The Biden Family Grift and Hunter’s Fake Offer To Testify

Hunter Biden’s offer to testify before the House Oversight Committee is a clever evasion, nothing more. The president’s son says he will testify only if the hearing is publicly televised. Nice try. Subpoenaed witnesses don’t get to set the terms. The committee does.

Why make an offer that is bound to be rejected? For two reasons. The PR goal is for Hunter to appear willing to testify, when he actually wants desperately to avoid it. The legal goal is to prevent, or at least delay, the committee from enforcing its subpoena. Hunter and his hardball attorney, Abbe Lowell, probably figure the Biden administration’s Department of Justice won’t go to court and demand compliance. That’s not a bad bet. If the DOJ does refuse, the House will go to court itself, but that will take time and may not succeed.

This kerfuffle over testimony is only the latest twist in the investigation of Biden family influence peddling. The complexity of that family operation makes it easy to lose sight of what we know, what we don’t, and how deeply the president himself is involved.

It is useful to unpack the whole operation because it has lots of moving parts, law enforcement has covered it up, and the legacy media has remained deaf, dumb, and blind. Here’s an overview.

Hunter Biden is the center of multiple investigations, but his sleazy activities only matter politically if they implicate his father. There are really three overriding questions about his father and the law enforcement agencies that have looked into the alleged corruption.

  1. What did Joe Biden know about the millions flowing into his family from overseas, based solely on their connection to him?
  2. What, if anything, did Joe do to aid this family operation?
  3. Why did several top law enforcement agencies stifle legitimate investigations into this corruption?

The crucial points, as the investigation stands now, are that the Biden family earned tens of millions by selling its “brand”; the brand consisted solely of the family’s connection to Joe’s political power; Joe knew about that sales pitch and aided it, despite his denials. But there is very little evidence, so far, that he personally benefited from this family grift.

Without that direct evidence, an impeachment vote on the House floor would likely fail and, in any event, would be very costly politically. There is no chance the Senate would vote to remove the president without ample evidence that Joe himself committed corrupt acts. It’s not enough to show he met with Hunter’s business partners or lied about what he knew. He did both, but that’s not enough.

What do we know? What is still uncertain? And what happens next?

