Did Hunter Biden Incriminate Himself In A Federal Crime?

Below is my column in The Hill on recent interviews by Hunter Biden, which appear to incriminate him in a possible federal felony. What is most striking from a journalistic perspective is that Biden’s book is a target rich environment for reporters with references to his alleged influence peddling, abandoned laptop, and drug abuses. Yet every major network and newspaper that interviewed Biden skillfully avoided any damaging questions.  It was no small feat to delicately avoid obvious problems in his account while seemingly interviewing him on those subjects. Reporters would raise the laptop of Burisma contract and then just shrug and move on without any serious followup. The glaring contradictions were left unaddressed like admitting that he was a crack addict during the time he was receiving massive contracts from foreign companies due to his unestablished “expertise” on energy issues. The conflicts with his own father’s accounts were entirely ignored. The protective press cocoon around Hunter and his father remained intact.

In the end, it is not the possible crime by Biden but the demonstrable collusion by the media that is more of the story from these interviews.

Here is the column:

News anchor Lester Holt recently declared that “it has become clearer that fairness is overrated,” adding that “the idea that we should always give two sides equal weight and merit does not reflect the world we find ourselves in.” Fortunately for Hunter Biden, that world is the one in which he lives and thrives. In interviews about his memoir “Beautiful Things,” some reporters either misstate the facts of his prior scandals or ignore certain leads, including potential evidence of a federal crime.

Facts, like fairness, appear overrated to much of the media today.

Hunter Biden spent the last few months evading questions, particularly during the 2020 election, when an abandoned laptop apparently belonging to him was found to have hundreds of embarrassing photos and emails showing drug abuse and raw influence-peddling. He reportedly is under investigation for possible federal tax violations linked to his foreign dealings.

Yet, one of the “beautiful things” in Hunter’s life is a media that imposed a pre-election blackout on the laptop story and continues to wrap him and his father in a protective press cocoon. That was evident in an interview by National Public Radio this week. The article by NPR senior editor and correspondent Ron Elving stated categorically: “The laptop story was discredited by U.S. intelligence and independent investigations by news organizations.” That is entirely and demonstrably false. Widely criticized for that false statement, NPR issued a tepid “correction” for the article that now states: Numerous news organizations cast doubt on the credibility of the laptop story.

There was, of course, an easy way to confirm the facts, rather than citing other news organizations which also failed to pursue the story. Elving and NPR were interviewing Hunter — so why not simply ask him if the laptop was his?

CBS News did ask that question and received a bizarre answer from Hunter that it might be his, or it might not be: “There could be a laptop out there that was stolen from me. It could be that I was hacked. It could be that it was the — that it was Russian intelligence.”

Or, perhaps, it could be alien technology from the Andromeda Galaxy.

Hunter is denying any knowledge of the laptop’s authenticity, roughly seven months after its existence was disclosed by the New York Post and even longer since it reportedly was seized by the FBI. During that time, the story presumably was researched by the Biden campaign and by Hunter’s own lawyers. U.S. intelligence concluded it was not Russian disinformation, even though Joe Biden claimed it was. His campaign brought forward 50 former national security officials to endorse this unsupported claim. The other parties on many of these emails have confirmed the authenticity and the FBi seized the laptop as evidence (which Hunter and his lawyers have been addressing in months of discussions with prosecutors). Yet, Hunter claims that he is entirely unsure if the laptop is his or possibly the work of Russian intelligence.

One might expect some effort to explore that issue with a followup question: “How can you remember details from your period of addiction going back 20 years, detailed in your book, but you cannot remember this laptop?” Or: “Even if you cannot remember your own laptop, you’ve seen the pictures and emails — are those authentic?”

Instead, the media showed the flag and then left the field.

The media did little better with the facts confirmed by Hunter. The media now has facts implicating Hunter not just in a federal crime but in the very crime the administration is making a priority as a policy matter. In his book and in interviews, Hunter says he continued to use drugs during campaign season. He wrote in 2019 that he was “done with the world of politics, of figuring out how to go out on the campaign trail with dad, if it came to that, as I would have in any other election year. I was a crack addict and that was that.”

