Biden’s ‘Absolute’ Defense of Hunter Leaves Media and Justice Department in a Muddle

Below is my column in The Hill on President Joe Biden doubling down on his absolute defense of his son Hunter Biden. The comments only magnify the concerns over Attorney General Merrick Garland refusing to appoint a special counsel despite the clear basis for such an appointment.  It is clear that the President “absolutely” stands by his son and that the media absolutely stands by the President. The question is whether Garland will stand by justice and appoint a special counsel.

Here is the column:

“We absolutely stand by the president’s comment.” With those words, White House communications director Kate Bedingfield reaffirmed that President Biden maintains his son Hunter Biden did “nothing [that] was unethical” and never “made money” in China.

Those claims appear demonstrably false — and they make the positions of both the media and Attorney General Merrick Garland absolutely untenable.

For the media, the ongoing investigation of Hunter Biden by U.S. Attorney David Weiss in Delaware has presented a growing danger of self-indictment over its prior coverage (or noncoverage). Weiss has called a long line of witnesses before a grand jury, and there is growing expectation of criminal charges against Hunter Biden.

Nothing concentrates the mind as much as a looming indictment.

Thus, The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and other media faced the embarrassing prospect of an indictment based on a story they previously suggested was either a nonstory or Russian disinformation. Suddenly, in recent days, they all rushed to declare the story legitimate, 18 months after the New York Post reported it in October 2020.

What quickly emerged, though, was a new narrative: None of this implicates President Biden. On CNN, White House correspondent John Harwood declared, “There is zero evidence that Vice President Biden, or President Biden, has done anything wrong in connection with what Hunter Biden has done.” Anchor Brianna Keilar then added for emphasis that Harwood was making “an important distinction.”

It was important, but not because it was true. While many media figures now willingly admit the legitimacy of Hunter Biden’s abandoned-laptop story, they are avoiding what the emails found on that laptop actually contain. Hundreds of emails appear to detail a multimillion-dollar influence-peddling enterprise by the Biden family, including Hunter Biden and his uncle James Biden.

Influence peddling has long been the way Washington’s elite enriches itself. This common source of political corruption involves the relatives of powerful government figures who shake down corporations or countries for access and influence.

The Bidens would seem to be standouts in this common practice, engaging in a virtual family business. James Biden has been accused of marketing his connection to his brother. And in the emails discovered on his abandoned laptop, Hunter Biden practically sold timeshares of his father by dangling meetings and dinners for investors.

The key in any influence peddling scheme is to protect the principal. People apparently were told to avoid directly referring to President Biden. In one email, Tony Bobulinski, then a business partner of Hunter’s, was instructed by Biden associate James Gilliar not to speak of the former veep’s connection to any transactions: “Don’t mention Joe being involved, it’s only when u [sic] are face to face, I know u [sic] know that but they are paranoid.”

Instead, the emails apparently refer to President Biden with code names such as “Celtic” or “the big guy.” In one, “the big guy” is discussed as possibly receiving a 10 percent cut on a deal with a Chinese energy firm; other emails reportedly refer to Hunter Biden paying portions of his father’s expenses and taxes.

Despite President Biden’s repeated claims he knew nothing about these dealings, Bobulinski has said he personally met with the senior Biden to discuss Hunter Biden’s business activities. Bobulinski had been selected by the family to handle these deals.

As vice president, Joe Biden flew to China on Air Force Two with Hunter Biden, who arranged for his father to meet some of his business interests. Hunter Biden’s financial interest in a Chinese-backed investment firm, BHR Partners, was registered within weeks of that 2013 trip. Yet, President Biden repeatedly insisted that he never discussed such dealings with his son, a claim Hunter Biden has contradicted.

There are emails of Ukrainian and other foreign clients thanking Hunter Biden for arranging meetings with his father. There are photos from dinners and meetings that tie President Biden to these figures, including a 2015 dinner with a group of Hunter Biden’s Russian and Kazakh clients.

