The House ‘Concentrates the Mind’ of Hunter Biden with a Game-Changing Subpoena

Below is my column in the Messenger on the issuance of House subpoenas to the Biden family, including Hunter Biden. The move dramatically changes the profile of the investigation and the perils for the Biden family. After these subpoenas were issued, the House also subpoenaed an array of Biden associates connected to his alleged influence peddling or his art sales. After following the transfer of millions in foreign money, the Committee is drawing closer to the epicenter of the Biden family.

Here is the column:

The great English writer Samuel Johnson once told a friend, “Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.”

The quote came to mind after reading the response of Abbe Lowell, legal counsel for Hunter Biden, to the issuance of subpoenas for Hunter and other family members by the House Oversight Committee. Lowell said that “Hunter is eager to have the opportunity, in a public forum” — but premised that on the condition that it be “the right time” for Hunter to speak. He also dismissed the committee investigation as a “political stunt.”

It appears that further concentration is warranted. A congressional subpoena is really not an invitation for a sit-down at a convenient time. Hunter has spent years relying on denial and delay to fend off inquiries. With this subpoena, he will now have to choose between cooperation or contempt … on the committee’s schedule.

The issuance of subpoenas to Hunter, his uncle, James Biden, and Biden family associate Rob Walker, changes the entire threat — and the range of options — for the Bidens. Attorney General Merrick Garland moved quickly and aggressively to prosecute Trump associates such as Steve Bannon who failed to appear or cooperate with Congress. The public will demand the same vigorous prosecution in the face of any similar contempt by Biden associates.

Moreover, Hunter has tried a wide array of approaches to these allegations of influence peddling, from a plea for sympathy to threats of litigation. Too many in the media have been willing enablers of these shifting claims, including figures like Jimmy Kimmel who conducted a softball interview that portrayed Hunter as a hero rather than an alleged influence peddler.

That may now change. If Hunter lies to congressional investigators, he can be charged with a federal crime. While the Justice Department allowed the statutes of limitations to run on various felonies, Hunter would be faced with a new set of charges with years for criminal charges to be brought by prosecutors.

The situation is equally serious for the president’s brother, James, who has long been accused by House Republicans of influence peddling. Most recently, House investigators disclosed that, in 2018, James Biden received two loans totaling $600,000 from Americore Health, which they described as “a financially distressed and failing rural hospital operator.” The company has been referenced in past reports of alleged influence peddling by James Biden.

According to the company’s bankruptcy proceedings, it made the loans “based upon representations that his last name, ‘Biden,’ could ‘open doors’” to new overseas investors. On the day he received the second loan transfer, James Biden allegedly sent a check for the same amount — $200,000 — to Joe Biden as a “loan reimbursement.”

The House committee also reports finding a $40,000 check from James Biden and his wife to Joe Biden. Again, it was marked as a “loan reimbursement.”

Congressional interviews can be perilous, but they are far more so when your client’s interview will cover years of transactions and statements. It presents a target-rich environment for investigators and ample opportunities for witnesses to make misleading or false statements.

Hunter and his uncle may soon have company. In addition to a subpoena for Biden family associate Rob Walker, the House committee has requested voluntary transcripted interviews with Sara Biden, Hallie Biden, Elizabeth Secundy, Melissa Cohen and onetime Hunter business associate Tony Bobulinski.

Figures like Bobulinski are likely to cooperate. He already has accused President Biden of lying about his lack of knowledge of foreign dealings, including giving detailed accounts of meeting with Joe Biden in a hotel.

However, committees often first request voluntary interviews before issuing subpoenas. As with Hunter and James Biden, the committee has ample grounds to demand these interviews as part of both its impeachment inquiry and its oversight authority.

In anticipation, perhaps, Hunter is reviving his addiction defense, even claiming that the investigations into his conduct are a blow against anyone who is fighting addiction. It is a curious effort since his counsel recently claimed that federal gun charges are invalid because his client had a period of sobriety just in time to sign the allegedly false gun application. That is the type of fluid, conflicted narrative that can produce criminal charges in congressional investigations.

Samuel Johnson’s observation is particularly poignant in this case, given the subject. It was a reference to William Dodd, an Anglican clergyman, accused of being a spendthrift who became indebted due to his extravagant lifestyle. He forged a document to secure a “loan” to help clear his debts. Johnson tried unsuccessfully to keep him from the gallows, but he wrote a sermon before his death, titled, “The Convict’s Address to his unhappy Brethren.” Johnson was widely believed to have been the true author and defended his friend by saying that the hanging brought out the best of him.

It remains to be seen if these subpoenas will bring out the best or worst of Hunter Biden. Thus far, he has received every break from federal prosecutors, from expired statutes of limitations to reported tip-offs on investigators’ interviews. That will now change. Either Hunter will concentrate his mind, or congressional investigators will do it for him.

