story because they favor Biden. But their actions are only making it worse.

    Let the stories and rumors around this fly. It will only hurt Trump’s chances even more if it is fake. But burying the story just makes people think there is something to hide.
    Hoi Polloi — 10/15/2020 @ 8:48 am”

    But hey, the election is over, no? And the Big Guy is in. Thus, per Plagiarist-elect JoeyBee’s interview w/Stephen ‘Woodstein’ Colbert there’s nothing there:

    “He [Hunter Biden] is the smartest man I know.”- Joe Biden

    … and Putin smiled. 😉

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  8. @5. No. he best fire Fauci and replace him with Drugster Hunter; because, as the Big Guy said last night of the Hunter:

    “He’s the smartest man I know.”

    Poor Beau.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  9. Trump, by the way, has tweeted that he has had nothing to do with any investigation of Hunter Biden (caveat: so far) and finds it sad.

    “The Politburo does not interfere with the functions of the security organs.” — Joseph Stalin

    “If only Stalin knew.” — Gular prisoner

    nk (1d9030)

  10. Never seen a swamp creature that doesn’t ooze slime.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  11. I’m a “no” for special counsel and I would support Biden’s effort to shut it down on inauguration day.

    I mean, I get it, one of the *nice* thing about the special counsel is that by law, a report must be sent to the AG. GOP would be able to extract a promise from the incoming AG to share that report when completed, and if the AG hypothetically refuses, then it becomes a juicy political issue to hammer Democrats in the next elections.

    But the potential for some partisan Special Counsel (ie, like the Mueller SCO) with axes to grind by the outcoming administration to the incoming administration must be considered too.

    whembly (c30c83)

  12. Trump really did have nothing to do with any investigation of Hunter Biden – except to the extent that some sort of allegations got publicized and were even half conceded by Democrats. And the Democrats really were the first to publicize this.

    The investigation was started by that computer repairman in Delaware in December 2019.

    Sammy Finkelman (ab7073)

  13. Trump really did have nothing to do with any investigation of Hunter Biden…

    You don’t know that, Sammy. And as I recall, the FBI was investigating prior to the computer guy turning over the hard drive.

    Paul Montagu (77c694)

  14. There needs to be a better way to handle things than a special counsel. In theory, the IRS is independent agency. Maybe assign one of Trump’s outgoing USAs to oversee that, but a full-blown witch-hunt isn’t needed.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  15. The problem of course is that even an independent agency knows what will please the president, and what will not.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  16. 15.There needs to be a better way to handle things than a special counsel.

    There is– like not electing a swamp creature in the first place.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  17. Paul Montagu (77c694) — 12/18/2020 @ 10:23 am

    You don’t know that, Sammy. And as I recall, the FBI was investigating prior to the computer guy turning over the hard drive.

    They had to start an investigation in order to take possession of the hard drive. They couldn’t just take it. Now I don’t think they understood what they had and they certainly did not understand how to read the files because they had to call the computer repairman to ask him ow to read the files. (t didn’t have the Mac operating system on it and could only be used as an second or external drive.)

    This drive was an external hard drive that Hunter Biden had brought in in his second trip to the repair shop. The purpose was to find a place to put all the files recovered from a damaged drive, which could’t boot any more.

    The repairman had first collected the files on his server and he still kept them. Many months later he gave them to Guiliani’s lawyer.

    He had possession of the Hunter Biden drive (with its files) as abandoned property.

    Hunter Biden didn’t come back for his files because he was moving to California and all his files probably were backups and he had them.

    The first day he had brought in 3 computers. One was damaged beyond repair, it being impossible to separate the built in drive from the motherboard; one only had its keyboard damaged and the repairmen lent him a keyboard (which he should have later returned or paid for); and the third couldn’t boot but its data files could be read. Hunter Biden left that third computer in the repair shop.

    Both times, I think, he came near closing time. All the data files probably were similar, and synchronized with an iCloud account.