It is important to note that when these foreign interests were clamoring to give Hunter Biden millions of dollars, he was, by his own admission, a hopeless addict. In his 2021 memoir, Hunter Biden admits he was “drinking a quart of vodka a day” and “smoking crack around the clock,” up until his father’s 2020 presidential campaign began. So why would Russian, Chinese and other foreign figures give Hunter Biden all of this money, if not to influence his father?

The new narrative suggests that, while Hunter Biden maintained one of the largest influence-peddling schemes in recent history, it did not involve the object of that scheme — his father.

Even if President Biden was not influenced by all of this, it’s hard to believe he didn’t know his son was selling access. In his book, Hunter Biden claims his father repeatedly intervened due to his addictions — and yet we are to believe that Joe Biden did not express curiosity about how his addicted son was raking in millions from foreign sources?

The point is that President Biden really did not have to ask: Hunter Biden had nothing to sell but influence. All President Biden had to do to facilitate such schemes was to be accessible — to allow his family to deliver face-to-face meetings and photo ops.

And that brings us to the untenable position of Garland.

It is hard to imagine a stronger case for a special counsel. Any effort to investigate Hunter Biden’s dealings will lead investigators to encounter repeated references to the president and how he may have benefited from those schemes. At the same time, the president is “absolutely” standing by his denial that his son did anything wrong or made any money from China.

The White House statement this week serves as a reminder to investigators that the president is heavily invested in this narrative and his denial of now-established facts.

This is not to say that Weiss, the U.S. Attorney investigating Hunter Biden, will not be independent in his efforts. However, the concern is the appearance of how a conflict might affect the investigation or limit the scope of any potential charges. Moreover, absent a special counsel, there is unlikely to be a report on these apparent influence peddling schemes.

Garland pledged to protect the Justice Department from such conflicts and to avoid even the appearance of political influence. He now has a president stating that alleged wrongdoing by his son is “absolutely” untrue, including dealings possibly impacting the president personally and financially. If Garland declines to appoint a special counsel, he will absolutely fail on his pledge.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

226 thoughts on “Biden’s ‘Absolute’ Defense of Hunter Leaves Media and Justice Department in a Muddle”

  1. Anon @11:12

    Much like the Clinton Global Initiative several years ago, and likely for similar reasons.

  2. Remember when Democrats claimed Trump violated the Emoluments Clause because foreign nationals paid the going rate to stay in a hotel room at one of his properties? How droll.

      1. If that is what you are focused on, i would say you missed the point. Biden was involved in far more than a hotel or selling steaks or even running an academy. You are an idiot.

      2. Anonymous, so Covid had nothing to do with the business of Trumps hotel falling off? What mental process brings you to your conclusions. I’ve figured it out. Conclusion first then rap it around your preconceived notions. What is most amazing is you think that no one can see how your mental process works. I don’t mind. You do more to hurt the cause than to help it. For your contribution I am eternally grateful.

        1. READERS BEWARE:

          James and Thinkthrough are both the Blog Stooge. He loves to attack with multiple puppets.

          1. From Anonymous, same answer different day. She calls a name but she never answers a post. The more that she responds the same way the more I am convinced that she’s fourteen years old. No offense to fourteen year olds.

  3. OT, it seems the FEC fine against Clinton and the DNC for the Steele dossier is mostly due to a clerical issue. Trump is likewise supposed to be fined for doing the same thing except it’s much worse.

    “ By coincidence, the same day the Clinton news broke, a watchdog group sued the FEC for taking no action on its complaint alleging that Trump’s 2020 campaign committed the exact same clerical violation. In both cases, the campaigns allegedly reported payments to a pass-through that actually went to another entity, concealing the money’s true recipient and purpose from the public.

    But there’s a big difference. The alleged Clinton and DNC shell payments totaled less than a million dollars, combined. The Trump campaign’s arrangement allegedly concealed nearly $800 million.”