  • The family members who earned this money had no marketable skills except their relation to the second-highest official in the U.S. government under Barack Obama.
  • Nearly all of the Biden family income came from foreign sources – and not just any foreign sources. It came from countries where corruption was pervasive, where oligarchs earned big money from it, and where Vice President Biden had primary responsibility for the conduct of U.S. foreign policy.
  • Hunter Biden traveled to many of these countries on Air Force Two. Arriving with his father on that plane conveyed Hunter’s ultimate insider status. That, of course, is what foreign partners were buying since Hunter had no other expertise.
  • Joe Biden has consistently and vociferously denied he knew anything at all about these extensive, multi-year efforts to monetize his name and influence. There is ample evidence to refute that assertion. More on that later.
  • To earn serious money, Hunter needed to do more than flaunt his family name. He needed to show his clients he maintained a close, working relationship with his father.
  • Joe demonstrated that working relationship in at least two ways: making phone calls to his son’s business meetings and facilitating meetings for Hunter’s associates at the White House.
  • On several occasions, Vice President Biden went further. On one official trip to California, he met with Hunter’s business partner, Tony Bobulinski, who says he and Joe discussed Hunter’s overseas business venture with Bobulinski, but only in general terms.
  • Closer to home, the Vice President dined with Ukrainian Burisma executive Vadym Pozharskyi and Hunter in a private room at Georgetown’s chic Café Milano (April 2015). “The Bidens are also said to have met with Kazakh oligarch Kenes Rakishev and former Kazakhstan prime minister Karim Massimov at Milano,” according to the New York Post.
  • After many such meetings, Hunter received substantial payments. Here’s just one instance. “Kazakh businessman Kenes Rakishev inexplicably wired $142,000 to Hunter Biden in April 2014 so he could buy himself a sports car. Mr. Rakishev sent the money around the same time then-Vice President Joe Biden dined with him at a Washington restaurant at Hunter Biden’s request.”
  • As the foreign income flowed in, Hunter took extensive steps to conceal its sources and distribution to various family members. He had no legitimate business reason to open dozens of bank accounts or form multiple LLCs. They were used to move money between accounts, hiding the sources and ultimate recipients.
  • Banks are familiar with transactions like this and were troubled enough to contact the U.S. Treasury, filing well over a hundred “suspicious activity reports.”
  • Since SARs often signal money laundering, the Treasury routinely investigates them, especially when they are so numerous. Not in Hunter’s case. Later, when an IRS team probing Hunter’s taxes sought to follow up, they were blocked by the Departments of Justice and Treasury.
  • Family members who received these foreign funds made sizable payments to Joe, marking the checks as “repayment of debts.” That claim is still ambiguous since no supporting documents have been made public.
  • Joe Biden made extensive efforts to hide any traces of personal involvement in his family’s enterprise, using burner phones and fake email names and addresses. The content of those messages is still secret.
  • Senior officials at the Department of Justice, FBI, IRS, and Department of Treasury have consistently blocked investigation of payments and transfers to Hunter and, even more intensively, to Joe. In several cases, lawyers in the U.S. attorney’s office explicitly said they would prohibit investigative steps that might touch on Joe Biden.
  • When IRS tax investigators prepared to raid a location where Hunter stored documents and conduct surprise interviews with his business associates, some administration officials tipped off Hunter’s team. The documents then disappeared, and the associates became unavailable. This disclosure was improper and almost certainly illegal. No one has been investigated for it.
  • The DOJ and senior IRS officials repeatedly blocked the IRS forensic team from undertaking investigative measures that would be routinely approved for other targets. One involved a direct threat Hunter made to a Chinese business partner, demanding a major payment. Hunter added leverage to the threat by saying his father was sitting beside him during the phone call and that Joe and Hunter would work together to harm the partner’s reputation if he didn’t send a large sum immediately. (He sent it.) When the IRS team investigating Hunter’s taxes learned of that call, they sought permission to use GPS data to determine if Joe Biden was actually sitting near his son at the time. They were denied permission without explanation. Photos taken later that day show Joe and Hunter were together in Delaware.
  • After the IRS investigative team had been blocked multiple times, they sought and received whistleblower status from Congress. The IRS and Department of Justice retaliated by removing the entire team from the tax investigation they had been conducting for five years.
  • IRS leaders falsely claimed the agents had no authority to request whistleblower status from Congress. In fact, requests like theirs are the purpose of the whistleblower act.
  • When two IRS investigative agents finally testified before Congress, it was obvious they were non-partisan professionals with no political agenda. They were simply following normal procedures but facing unprecedented obstructions without legitimate explanations.
  • The lead prosecutor in the Hunter Biden case, David Weiss, U.S. attorney for Delaware, was originally appointed by President Trump. Biden’s defenders stress that point. They omit that his name was put forward by Delaware’s two Democratic Senators. Whoever is responsible for Weiss’ appointment is less important than his painfully slow pace and inaction. Those speak for themselves.
  • Weiss has taken over five years to investigate charges, some of which could have been filed within months. He inexplicably allowed the statute of limitations to expire on several major tax charges, leaving some taxes unpaid.
  • Weiss dropped nearly all other charges, including Hunter Biden’s representation of foreign businesses. Those should have been prosecuted under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
  • Weiss’ office proposed a sweetheart deal with Hunter Biden, which fell apart when the federal judge asked basic questions about whether the U.S. attorney was granting Hunter immunity on all other crimes.
  • Another of Weiss’ failures involved his failure to obtain testimony from Hunter’s partner, Tony Bobulinski, who spoke on national television about his business relationship with Hunter and his meetings with Joe and Hunter about that business. Those public statements showed Bobulinski had information directly relevant to Weiss’ investigation. Yet the U.S. attorney never bothered to contact him. Faced with that stonewall, Bobulinski reached out to Weiss’ team and offered to testify. They never returned his calls. Bobulinski still hasn’t testified before a grand jury.
  • As far as we know, neither Weiss nor the DOJ has investigated the accuracy of written notations that divided shares in some lucrative foreign business deals. The notes indicated that, in addition to Hunter’s own share, he would pocket an additional 10% for “the Big Guy.” Hunter is known to use that term for his father, and his business partners understood the term that way.
  • Hunter also communicated privately with his daughter, complaining about having to share his earnings with his father. It is unclear if his claim is true or if the DOJ undertook any inquiries.
  • Weiss and Attorney General Merrick Garland falsely informed House investigators that Weiss had full authority to bring criminal charges against Biden family members outside the US attorney’s home district in Delaware. When he actually tried to do that, however, he was blocked by Biden-appointed U.S. attorneys in California and D.C. That could not have happened if Weiss and Garland’s testimony were true.
  • To overcome these roadblocks, Weiss then went to top officials at the DOJ and requested authority to bring charges outside Delaware. He was denied. The request and denial further contradict claims by both Weiss and Attorney General Garland to Congress, stating Weiss had full authority to file those charges in other districts. He didn’t, and Main Justice declined to give it to him.
  • Weiss did finally receive that authority, but only after the DOJ was publicly humiliated by the IRS whistleblowers’ testimony.
  • After Weiss received that authority, he opened a grand jury investigation of Hunter Biden in California, probably for tax issues and perhaps for FARA violations.

Joe Biden’s defense against this tsunami of family corruption is that he loves his son, that his son’s mistakes are attributable to his drug addiction, that any evidence of family corruption on Hunter’s laptop was Russian disinformation (a claim now disproven by multiple forensic investigations), and that there is no proof Joe himself was ever involved in influence peddling, benefited from it, or even knew about it.

The DOJ, IRS, FBI, and Treasury Department have offered no explanation for their sustained efforts to prevent investigations that would touch on Joe Biden, to block standard procedures by IRS specialists, and to let the statute of limitations expire on major charges, including some that let federal tax obligations go unpaid. They have not explained why FARA charges against Hunter disappeared despite ample evidence of violations.

James Comer (R-KY), who heads the House Oversight Committee and leads the impeachment inquiry, appears to be nearing the conclusion of his investigation. Over the past two weeks, he issued subpoenas to Hunter Biden, Hunter’s business partners, James Biden (Joe’s brother), and other witnesses with direct knowledge of the family’s transactions. He has also sought their bank records. Zeroing in on these key witnesses normally signals the impending conclusion of an investigation.