Jonathan Turley, an attorney, constitutional law scholar and legal analyst, is the Shapiro Chair for Public Interest Law at The George Washington University Law School.

49 thoughts on “The House ‘Concentrates the Mind’ of Hunter Biden with a Game-Changing Subpoena”

  1. This is awesome! They need to be out on the record under oath.

    I would love to travel around the globe picking up bags of cash for doing nothing other than my last name. Then, instead of filing the proper IRS forms and payments. How convenient, I could just be paid as a repayment of loans without having to produce the documents that make this proof.

    My experience with the iRS is that when I owe money, they want it paid.

    1. That ain’t nuthin. Hospitals, each near bankruptcy, have loaned me 3 billion dollars and 94 cents. Why? Because I asked. Everybody wants to make such a big deal out of this. Geez

  2. Jonathan: We have already discussed Chairman Comer’s latest flurry of subpoenas (See my earlier comment at your “NBC Compares Criticism…”, 11/11@ 9:50 am). This is all a desperate attempt by Comer to find something–anything to bring impeachment charges against Pres. Biden. So far he has come up empty handed. Now you bizarrely claim the latest flurry of subpoenas by Comer are “perils for the Biden family”. I don’t think so.

    Abbe Lowell, Hunter’s attorney, has told Comer he client would welcome the opportunity to testify in a “public forum”. That means a PUBLIC HEARING. But Comer doesn’t want that. Why? Because the last PUBLIC HEARING, on 9/28, was a disaster for the Chairman. Comer now prefers closed door interviews after which he can spin what the witnesses said. Take the interview of Devon Archer. Archer stated clearly that Joe Biden was not involved in his son’s business dealings and never received any bribes. Same with Special Counsel Weiss who was interviewed on Tuesday in a closed meeting of the Committee. Weiss stated “I had the authority. I was satisfied I had the authority” [to investigate Hunter]. Has Comer released the transcripts of all these interviews. Nope. It took the Dems on the Committee to reveal the facts.

    Now if Comer thought he had a “smoking gun” against the Bidens don’t you think he would have held another PUBLIC HEARING by now? After the first disastrous hearing Comer decided to go secret. Now he interviews witnesses behind closed doors. That will probably happen with Hunter, et. al.– so Comer can bury any testimony he doesn’t like. Abbe Lowell best described what is going on here: “This is another political stunt aimed at distracting from the glaring failure of Rep. Comer and his MAGA allies to prove a single one of their wild and now discredited conspiracies about the Biden family”.

    So far, Comer has come up with nothing to charge Pres. Biden with “high crimes and misdemeanors”. That should “concentrate the minds” of Comer and you. This conspiracy theory investigation is going nowhere!

      1. David: Thank you for reading my comment. As you can see, I don’t get that kind of response from many on this blog.

        1. “As you can see, I don’t get that kind of response from many on this blog.”

          Awww, poor Denny. Is he looking for a certain kind of response??
          He needs a thank you for his drivel?? What a narcissist.

          It seems the American public strongly disagrees with you, Dennis.

          According to a CNN poll

          “A majority, 61%, say they think that Biden had at least some involvement in Hunter Biden’s business dealings, with 42% saying they think he acted illegally, and 18% saying that his actions were unethical but not illegal.”

          More than 60% of the country already think Joe Biden is a crook. Only kool-aiders like you think he’s clean.

          Archer “knows” Joe wasn’t incolved but doesn’t “know” who hunter and z called from dubai. How convenient you get it both ways. Lame.

    1. I’m very sorry. THC and ignorance aren’t quite as salacious as Extortion, whores and cocaine but the effects on personal integrity are equal.
      The stupidest voting cohort in American history desires disorder and immorality. It makes you easy to spot.
      BTW, Democrats are in the closed hearings, as well.
      Repent and rehab.

      1. Bravo

        It seems to be a waste to send demoniacs into a herd of swine, but if Jesus believed it to be appropriate, who am I to wish otherwise on trolls?

        welcome to the forum.

        28 When he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs coming out of the tombs met him. They were so fierce that no one could pass that way. 29 Suddenly they shouted, “What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” 30 Now a large herd of swine was feeding at some distance from them. 31 The demons begged him, “If you cast us out, send us into the herd of swine.” 32 And he said to them, “Go!” So they came out and entered the swine; and suddenly, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the water.

        Gospel of St Matthew 8:28-32

        1. Nowadays demoniacs are considered to be mentally unwell and placed in an insane asylum.

          Along with people who hear voices such as Mohammed and Joan d’Arc.