    Looks like Turley will conveniently overlook this as usual. Republican FEC commission members are very averse to anything Trump-related.

    1. “OT, it seems the FEC fine against Clinton and the DNC for the Steele dossier is mostly due to a clerical issue.”

      This interpretation of events demonstrates an individual who cannot pay attention to the facts. It is fit only for those with no knowledge of the subject matter. Perhaps what he says would be believed by those in third-world nations without access to information.

    2. Svelaz,

      It is bad enough that you quote the tabloid “The Daily Beast” but it is even worse that you mischaracterize what your own source wrote.

      You said; “ Republican FEC commission members are very averse to anything Trump-related.”

      TDB said; “ While it’s inescapable that the three Republican commissioners are far more averse to action than the Democrats, there’s debate over whether the rift is political or purely ideological. The conservatives may not specifically be in the bag for their own party, some observers argue—just less inclined to enforcement generally.

      However, the votes in the Clinton case were 4-2, with one Republican joining the FEC’s two Democrats and one independent in ruling against the campaign and DNC. (In a previous case, all three Republican commissioners voted not to take action against Clinton.)”

    3. Hhaha… did you read any of the complaints!

      One was becasue a Trump ad appered when a KAREN searched for Former VP Biden!

      A Crime of the highest order??? NOT

      another one was about a $50…thats correct $ Five-Zero …REALLY!!!!

      Yea, Real Big differnce between the 2 complaints! Oh, another was hiring pratctices!

      But yea, lets go with that and not, that a campaign used foreign actors to take out a potential Prrsident and then carried it forward to take out the Actual President, which in its simplest form is Treason!

  4. I know this is off topic, but most of the last 100 comments are off topic.

    Democrats are poised to vote for a Supreme Court Justice, with no vacant seat. I blame Republicans for not pointing out this fact.

    IF KJB is affirmed by Senate vote, does it all have to happen again, when/if a seat becomes vacant?

    1. Iowan2, justice Breyer retires at the end of the Supreme Court’s current term. Voting for Jackson before Breyer leaves don’t make it an issue. Jackson officially goes to work when Breyer leaves.

      Essentially a replacement is readily available when Breyer leaves. There’s no legal or procedural issue here.

      1. So so if a Republican President with a Majority Senate voted on a SCOTUS justice, that Justice just takes the first available vacancy. Good to know

    2. If she is confirmed, Breyer will step down at the end of the current Congressional term so she can serve. His retirement is contingent upon a replacement being named. If she isn’t confirmed, then he may not retire right away. It’s lunacy that he can hold the seat hostage like that, but he’s a leftist. That kind of thing is what they do.

    3. Merrick’s problem should be that since JOE’s “promise that the decision to investigate Hunter is totally
      up to the D.O.J.” Because, when he doesn’t, in light of the evidence, he, Merrick Garland, will be
      guilty of obstruction of justice

  5. In short, the real scandal is that academics, lawyers, journalists, pundits, politicians, foreign leaders, and others who have power and influence pretend that Biden is okay when he is so clearly is not . . . .

  6. “So off went the Emperor in procession under his splendid canopy. Everyone in the streets and the windows said, “Oh, how fine are the Emperor’s new clothes! Don’t they fit him to perfection? And see his long train!” Nobody would confess that he couldn’t see anything, for that would prove him either unfit for his position, or a fool. No costume the Emperor had worn before was ever such a complete success.

    “But he hasn’t got anything on,” a little child said.

    “Did you ever hear such innocent prattle?” said its father. And one person whispered to another what the child had said, “He hasn’t anything on. A child says he hasn’t anything on.”

    “But he hasn’t got anything on!” the whole town cried out at last.

    The Emperor shivered, for he suspected they were right. But he thought, “This procession has got to go on.” So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn’t there at all.”