The latest subpoenas raise hard questions. The first is whether all the witnesses, including Hunter Biden, will comply. The second is whether, if some refuse, the Department of Justice will enforce the subpoenas, as they should. If the DOJ declines, the committee could go directly to federal court and seek enforcement, but that’s time-consuming and requires approval by heavily Democratic courts in D.C. The committee will argue it has a clear legislative purpose (impeachment) and a right to see the documents and hear from witnesses under oath to fulfill that purpose.

The final and most vexing question is whether the committee has gathered sufficient evidence to propose impeachment. That is ultimately a political decision, and not an easy one. Although the Republicans almost certainly win that vote in committee, they have only a three-vote majority on the House floor (and only two if George Santos is expelled, as seems likely). They would need uniform Republican support to move forward. All Democrats would oppose them.

It is far from certain all House Republicans would vote for impeachment. More than a dozen were elected from districts Biden won in 2020. Those vulnerable representatives know that impeaching the president would distract from other public business, alienate some centrist voters, and die in the Senate.

Many Republicans have yet another reservation. They don’t want to do anything to drive Biden out of the 2024 race since they believe he is the weakest Democrat candidate.

Click here to read the full article in Real Clear Politics

Bank Investigator Flagged ‘Unusual’ Chinese Payments behind $40k Check to Biden, Raised Possibility of Influence Peddling

A bank money-laundering investigator expressed serious concerns about a transfer of funds from China that ultimately trickled down to President Biden in the form of a $40,000 check from his brother, James Biden, according to an email obtained by the House Oversight Committee.

Biden received a $40,000 personal check from an account shared by his brother, James Biden, and sister-in-law, Sara Biden, in September 2017 — money that was marked as a “loan repayment.” The alleged repayment was sent after funds were filtered from Northern International Capital, a Chinese company affiliated with the Chinese energy firm CEFC, through several accounts related to Hunter Biden and eventually down to the personal account shared by James and Sara Biden.

Northern International Capital sent $5 million to Hudson West III, a joint venture established by Hunter Biden and CEFC associate Gongwen Dong on August 8.

On the same day, Hudson West III then sent $400,000 to Owasco, P.C., an entity owned and controlled by Hunter Biden. Six days later, Hunter Biden wired $150,000 to Lion Hall Group, a company owned by James and Sara Biden. Sara Biden withdrew $50,000 in cash from Lion Hall Group on August 28 and then deposited the funds into her and her husband’s personal checking account later that day. 

On September 3, 2017, Sara Biden wrote a check to Joe Biden for $40,000.

An unidentified bank investigator sent an email on June 26, 2018 to colleagues raising concerns about money sent from Hudson West III to Owasco P.C. The email said the $5 million in funds sent from Northern International Capital to Hudson West III were primarily used to fund 16 wire transfers totaling more than $2.9 million to Owasco PC. The wires were labeled as management fees and reimbursements.

“We find it unusual that approximately 58 percent of the funds were transferred to the law firm in a few months and the frequency of payments appear erratic,” the investigator wrote in the email, which the committee shared with National Review.

The investigator said Hudson West III “does not currently have any investment projects at this time, which raises further concerns as millions in fees are being paid but does not appear to have any services rendered by Owasco PC.”

The email also points to news at the time that indicated China had been targeting children of politicians and purchasing political influence through “sweetheart deals.”

“Specifically, Hunter Biden’s $1.5 billion dollar deal with the Chinese-State to establish a private-equity firm in which they manage the funds over time and make huge fees,” the email said. 

“The management company’s purpose is to invest in companies that benefit Chinese government,” it adds. “Thus, the activity on the account appears unusual with no current business purpose and along with the recent negative news … may require re-evaluation of [redacted] relationship with the customer.” 

House Oversight Committee chairman James Comer reacted to the letter in a statement on Wednesday.

“Long before our investigation into President Biden’s corruption, a bank money laundering investigator raised the exact concerns that we raised publicly about the Biden family business: ‘payments appear erratic,’ ‘does not appear to have any services rendered,’ ‘no current business purpose,’ and ‘China target[s] children of politicians and purchase of political influence through ‘sweetheart deals.’ Those are the words of a bank investigator who was just doing his job,” he said.

“The bank investigator was so concerned about Hunter Biden’s financial transactions with the Chinese company, he wanted to re-evaluate the bank’s relationship with the customer,” Comer added.

Comer goes on to say President Biden “knew about, participated in, and benefited from his family’s shady China dealings.”

“Joe Biden showed up to his son’s CEFC meetings and benefited from the money wired from China” he said. “The White House and their Corporate Media allies’ efforts to excuse and coverup this blatant corruption is appalling to the American people. House Republicans will continue to unearth the facts and provide the accountability the American people deserve.”

The Bidens began working with CEFC, a Chinese energy company linked to the CCP, when Joe Biden was vice president. Hunter Biden sent a WhatsApp message to CEFC associate Raymond Zhao on July 30, 2017, demanding a $10 million payment.

“I am sitting here with my father and we would like to understand why the commitment made has not been fulfilled. I am very concerned that the Chairman has either changed his mind and broken our deal without telling me or that he is unaware of the promises and assurances that have been made have not been kept,” the message read.

“And Z if I get a call or text from anyone involved in this other than you, Zhang, or the Chairman, I will make certain that between the man sitting next to me and every person he knows and my ability to forever hold a grudge that you will regret not following my direction,” he added.

