The Department of Justice caused a outcry this weekend when it filed a notice to a federal court on a Saturday that it should move ahead and order the jailing of Hunter Biden’s former business associate and friend, Devon Archer. That came less than 48 hours before Archer was scheduled to give potentially explosive testimony on the Biden corruption scandal. The Justice Department decided that the matter was so urgent that it required a weekend filing before Archer testifies. The optics could not be worse and many took the letter as an effort to intimidate Archer. Then the next day the Justice Department sent a second letter to the court saying it can wait to arrest him after he testifies. After the debacle in Delaware where the Justice Department seemed entirely confused on its own filings, the letters only reaffirmed the image of a department adrift in this expanding scandal.
On Saturday, the Justice Department told Judge Ronnie Abrams of the Southern District of New York that the court should move toward ordering the incarceration of Archer. The timing was viewed by many as intimidating and was reminiscent of the IRS visiting the home of journalist Matt Taibbi on the day that he was testifying to disclose the government’s massive censorship program. (Later, the ranking Democratic member Rep. Stacey Plaskett (D-VI) suggested that Taibbi could be arrested for perjury).
The Justice Department then sent a second letter to the court saying that it can wait: ‘To be clear, the Government does not request (and has never requested) that the defendant [Archer] surrender before his Congressional testimony.” Archer can testify . . . and then we can incarcerate him.
The letters seem to be speaking to Congress, the public, and, of course, Archer rather than the court itself. The Justice Department continues to stumble through this scandal. While it allowed major felonies to expire in the Hunter Biden investigation, it seems on a hair trigger for those who may accuse him or the Department of wrongdoing.
It often seems like the Justice Department under Merrick Garland is a series of step-on-the-rake moments.