    The Emperor’s New Clothes— Hans Christian Andersen

  7. JT wants Garland to appoint a special counsel to investigate Hunter and Tribe wants Garland to appoint a special counsel to investigate Trump and so far he has not done so in either case. As Garland has integrity, character, and experience, I am confident that he will thoroughly consider these issues and take appropriate action under the law.

      1. I guess my question is to Tribe. Why would Tribe think a special counsel should be appointed. Unless Tribe is the idiot and doesn’t understand the reason for a Special counsel?

  8. Anon @6:29

    That the Rehoboth house? It was an existing house that they bought, not one that they had built. But, it is not like honest/accurate use of language has ever been one of Joe’s strong suits, even when he had something that imitated a brain.

    They’ve dumped a bundle into the Wilmington house. Recent aerial shots of that compared to what it was when they bought it show a hugely expanded footprint. That would seem to be the more likely target to have sopped up a book advance and more.

    Who was the politician a decade or more ago who got worked over for getting work done on his house that he was never billed for, or that others paid for? Ted Stevens maybe?

    Seems the whole Biden family has earned the opportunity to have their bank accounts and tax returns reconciled and home purchases, mortgages, as well as building permits, inspections and receipts. By Joe’s own proposed reporting standard they had more than $600 a year passing through those accounts. Lead by example Joe, show the country how wonderfully this works for you. Did they have honest reported revenues to cover bank deposits and pay all expenses? Oh, and where is Hunter getting the $20k a month, almost a quarter million a year, for the place he’s living in Malibou? Follow the money.

    More oh, where’s Hunter’s felony indictment for fraudulently filing the ATF form 4473 swearing he was not a drug user when he bought the revolver? Why did he feel so threatened that he needed a gun? Joe’s big on gun control, you’d think he would applaud busting illegal gun purchasers. Apparently he does not want to close that “loophole”. He was certainly ready to punish the mounted Border Patrol guys before there had been so much as a hearing.

    1. Exactly right on every point. Joe Biden and his family have been operating in Delaware like a mafia family for decades. Then they upped their family corruption racket when Joey got put in the VP slot to be Obama’s useful idiot.

      Joe Biden belongs in prison along with his disgusting, greedy, sleezy, sick corrupt family of grifters.

    2. Was it Joe’s brother that owned the island a short submarine hop away from Epstein’s island?

  9. Mittens is voting for Judge Jackson. Surprise, surprise. Romney opposed KBJ’s nomination to a lower federal court less than a year ago, but now he’s voting for her? What changed Mitt, you unprincipled tool?

    ‘I’ve seen plenty of senators vote to confirm at the lower court level and then decide the judge isn’t qualified for a higher court. I’ve never actually seen a senator decide a nominee wasn’t qualified for a circuit court and then decide they’re DEFINITELY qualified for SCOTUS.’ ~rachel bovard

    Is there a more useless, carpetbagging politician than Mittens Romney?

    Utah needs to kick Romney to the curb ASAP.

    1. “Romney opposed KBJ’s nomination to a lower federal court less than a year ago, which means he didn’t decide to support her for SCOTUS until *after* he learned of her horrifying history of going easy on child molesters and pedophiles.” – Sean Davis

  10. From The Washington Post. The Hunter Biden story is an opportunity for a reckoning,” and discusses what the press should learn from the saga surrounding Hunter Biden’s laptop. In particular, the article referenced why news outlets like themselves are now authenticating thousands of emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop when the emails were first reported in 2020. Did you get that. The Washington Post are authenticating thousands of emails from Hunter Bidens’ laptop. They followed it up with an apology for what they did to the nation. I’m just kidding about that last part.

  11. The left and President Biden want to have LGBTQ++++++ education for seven year olds

    We don’t need no education
    We don’t need no thought control
    No dark sarcasm in the classroom
    Teacher, leave them kids alone

    All in all it’s just another brick in the wall
    All in all your just another brick in the wall

    We don’t need no education
    We don’t need no thought control
    No dark sarcasm in the classroom
    Teachers, leave them kids alone
    Hey, teachers, leave them kids alone.