The next day, Hunter Biden asked to reshape the partnership to exclude James Gilliar, Rob Walker, and Tony Bobulinski, leaving CEFC working only with James Biden.

“CEFC is willing to cooperate with the family,” Zhao replied.

Walker told the FBI that Biden appeared at a CEFC meeting in Washington, D.C. with Hunter Biden. Walker acknowledged that the younger Biden had his father attend in order to increase the chances of getting a deal to work out.

Former Hunter Biden business associate Devon Archer previously testified that then–vice president Biden joined at least 20 phone calls and/or in-person meetings with Hunter’s foreign business associates during their time working together. He explained that access to the vice president served as the selling point of the Biden “brand” that allowed him and Hunter several lucrative financial opportunities, including joining the board of Burisma.

At the time, Burisma’s founder and CEO Mykola Zlochevsky was being investigated by Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin, whom the elder Biden later bragged about having fired.

Click here to read the full article in the National Review

‘They’re clearing out the homeless people’: San Francisco gets ready for arrival of world leaders

SAN FRANCISCO —  Crouching at the entrance of San Francisco City Hall, Jason Jacobs brushed gold paint onto the ornate doorway of the Beaux-Arts building.

“Whether I paint the gates or not, they’re gonna get their breath taken away,” said Jacobs, a San Francisco native who often marvels at the stunning architecture.

Fresh paint. Street cleanings. Homeless sweeps. Colorful art. Workers like Jacobs beautified the city, days before politicians, executives and journalists from around the world descend on San Francisco for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference. From Saturday to Nov. 17, the international event is expected to bring more than 20,000 people to the city and attract thousands of protesters.

APEC is made up of 21 member economies, including the U.S., China, Japan, Russia and Canada. The members account for nearly 50% of global trade and 40% of the global population, giving the U.S. a big platform to promote policies that advance free and open trade in the Asia-Pacific region.

A highly anticipated meeting between President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping during the summit could also help ease tensions between the two countries.

Though the wide-ranging meeting is not expected to produce any major breakthroughs, White House officials say it will cover a host of economic and security issues underlying U.S.-Chinese tensions, including trade, technology exports, human rights and Chinese aggression in the South China Sea and near Taiwan, the self-governing island that Beijing claims as its own. The president will also raise areas of cooperation — including climate change and countering narcotics trafficking — as well as Beijing’s role in the Israel-Hamas conflict and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The stakes are high for the U.S. but also for San Francisco, which is hosting the APEC summit for the first time. It’s the biggest gathering of world leaders in San Francisco since 1945, when representatives from 50 nations signed a charter that established the United Nations.

The global spotlight will shine on a city filled with stark contrasts — home to billion-dollar tech companies and streets lined with homeless encampments.

“You can go to the deepest, darkest parts of the Tenderloin or you can go to the top of the Hyatt Regency,” said Jacobs, a painter at City Hall.

Blocks away from the Moscone Center, where the summit’s main events will be held, Christie Palominos sorted through her belongings. Palominos said she’s trying to figure out what she wants to keep before she moves into permanent housing. Piles of clothing, a shopping cart, bags, coloring books and a variety of objects surround her.

Palominos, 47, didn’t know world leaders would be in town, but she said one of her homeless friends has been asked by the same police officer to move multiple times.

“They’re clearing out the homeless people because they don’t want them to see this,” she said.

Grappling with family issues, drug addiction and mental health problems, Palominos said she’s been hopping among San Francisco homeless shelters for more than a year. It’s not easy for homeless people to find a spot in a shelter.

“Usually I stay as long as I can, but it’s kind of hard because there are certain people who pick on you. They think they’re better than you,” said Palominos, who has a bruise under her eye and a bandage wrapped around a bloody finger.

On the streets, Palominos said she’s seen traumatic acts of violence like a shooting and stabbing. Struggling with addiction to crystal meth, Palominos said she’s been clean for five days.

“Walk a day in my shoes,” she said. “I guarantee that some of these rich people who walk around in these high-rises wouldn’t survive.”

Jennifer Friedenbach, executive director of the Coalition for Homelessness, said her organization has been hearing about more homeless encampment sweeps ahead of the international conference. With shelters seeing spaces already filling up or limiting openings, Friedenbach said it’s “really frustrating” because the city is just displacing groups of homeless people when they’re moved around. Instead, advocacy groups were hoping for more temporary housing for the homeless during the conference.

“They want to clean up the city’s image and use this conference as a way to draw back tourism,” she said. “These efforts never work because folks don’t have disappearing power. People are out there because there’s not enough housing. There’s not enough shelter.”

In 2022, 7,754 people experienced homelessness in San Francisco. About 43% or 3,357 were staying in shelters, according to city data.

Homelessness has been a contentious issue in San Francisco. In December, a federal judge temporarily blocked the city from clearing certain homeless encampments without offering shelter. The court order stemmed from a 2022 lawsuit the Coalition on Homelessness filed against San Francisco, alleging that city workers are trying to drive homeless people out of town and are seizing and destroying their property “with the express purpose of removing visible signs of homelessness from San Francisco’s street.” The city is still allowed to clear streets for emergencies, health and safety reasons and to temporarily clean.

Emily Cohen, deputy director for communications and legislative affairs at the San Francisco Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, said in an email the city isn’t expanding shelter capacity just for the summit but did set aside funding to add roughly 300 shelter beds as winter approaches.

