Opinion: The double standard with Hunter Biden’s laptop is worse than you think

Editor’s note: Dean Obeidallah, a former lawyer, is the host of the daily SiriusXM radio program “The Dean Obeidallah Show” and a columnist for The Daily Beast. follow him @DeanObeidallah. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own. See more opinion pieces on CNN.


“Attorney General Garland, do your job — so we can do ours,” exasperated Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria of Virginia said Monday night as part of her job as a member of the Jan. 6 House Select Committee. Luria and other committee members expressed frustration with Merrick Garland and the Justice Department still failing to act on the Dec. 14, 2021 House vote recommending criminal charges against the former chief of staff from Donald Trump to the White House, Mark Meadows, for defying a congressional subpoena.

But the frustration many have with Garland goes far beyond just the three-plus-month silence on Meadows. As I often hear from listeners on my SiriusXM show, the fact that we don’t hear a word about Garland investigating Trump for his coup attempt to nullify the 2020 election and potential crimes related to the January 6 attack on the Capitol is more than frustrating. . And those voices asking Garland to act will grow louder given a federal court ruling on Monday in which the judge wrote that it was “more likely than not” that Trump committed crimes given of his efforts to prevent certification of Joe Biden’s victory.

While the subject of this case was a request by former Trump attorney John Eastman to withhold certain documents requested by the January 6 committee based on claims that they are protected by attorney-client privilege. attorney, U.S. District Court Judge David Carter presented a damning case against Trump. for his conduct around Jan. 6 – including a potential felony.

As the judge wrote, Trump and his lawyer had “launched a campaign to nullify a Democratic election, an action unprecedented in American history,” adding that “it was a coup in search of a legal theory”. And in a chilling passage, the judge explained that if Trump and Eastman’s “plan had worked, it would have permanently ended the peaceful transition of power, undermining American democracy and the Constitution.”

Justice Carter reminded us that Trump had been told by people around him, including his then attorney general, William Barr, that there was no evidence of voter fraud. Yet Trump continued his misguided efforts to overturn the election results by pressuring Vice President Mike Pence not to allow Congress to certify the January 6 election results.

The court then, while dealing with what is known as the “criminal fraud exception” to solicitor-client privilege, analyzed two federal crimes that the Jan. 6 committee alleges Trump may have committed: “ Obstruction of due process” and “Conspiracy to defraud”. the United States.” After a detailed recitation of the conduct of Trump and Eastman as applied to these federal crimes, the judge concluded bluntly, “The illegality of the plan was obvious.

Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich responded to the judge’s ruling by saying, “This absurd and baseless ruling by a Clinton-appointed judge in California is just another example of how the left arms every branch of government against President Trump.” Eastman’s attorney said his client “respectfully disagrees with the judge’s findings,” but will comply with the order.

Yes, it’s obvious to all of us that what Trump did was wrong — and potentially illegal — which begs the question: where is Garland’s DOJ investigation into Trump? Could there be a super secret Trump investigation? Sure, but common sense says we would have heard something, the same way we hear about the testimony of witnesses after they appeared before the House Select Committee on January 6. Lawyers speak, court clerks see witnesses appear before a grand jury, etc. All you need is someone to talk to to crack a story.

Add to that, history tells us that the longer a DOJ investigation continues, the more leaks to the media will be.

On Wednesday, CNN reported that the Justice Department’s investigation into the business activities of the president’s son, Hunter Biden, “has gained momentum in recent months, with a flurry of witnesses testifying to federal investigators and others. are expected to give interviews in the coming weeks, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.

Investigators are looking into the younger Biden’s business dealings internationally during Biden’s tenure as vice president. Hunter Biden has denied any wrongdoing and his father is not being investigated in this investigation, CNN reported, citing sources. The DOJ investigation, which began in 2018, became known in December 2020 when Hunter Biden revealed it.

And, of course, when the DOJ investigated Hillary Clinton in connection with her emails, the nation first learned of it in August 2015, based on information provided by two unnamed government officials. While the DOJ declined to comment on the investigation, the media has been filled with stories about developments in the investigation — via leaks — such as in March 2016 when the DOJ granted immunity to a former staffer. of Clinton. Clinton was ultimately cleared in the investigation. As for Trump, however, we hear nothing.

Garland recently said he intends to ensure that DOJ decisions regarding lawsuits “are made on the merits…the facts and the law” and “they are not based on any kind of partisan considerations.” I couldn’t agree more. If there is credible evidence that Hunter Biden — or anyone for that matter, Democrat or Republican — may have committed a federal crime, there should be a DOJ investigation.

Still, many feel that this DOJ has no problem investigating people named Biden and Clinton, but we’ve seen no sign of Trump being investigated despite Garland’s promise in January that “the Department of Justice remains committed to holding all perpetrators of January 6, at all levels, accountable under the law. And the longer this apparent double standard continues, the more Americans will wonder if in fact “partisan considerations” drive DOJ decisions when it comes to Trump.

Justice Carter concluded his opinion with a sentiment I’m sure many would agree with: “More than a year after the attack on our Capitol, the public is still seeking accountability. He then added ominously: “If the country does not commit to investigating and prosecuting those responsible, the Court fears that January 6 will be repeated.”

You don’t need a law degree to understand that if Trump isn’t held accountable for both his attempted coup and the January 6 attack, why should Trump – or any future president besides – would he think they can’t do the same? The stakes are too high for timidity given that our Democratic Republic is at stake. The demand that must be made by all who seek to preserve it is: “Attorney General Garland, do your job.


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