    2. Dennis – what was the $200k “loan reimbursement” to Joe Biden for? If your answer is “a loan”, do you know of any evidence of a loan? Is there a loan agreement? Does the agreement provide definite terms for re-payment, including interest? Was interest on this loan reported as income on Joe’s taxes? Do the respective business ledgers of James Biden show the money as a loan receipt, then as a liability, and finally as a repayment? We are now in the land of adults. Slogans will not suffice.

    3. WASHINGTON—House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) today released the transcript from Devon Archer’s transcribed interview.

    4. What is your take on the 3+years attack on Trump’s presidency which all turned out to be false, or the myriad charges filed various political actors, (some even publicly promised to ‘get Trump’).

  3. “…from expired statutes of limitations to reported tip-offs on investigators’ interviews. ”
    True. And true.

  4. I used to think all our problems were rooted in the 3-legged stool of ignorance, apathy and dependence on government. Fix those 3 and all would be solved. I was bigly wrong. Even if you fix those 3, if you have compromised morals and ethics, none of the rest matters.

    lt really doesn’t matter how compelling the facts and evidence are, all that is needed is the magic number of people who just don’t want to respect our constitution and rule of law.

    Think about it. It’s just a numbers game. It’s democracy. On one side are those that want to have our rule of law, and on the other side are those that don’t. Congress, court’s, juries, elections, city councils, boards, and on and on. Convince the right number of people, in the right setting, to not want the rule of law to work, and it won’t.

    This blog proves my point. It has been a great forum to eliminate ignorance. Certainly the contributors are not apathetic. Dependence on government is probably not an issue. And still we have two opposing sides. Those that want the constitutional rule of law system to work and those that want something else.

    When the majority have no morality or ethics, the whole system fails.

    1. @Olly

      I say something similar frequently. A system is useless if the people don’t honor it. We are really in a pickle in that regard at present, in a great many ways. Would love to see a collective reversal before there is only a binary choice point remaining on the table. Law *needs* to prevail in this mess, not just in practice, but in conscience.

      1. I say something similar frequently. A system is useless if the people don’t honor it.

        I know you do James. That’s why I look forward to your comments.

        When Democrat’s wail about the threat of conservatives and MAGA-Republicans to our Democracy, that ‘our’ is not the nation’s possessive form of ‘our’. It’s the Democrat’s possessive form related strictly to their power.

  5. I didn’t realize Jill Biden was ‘connected’ to the Mafia. I’m going to have to check that out.
    We know that Nancy Pelosi’s father was more or less in bed with the Mafia in Baltimore for many years — no one denies it.
    No surprise then if it’s true that Jill has a Sicilian connection —

  6. Once again, Joe says his hands are clean. But if Hunter uses the addiction as a defense, then Joe should be culpable for knowingly taking a sick son who has nothing to trade but the family name with him on Air Force 2 and setting him loose in countries where Biden was talking tough on corruption. And he didn’t think to ask his “troubled” son what he was up to? Biden has always been a liar and cheap crook. Got back to his days in Delaware and even further to the lies he told about his childhood and education.

  7. My only hope is that will not be another show trial, as was the “questioning” of hillary. Unless some substantial results are returned for this expenditure of time and treasure why even bother as it just continues the image of the impotent republican party against the infested government of the progressives.

  8. Is this not the time when the media repeatedly has said, “The Walls are Closing In”. They seem to be. I believe there are empty rooms in Terra Haute to accommodate several Biden’s.
    Federal Correctional Institute
    2501 W. Bureau Drive
    Terra Haute, In. 47802

  9. Silence doesn’t alter evidence. All the Bidens started by claiming complete innocence without Joe’s knowledge. Over time, the Bidens backstepped and provided conflicting statements that are evidence proving enough impropriety that it is difficult for anyone to imagine they are innocent.

    The evidence is stacked up high against the Bidens to such a point that Dennis’s proof is the fallback to the 5th Amendment. Dennis believes unless the Bidens admit to a crime, it’s someone else fault. That is an untenable position.

  10. The Biden family strategy here will likely be to have everyone who receives a congressional subpoena inform the committee that he or she intends to take the Fifth. They may still be called to invoke the privilege in person. The committee chair has the option to call them. Under federal law, Congress has the power to grant immunity to witnesses if two-thirds of the members of a committee vote to grant it. The committee’s request is sent to a federal judge, who must issue an order granting immunity to the witness who cannot be prosecuted thereafter for crimes based on immunized testimony. The judge has no choice and must issue congress’s demand for the grant of immunity. The attorney general cannot stop it, though the Department of Justice can ask for a delay of up to 20 days.