Yet reporters appear to forget that basic journalism means asking about ramifications for his most recent scandal, including his possible action of a federal gun offense. Many of these are the very same reporters or news outlets that ran speculations about crimes allegedly committed by the family of Donald Trump. His latest scandal involves a missing gun and raises the issue of drug use and a possible felony. The Secret Service is said to have intervened in the incident, though it denies that, after a gun was thrown into a trash bin in Wilmington by Hallie Biden, widow of the deceased brother of Hunter. At the time, she was in a relationship with Hunter and had feared what he might do with the gun.

To get the revolver back, Biden answered “no” on the firearms transaction record that asked whether he was an “unlawful user of, or addicted to” a narcotic drug or any other controlled substance. Lying on that federal form can lead to prosecution under several provisions. The United States code makes it a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison to “make any false or fictitious oral or written statement” to obtain firearms. Although prosecutions are rare, the commission of a possible felony by the son of a president is presumably news, especially when that president is voicing the need to tighten and enforce our gun control laws.

Yet none of this matters when you are in the business of shaping rather than reporting news. Even a leading journalism professor with Stanford University has declared that journalism now needs to “free itself from this notion of objectivity to develop a sense of social justice.” Once free from notions of fairness or objectivity, reporters are at liberty to ignore news in favor of a narrative. Things can be true but misleading.

As Lester Holt said in receiving the Edward R. Murrow Award for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism, giving “two sides equal weight and merit does not reflect” today’s world — a gravity-free media world in which allegations of gun offenses, influence-peddling and other abuses hold little weight.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can find his updates online @JonathanTurley.

98 thoughts on “Did Hunter Biden Incriminate Himself In A Federal Crime?”

  1. The Drill SGT at 1:52. Hunter purchased the gun on October 12, 2018. The question is, had Hunter been using an addictive substance prior to the date when he filled out the form required for the purchase is a firearm? https://news.yahoo.com/hunter-biden-reportedly-violated-federal-152649044.html. Hunter entered his first rehab in 2023. https://www.thecartertreatmentcenter.com/blog/2021/february/hunter-biden-to-share-story-of-addiction-recover/. Given this timeline there is no question that he lied on the firearm purchase questionnaire. Lying on this form is a felony

  2. Fairness IS considered overrated (describing a fact about today’s media) – but it should be reinstalled.

    In the meantime, we all know, what to expect from NYT/WaPo/CNN/M$NBC &c. and on the other side Fox/NewsMaxx/K-VON and, yes, Jonathan Turley.

    So, we just take in OUR dose of “news&facts”, the other side does the same, on the other side – and civil war is ensuing, for the moment mostly via commentaries, “Anti”Fa is an exception.”May you live in interesting times” is the well-known Chinese curse. I guess, we are heading towards.

  3. With your nice little pen you filled in the oval for the party whose media spokesman tells us that fairness is no longer of any importance. I know that you were hoping for a moderate voice to calm the tempest but as you must be able to now see the storm has just begun. The mighty Zeus and his handmaiden Thormala came before you and promised fair weather but in their nature they can not help but build the broiling of the heavens. When navigating a vessel even seasoned Captains can make mistakes that put the ship in danger. Fear not you Captains of the nation. The course can be adjusted with the circling of your pens to find calmer waters in 2022.

  4. Lester Holt tells us that fairness is overrated. Do you want your children to live in a nation where fairness is overrated? When fairness is overrated it follows that a court of law doesn’t have to allow for a fair trial. Why bother with a trial at all. Just throw the people you disagree with in the Gulag and be done with it. Lester says, we already know these people are bad so to save the world we must destroy them. If we have to misquote and even create stories to stop our enemies you must understand that we do it for the glory of the cause. What leaders in history can you think of who justified their actions through disregard for fairness and morality in creating their reasoning that allowed them to shoot people in the back of the head? Posters here say Trump did this and Trump did that and they miss the tell tale signs of Fascist thought in front of their noses. They see no danger in our award winning journalists throwing the concept of fairness onto a pile of burning books. When the shooting started they didn’t spare the children. The howling in protest on this forum should be deafening but instead we can not even hear a leaf hit the ground.