The Interfaith Winter Shelter, which has a site at Natoma and 8th streets, is scheduled to be open during the summit and the city is expanding shelter capacity at three adult congregate shelters, she said.

“When our community hosts events, like APEC, we want to put our best foot forward,” she said.

That hasn’t stopped Republicans from holding up San Francisco as an example for what happens when Democratic politicians are in charge. In June, Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, shot a campaign ad that portrayed San Francisco as city that has “collapsed because of leftist policies.”

“We came in here, and we saw people defecating on the street,” said DeSantis, standing next to a graffiti-sprayed buildings. “We saw people using heroin. We saw people smoking crack cocaine, and you look around, the city is not vibrant anymore. It’s really collapsed because of leftist policies.”

The city has been struggling to recover from the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, when San Francisco grappled with office and business closures partly due to government-mandated shutdowns that affected a vibrant downtown filled with retailers, restaurants and bars.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed said in a press conference Thursday that the tattered urban images people see on social media about San Francisco capture a snapshot in time in certain neighborhoods, ignoring the rest of the picturesque city.

“I see a lot of beauty all over San Francisco…,” she said. “My hope is that people will have the opportunity to experience San Francisco for themselves and tell the whole story.”

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

Voter support for Biden Plunges in California

WASHINGTON — For the first time in his presidency, a majority of California voters disapprove of President Biden’s job performance, as support for him has dropped sharply among major Democratic-leaning groups, a new poll shows.

Fifty-two percent of the state’s voters disapprove of Biden’s performance in office, compared with 44% who approve, according to the latest UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll, co-sponsored by The Times. Disapproval of Biden has risen 6 percentage points and approval has fallen 4 points since May, the last time the poll asked the question.

The drop has come heavily from Biden’s fellow Democrats and, to a lesser extent, from the state’s nonpartisan voters. Almost all the state’s Republican voters already disapproved of him.

No single issue appears to fully account for the change: Biden gets poor ratings on several major topics, including inflation, the Israel-Hamas war and immigration.

Specific issues, however, may be the wrong place to look for an explanation: Many voters don’t closely follow news events, but respond to a general sense of how their lives are going.

In 2020, Biden accused then-President Trump of fostering chaos and held out the promise of a return to normal life. But amid inflation and two major wars, the world still feels chaotic, Biden is now the incumbent, and many voters are skeptical that, at age 80, he’s able to master events. A previous Berkeley IGS-Times poll conducted in late August found nearly half the state’s voters — and 3 in 10 Democrats — “very concerned” about Biden’s age.

The new poll finds that 1 in 4 voters who said they cast ballots for Biden in 2020 now give him a negative job approval rating, up from about 1 in 6 in May.

Female voters and voters younger than 40, two groups that played a major role in Biden’s victory, have gone from majority approval of Biden’s job performance in May to disapproval now. Latino voters, who were evenly split on Biden in May, now disapprove of his work by 14 points, 55% to 41%.

The decline in approval among young voters could be especially dangerous for Biden, said Mark DiCamillo, the director of the Berkeley IGS poll.

In 2020, young voters “turned out in higher than expected numbers and were one of the main reasons Biden was able to defeat Trump,” DiCamillo said. That sort of high youth turnout “doesn’t seem like it’s in play right now.”

“The job ratings get worse as you get younger,” DiCamillo said.

Paloma Polacci, a 19-year-old student at Santa Barbara City College, is an example.

She was too young to vote in 2020, but “after the Obama administration, everyone was sort of geeked to have Biden back in,” she said in an interview Monday.

“But I’m not really sure if I feel satisfied with his presidency,” she added. “I was optimistic in the beginning of his presidency.” Now, not so much.

In heavily Democratic California, such sentiments are unlikely to change the outcome — Biden continues to lead Trump by a hefty margin in hypothetical 2024 matchups, the UC Berkeley-Times poll shows.

And Polacci noted that she, ultimately, would “vote lesser of the two evils. It’s annoying that’s American politics now.”

But the trend of younger voters, women and Latinos souring on the president also shows up in swing states where the contest is much closer. In some recent polls, Biden now trails Trump in hypothetical 2024 match-ups.

Even in California, the 15-point lead that the poll shows for Biden would be just half his victory margin of three years ago.

A lackluster showing at the top of the ticket could hurt Democrats further down the ballot. Five California Republicans hold congressional seats in districts that Biden carried in 2020 — one in Los Angeles County, two based in Orange County and two in the Central Valley. Flipping those districts is a major element of Democrats’ strategy for regaining a House majority, but doing so would require a strong Democratic turnout.

Importantly, Biden’s margin is down not because his voters have moved to Trump — very few have — but because one-quarter of them say they would not support either candidate or perhaps would not vote at all if that becomes the 2024 choice.

“They’re not going to Trump, they’re going to neither or undecided,” DiCamillo said. “It’s almost like they don’t know where to go.”

The election, of course, remains a year away, and history shows that polls this far in advance cannot forecast outcomes; their value lies in describing what voters feel currently.

Both of Biden’s Democratic predecessors, Presidents Clinton and Obama, suffered sharp declines in approval during their third years in office, including steep drops among their fellow Democrats. Obama’s nationwide job approval at this point was similar to Biden’s now.

