The case against Hunter Biden: Republicans dissatisfied because it isn't political — it's personal

From impeachment to death threats, it's all serving the purpose of hurting Joe Biden personally

By Heather Digby Parton


Published September 15, 2023 9:19AM (EDT)

United States President Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden, exits in J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building in Delaware, United States on July 26, 2023. (Celal Gunes/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
United States President Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden, exits in J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building in Delaware, United States on July 26, 2023. (Celal Gunes/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

On Thursday, NBC News reported that the FBI has created a stand-alone unit to investigate all the threats being made against FBI agents and federal prosecutors investigating Hunter Biden. You will be forgiven for thinking that this must mean there has been a spate of left-wing terrorism we haven't heard about but, in fact, the threats are coming from right-wingers who are convinced that these federal officials have been too soft on the younger Biden. Apparently, there has been "a dramatic uptick in threats against FBI agents that has coincided with attacks on the FBI and the Justice Department by congressional Republicans and former President Donald Trump." 

And let's not forget the right-wing media which has been hammering this for months, and in the process encouraging their febrile audience to believe that everything coming out of the FBI and the Justice Department is being manipulated by the White House and the career FBI officials and prosecutors are all Democratic operatives. It is the only way they can explain the fact that their Dear Leader, Donald Trump, has been credibly accused of more crimes, corruption and malfeasance than any president in American history. If they were to admit that all these law enforcement personnel and judicial officers have had ample reason to believe that Trump is guilty, they would have to admit that they are blithering fools. 

You would think that they would feel just a bit chagrined however, to learn yesterday that Hunter Biden has now been indicted on three federal felony charges for lying on a form to obtain a gun and is on the verge of going to trial to potentially face many years in prison if he is convicted. After all, they have been demanding that Hunter Biden be charged with a crime and now he has been. But no. It's not good enough. Not good enough at all. Let's just say that this news is unlikely to result in fewer threats against the FBI and the prosecutors. Let's hope they are all well protected.

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House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer said that it's a "small start" but is fit to be tied that they've only charged a crime that no one can say had anything to do with Joe Biden. Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz quipped, "Getting Hunter Biden on the gun charge is like getting Jeffrey Dahmer on littering." They want special counsel David Weiss to indict Hunter Biden on all the crimes they've fabricated in their fever dreams, particularly the fantasies about President Joe Biden running an international influence peddling operation and human trafficking ring.

The sad truth of the matter is that in this case there really is a two-tiered system: Hunter Biden's alleged crimes would never be prosecuted if he weren't the president's son.

It doesn't appear that Weiss is going to do that, largely because there is no evidence of any such thing. But most legal observers believe that the special counsel may be on the verge of indicting Hunter Biden on the tax charges he previously pleaded guilty to, in which he admitted that he had filed his returns late for two years. (He has paid them in full.) And that too will leave the right-wingers unsatisfied. They suspect that Hunter Biden's taxes are a treasure trove of evidence that he and his supposedly senile father are criminal masterminds if only someone would look hard enough to find it.

In other words, their preposterous crusade to have Hunter Biden and Joe Biden put behind bars in order to prove that Donald Trump is an innocent man isn't going away. 

The sad truth of the matter is that in this case there really is a two-tiered system: Hunter Biden's alleged crimes would never be prosecuted if he weren't the president's son. Filing taxes late in and of itself is usually a civil crime, as demonstrated by the Justice Department's treatment of Trump crony Roger Stone. And virtually no one with a clean criminal record who never even shot the gun or used it in the commission of a crime (he only had it for about 11 days) would ever see the inside of a courtroom. According to the New York Times, even Weiss confided that no other American would not be prosecuted on the evidence against Hunter.

Mr. Weiss told an associate that he preferred not to bring any charges, even misdemeanors, against Mr. Biden because the average American would not be prosecuted for similar offenses. (A senior law enforcement official forcefully denied the account.)

But then the politics kicked in:

Earlier this year, The Times found, Mr. Weiss appeared willing to forgo any prosecution of Mr. Biden at all, and his office came close to agreeing to end the investigation without requiring a guilty plea on any charges. But the correspondence reveals that his position, relayed through his staff, changed in the spring, around the time a pair of I.R.S. officials on the case accused the Justice Department of hamstringing the investigation. Mr. Weiss suddenly demanded that Mr. Biden plead guilty to committing tax offenses.

Ah yes, the vaunted whistleblowers who claim that the Justice Department stopped them from getting at the truth about Joe and Hunter's suspected nefarious criminal tax crimes. This claim has been denied by the DOJ, Weiss and others who were present at the meetings the whistleblowers say proved their allegations. 

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Despite the political pressure to throw the book at Biden, Weiss' office didn't really have the goods so they settled on a plea deal that blew up in court on the day it was to be settled. That agreement had Biden pleading guilty to two misdemeanor tax charges (those late filings) and agreeing to a so-called "diversion" program in which he agreed to never try to purchase a gun again and would not use any controlled substance or drink alcohol for two years. But the judge called into question the constitutionality of the diversion terms and it also became clear that while Biden's lawyers had logically assumed that this agreement represented the conclusion of the case, the prosecution had decided they weren't closing it after all. 

So now, irony of ironies, Hunter Biden is facing a felony gun charge in federal court and right-wingers who insist that the right to bear arms is so unfettered that even terrorists can't be denied their constitutional right to own them are cheering it on. 

As MSNBC's Chris Hayes likes to say, after seeing these charges he's decided not to vote for Hunter Biden for president or any other office — which is exactly the point. Hunter Biden is a messed up man who ran a sleazy business in which he traded on his daddy's name, like generations of offspring of powerful men. But he is not running for anything so there's really no need for all this hype. And according to a 538 analysis of the polling, all the nervousness that it's going to hurt the president politically is overblown. Mainly it's serving the purpose of hurting Joe Biden personally which is part of the plan.

Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene said the other day that she wants to make the impeachment inquiry "long and excruciatingly painful for Joe Biden" so I'm sure nothing makes her and her fellow GOP sadists happier than for his troubled surviving son to be put through the legal wringer. If they could make it bad enough for Hunter to crack under pressure and lose his sobriety, it would make their year. It doesn't even have to have any political purpose. They just want to see Joe Biden suffer. 

By Heather Digby Parton

Heather Digby Parton, also known as "Digby," is a contributing writer to Salon. She was the winner of the 2014 Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism.

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