  5. “Will anyone in the media – including many purported intelligence experts – who claimed this story was a Russian disinformation plot or a fantasy invented by right wing lunatics suffer any professional consequences for making what is now such an obviously false claim in service of partisan interest?

    We aren’t just talking about the likes of Michael McFaul, Adam Schiff, and the cast of Morning Joe, people no one should take seriously at this point. Former CIA heads John Brennan, Leon Panetta, Michael Hayden, John McLaughlin and Michael Morell all signed on to the letter falsely declaring the story to be Russian disinformation. Will any of them even be asked about that? Why should we take anything they say seriously ever again when they were so obviously lying for partisan reasons? And what will happen when the same crew, together part of a dishonest partisan smear of the New York Post about a story of enormous political import, comes to us to advocate for their next big foreign policy push?

    I think we all know what will happen. The gaslighting will continue, because that’s the only play they have.”


  6. If Hunter Biden hasn’t learned this yet I offer this to him and anyone who may need this missive:

    Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt. — A. Lincoln.

  7. Will the long arm of the law find its way to charge Hunter Biden? I do not think that will happen, no matter what the provable quilt may be. The continued encircling of the protected class of denizen of Washington DC and various favored groups is causing a deleterious drift away from law and order. The mantra “There are laws for thee, but not for me” seems to be common place. The spring and summer of 2020 are examples of selective enforcement of the law, groups of protestors continually tried to storm and burn various Court Houses, storm the White House, deface and destroy monuments, burn church’s, forcibly take quarters within cities (chop zones), riot, burn police buildings, assault local and federal law enforcement injuring many, with no action taken by the authorities, but yet, when the Capital was temporarily occupied by protestors, the protestors were/are charged with sedition. This menacing selective enforcement of laws towards certain groups of citizens is causing a breakdown of morals, disrespect for law and order and a dispirited public. This applies to all groups that may be targets of the selective enforcement. You may demur these statements, but don’t be impervious, as you may be the next target.

  8. “Did Hunter Biden Incriminate Himself In A Federal Crime?”

    – Professor Turley

    Well, duuuuuh!!!

    Ukraine was a he–hole of corruption. The Biden Crime Family peddled influence to gangsters. Hunter Biden, having no portfolio, acumen or experience in the industry, was ludicrously gifted a seat on the Board of Burisma for ridiculous amounts of money-for-nothing. Those funds were laundered and redistributed among the Biden Crime Family.

    I’m gonna take a wild guess that those developments constituted crimes.

    What’s a little perjury?

    Once Biden is gone, we get to focus on the pot-smoking, me-too-ho-fo-mo, beneficiary of Willy Brown and parasitic communist dunce from Oakland.

  9. Most of the media have aligned with the Democrat Party to the point that they are pure propaganda. It’s like Single Party State propaganda, but outsourced to private companies.

    While there are certainly conservative and Republican news sources, there is an unholy alliance of social media platforms, Google, Youtube, Hollywood, K-grad school, many government entities, and almost all of the media colluding together to create a Single Democrat Party propaganda. With a Democrat White House and Congress, the scope for abuse is tremendous.

    There should always be journalists speaking truth to power, and getting that message out to the American people. Democrats are using their conglomerate to block, censor, and interfere with that messaging. “Get your own social media” became the sneering response to conservatives upset with social media censorship. But when uncensored Parler was created, Democrat Big Tech shut their servers down.

    This is one of the reasons why the few conservative media sources are so critical. There have to be someone pushing against the monolithic Democrat propaganda. How else will anyone hear an opposing view or facts that undercut the official Democrat story?

    Best wishes and God speed to growing alternative movie, social media, and search platforms.

    There are now some options, and the list is growing:
    – Dailywire has gotten into the movie business.
    – Locals.com
    – Duckduckgo does not track your searches and share it with Facebook or advertisers.
    – Parler is still fighting
    – The Epoch Times is a growing opposition to the CCP

    We need a digital public square that operates like a telephone. We don’t have phone operators monitoring our conversations and pulling our phone line if they don’t like what we say. We need uncensored digital spaces where people can say anything that’s legal to say in public.

