Let’s keep our eye on the ball, kids. Hunter Biden is a sideshow.
There is only one question that matters, one question that ought to be riveting our attention, and Congress’ attention, regarding what is deceptively labeled the “Hunter” Biden investigation: When President Barack Obama made his vice president, Joe Biden, the point man for US policy regarding such authoritarian, anti-American regimes as China and Russia, and such notoriously corrupt regimes as Ukraine, why did agents of those regimes believe it was in their interest to pay millions of dollars to the Biden family?
The president’s troubled, unstable son is beside the point, except to the extent that his supposed business acumen was the pretext for these money flows.
What we need to know is: What did the Chinese believe they were buying?
Hunter is in the news, playing the victim, trying to make it all about him. In this, he’s got a lot in common with the Biden administration, which would have you believe that the Justice Department’s seemingly endless criminal investigation is all about Hunter, not about President Biden’s knowledge of and participation in the lucrative Biden family business of cashing in on his political influence.
These are quite intentional distractions.
The critical matter in the Biden probe is not the possible criminal liability of Hunter — or, for that matter, any other Biden. Potential prosecution is a second- or third-order issue, at best. The thing that matters most is the national security of the United States. The material question is whether American policy toward hostile regimes is being influenced by the millions of dollars that agents of those regimes paid the Bidens.
Hunter has finally conceded that the laptop from hell is his. Who cares? There was never any real doubt that it was his. It was patent from The Post’s reporting more than two years ago that the emails and documents were authentic. That conclusion was only bolstered by deceitful FBI agents and former security officials, who were clearly in the tank for Biden and who insisted — in the absence of any evidence — that the laptop could be Russian disinformation. It was worse than nonsense. It was what prosecutors refer to as false-exculpatory statements that tend, in their desperation and incoherence, to prove guilt.
Now, a new Republican majority controls the House and wields its subpoena power. With Democrats no longer able to bury the matter, Hunter Biden has no place to hide. So, finally, he is conceding the undeniable — the trove of emails and files detailing corruption and depravity is his.
But, in signature Biden bluster, he audaciously claims that he is the wronged party because the trove was published without his consent — as if what matters is how we found out about the laptop rather than the damning information on the laptop.
Again, who cares? On its face, the erratic and unreliable Hunter’s story seems implausible. He abandoned the laptop at a repair shop and ignored the repairman’s calls to retrieve it. Legally, his consent was no longer relevant. More to the point, as far as the investigation is concerned, Hunter’s pining would only matter if the government stole his laptop. That’s not what happened.
Still more significant: The government and Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson were already investigating Hunter Biden’s shady activities before the laptop came to light. To be sure, there would be nothing wrong with prosecutors using laptop evidence to bolster their case; but they hardly need that evidence to prove tax violations (over which there were longstanding liens on Hunter’s properties), and to prove that he made a false statement on an application that gun purchasers must complete, by representing that he was not an illegal drug user.
Because Hunter is just a sideshow, though, let’s cut to the chase — President Biden. Under our law, constitutional violations are personal. That is, only the person whose privacy has been violated by, say, an illegal search has the right to seek suppression of that evidence. As we’ve seen, Hunter has no credible claim in that regard because there was no illegal search by the government. Even he doesn’t claim that it was the feds who took his laptop from him and then publicized the contents.
But here’s the main point: Even if Hunter had a valid legal claim along those lines, the only person who could raise it would be Hunter, in the confines of a prosecution against him. No one else has any standing to seek suppression of the damning laptop evidence.
As to Joe Biden, his brother Jim, and other Bidens whom the laptop evidence exposes raking in big foreign bucks, the only question is whether the laptop’s contents are authentic — and, as we’ve noted, that’s not a question at all, as even Hunter concedes authenticity. The other Bidens have no basis to suppress the laptop. Prosecutors are free to use the evidence against them.
More consequentially, Congress is free to consider the laptop evidence in probing the Biden family business. The Biden administration and its friends in the media-Democrat complex would like to us believe that what matters here is an investigation that involves only Hunter and only puny tax and false-statements crimes. They want us focused on that, and wringing our hands over whether the president’s troubled son is a victim — of a computer repairman, or of his own demons.
Don’t fall for it.
What matters here is why corrupt and anti-American regimes thought it was in the interest of those regimes to pay the Bidens millions of dollars. Put another way, when CEFC, an elaborate Chinese intelligence operation posing as an international business conglomerate, paid the Bidens $6 million in a year’s time, and when it was planned that 10% of an even more lucrative CEFC deal would be held by Hunter for “the big guy,” what was Beijing expecting to get out of its investment?
Andrew C. McCarthy is a former federal prosecutor.