“Shoeless Joe” and the Fixing of the Biden Scandal

Below is my column in The Hill on the appointment of David Weiss as special counsel. Despite my enthusiastic support at this nomination, I have come to view Attorney General Merrick Garland as a failure as Attorney General. This decision captures why I have lost faith in his leadership — and why his department is at one of the lowest levels of public trust.

Here is the column:

Roughly 100 years ago, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson admitted that, as a player for the Chicago White Sox, he and seven other teammates had intentionally lost the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds in 1919. When a kid stopped him outside of the grand jury room and asked “It ain’t true, is it, Joe?” Jackson responded “Yes, kid, I’m afraid it is.”

This is not a case of history repeating itself. After being confronted by allegations of a fixed investigation, Attorney General Merrick Garland just sent Shoeless Joe back into the game.

The appointment of Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss as the new special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden left many with the same disbelief as that kid in Chicago. This is, after all, the same Weiss who headed an investigation that was trashed by whistleblowers, who alleged that his investigation had been fixed from the outset.

It is the same Weiss who ran an investigation in which agents were allegedly prevented from asking about Joe Biden, obstructed in their efforts to pursue questions and compromised by tip offs to the Biden team on planned searches.

It is also the same Weiss who reportedly allowed the statute of limitations to run out on Hunter’s major tax offenses, even though he had the option to extend it.

It is the same Weiss who did not indict on major tax felonies and cut a plea deal that brushed aside a felony gun charge.

It is the same Weiss who inked a widely panned “sweetheart” deal that caused a federal judge to balk and trash a sweeping immunity grant — language that even the prosecutor admitted he had never previously seen in a plea deal.

That is why many asked Garland to “say it ain’t so.”

The Weiss appointment definitively established Garland as a failure as attorney general. As someone who initially praised Garland’s appointment, I now see that he has repeatedly shown he lacks the strength and leadership to rise to these moments.

This is why the Justice Department is now less trusted by the public than it was under his predecessor, Bill Barr. During Barr’s tenure, Pew found that 54 percent of the public viewed the department favorably, and 70 percent had a favorable view of the FBI. Under Garland, the department’s favorability had declined to 49 percent as of March, before many of the recent failures. The FBI’s favorability has fallen by 18 points to just 52 percent.

Garland’s failure of leadership has undermined key cases. A Harvard-Harris poll this summer showed that 55 percent of the public view the Trump indictment as “politically motivated,” and 56 percent believe that it constitutes election interference.

Garland continues to do little to reverse that public perception, other than repeatedly refer to the motto of the Department. He offered the same mantra for years as some of us called for a special counsel appointment to investigate Biden corruption. The case for such an appointment has long been unassailable, but Garland refused to make the appointment, allowing years to pass with underlying crimes.

The immediate effect of this belated appointment will be to insulate Weiss and the Department from Congress as it prepares to interview Weiss and members of his team.

Yet if that was truly his purpose in doing this, Garland might have been too clever by half. First, since Garland did not appoint someone from outside of the Department (as envisioned under Section 600.3).

Of course, Garland could insist that, although this appointment from inside the Justice Department violates the statute, Special Counsel John Durham was also selected from the department’s ranks. Yet that does not excuse the appointment of a prosecutor who has been accused of conflicts of interest and false statements — the very antithesis of a special counsel who is supposed to have “a reputation for integrity and impartial decision-making.”

Second, there is the failure to expand Weiss’s mandate. Garland described that mandate as focusing again on Hunter Biden, and the Justice Department refused to respond to questions on the possible inclusion of his father in the investigation.

This was another opportunity to recognize the widespread distrust over the department and expressly allow the special counsel to include the corruption allegations involving both Hunter and the president. That would have supported calls for the House to delay further investigations.

As it stands, Garland has virtually ensured that Congress will pursue an impeachment inquiry as the only body seriously investigating the scandal.

The use of impeachment authority is the only effective way to overcome the roadblocks that the Justice Department is likely to throw up after this new appointment. Impeachment can work as constitutional Kryptonite. No court could seriously question the right and duty of Congress to get to the bottom of corruption allegations against the president without delay. Although Weiss can refuse to answer questions, Congress can use its impeachment authority to demand answers from fact witnesses, including Biden family members.

