by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
This weekend, NBC’s Chuck Todd and Republican Sen. Ron Johnson had a tense exchange over the importance of the Hunter Biden story. After whatabouting the issue for a bit, an agitated Todd asked: “Senator, do you have a crime that you think Hunter Biden committed? Because I’ve yet to see anybody explain. It is not a crime to make money off of your last name.”
There can’t be an investigation until we know for certain that something criminal occurred, but we can’t know if anything criminal occurred until there’s an investigation. Convenient. This, of course, is not the standard journalists have ever embraced for scrutinizing presidential wrongdoing in the past. Todd regularly entertained notions about Donald Trump’s alleged seditious conspiracy in 2016 — which would have been the most diabolical political crime in American history — without any tangible evidence of criminality.
Also, not inconsequentially, Hunter is already under criminal investigation for tax and gun charges by federal prosecutors in Delaware. So, surely, the case has hit the threshold of a criminal investigation. Does Todd not know about this?
That said, a president doesn’t necessarily have to break a specific criminal code to be corrupt. And this scandal isn’t about Biden’s son or his brother, but about Joe. At worst, Biden benefitted and participated in the family influence peddling, or, at best, he spent years lying to the American public about his knowledge of that business. Even if we found pictures of Trump and Putin taking shots of Imperia vodka together to celebrate the defeat of American democracy, it still wouldn’t change the fact Biden has much to answer for.
Recall that in an interview with Axios, Biden claimed he knew absolutely nothing about what Hunter was doing with Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company that was paying the younger Biden $50,000 monthly. Joe said he trusted Hunter, who had accepted a no-show job while his father was overseeing the Obama administration’s policy in Ukraine.