    Sammy Finkelman (ab7073)

  18. Good point about the IRS, Kevin. They know when to assess civil liability and when to refer the case to Criminal Investigation (that’s what they call themselves, BTW). So, I’ll add “too early” to my “never”.

    nk (1d9030)

  19. They had to start an investigation in order to take possession of the hard drive.

    There was maybe a two week delay while they got the investigation started.

    Sammy Finkelman (ab7073)

  20. Both Trump’s children and Biden’s son Hunter are suspected of using their fathers’ positions for financial gain. A special counsel should investigate all of them. I would be willing to grant them all immunity since 1). It would be helpful to learn how politicians use their positions for their families’ benefit, and 2). Perhaps we could develop rules/policies for transparency and/or to prevent wrongdoing, and 3). Their fathers will pardon them anyway.

    DRJ (aede82)

  21. hey used an interview with the computer repairman as the predicate. The computer repairman had been most worried about the pictures, that maybe some of them could constitute child pornography, but the FBI doesn’t seem to be looking at that angle. After all, you really don’t know how old some unknown woman in a picture was. Hunter Biden wouldn’t have known either.

    We have the initial money laundering investigation, which was something to use to get things started and which has apparently not turned up anything illegal, and we have an Foreign Agents Registration Act investigation and a tax investigation.

    He probably did report most of his income, but we might have income in kind, or business expenses paid for by the Chinese company that maybe weren’t truly business expenses, or a delay in reporting income.

    James Biden is also under investigation for the same thing. The kind of thing an accountant might not be aware of at first.

    Sammy Finkelman (ab7073)

  22. I asked this in another thread but I don’t think anyone really had an answer. While Joe Biden is the incoming president, Hunter Biden is not currently involved in government and is not likely to be involved in government. He is a private citizen. Is it appropriate to appoint a special counsel to investigate a private citizen?

    It also seems likely to me that doing so would lead to a situation where there is always a special counsel to investigate any screw-ups in any President’s family. Or at least the family of any incoming President who isn’t of the same political party as the sitting President. And there are screw-up members in every family. “We heard a rumor your cousin Jordan’s kid hit their spouse before the divorce 10 years ago. Special counsel!”

    Nic (896fdf)

  23. The current practice of special counsels leaves nothing but wreckage and debt in its wake. They tend to prosecute obstruction (and “obstruction”) and not the thing they are investigating, which is usually political crap to begin with. Even the bystanders have huge legal bills.

    There needs to be a way of doing this without widespread collateral damage, extraneous scalp-taking and financial ruin. James Angleton wasn’t this destructive in his mole-hunts.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  24. I don’t think it’s clear. This secial counsel is something less than the old special eosecutor, who, in 1990s was appointed by three federal judges (although Janet Reno tried to get them to ratdy Robert B. Fiske Jr)

    https://www.brookings.edu/testimonies/attorney-generals-special-counsel-regulations

    First, the Attorney General must determine that “criminal investigation of a person or matter is warranted.” Then, he or she must determine whether investigation or prosecution of the “person or matter” by a U.S. Attorney’s Office or a Justice Department litigating division would present either “a conflict of interest for the Department” or “other extraordinary circumstances.” Finally, a further question is to be asked, namely, whether “it would be in the public interest to appoint an outside Special Counsel to assume responsibility for the matter…

    …A central feature of the Independent Counsel Act was a list of mandatorily covered persons. The Attorney General’s regulations eschew that approach. …The need to appoint special counsel will be greatest when serious allegations are made concerning the President or Attorney General, although allegations against others personally or politically close to either may also merit an appointment in unusual circumstances.”

    Also see:

    https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/28/600.1

    Sammy Finkelman (ab7073)

  25. There is always the idea of the “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” where the penalties, if any, are handed out by the voters.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  26. Assuming he did break the law, the best thing Hunter could do for his Pops, and for the country, is to plead to whatever the Feds offer ASAP.

    Dave (dbda34)

  27. Did you know Duncan Hunter is going to jail? Speaking about Hunters…

    I suppose digging through Hunter Biden’s sordid financial life is probably a good thing.