None of this means that Hunter Biden will be protected by Weiss from additional charges. He will likely pursue long dormant charges, such as Hunter’s being an unregistered foreign agent. He could also pursue felonies on the crimes detailed in the now-defunct plea bargain. In other words, he could show all of the aggression that was lacking in his prior work.

The public, however, doesn’t seem to be buying the special counsel spin. The result is reinforcing rather than resolving the lack of trust in the Justice Department.

It could not be worse for the Justice Department as an institution. “Shoeless Joe” Weiss is back in the game, long after the public has left in disgust.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University

203 thoughts on ““Shoeless Joe” and the Fixing of the Biden Scandal”

  1. Joe’s days are numbered, Time is running out,
    They are going to clean this mess up.

    The Needle behind the Ear
    [YouTube://] youtube.com/watch?v=zvLf2gqSJ98&t=113s

  2. “As someone who initially praised Garland’s appointment, I now see that he has repeatedly shown he lacks the strength and leadership to rise to these moments.”

    Perhaps you believed Garland would support the law equally when he was appointed. Everyone hoped so. I did.

    But I disagree Garland lacks the strength and leadership to rise to these moments. The man has risen to fearlessly give the middle finger to the rule of law and citizens since his appointment as AG, instead publicly and skillfully abusing the law to contemptuously achieve the goals of his political group. This is no coward fearing the future or public backlash. Of course, the balance in the Congress bolsters his fearlessness, which is a sad day for the Congress.

    I am not saying others haven’t done this, but not in such an extreme, contemptuous and public manner.

    The Democrats know full well Joe Biden is in deep, deep kimchee. It is to their advantage to have him removed by the opposition so they can whine about it all the while seeking a more acceptable replacement for 2024. Meanwhile they continue to use Trump indictments and other actions to affect, yet again, another election cycle. Many people, looking at 2020, say, well, this thing here didn’t rise to the level of affecting the election, and that thing there didn’t. But taken all the things together, it is no wonder people question that election. IMO 2024 will be far, far worse.

    1. “But I disagree Garland lacks the strength and leadership to rise to these moments…”

      I say, don’t confuse strength and leadership with retaliation and partisanship.

  3. “Roughly 100 years ago, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson admitted that, as a player for the Chicago White Sox, he and seven other teammates had intentionally lost the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds in 1919. When a kid stopped him outside of the grand jury room and asked “It ain’t true, is it, Joe?” Jackson responded ‘Yes, kid, I’m afraid it is.’”
    Like the Hunter Biden investigation this is an often told, much believed MYTH. Wiki does a decent job of explaining the facts but suffice to say illieterate Joe couldn’t have appreciated the signed waiver of immunity from prosecution he signed; the jury acquitted all the players. Joe himself said no kid ever uttered the “it ain’t true, is it,Joe”?(That was Chicage sportswriter, Charley Owens, who falsely attributed his words to a mythical kid.) It was alleged that Jackson admitted to participating in the fix during grand jury testimony on September 28, 1920. As for his admission of throwing games in Grand Jury testimony, well it’s not in the transcript. Jackson admitted to taking the money, double-crossing the gamblers who gave it to him and always playing to win.

    Read it yourself with the back and forth between Jackson and Hartley L. Replogle, Assistant State’s Attorney :

    Q Did you do anything to throw those games?

    A No, sir.

    Q Any game in the series?

    A Not a one. I didn’t have an error or make no misplay.

    Q Supposing the White Sox would have won this series, the World’s Series, what would have done then with the $5,000?

    A I guess I would have kept it, that was all I could do. I tried to win all the time.


    Lastly, Joe might have “thrown” the Series but he did it with “12 base hits and set a Series record that was not broken until 1964; led both teams with a .375 batting average. He committed no errors, and threw out a runner at the plate.” His cut line for the Series was; .375 batting average, .394 on-base percentage, that .563 slugging percentage, that is a .956 OPS.with five runs scored and six driven in. With men on base, he batted fifteen times, with six hits, four driven in, one strikeout, and twice reaching on errors. (.400 BA.)
    You should be so lucky if your favorite player “threw” a Series in that fashion. And doubly lucky if Weiss finds his arse with a roadmap before finding a criminal charge of substance against Biden’s bagman, Hunter.