Both Clinton and Obama turned around their troubles and gained reelection. Biden’s aides say he can do likewise once the campaign is actively underway.

“The Democratic base vote often consolidates late,” John Anzalone, who ran Biden’s polling in 2020, said Tuesday at a panel discussion for pollsters.

The key for Democrats is getting voters to focus on the choice between Biden and the Republican nominee.

That seems almost certain to be Trump. In California as in the rest of the country, he has a huge lead over his rivals for the nomination.

The new poll shows 57% of voters likely to take part in California’s Republican primary in March now say they back Trump, putting him far ahead of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, 12%, and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, 9%, who are roughly tied for second place. Nearly 4 in 10 likely Republican voters backed DeSantis in February; he has lost ground in every poll since then.

Winning more than 50% of the primary vote would give Trump all the state’s delegates to the Republican convention next year. California has the largest delegation of any state.

The prospect of a rematch bothers many voters.

Jeff Wapner, a nonpartisan voter interviewed Tuesday in Santa Barbara, likened Biden and Trump, 77, to his parents, who are in their late 70s.

“They’re incredible people and I love them,” said Wapner, 46. “They should not be running the country.”

“It’s really depressing that we don’t have better options,” he said.

For Biden, turning around his fortunes will require improvements among several groups that played big roles in his 2020 victory.

Two-thirds of California voters younger than 50 say they backed Biden in 2020, the poll found; just 43% say they would vote for him today. The drop is even steeper among Latino voters, from 66% then to 38% now. Biden has suffered somewhat smaller, but still significant, erosion of support among Black voters, from 74% in 2020 to 60% now.

In each of those cases, the poll found no significant increase in support for Trump. Instead, large shares of each group said they remained undecided, would vote for someone else or might not vote.

The dismay with Biden within his party covered a wide range of issues.

In recent weeks, for example, Biden has come under attack from some in the party’s left wing for his strong backing of Israel in its war against Hamas. The poll reflects that: Among Biden’s 2020 voters, 47% approve of his handling of the Israel-Hamas fighting, compared with 43% who disapprove.

Among Biden voters who identify as strongly liberal, 52% disapprove.

That’s strikingly less support than Biden receives from fellow Democrats on two other foreign policy issues — the war in Ukraine, on which two-thirds of Democrats approve of his work, or relations with China, on which nearly 6 in 10 Democrats approve.

But other issues are also in play: Democrats judge Biden equally harshly on immigration and only slightly better on crime and inflation. And while Biden’s Israel stance has alienated some strongly liberal voters, that group, overall, was no less likely to support Biden than voters who identified themselves as only somewhat liberal.

Biden’s campaign so far has put a big emphasis on trying to improve his ratings on the economy. His aides have been frustrated that amid near-record low unemployment, rising wages and strong economic growth, a large majority of Americans continue to rate the economy as poor.

One problem that seems of less concern for Biden is the likely presence of independent candidates on the ballot. The poll tested a Biden-Trump contest two ways — head-to-head and in a four-way matchup including independent candidates Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Cornel West.

Biden’s margin over Trump was almost identical either way — 46%-31% in the two-way test and 43%-29% in the four-way.

Kennedy, a former Democrat who has embraced anti-vaccine beliefs and other conspiracy theories, got 9% in the hypothetical matchup and drew support almost equally from former Biden and Trump voters. West, a professor and left-wing activist, drew 4%, mostly from former Biden voters or people who did not vote in 2020.

Historically, support for third-party candidates almost always has dwindled as a campaign proceeds.

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

Trump notches considerable lead over Biden in five swing states: poll

Donald Trump is notching considerable leads against President Biden in five of six key battleground states, a new poll has found.

The GOP frontrunner is up between 4 to 10 percentage points among registered voters in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Pennsylvania, according to a New York Times, Siena College poll.

Trump lost all of those states to Biden in the 2020 election.

Taken together, those five states account for 69 electoral college votes.

For context, Trump lost the electoral college to Biden 232 to 306. A candidate must get 270 votes to win the presidency.

The only state among the six where Trump trails Biden is Wisconsin, where the incumbent president has a two percentage point edge, per the poll.

The 77-year-old former president is also generally besting Biden nationally in polls, with a 0.5 percentage point edge in the latest RealClearPolitics aggregate.

No Republican has won the popular vote for president since 2004, so some analysts have questioned those findings.

The NYT/Siena College poll’s results in battleground states echoes similar findings to a myriad of other polling, showing Trump with a lead over Biden in key swing states.

In Nevada, Trump beats Biden 52% to 41%, while the RCP aggregate has Trump ahead 46.7% to 44.3%.

In Georgia, Trump is up 49% to 43%, while the RCP aggregate has it 48.5% to 43%.

Down in Arizona, Trump is ahead 49% to 44%, while the RCP aggregate has it 47% to 43.3%.

In Michigan, Trump is up 49% to 43% compared to the RCP aggregate at 44.2% to 43%.

And in Pennsylvania, Trump leads 48% to 44%, while the RCP aggregate has him up 45.5% to 43.5%.

Meanwhile, Trump is trailing Biden 45% to 47% in Wisconsin, according to the NYT/Siena College poll, while barely topping Biden in the RCP aggregate 44.3% to 43.7%.

