Below is my column in the New York Post on one of the most damaging moments in yesterday’s hearing on the IRS whistleblowers alleging special treatment for Hunter Biden in their criminal investigation. What was most remarkable was not just the content but the cause of the incriminating statement. Rep. Dan Goldman’s friendly fire incident produced Dresden-level damage for the Biden defense.
Here is the column:
One of the most basic lessons that we teach law students is that you should “never ask a question you don’t know the answer to.”
The peril of the poorly crafted question was on display in Wednesday’s hearing with two whistleblowers on political interference in the Hunter Biden investigation.
Most Democrats avoided any questions on the substance of the allegations, focusing instead on everything from systemic racism to the use of the term “two-tiered system of justice” and, of course, Donald Trump.
Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.) often goes where wiser members fear to tread. On this occasion, Goldman may have delivered one of the most damaging moments for the Democrats.
In the course of just a few minutes, the freshman New York congressman seemed to demolish the defense of President Biden.
Goldman was trying to get the witnesses to say that there is no evidence that President Biden was personally involved in the alleged felonies of his son.
He raised the shocking WhatsApp message that Hunter had allegedly sent to a Chinese official with foreign intelligence contacts. In the message, Hunter wrote:
“I am sitting here with my father and we would like to understand why the commitment made has not been fulfilled. Tell the director that I would like to resolve this now before it gets out of hand, and now means tonight. And, Z, if I get a call or text from anyone involved in this other than you, Zhang, or the chairman, I will make certain that between the man sitting next to me and every person he knows and my ability to forever hold a grudge that you will regret not following my direction. I am sitting here waiting for the call with my father.”
Most Democrats have avoided the message, which is incredibly damaging and seems to contradict the President’s long denial of any knowledge or involvement in his son’s dealings.
Goldman pressed veteran IRS investigator Gary Shapley about his suggestion that Joe Biden discussed the foreign dealing with his son. Shapley eagerly said that he would be happy to explain but Goldman cut him off and said that he did not have time for such explanations.
At this point, most lawyers would have reversed engines out of troubled waters, but Goldman plowed full speed ahead. He said that the references to Joe sitting next to his son does not mean that they actually discussed his business.
Goldman then went even further and raised a “lunch where Joe Biden came to say hello at the Four Season’s hotel to a lunch that he was having with CEFC executives.” He then reads from the record in how Biden associate Rob Walker described the origins of the meeting with the Chinese officials to get his dad to stop by: “Hunter told his Dad that ‘I may be trying to start a company or try to do something with these guys.’ “
Goldman then pounced and said slyly “Now let me ask you something, that doesn’t sound much like Joe Biden was involved in whatever Hunter was doing with the CEFC if Hunter Biden is telling him that he is trying to do business with them, does it?”
That is when Shapley stated the obvious: “No, but it does show that he told his father that he was trying to do business and . . . ”
Goldman finally hears the train whistle and tries to get off the track: “OK, well that is true that Hunter Biden does try to do business, that is correct.”
Too late. Goldman was citing the testimony of Walker that Joe Biden not only came to a lunch on Hunter’s foreign dealings, but did so after being told that Hunter wanted to lay the foundation for such a deal.
This is the same Joe Biden who has repeatedly told the American people that he never discussed any of Hunter’s deals and had no knowledge of such deals. He has maintained that denial as evidence has mounted contradicting him. Even when he flew his son to China where Hunter cut lucrative deals, he insists that they never mentioned that deal.
There are also repeated references to President Biden as the “Big Guy” in emails who was to receive a 10 percent cut on a deal with the Chinese as well as other benefits. There are other references to Hunter Biden paying portions of his father’s expenses and taxes.
People apparently were told to avoid directly referring to President Biden. In one email, Hunter’s business associate Tony Bobulinski 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.” Bobulinski gave testimony that he met with Joe Biden and discussed these deals with him.
There are also the disclosures that Biden met with at least 14 of Hunter’s business associates from the US, Mexico, Ukraine, China and Kazakhstan over the course of his vice presidency.
Then there is the audiotape message from President Biden for Hunter that specifically discussed coverage of those dealings.
Finally, there is another audiotape of his uncle, Jim Biden, telling Hunter that he and his father had discussed his collapsing financial position and could arrange a “safe harbor.”
The culmination of this evidence was Goldman matter-of-factly eliciting testimony on how Joe Biden came to a lunch with Chinese businessmen after being expressly told it was meant to cut new business deals with them. His son was even thinking of creating a corporation with the Chinese despite a glaring lack of expertise for such a venture.
The meeting was previously described by witnesses and discussed by these whistleblowers, but Goldman brought it all together at the end of the hearing.
Unfortunately, that is when Goldman’s time ran out.
A few more minutes and we might have had an open-and-shut case for the appointment of a special counsel.