    1. You are so annoying-more of your Democrat conspiracy theories. We know–you hate Democrats. First of all, you are not a conservative. You are a gullible. You watch Fox and believe everything they tell you, especially the part about other news media not being honest or reliable. CBS, NBC, ABC, MSNBC, CNN, none of these tell watchers not to trust or believe what other media have to say. That’s what Fox, OAN, News Max and Breitbart do. They are not conservative, either–they are part of the cult of Trump. They preach all about how awful Democrats are, that Democrats control media, and you buy it. You ignore all of the lying done by Republicans. There was no widespread election fraud, and no need for laws restricting the right to vote. The election was not stolen–Trump lost as he was predicted to do. No one is censoring Republicans–they just lie all of the time and have nothing to offer the American people. They have been consistently losing ground in America because they are nothing but a cult of personality surrounding Trump. They have no cogent message, other than: hating Biden, Biden and his family are evil, Biden is senile, everything good that happens was really done by Trump, media lie about Trump, the election was stolen…the list goes on. It’s an intellectually dishonest position. Their message is not expressing an opposing view at all–it’s attack, attack, attack Democrats–refuse to cooperate, even with something as popular as the COVID relief bill. The days of intellectual discussions have been over for a long time. True conservatives are people like Bill Kristol and George F. Will, plus others involved in The Lincoln Project. They hate the cult of Trump, too.

      1. Calm down… Blue Anon, the potato head Brian at CNN and Congressional Democrats in the House have asked verbally and in writing if the major Cable providers to remove Fox as a channel.
        Democrat Party are Fascist Marxist’s that target dumb and low information midwits like yourself for votes coupled with there Election Fraud in 6 cities and states to steal the Election.

      2. Natacha writes “Biden and his family are evil, Biden is senile, everything good that happens was really done by Trump, media lie about Trump, the election was stolen…”

        Agreed. All true.

        “The Lincoln Project”???!!! The pedo protecting project? Sheesh. Bill Kristol is done. George Will is over. Lincoln Project are done and a bunch of sickos.

        All Democrats do is lie and deceive the American people in collusion with their Fake News Propaganda Presstitutes.

      3. “Biden is senile”

        Wrong again, Natacha.

        Joe Biden has Dementia. He won’t be in office by the end of Summer.

        Then you’ll have the BJ specialist from California in the Oval Office.

      4. Natacha says, that CBS, NBC, ABC, MSNBC, and CNN do not tell people to not trust other news outlets. Why would these outlets just stop at the issue of trust when they can call for the complete shutdown of news agencies that don’t tell the stories exactly as they have written them? Natacha wouldn’t want to take into account the blocking of the New Your Post from social media or the calling for burning the Republican Party to the ground by a columnist in the New York Times. They are actually saying that we can not trust the other networks so we should eliminate their free speech, shut them down
        entirely and burn them to the ground. Natacha should present evidence of Fox or other networks making similar statements. We should definitely trust Lester Holt and Natacha when they tell us that fairness is no longer to be applied. Excuse me if I don’t trust them with a box of matches.

      5. And now for some facts??? Is there or not that notebook, those videos/photos, was Hunter B. on Burisma’s council, is Burisma a crook company (even before HB), do the (left) media avoid these topics, would these topics be informative to the US public in general? If you make a straight fly of “No”s, you are fine, consistency-wise – reality though is different

        DEMs are in essence Marxists, these lie for a living, leftist media are part of that complex, and there is not much more to say. Go Venezuela to check for the future of a DEM-ruled US. Texas will secede.

  10. Hundreds of thousands of people have seen the pics of Hunter Biden having sex with his 14 year old niece that were on his laptop.

    For that act alone, he should be prosecuted.

    1. No hundreds of thousands of people have not seen such pictures. You are thinking of Matt Gaetz.

      1. There are none so blind as those who voluntarily keep their eyes shut. Out something like that.

      2. No hundreds of thousands of people have not seen such pictures. You are thinking of Matt Gaetz.

        Despite the obvious, I have no way of knowing first first sentence, it’s reasonable to believe Congressman Gaetz has seen those pictures on Hunter Biden’s laptop, so I will give you that. It’s also reasonable to believe hundreds of thousands have as well. By the way, is your president’s point person on the border crisis going to QPQ President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, like Biden did as the point person for Ukraine?