Both men, who are well-positioned at the moment to become their respective party’s standard bearers in the 2024 election are deeply unpopular among vast swathes of the electorate, the poll found.

This comes amid concerns about Biden’s age and Trump’s 91 criminal counts that he is facing spanning across four different indictments.

Biden, 80, will celebrate his birthday later this month on Nov. 20. He is already the oldest president in US history and would be 86 at the conclusion of a hypothetical second term.

A staggering 71% of voters felt that Biden is “too old” to be president, including 54% of his own backers, while only 39% felt the same way about Trump, including 19% of Trump’s backers, per the poll.

His campaign has recently begun trying to undercut concerns about his age by spotlighting Trump’s various flubs and mishaps on the campaign trail such as not knowing what Iowa city he was in last month.

“There is nervousness among the donors and some of the elected officials that Joe Biden won’t be a strong candidate because of doubts Americans have about his health. And those doubts have been expressed in the polls,” former Democratic National Committee Chairman Ed Rendell acknowledged in a WABC 770 interview with John Catsimatidis.

Still, Rendell was optimistic about Biden’s prospects over Trump’s.

“If you ask them … ‘If it’s Joe Biden running against Donald Trump who would you vote for?’ they are almost unanimous that they vote for Joe Biden,” he said on “Cats Roundtable.” 

“I think Joe Biden will run, can win, and will win — especially if the candidate is Donald Trump.”

Other political pundits seized on the poll, saying it was time for Biden to make way for a new party leader.

“It’s time. President Biden has served our country well. I’m confident he’ll do so for the next year. But it’s time for an act of personal sacrifice and public spirit. It’s time to pass the torch to the next generation. It’s time for Biden to announce he won’t run in 2024,” Bill Kristol, a commentator and frequent Trump critic, wrote on X.

“The new NYT poll is bad. There is no sugarcoating it. But instead of panicking or naively un-skewing the poll, we should start doing the work of rebuilding the anti-MAGA majority,” Obama administration alum Dan Pfeiffer said, noting that voters’ opinion of Biden jumps when they hear about his accomplishments.

Click here to read the full article in the NYPost

Mugged by Reality, Biden Builds a Border Wall Democrats Called ‘Racist’ | Opinion

No matter how they try to spin it, one thing is clear about the Biden administration’s decision to waive more than 20 laws and regulations, including environmental restrictions, to build more sections of a wall along America’s southern border in South Texas. The Democrats who demonized President Donald Trump for his focus on stopping illegal immigration and characterized his quest to build such a barrier as “racism” have been mugged by reality.

Trump’s opponents smeared every effort to put a lid on the problem of illegal immigration as evidence of prejudice against Latinos. Democrats throughout the country declared municipalities to be “sanctuary cities,” championed amnesty and characterized the minimal attempts by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to deal with ever-growing crowds of migrants as oppression and police state tactics.

So, it was little surprise that no sooner had Biden won the 2020 election promising a “more compassionate” approach to illegal immigration, a massive surge at the border began. Since then, Biden halted much of the operations of border enforcement, undermined the work of the embattled border patrol by falsely accusing them of abuses and racism, and ended the building of the wall that Trump failed to complete.

As a result, the number of illegal border crossings—many by individuals pretending to be asylum seekers rather than economic migrants—has surged to record proportions. In the 2022 fiscal year, it was up to 2.7 million with more than 2.8 million in fiscal year 2023. In recent months, the numbers have grown even higher, adding to a humanitarian crisis for overwhelmed border communities.

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas‘ statement accompanying the new policy admitted that “there is presently an acute and immediate need to construct physical barriers and roads in the vicinity of the border of the United States in order to prevent unlawful entries into the United States.” That gives the lie to Democratic rhetoric about Trump’s policies as well as administration assurances that the border is secure even when the evidence has been clear that it is not.

But when Biden was asked about it the next day, he insisted that borders don’t work.

Why the contradiction?

The administration knows that it must do something to stem the flood of illegal immigration. The crisis has reached a point where it could lose them Democratic votes as well as those of independents. But since admitting the flip-flop would outrage his party’s intersectional left-wing base—which takes it as an article of faith that opposition to open borders is racism—the president is pretending that nothing has changed and that any expenditure on a wall has been forced upon him by Congress‘ refusal to reallocate funds appropriated for it.

That is a lie so obvious that even a more credible press secretary than Karine Jean-Pierre couldn’t sell it.

Click here to read the full article in Newsweek

Trump poised to sweep state’s delegates in GOP primary

But California voters worry about his and Biden’s vulnerabilities,  a UC Berkeley/Times poll finds.

Former President Trump dominates his rivals so heavily that he’s on track to win all of California’s delegates for next year’s Republican convention — a haul that would give him a major chunk of the votes needed to secure his third presidential nomination.

The finding from a new UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll co-sponsored by The Times highlights a turnabout from earlier this year. In February, Trump faced a serious challenge from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis among California Republicans.

The potential for Trump to win all of the state’s delegates also reflects his campaign’s work to change the rules of the contest to his advantage.

In late July, the California Republican Party changed its rules so that if a candidate wins more than 50% of the statewide vote in the state’s March 5 primary, he or she will claim all 169 GOP delegates — the most of any state in the nation. Previously, the rules allocated delegates by congressional district. A candidate needs just over 1,200 convention delegates to win the nomination.