    “Another brick in the wall”. performed by Pink Floyd

    This song was about religion being taught in the schools. At the time I agreed that religion should not be taught in the public schools. I now believe that the religions of LGBTQ+++++ and CRT are being taught in our public schools. I didn’t like it then and I don’t like it now.

  12. Every time is hear hunters name the old credence Clearwater song plays in my head. Fortunate son.

    1. Wasn’t Hunter supposed to be the spare for the heir? The designated heir had the family’s misfortune of dying. Now what’s left is the the hapless spare, much like The United Kingdom’s prince Harry, goes about being flush with cash and hapless much more so than before, but this time he’s the heir and can do no wrong in his father’s willfully blind and allegedly twinkling eye, so long as the big guy gets his cut.
      No one seems to have cared much what Hunter did while growing up, nor does it seem he ever had attention, guidance, responsibility, or accountability. Only now Hunter is nothing more than an apparent bagman with a title, which he doesn’t uphold, nor apparently give a hoot about as long as it provides he can get any type of attention from his father. Who knows what went on in that family? If the various information gleaned from laptops, books, interviews, and diaries are any indication, this was no where near what most would consider a healthy home. That does not in any way excuse what has been reported. If anything, it confirms to me that there’s a lot more under the covers that hasn’t been made public.

  13. The problem with Biden’s defense of his son is like a mafia boss defending his hit man. The real problem is Joe Biden and his corruption, and it will only be revealed through Hunter.

  14. “the media absolutely stands by the President”

    and who controls media in the united states?

      1. Yeah, no wonder they wanted him on the Supreme Court – he could have damaged the country for many administrations, not just Biden’s!

    1. “the media absolutely stands by the Democrat President”

      There, I fixed it for you.

  15. Blood in the streets of Ukraine.

    Blood in the streets of Europe.

    I think I’ll buy a BMW, Audi or Mercedes Benz, some French wine, some Italian pasta and/or some pharma from Glaxo and Abbot in the U.K.

    What the —- is Europe doing about Europe?

    1. European countries are yielding to the wishes of biden’s “minders” to let Ukraine carry on as best it can without ALL the weapons it needs to defeat putin/russia. Those “minders” and biden don’t want putin to lose and, so, don’t want Ukraine to prevail. Who knows what biden/harris threatens to withhold if the European (or other nations) dare to aid Ukraine with what it needs to defend itself — such as the MIGs??

      1. Which is why Putin revealing dirt on Biden is a brilliant idea from Trump.
        We will be lucky if we have another US Presidential election in this country. Dont hold your breath

    2. Any day now, Bill and Hillary will show up in Europe, offer speaking engagements on how to profit off of the destruction of a people, and charge a pretty penny for speaking fees….paid in Rubles, Dollars and/or US Uranium

      *** Yes, The Russia Scandal Is Real — And It Involves Hillary Clinton ***


      “Clinton Scandals: For well over a year now, the progressive left in the Democratic Party have tried hard to sell the idea that, a) Russia meddled in our election, and, b) that it was to the detriment of Hillary Clinton. After nearly a year and a half of investigating, neither appears true. What is true, and now documented, is that Hillary Clinton and her family foundation both benefited handsomely from Russian corruption.

      Citing federal officials and government documents, The Hill details the Russians’ nuclear-industry corruption here in the U.S., citing extensive evidence that “Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business” in the U.S.

      The Hill report goes on to say that federal agents found evidence “indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow.”

      Isn’t that called bribery?

      Strangely, the Department of Justice first discovered the Russian racketeering scheme and the links to Clinton in 2009. But it failed to bring charges, and dragged its investigation out for four years with no substantive action.”


      In other words, Joe and Hunter Biden learned from the Clintons.

  16. Every person in the world watched and knows that Will Smith committed battery.

    Every person in the world watched and knows that the Biden Crime Family committed influence peddling, money laundering, etc.

    Where the —- is the judicial branch?

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