  4. I had a good exchange yesterday with fellow-commenter JFeldman regarding Section 600.3. Although several special counsel have been appointed over the years -blatantly contrary to 600.3 (not just Durham),–and without consequence–, I am happy that the good Professor Turley is able to point out that Garland stands apart from them, for his less-than-admirable enumerated flaws (in addition to other flaws not mentioned).

  5. For all the criticisms of McConnell, he prevented the corrupt PoS garland from becoming a SC justice. He may not have understood the depth of obama’s corruption, and still may not, but that single act saved the country from decades of corrupt garland stupidity.

    1. McConnell also washes his hands after going to the toilet as do most Senate members. Does that make him great as well?

  6. Is there any possibility of some kind of redemption, like in A Field of Dreams?

    I don’t necessarily mean of the individuals (though I hope so) but of the institution and the rule of law.

    1. As it now stands, there is no possibility of any kind of redemption of the DOJ or Garland. With the MSM running interference for the Biden crime family and Gestapo DOJ, this will be nothing more than a show investigation, with a lot of moving parts that do nothing and meaningless words from those involved, including more word salad from Garland, until they run out the clock on statue of limitations, or if all else fails, grant pardons.

      And we’re to believe that Trump is the greatest threat to our Republic. Benjamin Franklin was right, “…we have a Republic, if we can keep it….”

  7. After 4 years of investigation that was started by Trump DOJ and calling for more investigation, they get it, and still it is not enough, and it never will be, until they hear what they want to hear.

    1. So, your position is that those were 4 years of actual investigation, and all they could come up with was a plea deal for two minor charges? (ignoring the disguised get out of jail free card) A rookie IRS agent could have come up with more than that in far less time. And, I don’t believe the IRS agent would ignore the source of the funds for which tax was being avoided. There are none so blind as those who will not see.

        1. Fish Wings: you make an excellent point “then we shall see”. No one who speaks against Trump or who calls out Turley’s massaging of the facts has ever said that we wouldn’t accept actual, solid proof of wrongdoing. What we won’t accept are baseless accusations. On the other hand, the members of Cult 45 refuse to listen to facts and engage in name-calling and all sorts of insults against anyone who presents counter facts, against Jack Smith, Fani Willis, etc… So, when Mark Levin rambles on and on about a “Biden Crime Family”, and Turley attacks Merrick Garland, the DOJ the FBI and Jack Smith–the disciples take this as affirmation for the lies and diversions away from the outrageous crimes Trump committed.

          They are blind to the simple fact that all of Trump’s criminal prosecutions stem from one cause–Trump’s massive ego. He stole classified documents because no one tells him what to do or what he can’t take–besides, it’s “cool” to flash them around to show off to young female staffers. Never mind the fact that if these documents got into the wrong hands, people could die. He fomented the Big Lie, long before Election Day, because polls predicted he would lose. He paid off a porn actress and falsified election reports to assuage Evangelicals because he couldn’t “win” without them. He made calls to Secretaries of State, got fake electors to falsify Electoral College records and attacked the integrity of election workers because his ego couldn’t handle the truth that he had lost. What I don’t understand is how so many people can be blind to these realities or how dangerous to democracy it would be to allow anyone with a massive ego and need to win any any cost fail to be brought to justice for doing these things. Even worse, he promises that if he gets into office again, he’ll take over the DOJ, FBI, CIA, IRS and other government agencies, fire anyone who doesn’t bow down to him and take his orders, and go on a vengeance tour against his perceived enemies. If this isn’t the mark of a tyrant, then what qualifies?

  8. The irony is that it will follow the Mueller investigation in finding nothing, but this time when there is something. Everything in America is now inverted and perverted.

    1. The Mueller investigatin found plenty–even though Trump refused to cooperate–there were dozens of guilty pleas and guilty verdicts. So, I guess that Biden should take a page from the Trump playbook and not cooperate? As a matter of fact, several Republicans now trying to go after Biden–like Jim Jordan–refused to cooperate with the J6 investigation–so, I guess that Biden and anyone else they want to interrogate should follow suit–no?

      And, BTW, a Senate committe investigated Russia helping Trump in 2016, and found the allegations true. From “Law and Crime” 8/18/2020:

      The Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday completed its multi-year investigation into Russian efforts to meddle in the 2016 election, issuing a bi-partisan report that found extensive contacts and connections between Russian officials and the Trump campaign. The panel’s findings undercut several of President Donald Trump’s most oft-repeated claims, including that Russia did engage in a comprehensive campaign to interfere in the presidential election and did so with the intention of helping him win.

