The latest “revelations” into the Hunter Biden matter appear to clear up two questions I had: first of all, did Hunter Biden know that he was selling influence that he didn’t have? And second, did Joe Biden, as VP, participate in that pretense, understanding that it was essentially fraudulent? And the answer to both questions appears to be ‘yes’. That doesn’t appear to me to rise to the level of a crime, and certainly not a High Crime, but it is ethically troubling to me.
Q: In other words, it’s not that Hunter Biden was influencing U.S. policy. It’s that Hunter Biden was falsely giving the Burisma executives the impression that he had any influence over U.S. policy.
A: I think that’s fair.
I should say: there remains no evidence that Joe Biden actually did influence policy in favor of his son’s business associates, or evidence that he attempted to do that, or that he acted corruptly in his duties as Vice-President in any way. The new information backs up not only that he didn’t do that, but that his son knew that he wasn’t going to do that, and seems to back up that at least one of the American business partners was aware that he wasn’t going to do that—and that he was aware that it was a deliberate pretense, or fraud, on Hunter Biden’s part.
And it seems clear that Joe Biden was aware that this was going on, and could have prevented it, or put a stop to it, in a variety of ways, including saying on speakerphone during one of the meetings, when he was audio-gladhanding his son’s friends, “you guys know I’m not going to help any of you out with any of this business stuff.” And he did not. He allowed it to continue, and he allowed his son to make money representing him as corrupt, and I find that troubling.
Now, to be fair, this all encompassed a time when Joe Biden’s other son was dying, and also times when Hunter Biden was making some extremely poor life decisions, and it’s fairly clear that Joe Biden was very worried about his son’s substance abuse specifically and more generally about his son’s ability to, you know, keep his shit together, so it’s maybe harsh of me to expect that the Vice-President would do something that would seriously risk the deal. But we do ask people in high office to hold to high standards, and, as I say, I find it troubling that he was willing to wink an eye at this whole business.
(I should also say that as far as I know, there has been no public evidence whatsoever that Joe Biden either influenced or attempted to influence any of the legal cases against his son, or was involved in any way in the plea deal negotiations, or did anything corrupt in that matter at all—if he did attempt to influence those investigations or prosecutions, it would not just be ‘troubling’ but be grounds for impeachment. The accusations that he has done that are very serious, and should be seriously addressed, and in my opinion if it turns out that people who made those accusations did so knowing that they were false, there should be some sort of consequence for that, at least in reputation.)
Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,