There are a couple of points worth making about the revelations that Hunter Biden — who does not hold and is not seeking any public office — is under investigation for tax evasion. The first is that Trumpist hacks trying to claim this as vindication for the claims that the lamestream media rigged the election by suppressing the blockbuster story of Hunter Biden’s LAPTOP is hilarious, given that the tax investigation…has nothing to do with the bullshit Rudy was trying to sell:
Last week, reports leaked to several media outlets that the Justice Department was investigating whether Hunter Biden had failed to pay federal income tax. Pro-Trump media from Byron York to Glenn Greenwald exploded in indignation that the allegations they had been pursuing against the Bidens, and which mainstream media had stubbornly failed to take seriously, had been confirmed. President Trump announced that the “corruption” he had been doggedly attempting to uncover in Ukraine had finally been found…
In reality, the charges against Hunter Biden do not remotely prove what Trump and his minions were claiming before the election. Here, from the official White House transcript, is how Trump framed the matter in his phone call with Ukraine’s president: “There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it … It sounds horrible to me.”
Notice Trump is not saying anything on this call about Hunter Biden evading income taxes. He’s claiming Joe Biden fired a prosecutor in order to protect Burisma, the Ukrainian firm that had put Hunter Biden on its payroll.
In addition, the more important part of the story is that Bill Barr allowed Rudy Guiliani access to the FBI to use agents to launch political investigations intended to help the Don:
And, while it hardly excuses Hunter Biden’s sleazy doings, the far greater misconduct in this episode seems to have been undertaken by Attorney General William Barr. The Times story, which came out Friday night, lays out a harrowing pattern of political abuse. Barr has already crossed the line by establishing an “intake process” for the FBI to sift through whatever dirt Giuliani wanted to pass on. Biden’s campaign didn’t have a special back channel to turn campaign dirt into federal investigations of its opponent. That privilege was only afforded to Trump.
Giuliani’s special “intake process” had already been disclosed before the election. The Times further reveals that Barr handed the matter over to a notorious partisan who, during his tenure in the Bush administration, once “said he would never serve a Democrat, and he left after former President Barack Obama was elected.” What’s more, the Hunter Biden tax crime probe reportedly operated outside of “normal investigative procedures,” which sounds ominous.
More on this tomorrow, but Barr is clearly angling to be judged with “did he try to help install Trump as a dictator after he lost the election?” as the baseline to evaluate his conduct in office. But the actual baseline is the conduct of other Attorneys General, and he ranks at the bottom of that list.