  9. Only explanation is that Garland doing what he is told by the crime syndicate, no different than mafia or Putin capo

  10. Martin Luther King Jr. had his dream, and I have mine: I have a dream that one day, Professor Turley won’t be YEARS late to the dance.

    Just as many people who were actually paying attention realized that Michael Avenatti was a felonious grifter destined for prison even while Professor Turley was singing his praises at this very website while blinded to Avenatti’s glaring malfeasance due, apparently, to Avenatti and Turley sharing their common contempt of Trump, a similarly-significant number of people have known since BEFORE his appointment as Attorney General that Merrick Garland is a democrat toadie and a complete FRAUD with ZERO actual regard for the law.

    That’s why keeping that corrupt clown off of the Supreme Court still ranks as one of the most significant accomplishments the repulbican-controlled Senate at the time.

  11. The debt we owe to Mitch McConnell for keeping Merrick Garland off of the Supreme Court continues to grow.

  12. Garland wants to prove that not putting him on the Supreme Court was the right decision. Obama must be thinking that this guy is making me look bad for nominating him to the Court.

  13. By keeping a Trump appointed yet Biden owned DOJ Department bootlicker in control of the DOJ’s mission to save Joe Biden, Garland has confirmed that Joe Biden is very much likely connected to his son’s nefarious dealings that have enriched the Biden family as a whole. Of course, Weiss is the only one best available to thwart the connection of all the dots.

    1. “A whole gaggle of Republicans demanded . . .”

      Ever notice how the deceitful play games with dates?

  14. Garland continues to do little to reverse that public perception.

    That’s because his mandate is the opposite: to make the perception even worse. As I’ve noted on prior occasions, the corruption is the message.

    1. Liked — however I suspect Professor Turley is just visiting reality and doesn’t intend to stay very long. The clue is his prior support for Garland becoming AG when the same reasons for keeping Garland off the Supreme Court applied equally to keeping him from becoming Attorney General.

      1. You might be right, Ralph. The professor has some blind spots for Party loyalists like himself. Let’s hope today’s realization not only sticks but starts a trend.

  15. To Garland: “say it ain’t so.”

    I wonder, is Garland doing it as a FU for not getting a seat on the SC?
    Or is he promised something else for his loyalty?
    Or is he really that inept?
    He will go down in history, just like the rest of the Biden admin, as a disgrace.

    1. Upstate – I believe first and foremost he is following orders to increase the “Joe Biden” administration’s corruption (see comment above). I also believe that as an added bonus he gets particular pleasure from giving America the middle finger after failing to get a seat on SCOTUS.

  16. I’m too much of a lady (more or less) to continue the baseball theme by saying that Garland, at bat, has 3 strikes and no you-know-whats.

    1. Lady Bragg, I don’t know what to say.. You hit a man where it hurts, and I’ll bet the left doesn’t get it.

    2. Cindy Bragg: Add me to the list of those who enjoyed your clever comment!
      (For those not savvy in baseball particulars, as to Part One of Cindy’s comment, sports announcer Upstate Farmer, (@1:19 above, has outlined the 3 strikes in particular. As to Part Two, guess there is nothing to announce about something that is not there. As to Part Three (too early in the game,) who’s gonna call him Out?

  17. Sadly, the bulk of America cannot break through the Left Wing to hear or read the facts Turley presents. You won’t find it on Yahoo News or the Associated Press.

    1. “Without agendis”? Ha! What FACTS did Turley present? Here are his catchphrases: “confronted with ALLEGATIONS”. He claims a Judge “balk(ed) and trashed an immunity grant”. Here’s what REALLY HAPPENED–due to the language in the agreeement, the judge was confused over her role in enforcing the agreement down the road–NOT for any allegedly nefarious “sweetheart” arrangement (this was obtained form the website of a Delaware television station per the link above):

      “The overlappibg agreements created confusion for the judge, who said the lawyers needed to untangle technical issues — including over her role in enforcing the gun agreement — before moving forward.“It seems to me like you are saying ‘just rubber stamp the agreement, Your Honor.’ … This seems to me to be form over substance,” she said. She asked defense lawyers and prosecutors to explain why she should accept the deal. In the meantime, Hunter Biden pleaded not guilty to the tax charges.”

