Some people say nothing is certain in this life. I beg to differ, and I defy anyone to show that I have this wrong: If Donald Trump were president, and one of his sons had been under investigation by his Department of Justice (DOJ) for several years with no action, and his attorney general had stubbornly declined to appoint a special counsel — lamely contending that there was no insuperable conflict of interest for the president’s Justice Department to investigate the president’s son — that would be the lead story in nearly every press outlet. The outrage in Washington would be palpable.
Of course, it wouldn’t come to that. The media-Democrat complex drumbeat would be too tirelessly cacophonous. Conservative pundits would concede that, while they were generally skeptical of special counsels, the Justice Department is bound by regulations to appoint one when there are (a) good-faith grounds for an investigation or prosecution, and (b) a conflict of interest that prevents the Justice Department from credibly investigating or prosecuting the matter in the normal course.
Congressional Democrats would inveigh on the Capitol steps, in its hearing rooms, and in ceaseless cable TV interviews from the Rotunda, that a special counsel must be appointed — and, if not, then the attorney general should be held in contempt of Congress or perhaps even impeached. It would not take long before the Republican-controlled Justice Department wilted, just as the Trump Justice Department did in 2017, amid the hysteria of the “Russiagate” farce and the equally nonsensical claim that Trump’s firing of then-FBI director James Comey amounted to an “obstruction” of the supposed Russia-collusion caper (i.e., the investigation that the FBI knew by then was baseless, according to the Durham Report). And just as the Bush DOJ did in 2003, in response to a manufactured controversy over the leak of a CIA officer’s identity (under circumstances where investigators already knew who the leaker was and that the leak had not violated federal law).
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No, if Trump were president, a special counsel would be appointed by the attorney general. And then the left-leaning mainstream media and Democrats would pivot to messaging about how administration officials were likely obstructing the investigation, and that indictments could be filed any moment.
As it happens, Democrat Joe Biden, and not Trump, is president today. Biden’s Justice Department inherited an investigation of his son, Hunter Biden, that began in 2018 and has dragged it out for nearly three years. No action has been taken, despite strong evidence of likely tax offenses and potentially the felony of making a false statement (to conceal his illegal drug abuse) on a federal form required for the purchase of firearms.
Of greater consequence, the GOP House accuses Hunter Biden of engaging for years in what Republicans say appeared to be a lucrative influence-peddling scheme that may implicate other members of the Biden family — perhaps even President Biden.
It is unclear, at this point, whether such a scheme, if true, was criminal. We do know that, during the Trump-Russia probe, the special counsel appointed by Trump’s DOJ, Robert Mueller, unearthed a dormant case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and that case bears striking similarities to what is alleged about the Biden scheme: lavish payments from foreigners connected to corrupt regimes for whom Manafort performed dubious consulting services; suspicious transfers of exorbitant sums of money through a maze of accounts and shell companies, apparently designed to conceal the source and scope of the money involved.
Every case is different. The fact that Manafort was convicted of a conspiracy to defraud the United States — involving money-laundering, tax fraud and failures to disclose foreign bank accounts and to register as a foreign agent — does not necessarily mean that any member of the Biden family should be prosecuted on a similar theory. But it does mean this: We can be confident that Manafort (who was pardoned by Trump in 2020) was aggressively prosecuted — many might say, too aggressively, in an effort to get him to implicate Trump in nonexistent collusion with Russia involving the 2016 election.
We know that officials aggressively pursued Manafort because the Trump DOJ caved to the pressure from the media-Democrat complex to appoint a special counsel with a bipartisan reputation for rigor and scrupulousness. Indeed, Democrats swooned and some media pundits cheered as Mueller proceeded to staff his investigation with prosecutors who were Democratic partisans.
To be sure, there were legitimate concerns expressed that the special counsel’s investigation might be biased against Trump. It was abundantly clear, however, that the case would be comprehensively scrutinized. If compelling evidence of crimes was uncovered, those crimes would be prosecuted — as they were in Manafort’s case, even though it was far afield from what Mueller had been appointed to investigate.
Yet, here we are, well into the third year of Attorney General Merrick Garland’s stewardship of the Biden DOJ. There is no way Biden’s Justice Department can credibly investigate the Bidens. Indeed, there is no indication that the Justice Department is investigating the Bidens — at least beyond Hunter’s alleged tax-evasion and false-statement offenses, described above.
Congressional investigators have alleged that agents of foreign regimes — some corrupt and some anti-American, with Communist China at the top of the list — transferred millions of dollars to members of the Biden family beginning when Joe Biden was vice president during the Obama years. Still, there are no signs that Biden’s DOJ is scrutinizing any of the allegations about the Biden family and possible influence-peddling.
How is it conceivable that the media are not on the warpath, calling for Garland to appoint a credible, nonpartisan, well-regarded former prosecutor as special counsel — both to take over the inexplicably moribund Hunter Biden probe and to conduct a searching investigation of the Biden family’s alleged receipt of millions of dollars from agents of foreign powers who stood to benefit from Joe Biden’s influence?
Why is it that the Justice Department’s dereliction, its flouting of special-counsel regulations, is not spinning up Capitol Hill day and night?
Oh, I forgot: Joe Biden is a Democrat. And at the Biden Justice Department, on the Hill, and in much of the mainstream media, it is partisan affiliation that matters; potential crimes are just details.
Andrew C. McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor, is a senior fellow at National Review Institute, contributing editor at National Review, and a Fox News contributor.
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