Below is my column in the Hill on how the Hunter Biden plea deal is one of the most surgical and skillful examples of a “controlled demolition” in the history of political scandals. While the public has raised rightful concerns over a two-tiered system of justice, you have to admire the skill of the political and media elite in dropping this scandal without collateral damage to themselves.
Here is the column:
About a year ago, I wrote a column describing what I saw as evidence of a “controlled demolition” in progress in the Hunter Biden scandal. The media and political establishment had reached the point where they could no longer bury the influence peddling scandal by claiming that Hunter’s laptop was Russian disinformation.
That worked for defusing the scandal in 2020, but now another election was fast approaching, which called for a “controlled demolition” to protect political and media figures from any public backlash. I wrote: “Like those buildings dropped between other structures, it takes precision and, most importantly, cooperation to pull off. Specifically, this controlled demolition will require the perfect timing of the media, Democratic politicians, and most importantly, the Justice Department.”
The key was to get Hunter to plead to a couple of minor offenses with little or no jail time. The White House and the media could then declare the scandal over and insist that there is nothing more to discuss.
Of course, there is a great deal more to discuss. For critics, the plea agreement looks like rushing to the scene of a bank robbery and giving the getaway driver a ticket for double parking.
The House Oversight Committee has documented potentially millions in financial transfers from foreign sources to Biden family members. The labyrinth of LLC corporations and accounts used for the transfers seems designed to evade detection. Indeed, allegations from a trusted FBI source referenced payments that were being made to the Bidens without directly involving “the big guy.” That was the name allegedly used for President Biden after associates insisted that no one should use his name.
Attorney General Merrick Garland took the most important step in pulling off the controlled demolition by steadfastly refusing to appoint a special counsel. Such an appointment would allow the release of a report that would detail the alleged corrupt practices of the Biden family and the knowledge and involvement of the president. It is the essential framing used in demolition to avoid broad blast effects.
The second key is the charge. In buildings, you have to use just enough explosives to take out supports to collapse the structure in on itself. In scandals, it comes down to the criminal charges. You need an assortment of minor charges to suggest equal justice without anything large enough to cause collateral damage to others. It also has to be minor enough to get Hunter to take one for the team.
The Hunter plea is the perfect charge load for the scandal. He will plead to a couple of misdemeanors on tax violations without addressing how he actually made this money. The gun charge looks like a serious threat for incarceration, but it is little more than a phantom felony count under which Hunter will be allowed to go into a diversion program and ultimately negate the violation.
The problem for those seeking to drop this scandal in a confined fashion is that the House GOP is now investigating the influence-peddling scandal. The Democrats’ loss of the House in 2022 was a huge blow to the Biden team and, when the new Congress was sworn in, it was essential to enter a plea deal before the release of more serious evidence. In May, I called it a “capstone plea” to make it more difficult for the Justice Department to be pressured into stronger action.
The House will push ahead, but the media has already imposed another blackout on coverage. The challenge for the White House is that this plea could come at a tactical cost. If this is the end of the Hunter Biden investigation, the Justice Department and FBI will have a more difficult time withholding evidence on the basis of an “ongoing investigation.” That is why it is a bit suspicious to see U.S. Attorney David Weiss state that that there is an “ongoing investigation.”
The Justice Department will not say whether this is an investigation continuing in conjunction with the prosecution or whether there is a mandate to investigate the influence peddling scandal.
The House will also be able to inquire how the Justice Department investigated the influence peddling charges, if at all. House investigators have said that there is no indication that some of their evidence was previously acquired by the Justice Department. In the meantime, IRS whistleblowers have alleged that Hunter Biden was given preferential treatment in their investigation and that the Justice Department cut them off from further work on the case.
Chris Clark, Biden’s attorney, insisted that “with the announcement of two agreements between my client, Hunter Biden, and the Unites States Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware, it is my understanding that the five-year investigation into Hunter is resolved.”
If true, the demolition of this case will constitute one of the most impressive scandal managements in American history. Mark Loizeaux, president and owner of Phoenix, Maryland-based Controlled Demolition Inc., once said that the success of the company is due to their effort to “identify the sensitivity of each of the neighbors to the unavoidable byproducts.” In this case, the “neighbors” are the White House, the media and a host of others that want this scandal taken down without implicating their earlier dismissals and denials. Just a couple of muffled thuds, a puff of smoke and an empty space.