      From “The Guardian””

      “Republicans had attacked the plea agreement as a “sweetheart deal” that reflected a double standard of justice, but legal experts note the charges brought against the president’s son are rarely prosecuted.

      What questions did the judge raise on Wednesday?
      The US district judge Maryellen Noreika, a Trump appointee, expressed concern about her role in enforcing the terms of the plea agreement struck between prosecutors and Hunter Biden’s lawyers.

      “It seems to me like you are saying ‘just rubber stamp the agreement, Your Honor,’” Noreika said. “This seems to me to be form over substance.”

      Prosecutors and Hunter Biden’s attorneys also clashed over whether the agreement would protect the president’s son from additional charges in the future. At one point, Weiss said the investigation into Hunter Biden was ongoing, but he would not share details on the inquiry.

      What happens next?
      Noreika gave prosecutors and Hunter Biden’s defense team 30 days to further hash out the details of the agreement, and the court is expected to reconvene in the coming weeks to re-examine the case. It remains possible that Noreika will accept the plea deal at a future hearing, but she made clear she would not do so without more clarification about the details of the agreement.”

      So, Turley’s implication that the Judge bellieved there was something legally or morally wrong about the immunity grant is wrong–he is spinning the facts–something he is well-paid to do. Additionally, it is REPUBLICANS who claim it is a “sweetheart deal”, despite the fact that such charges, according to most legal experts “are rarely prosecuted”. Plus, there’s the genuine concern that without proper protective language in the agreement, some a-hole Republican prosecutor, to retaliate if Trump gets convicted, will try to resurrect charges against Hunter Biden. No reasonable lawyer representing Hunter would leave open that possibility, which is the reason for the “unusual” wording of the agreement–something else Turley also knows, but that’s not what he’s paid to say, so he spins it as a judge catching Hunter Biden’s lawyer trying to pull a fast one.

      Turley says: “Garland’s failure of leadership has undermined key cases”–without saying exactly WHAT those “key cases” are, why they are “key cases”–much less how Garland somehow “failed” as a leader. Then Turley talks about opinion polls about distrust of the DOJ–all brought about by the endless harping about the “Biden Crime Family” not getting prosecuted, even though there’s no evidence of criminality–and the lack of sophistication of vieweres of alt-right media–all aided and abetted by people like Turley. Turley has cited absolutely NO facts to back up anything to justify his attacks on the Biden family, the FBI or the DOJ–he usually doesn’t–because there aren’t any facts–so he heavily dishes in “allegations” and spins whatever his handlers tell him to–part of the indoctrination against the “deep state” that is “picking on” poor widdle Trumpy Bear, who was just exercisng his free speech rights when he lied to America and sent an angry mob to attack our Capitol because he lost an election. My beef with Turley is that he very well knows the difference between “allegations” and facts AND he knows that the gullible Trump fans don’t–so he trades on his alleged bona fides as a “law professor” to beef up the Fox (non) News talking points by trying to elevate allegations into facts.

      Of course, all of this is a distraction away from Trump’s crimes. One of the Republican losers has actually filed Articles of Impeachment against Joe Biden–after all, Trump got impeached, so why shouldn’t Joe Biden–head of a “crime family”?

      Oh, and “Without Agenda”: you think it’s sad that the “bulk” of Americans are smart enough not to buy into the alt-right attacks on our president, or to “hear FACTS”? Turley has presented NO facts.

      1. Somewhat verbose misdirection here. The concept of a “plea deal” is that justice is best served by admitting to lesser charges because the greater charges would be too hard to prove, or, somehow, not in the public interest to invest the time to prove. So, we are to assume that it takes 4 years to turn over every rock and find nothing worth pursuing. Sorry, but I don’t believe it.

    2. Yahoo, WaPo, HuffPo, NYT, LAT are all in the ninth ring of journalism hell. WaPo can’t even factcheck with complete honestly.

      I read The Hill as part of several news sources I use. I don’t agree with The Hill’s editorial bent, but they still have some journalistic integrity. The fact that Professor Turley writes columns for them shows a lot of courage on their part. As the professor noted above, this particular column was first posted on The Hill.

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