    Once immunity is granted, the witness has no choice but to testify or be held in criminal contempt, which means jail and fines. Currently, Comer’s committee has 26 Republican and 20 Democrat members (plus Eleanor Holmes Norton, the DC delegate who may or may not have a vote for this purpose). By my count, this means at least six Democrats would have to join with every Republican on the committee in asking a court to immunize witnesses who take the Fifth. Not all witnesses, however, are expected to take the Fifth. Tony Bobulinski, for example, has already given statements to the FBI and likely will testify without immunity as will the banking and corporate witnesses who have no personal liability and are just testifying as fact witnesses.

    The evidence disclosed so far and as described by Turley is compelling and convincing and by the time Biden family witnesses are called to testify, a crescendo of public pressure may force enough Democrats to join Republicans in immunizing witnesses to get to the bottom of this festering mess. Corruption does not have a party affiliation or a constituency.

    1. “…sent to a federal judge, who must issue an order granting immunity to the witness who cannot be prosecuted thereafter for crimes based on immunized testimony. The judge has no choice and must issue congress’s demand for the grant of immunity.” What’s the remedy if a judge refuses to comply with the Congressional demand? Seems Team Blue (with many in the judicial branch backing them up) is testing every Constitutional mandate they wish to ignore at every turn these days.

    2. “…a crescendo of public pressure may force enough Democrats to join Republicans in immunizing witnesses to get to the bottom of this festering mess.” Traditional D’s, yes. Not this bunch though. There’s simply no amount of pressure from the citizenry or order they will not simply ignore.

  11. The fact is the American public knows full well that every Swamp Dweller in DC tries to is in engaged in the business of self-enrichment via influence peddling or insider trading or some other scheme entailed by government spending. We can no longer be shocked or outraged by the deep corruption. Ergo, this Congressional theater will play out as others before as a strictly partisan show trial and the swamp monsters will live on.

  12. In this time of turmoil, Hunter will probably produce some of his greatest works of art. Or, perhaps he will flee to a foreign country without extradition laws.

  13. Nothing is going to happen, in fact after the hearings some prosecutor some where will charge President Trump for Hunter’s problems.

  14. Well, well, an obviously vengeful Merrick Garland ( for not getting “his” seat on the SCOTUS), who is a corrupt partisan player will not go after these Democrats if they snub the subpoenas. I hope I’m wrong, but the double standard of justice for conservatives vs liberals is blatant at this point. With a willing Democrat bureaucracy that runs the federal government and the Democrat’s willingness to pursue known falsehoods like Russia collusion, denying the Hunter laptop authenticity, etc, I predict the entire Biden organization will walk without paying their “fair share” of taxes on tens of millions of dollars and selling out the country for personal gain. Very sad and doesn’t portend well for the US long term.

  15. Got to give credit to Democrats they are really efficient when it comes to committing conspiracies and breaking laws to destroy all opponents….while GOP spends their time be “good guys” and bi-partisan and funding DEMOCRAT CRIMES
    The Rule of Law is DEAD in America

  16. Does anyone really think the interview of Hunter Biden will reveal anything new? Do they imagine this dialogue:

    Comer: Whom did you call on December 4 with Zlochevsky and Pozharski and what did you discuss?

    H Biden: I called Vice President Joe Biden and reminded him of the $5m we each received from Zlochevsky to get Shokin fired.

    It is obvious now that Joe Biden’s family received money from an influence peddling operation. What remains to be shown is that Biden abused his power to satisfy his family’s paymasters. Comer subpoenaed the Stste Department for documents relating to US policy regarding Shokin. Where are those documents?

  17. Jill Tracy Jacobs (Giacoppo) Biden – Sicilian Mafia Roots says it all, Knows It All.
    Put Her on the Stand.

    Jill Biden – The First Lady is COMPLICIT.

    1. Every one of these witnesses can legitimately assert the 5th Amendment and avoid testifying. The alternative, and more politically palatable route, is to thumb their noses at the committe, claim it is illegitimate and simply walk away. No way on God’s green earth Garland will prosecute them as he did with Bannon. The order will come down from the WH that this is a political witch hunt started by MAGA Republicans who are trying to derail Biden’s agenda.

      1. @ Dennis: If you show up to the Hearing with 5 Layers of Defense Lawyers, your pretty much saying that: Yes I know I’m guilty but I am taking the 5th for the record. It’s the ‘spectacle’ of the displayed performance that indites the Accused.
        Yes the subpoenaed field of Biden’s Confidants can take the 5th, but the act is pretty damn incriminating.

        “… The rule is that you must every question the committee asks you, otherwise you can be held in contempt of Congress. However, the committee cannot demand that you answer a question if, in answering, you will incriminate yourself.
        You still have your Fifth Amendment right when you testify before Congress.
        If you think answering the committee’s questions could expose you to a criminal investigation, you need to contact a defense lawyer immediately. …”

      2. They have already set the stage for just that. “He would love to have a sit down when the time is right” is just a prelude to “its an illegitimate witch hunt”.

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