    Meanwhile our current president and his close family members are demonstrating what grift really looks like:

    https://www.rawstory.com/2020/12/bombshell-report-jared-kushner-set-up-shell-company-that-diverted-campaign-cash-to-trump-family-members/

    Those who sent money to the Trump campaign thinking that getting reelected would be their highest priority overlooked the fact that financing their lifestyle has been and always will be their highest priority. Trump will always betray you for personal gain.

    You’d think that might be a liability for those who pin their hopes on Trump for policy purposes, but hey sometimes he’ll forget to betray you, or not find it in his financial interest, so I guess some will think it’s a net good.

    Victor (a225f9)

  28. It seems clear that Hunter Biden was engaged by Burisma because his father was the vice-president. This sort of thing happens in private industry on an almost daily basis. Even Hunter Biden agrees that this was the case.

    Now that we can all agree on that, can we identify any specific actions where Hunter Biden used his influence in a way that was incompatible with our nation’s objectives?

    John B Boddie (d795fd)

  29. 29. John B Boddie (d795fd) — 12/18/2020 @ 12:28 pm

    It seems clear that Hunter Biden was engaged by Burisma because his father was the vice-president. This sort of thing happens in private industry on an almost daily basis. Even Hunter Biden agrees that this was the case.

    Now that we can all agree on that, can we identify any specific actions where Hunter Biden used his influence in a way that was incompatible with our nation’s objectives?

    Well, yes.

    First, he was on the board, and he would have servd as apliable diretor except his vote was maybe never necessary.

    Second, a possibility he might have put Burisma in contact with Delaware legal experts o corporate governance. Zlochevky needed to maintain control of Nurisma while disclaimingany wnership interest.

    Third, and most important, his being on the board created an appearance of corruption among Ukrainians and enabled representatives of Burisma to argue that Obama was on the take, like a Mexican president, and cause people to give up efforts to do anything about the company. George Kent and others were running into questions in 2015 about Hunter Biden being on the board when they tried to argue for reform proposals in Ukraine.

    Hunter Biden was there to give the impression that “the fix was in” even though it wasn’t..

    Hunter also got money from other countries. In China, the second time, in 2017, a since purged executive wanted to create an American connection that ran through him. He may have been defrauding Beijing about what was going on, because Hunter Biden had no influence to sell in 2017, certainly not worth the amount of money he was asking for. But the Chinese businessman could play it up.

    Sammy Finkelman (3915d0)

  30. Sammy, I don’t believe you should be so trusting of the computer guy’s story. Right now, his shop is shut down and he’s off the grid.

    Paul Montagu (77c694)

  31. @30 I don’t know anything about US law for international business. If those things occurred would any of them be illegal under US laws?

    Nic (896fdf)

  32. Lol lol lol

    A little late.

    harkin (8fadc8)

  33. @30 Sammy – I normally valuue the information you provide in your posts, but what you are saying is that a special counsel is justified because Huneter Biden

    “might have put Burisma in contact with Delaware legal experts”
    and
    “most important, his being on the board created an appearance of corruption among Ukrainians and enabled representatives of Burisma to argue that Obama was on the take”
    and
    he “was there to give the impression that “the fix was in” even though it wasn’t.”

    I don’t see where any of these rise to the level of jaywalking in terms of requiring a special counsel investigation.

    What am I missing here?

    John B Boddie (d795fd)

  34. Yes. This is a good idea.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  35. I agree on principle with this. However, when we find out how involved Joe was with all this he will be forced to resign then we will get President commie Kamala. But hey we’re going to get that anyways, right? So I say investigate!

    While we’re at it lets have an independent investigation into the election this year. The American people deserve to know that their votes were secure and accurate.

    ah-non-ee-mouse (690acb)

  36. It will be interesting to see which investigation came first – the FBI investigation or the IRS investigation. Sounds like Hunter has had tax problems for five years or so.

    Hoi Polloi (139bf6)


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