The Hunter Biden Indictment is Itself a Model of Evasion – JONATHAN TURLEY

Below is my column in the New York Post on the second indictment of Hunter Biden. The tax evasion charges were brought in a type of Voldemort indictment, skillfully detailing millions acquired from influence peddling without mentioning “he who must not be named.” Indeed, it says nothing of how or why millions were sent to Hunter.

Here is the column:

The 56-page indictment of Hunter Biden for tax evasion makes for racy reading, with the special counsel describing a four-year criminal pattern directed at maintaining Biden’s “extravagant lifestyle.”

That lifestyle included massive expenses for strippers, sex clubs, fast cars and other distractions.

The steps taken by Hunter to evade taxes are impressive, but not nearly as impressive as the efforts of the Justice Department to evade any direct implications for his father, President Biden.

In that sense, the indictment itself is a marvel of evasion.

There are three glaring omissions in the indictment that tend to shield critical payments and conduct that implicate the president.

The Burisma-Ukrainian money

First, the special counsel only indicts tax evasion that occurred in recent years.

That’s because the long “investigation” into Hunter inexplicably allowed the statute of limitations to expire on the most controversial payments starting around 2014 from Ukraine gas company Burisma.

Recent testimony from IRS whistleblowers suggests that wasn’t an accident. Investigators were stonewalled, they claimed, and the Justice Department was previously moving to reject any charges against Hunter Biden.

Exploring those earlier Ukrainian payments opens up questions about Hunter’s influence peddling and would have highlighted the conflict in his father’s extraordinary move to force the Ukrainians to fire a prosecutor investigating Burisma by holding back a billion dollars in aid for the country.

There is still no explanation why special counsel David Weiss would allow the statute of limitations to run out.

But this recent indictment keeps the focus squarely on taxes not paid, not how the money was “earned” in the first place.

Hunter the foreign agent

Also missing in the indictment is any charge against Hunter Biden as an unregistered foreign agent.

Recently, the Justice Department added a charge to the indictment of Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) that he ran afoul of FARA, the Foreign Agents Registration Act. FARA also was used to go after Donald Trump associates such as Paul Manafort.

The problem with charging Hunter with FARA is obvious.

It opens up questions about the millions of dollars going to the Biden family from foreign sources, a topic that Attorney General Merrick Garland has spent years avoiding.

In the second indictment, Weiss spends more time detailing the salacious use of this money rather than how and why it was given to the Bidens.

He just matter-of-factly describes millions flowing through these accounts from China, Romania, Ukraine, Russia and other countries.

The unindicted co-conspirator

By focusing on tax evasion alone, Weiss again avoids any direct reference to the focus of the influence-peddling used to raise these millions of dollars.

Even without mentioning the president, the implications of the indictment are devastating for the narrative and denials of Joe Biden.

The president has continued to maintain that he had no knowledge or interaction with these dealings. Those statements are clearly and knowingly false.

The president also maintained that his son has “never done anything wrong” and never accepted any money from China.

That is also untrue, according to the Justice Department and Hunter himself.

Yet Weiss continues to avoid any need to address the person who was the selling point of the influence peddling.

It was the same person who repeatedly called in to dinners and meetings, repeatedly attended events, and held meetings and photo shots for these clients.

Instead, Weiss indicts the failure to pay taxes on the proceeds of these dealings without addressing that underlying corruption.

It is akin to arresting a bank robber for speeding away from the crime scene without mentioning the reason for his flight.

In a scandal with dozens of references to the presidents and millions sent for influence and access, it took a steady hand for Weiss to avoid ever touching on President Biden’s role.

This was a truly Homeric feat — unseen since the Greek hero Odysseus won a competition by shooting an arrow through the tiny hole in a dozen ax heads.

It takes perfect aim not to avoid any contact. It is itself the very model of evasion.

Jonathan Turley is an attorney and professor at George Washington University Law School.

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