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Impeachment: Biden Under Formal Investigation

Above photo: Hunter Biden speaking outside the Capitol on Wednesday instead of inside it behind closed doors as he was subpoenaed to do. ABC screenshot/YouTube.

Joe Biden, a.k.a. “the Big Guy,” will be formally investigated on accumulating evidence he participated and benefited from his son Hunter’s years of manifestly criminal conniving.

It is now two and a half months since the House Oversight Committee opened hearings to consider the grounds for an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden for his increasingly apparent involvement in the extravagant corruption and influence-peddling schemes of his wayward son Hunter, his brother James, and other members of the Biden family.

The full House finally voted on this matter last Wednesday along strict party lines, 221 Republicans to 212 Democrats.

Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., a.k.a. “the Big Guy,” will now be formally investigated on accumulating evidence that he was a participant in and/or a beneficiary of Hunter’s years of manifestly criminal conniving while Pop was Barack Obama’s vice-president and during the post-veep interim before Joe moved into the White House.

The first two pieces in this Consortium News series on the impeachment proceedings can be read here and here. By the time we published the second of these we had concluded, “This is likely to prove a test of our troubled republic’s relationship with reality.”

So it shapes up to be.

‘No Evidence!’

Can Biden’s allies, the Democratic Party elite and the corporate media succeed as they attempt to persuade the public that open-and-shut, black-and-white evidence — paper trails, email trails, text-message trails, bank-records, the testimony of multiple witnesses, all of it perfectly clear — is not evidence? This is the project as formal proceedings begin.

“This whole thing is an extreme political stunt. It has no credibility, no legitimacy, and no integrity. It is a sideshow.” That is Jim McGovern, a Massachusetts Democrat, on the House floor last week.

“No credibility, legitimacy, or integrity”: Get used to these terms. We have heard them many times already and will hear them scores more in the months to come.

The White House appears to be in state of barely controlled panic. The Big Guy remains silent — as if, at this stage in the proceedings, he can simply ignore what is going on around him and it will all go away.

After the House vote was announced last Wednesday, A Fox News reporter asked Karine Jean–Pierre, the White House press secretary, about evidence that the president had lied about his involvement with Hunter’s businesses.

Biden’s not-quite-competent flak-catcher exploded: “But there’s no evidence. Wait, wait. There’s no evidence. There’s no evidence that the president has done wrongdoing [sic]. There’s none. Absolutely none. None. And that’s just a fact.” [Emphasis mine]

The New York Times story about Wednesday’s vote was subtitled: “Republicans are pushing forward with a formal investigation even though their yearlong scrutiny of the president and his family has turned up no evidence of high crimes or misdemeanors.” [Emphasis mine]

The subtitle to The Guardian’article said: “Republicans have failed to produce evidence showing president financially benefited from family business dealings.” [Emphasis mine]

The definition of an incantation is a “recited formula of words designed to produce a particular effect.”

In the annals of propaganda, were there any such thing, this incessant repetition of patent untruths would merit many pages.

If “control of the narrative,” “perception management,” and media manipulation of public opinion triumph over in-plain-sight evidence of guilt admissible in a courtroom or a Senate trial, propaganda will have won “the battle for the human brain,” as a NATO paper put it a couple of years ago.

We will at that point live in a lawless society with no resort to a credible judiciary.

But I don’t see this as the outcome. The president’s chances of political survival appear to decline steadily as the case against him advances.

A Sop for Pop

This has been an unusually eventful interim as l’affaire Biden proceeds.

Six days before the House vote, the Justice Department unsealed a nine-count indictment charging Hunter Biden with tax evasion, failure to file returns, and “false or fraudulent” returns when he did file them during his dissolute, influence-peddling years, 2016 to 2019. Three of the violations are felonies.

In my read the new indictment is more of the same from David Weiss, the corrupt special counsel who has been protecting the Bidens for years: The document is full of rip-roaring language but makes no mention of Hunter’s violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which is the front door leading to Pop’s collaboration as Hunter sold vice-presidential access to the Ukrainians, the Chinese, the Kazakhs, and others.

It will be interesting nonetheless to see how this sop to demands for justice plays out. My prediction: The new indictment is Weiss’s groundwork for another excessively lenient plea bargain such as the one he fashioned last summer but failed to get past a conscientious judge.

The question is whether such a plan would withstand sharpening congressional scrutiny — or whether it would worsen the mess that now surrounds the Bidens and their allies.

The House Oversight Committee had subpoenaed Hunter Biden to sit for closed-door questioning by the time the grand jury indictments were made public. This session was scheduled for last Wednesday, hours before the House impeachment vote. Hunter is now threatened with a contempt of Congress citation for failing to appear.

The younger Biden instead gave a press conference in front of the Capitol during which he got two things done.

