In a stunning bit of Saturday evening news, a new report is shedding light on the negotiations that took place between Hunter Biden’s legal team and the DOJ. In late July, the two sides were mere moments away from securing a sweetheart plea deal until Judge Aileen Noreika started questioning the arrangement.
Things quickly deteriorated after the judge questioned whether there was any precedent for offering broad immunity in the diversion agreement related to Hunter Biden’s gun charge. At the time, one of the questions surrounding the agreement was why the president’s son was being offered pre-trial diversion in the first place.
As some pointed out at the time, any person distributing drugs while being in illegal possession of a firearm is supposed to be charged with a felony. Further, the DOJ is supposed to seek a mandatory minimum of five years in prison as part of “Project Safe Neighborhoods.” Instead, a gun charge that could have brought ten years behind bars was brushed under the rug, with the diversion agreement serving as a vehicle to offer an arguably improper amount of immunity.
Now, we get to the jaw-dropping part of this. According to Politico, which examined previously unknown communications between Hunter Biden’s legal team and the DOJ, there was an actual threat issued to call Joe Biden as a witness if Weiss dared to charge the gun crime in question.
Then he issued a warning: If the Justice Department charged the president’s son, his lawyers would put the president on the witness stand.
“President Biden now unquestionably would be a fact witness for the defense in any criminal trial,” Clark wrote in a 32-page letter reviewed by POLITICO.
According to Hunter Biden’s lawyers, if the DOJ charged Hunter Biden with a gun crime (which was by far the most dangerous for the president’s son as far as possible prison time), they would force Joe Biden to testify and bring about a “constitutional crisis.”
Clark then laid out what could have been seen as a promise, a warning, or just some very zealous lawyering: He said Joe Biden would undoubtedly be a witness at trial because of leaks about the probe. He wrote that just a few weeks before sending his letter, there had been two back-to-back leaks related to Hunter Biden and the gun issue. First, someone told The Washington Post that investigators thought Biden deserved tax and gun charges. Then a few days later, The Daily Mail reported on a voicemail Joe Biden left for his son in the window of time when he allegedly owned the gun. Surely the back-to-back leaks were part of a coordinated campaign to push the Justice Department to charge his client with crimes. And, Clark said, the leaks prompted the president to address his son’s legal woes the next day on CNN.
“There can be no doubt that these leaks have inserted President Biden into this case,” he said.
Politico offers the description of the move as a promise, warning, or very zealous lawyering, but that’s the mildest way to put it. Hunter Biden’s legal team essentially gave the DOJ a choice: Stop pressing the gun charge or face the implied wrath of the president, with an assertion that the DOJ’s reputation would be damaged in the process.
They argued that bringing the case would destroy the Justice Department’s reputation.
And they said a trial of the president’s son would create political and constitutional chaos by pitting the president himself against his own Justice Department.
“This of all cases justifies neither the spectacle of a sitting President testifying at a criminal trial nor the potential for a resulting Constitutional crisis,” Clark wrote.
Sure enough, instead of prosecuting the gun crime, Weiss and his team moved to offer pre-trial diversion. Now, we have ample evidence that the DOJ made that decision under the threat of involving and angering the President of the United States. Did that influence Weiss’ decision? It’s hard to see how it didn’t given Hunter Biden’s legal team apparently made it a centerpiece of their negotiations.
Is Weiss, now the special counsel overseeing the probe, still feeling that same pressure? One would hope not, but it’s another reason someone from outside the DOJ should have been chosen to head up this renewed effort. It is clear that Hunter Biden has been using his father’s position of power to influence the investigation and prosecution of his alleged crimes. That’s scandalous.