Hunter Biden should be charged by DOJ’s Trump standards

As U.S. Attorney David Weiss leads a long line of witnesses before a grand jury, Washington braces for the possibility of an indictment of President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter. This has led to a nosebleed for the media, as mainstream outlets suddenly recognize that the story they tried to kill in 2020 is actually legit.

Many legal experts have insisted that any tax lawsuit would be rare or unwarranted because Hunter Biden paid his taxes late after the investigation began. However, not only are tax violations and international transactions still possible, there is an imminent threat of charges under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

This week, I testified before the House Judiciary Committee on FARA enhancements and was asked if Hunter Biden could be charged under the law. The answer is clearly yes. Indeed, if the Department of Justice applies the standard used in the Paul Manafort case, it would seem that such an accusation is not only possible, but even probable.

The similarities between the Manafort and Biden cases are striking. On a personal level, both men had voracious levels of material consumption. Where Manafort had his $15,000 ostrich coat, Biden had his high-priced prostitutes and his $143,000 Fisker sports car. Both burned money and ended up in huge debts.

However, the biggest similarity is how they paid those bills. Manafort’s indictment included charges of lobbying on behalf of the Ukrainian government and Ukrainian political parties from 2008 to 2014. He did not register with FARA, which has terms and conditions covering this work.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been charged and charged with less serious crimes than Hunter Biden.
REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File

While FARA was rarely used for criminal investigations and prosecutions, Special Counsel Robert Mueller appeared to charge wholesale under the law. He hit a line of Trump associates with such allegations from Manafort to Michael Flynn to George Papadopoulos to Rick Gates. More recently, the Justice Department used FARA to search the homes and records of former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, Republican attorney Victoria Toensing and others.

The recent use of FARA has been celebrated by legal experts and media personalities. Now, however, Hunter Biden is the target and the evidence against him on FARA may actually be worse than Manafort in some ways.

Rudy Giuliani at the Patriot Rally in Belmore at Belmore Station.
Last year, federal investigators raided and seized 18 devices from Rudy Giuliani’s Manhattan office and apartment.
Edmund J Coppa

In Biden’s laptop are hundreds of emails detailing work with “foreign principals,” which may include not only foreign governments or foreign agencies, but also corporations, non-profit organizations foreign-based nonprofits and individuals, including Americans living abroad. This would cover companies like CEFC, which had close ties to the Chinese government.

Biden doesn’t appear to have done much, if any, conventional legal work for these foreign sources, despite his high fees. Indeed, there is no record that Hunter did anything to earn the million dollars given to him to “represent” CEFC’s Patrick Ho, who was later found guilty and sentenced to three years in prison. prison.

Instead, the filing shows Biden advising and facilitating access to foreign clients, including meetings with his father. This includes, like Manafort, relations with Ukrainian authorities and companies.

There was nothing subtle about the alleged influence-peddling efforts of Hunter Biden or his Uncle James. In Washington, influence peddling is a true cottage industry. However, there was a bit of sophistication in these emails to hide the corruption. The Hunter relationship was more like eBay influence peddling in terms of raw pitches and open admissions.

On May 1, 2017, Hunter Biden acknowledged that his work with CEFC at a minimum could trigger FARA and acknowledged that his uncle was also aware of the danger:

“No matter what it will take to be an American company at some level for us to be able to bid on federal and state funded projects. Like us [sic] don’t want to have to register as foreign agents under the FCPA, which is much broader than people who should know choose not to know. James has very particular opinions on this, so I would ask him about the foreign entity.

Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden attend an NCAA basketball game between Georgetown University and Duke University in Washington, United States, January 30, 2010.
The Justice Department has substantial evidence to prove Hunter Biden’s corrupt negotiations with Ukraine, China, Mexico and Kazakhstan.
REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File

Email is an attorney’s dream. FARA violations, like tax violations, can be considered decided charges for jurors. In this case, the potential defendant not only incriminated himself under the law, but also his associates and his family.

That’s why, if the Justice Department applies the same standard applied to figures like Manafort, Biden would likely be indicted.

The question is whether the same standard will apply. I have long criticized FARA’s radical language. However, the Ministry of Justice has moved from a preliminary administrative application to criminal prosecution. In recent years, the Justice Department has convicted various individuals for engaging in public relations and lobbying efforts for foreign countries, including China and Ukraine.

A sudden change to such criminal enforcement would raise questions of preferential treatment – and amplify concern over Attorney General Merrick Garland’s refusal to appoint a special counsel in the scandal.

In the Washington Post, the Manafort case and other FARA cases were presented as essential to the protection of democracy. One columnist concluded, “FARA can be a powerful tool in detecting these foreign instruments. We should use it. It doesn’t matter who he ensnares.

He has now ensnared President Biden’s son. The question is whether the Justice Department and the media still have the same appetite for FARA prosecutions.

Jonathan Turley is an attorney and a professor at George Washington University School of Law.

New York Post

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