One, he altered the Biden regime’s story for the second time. As readers will recall, the president’s first claim — he never discussed Hunter’s business with him — evolved some time ago into, “The president was never in business with Hunter.” Last week Hunter had it this way: “Let me state as clearly as I can: My father was not financially involved in my business.”

If you net this out, it amounts to an implicit admission that Pop lied in his earlier versions of the Biden family story. It was on this point that a Fox News reporter sent Jean–Pierre into near hysterics last week.

Two, during his appearance at the Capitol with microphones before him like bouquets of flowers, Hunter Biden lapsed into the tinniest of Pop’s many public-relations ploys: He played the pity card by pimping his personal difficulties.

“They ridiculed my struggle with addiction; they belittled my recovery,” he complained of those running the impeachment proceedings. “And they have tried to dehumanize me — all to embarrass and damage my father, who has devoted his entire public life to service.”

I don’t see how much of this spaghetti will stick to the wall, but the tableau tells us something important. The Biden family will stay as far outside the corridors of justice as it can in coming months, avoiding hearings, courtrooms, and legal proceedings for the simple reason it cannot win in any such context.

I have not yet heard of a court of public opinion trumping a court of law, but, desperate as the Bidens are at this point, it seems the only strategy available to them.

As to the House vote last week, let us note: It did not decide to impeach Joe Biden and has not formally accused him of any crime or infraction. It voted solely to begin a formal investigation into the president’s alleged culpability. Should the House vote to impeach, it will send the result to the Senate, where a trial, if the upper chamber decided to hold one, would take place.

The Evidence

Neither did last Wednesday’s vote occasion revelation of significant new evidence. There is one exception to this. Joseph Ziegler and Gary Shapley, the IRS investigators who blew the whistle on the corrupt DoJ investigations when their findings were suppressed earlier this year, testified again last week and more explicitly implicated Joe Biden in his son’s bribery schemes.

Miranda Devine,  The New York Post columnist who closely follows these events, published a good account of the latest Ziegler–Shapley testimony in the Post’s Dec. 13 editions.

While there is more to come, the House already has in hand very considerable email and text message archives, 36,000 pages of bank records, and 2,000 pages of the Treasury Department’s “suspicious activity reports,” which cover international bank transfers.

There is also testimony from Hunter’s business partners, federal agents, federal attorneys, and Mykola Zlochevsky, the chief executive of Burisma Holdings.

We will hear more of all this in months to come. The intent last week was simply to give the House formal authority to proceed with its investigation, subpoena witnesses, and reply to the legal challenges it anticipates from Biden and the rest of the Democratic elite.

At the same time, the House made clear those areas where it would focus its attention in months to come. These include what Hunter Biden and James Biden took in from their dealings with various foreign entities and where it went, the numerous occasions when Pop met with Hunter’s foreign partners, and — not to be missed — the extent to which the Biden White House and the Justice Department have to date obstructed or suppressed investigations conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service.

There is also the $10 million Biden père et fils allegedly took from Burisma in an even split, as described by Zlochevsky in several interviews with an F.B.I. informant, and a payment of $240,000 James made to his older brother – now the president – immediately after a Chinese equity investor paid Hunter several million dollars.

If the evidence of this latter payment proves out, it would have been the “10 percent for the Big Guy” noted in Hunter’s email messages. Biden’s attorneys are trying to pass this off as the repayment of loans, but as Ziegler testified last week in response to this assertion, “There was nothing to verify that they were loans.”

Hunter Or Re-Election?

One of the fallacies promoted by those given to endlessly insisting there is “no evidence!” incriminating Joe Biden, absolutely none, has it that there must be proof that he took money from Hunter as these various allegations indicate.

This is another dimension of the false narrative marshaled to protect the president. “Where’s the money?” Biden arrogantly asked when the alleged Burisma bribe was first made public.

It is a good question but not the only question. Confirmed evidence of such payments will certainly seal the case against Joe Biden, but it is not essential to a guilty finding. The law already stipulates that if family members make use of and benefit from a political figure’s position, the politician can be a beneficiary of criminal bribery and would in such a case stand guilty of the crime.

One lingering question to be watched in coming weeks is whether, as the Biden White House’s desperation mounts, the president will sacrifice his officially beloved son to his prospects for re-election come next November.

Even Democratic Party hacks such as Jerry Nadler and the insufferable Jamie Raskin, while insisting the president is clean, have begun to suggest that what were previously designated Hunter’s shenanigans now look more like crimes.

It is difficult to say whether Bidengate, lets call it, will divide the family in this way, but we cannot put this past a man whose service, as Hunter referred to it, has always been in his own interest.

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a columnist, essayist, lecturer and author, most recently of Journalists and Their Shadows, available from Clarity Press or via Amazon.  Other books include Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century. His Twitter account, @thefloutist, has been permanently censored.

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