Byron York: The coming war over Hunter Biden
Republican lawmakers will take control of the House of Representatives on Jan. 3. That means that, among many other things, they will take control of the House’s investigative committees and subcommittees. GOP leaders have already said they plan to probe the Biden administration’s disastrous policy on the U.S.-Mexico border, the disastrous withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, the disastrous failure to stop the flow of fentanyl into the U.S., and more.
There is clearly a lot to investigate. But the topic that will receive the most attention in the media and the political conversation will be the investigation into the business dealings of the Biden family — Joe, Hunter and Jim Biden.
“Committee Republicans have spoken with multiple whistleblowers from numerous schemes involving the Biden family, reviewed Hunter Biden’s laptop, and received documents of previously unknown transactions,” House Oversight Committee chairman-to-be Rep. James Comer told a news conference on Nov. 17. “What we found are business plans aimed at targets around the world based on influence peddling, including with people closely tied to foreign governments like China and Russia.”
The Bidens, Comer said, “flourished and became millionaires by simply offering access to ‘The Family.’”
Press coverage of the investigation will likely fall into two categories. The first will focus on traditional coverage of what the committee discovers, what witnesses tell investigators, what documents are involved, etc. The second will ignore those developments or attack the investigation itself.
Right now, Comer is working hard to convince the public that his probe will be a Joe Biden investigation — that is, an investigation into the actions of the president of the United States — and not a Hunter Biden investigation.
“In 2019, shortly after announcing his campaign for president, Joe Biden told the American people he had nothing to do with and never had conversations with his family about their business deals,” Comer said on Nov. 17. “That was a lie. Whistleblowers describe President Biden as ‘chairman of the board’ for these businesses. He personally participated in meetings and phone calls. Documents show that he was a ‘partner’ with access to an office. To be clear: Joe Biden is the ‘Big Guy.’”
That last was a reference to Hunter Biden’s repeated references to his father as the “Big Guy.” Hunter‘s business partners used the phrase, too; one of them wrote that in a 2017 Chinese energy deal, 10% of the money would be “held by H for the big guy.”
Republicans know that for many years, Joe Biden, who served in the U.S. Senate from 1973 to 2009, described himself as “the poorest man in Congress.”
“I entered as one of the poorest men in Congress, left one of the poorest men in government, in Congress and as vice president,” Biden said when he was running for president in 2019. By that, what Biden really meant was that he was one of the most ethical men in Congress — that, unlike some others, he did not use his office to cash in. Now, GOP investigators want to see if Biden benefited from his son‘s shadowy income stream, which of course was made possible by Hunter Biden cashing in on his father‘s name.
Comer wants to investigate all that. But the more Comer talks about substance — deals, business partners, money, bank records — the more Democrats and their allies in the political and journalism worlds accuse Republicans of beating a dead horse, or being obsessed with the pornography that the cocaine-addicted Hunter Biden made and kept on his laptop. And now, the Washington Post reports that a number of wealthy Biden supporters are planning an assault against the investigators and witnesses in the Hunter Biden probe. They are assembling what the Post calls a “sprawling infrastructure” that is “rapidly, almost frantically assembling to combat Republicans‘ plans to turn Hunter Biden into a major news story when the GOP takes over the House next year.”
The pro-Hunter group includes Kevin Morris, a high-powered entertainment attorney in Hollywood who at some point became friends with Hunter Biden and is now paying Hunter’s back taxes and monthly bills. Morris reportedly paid Hunter Biden‘s $2 million back taxes bill. He reportedly pays his friend‘s rent, too — around $20,000 a month.
Morris reportedly is advising his friend and beneficiary to get tough with those Republicans who want to delve into the connection between Hunter Biden‘s highly lucrative business deals and Hunter Biden’s father. According to the Post, Morris is advocating that Hunter file defamation suits against Fox News, against President Trump‘s son Eric, and against Rudy Giuliani. Morris also, according to the Post, wants “extensive research,” which means dirt-digging, on “two potential witnesses against Hunter Biden — a spurned business partner named Tony Bobulinski and a computer repairman named John Paul Mac Isaac.” It was Mac Isaac to whom Hunter took his laptop for repair and then apparently forgot what he had done with it.
Morris is joined in advocating an aggressive strategy by David Brock, who in the 1990s styled himself a “right-wing hitman” writing articles attacking Bill and Hillary Clinton. Then Brock changed sides, trying to ingratiate himself with the very people he had earlier attacked. The right-wing hitman became a left-wing hitman, not to mention a prolific fundraiser. Now, Brock has formed a new group, Facts First USA, to fight Republicans who want to investigate Hunter Biden and other Biden administration topics.
Some Democrats disagree strongly with the aggressive strategy. After all, Hunter Biden made a huge amount of money through questionable business deals in which he sought to cash in on his father‘s name and influence. He then blew the money on booze, crack and prostitutes, after which he sought new, and even shadier, ways to further cash in on his father’s name and influence. This was no youthful indiscretion; Hunter Biden is 52 years old and has only been off drugs for a couple of years.
It’s not a heartwarming American story. “No one thinks this strategy of putting Hunter Biden front and center is smart,“ one Democrat involved in the larger defense effort told the Post. “No one, including the White House, thinks this is a smart strategy.”
The more cautious Democrats in the Hunter Biden defense effort want to argue that he is “clearly a private citizen and an inappropriate target for Congress to investigate,” according to the Post, and that “Republicans are more concerned with pursuing conspiracies than solving the country’s problems.”
That’s where Comer’s investigation plan comes in. He appears to be focused like a laser beam on the Joe Biden angle of the Hunter Biden story. He wants to get copies of “suspicious activity reports” that banks filed about various Hunter Biden transactions. He wants to delineate what he believes are the extensive financial ties between Hunter and Joe Biden, as well as the president‘s brother Jim Biden, who was also in on the business. “We are focused on the bank records,” he said on Nov. 17. “The most important thing for us, right now, is to get those bank records.”
In other words, it’s all about Joe Biden’s business. To hear Comer talk, Hunter Biden is almost a bit player in the Hunter Biden investigation. “We’re not trying to prove Hunter Biden is a bad actor,“ Comer said. “He is. If anybody wants to disagree with that, then there’s nothing we have to talk about. Our investigation is about Joe Biden.”
Byron York is chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Craig and Moffat County make the Craig Press’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.