      3. “No hundreds of thousands of people have not seen such pictures”

        You’re actually right. By now it is millions of people who have seen the pics of Hunter Biden committing incest and pedophilia with his 14 year old niece.

        But your attempt at using the lefts favorite term “whataboutism” is duly noted.

        BTW, if Gaetz is guilty of having sex with a minor, then he should also be prosecuted.

  11. Is influence peddling by a President’s family members inappropriate now that Trump is out of office? Because the whole Trump Organization and Ivanka, and Jared, Inc. business model was influence peddling, and they made many many times the money Hunter did at it.

    1. Is influence peddling by a President’s family members inappropriate now that Trump is out of office?

      Nope. It’s always inappropriate. Now, after 4+ years of looking under every stone and alleging every imaginable crime, what specifically are you alleging President Trump, the Trump Organization and the President’s children did that was somehow missed by the FBI/DoJ? When you figure that out, then cite the evidence that was overlooked. Lastly, and this should be the easy one, how much did the Trump clan make off of this alleged influence peddling and how much did the Biden clan make?

      1. Millions of dollars in hotel stays at Trump properties including one near the White House paid for by businesses and foreign government trying to curry favor with the Trump administration.

        Ivanka Trump getting Chinese patents while meeting with Chinese officials on an official government trip.

        Jared getting several hundreds of millions from the Qatar government trying to curry favor with the Trump administration to build one of his properties.

        Just a few of the influence peddling schemes by Trump.

        1. Those were missed by the FBI/DOJ? Or did you not bother checking on it? Since you said, they made many many times the money Hunter did at it., how much did the Trump clan make and how much did the Biden clan make?

        2. Huya: all of those enterprises predate President Trump filing papers to run for President. Trump renovated the historic DC postoffice into luxury hotel suites and rooms. All at a huge risk.
          Ivanka had pending patents in China that pre date President Trump filing papers to run for President.
          Jared is an international businessman continuing his normal business practice.

          Put all of that up against Hunter and Joes brother. Joe’s brother is famous for winning govt contracts for services he has never before engaged in

      2. Hey don’t forget the Clinton influence-peddling organization. Many times what Trump or Biden brought in.

    2. “they made many many times the money Hunter did at it.”

      So, you are simultaneously admitting that Hunter Biden and his father made money from their well documented influence peddling, while simultaneously making an accusation without presenting any evidence.

      You’re 0 for 2, Huya. Put down the Bong, and step away from the computer.

  12. I’d be interested to know whether any major media outlets have publicly endorsed the idea of that Stanford professor — that journalism should “free itself from this notion of objectivity to develop a sense of social justice.” It seems obvious that many agree with that notion, but I wonder whether we’ve reached a point where they can say so openly. I also wonder how many people would continue to trust them and keep subscribing in that event. Doesn’t say much for us as a species that this is an open question.

  13. “To get the revolver back, Biden answered “no” on the firearms transaction record that asked whether he was an “unlawful user of, or addicted to” a narcotic drug or any other controlled substance.”

    good column, but this is in error.

    I think the transaction record was the one to purchase the gun. Thus, as reported, it was held by the FFL (e.g. the gun store).

    Later the gun was at a police station. I have not seen reporting that it was picked up, but a transaction record would not be signed for the police. They are used by FFLs only and promulgated by ATF.

    1. The Drill SGT at 1:52. Hunter purchased the gun on October 12, 2018. The question is, had Hunter been using an addictive substance prior to the date when he filled out the form required for the purchase is a firearm? https://news.yahoo.com/hunter-biden-reportedly-violated-federal-152649044.html. Hunter entered his first rehab in 2023. https://www.thecartertreatmentcenter.com/blog/2021/february/hunter-biden-to-share-story-of-addiction-recover/. Given this timeline there is no question that he lied on the firearm purchase questionnaire. Doing so is a felony.

      1. Correction. Hunter entered his first rehab in 2003. Fifteen years before he filled out the application stating that he had never used an addictive substance. When the wife calls you to breakfast you better hit post comment real quick if you know what’s good for ya.

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