Trump’s campaign team pushed for the rule change, one of a series of such shifts it has backed in states across the nation. All of the changes supported by his campaign have the effect of helping a front-runner quickly nail down the Republican nomination.

The new poll shows about 55% of likely Republican voters plan to cast their primary ballots for Trump.

DeSantis’ support has plummeted to 16% — less than half of what he had earlier this year.

“Californians have turned away, by and large, from DeSantis,” said Mark DiCamillo, director of the UC Berkeley institute’s poll. “The biggest beneficiary of DeSantis’ decline is the former president. There’s no question he’s well-liked by the Republican base.

“It’s a startling development given the fact that over the past year, there appeared to be sentiment among Republicans looking for an alternative to Trump,” DiCamillo added. “That has changed, and Trump is now the odds-on favorite.

“Capturing all of California’s delegates would give Trump a huge advantage over the rest of the field,” he said.

The state party’s rule changes were one factor in the recent decision by a super PAC backing DeSantis to stop major campaign operations in California and several other states, NBC News reported last week.

On the Democratic side, the poll indicated President Biden holds a big lead ahead of California’s primary, with 66% of party voters supporting him, compared with 9% for Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and 3% for Marianne Williamson. About 1 in 6 likely Democratic voters said they were undecided.

Biden gets less support from young, Latino and Asian American voters than from white and Black voters. That difference in enthusiasm is unlikely to hurt his chances in California, given his wide lead, but it reflects a problem for the president that could be serious elsewhere in the nation.

Biden also holds a big lead over Trump in a prospective general election matchup in the state, not surprising given California’s cobalt-blue tilt.

Of the state’s 22 million registered voters, 46.9% identify as Democrats, 23.8% as Republicans, 22.5% as no party preference and 6.8% with other parties, according to the California secretary of state’s most recent statistics.

The poll also looked at some important vulnerabilities for each of the two leading candidates.

Among the state’s likely voters, 42% said they believe Biden’s age — he turns 82 shortly after election day — will hurt him a lot in his reelection bid, compared with 32% who think Trump’s legal woes will hurt him a lot in his effort to win back the White House.

Those legal difficulties may be on display just before the state’s primary. On March 4, the former president is scheduled to go on trial in Washington on federal charges that he illegally sought to overturn the results of the 2020 election, which he lost to Biden.

California shares its primary date with Texas, North Carolina and about a dozen other states, which together will allocate more than a third of Republican delegates.

The poll was conducted in late August, shortly after Trump was indicted in Georgia over alleged efforts to overturn the state’s 2020 presidential election results.

It was the fourth indictment for the former president. In addition to the Georgia and federal cases alleging efforts to overturn the election, he also faces federal charges over his handling of confidential government documents after leaving the White House, and New York state charges over payments to a porn actor during the 2016 campaign in an attempt to conceal an alleged affair.

The polling began one day after the first GOP presidential primary debate, which Trump skipped.

The survey’s results affirm the dwindling popularity of DeSantis, who shares many of the same beliefs as Trump, but without the former president’s legal and temperamental baggage. The Florida governor has drawn praise from many on the right for his opposition to lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as for his vocal advocacy of the conservative side in the nation’s culture wars.

In February, when many Republicans were focused on Trump-endorsed candidates’ losses in last year’s midterm election, DeSantis had the support of 37% of likely California GOP voters, while Trump was backed by 29%, according to a Berkeley institute poll.

Three months later, a Berkeley survey indicated the former president had rebounded with the support of 44% of the state’s likely GOP voters and DeSantis trailing at 26%.

Former United Nations Ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s performance in the first GOP debate appears to have bumped up her support in the latest poll, though she remains mired in the single digits among likely Republican voters in California.

Haley now has the backing of 7% of the state’s likely GOP voters surveyed, double her support in the February poll. Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Vice President Mike Pence, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and conservative talk radio host Larry Elder all trailed behind her. About 9% of the poll’s Republican participants said they supported someone else or were undecided.

Looking ahead at the general election, 51% of the state’s likely voters polled said they would support Biden, the incumbent president, while 31% said they would back Trump. About 13% said they planned to cast ballots for an unnamed third-party candidate, and 5% were undecided.

While California’s general election is unlikely to be competitive — it hasn’t been in the last three decades — voters’ attitudes about each candidate’s potential vulnerabilities provide insight into the overall state of the race.

Neither Trump nor Biden received stellar ratings from voters on their ethical behavior, though the current president outpaced the former; 71% faulted Trump’s personal ethics, compared with 43% who faulted Biden’s.

Nearly half, 47%, of likely California voters surveyed said they would be open to supporting a third-party candidate if the 2024 presidential campaign is a rematch of Biden and Trump’s contest three years ago, with 24% saying they would be “very open” to the idea.

While a candidate not affiliated with either of the nation’s two main political parties has practically zero chance of winning the White House, DiCamillo said those numbers reflect voter frustration, particularly among those who are less ideologically inclined.

“There’s dissatisfaction. We’ve seen that in other polls,” he said. “It appears to be the most moderate voters, not those on the extremes. Strong liberals and strong conservatives are less open to [a third-party candidate] than those in the middle.”

The Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies’ poll surveyed 6,030 registered California voters online in English and Spanish, Aug. 24-29, with weighted samples of 1,175 likely GOP primary voters and 2,833 likely Democratic primary voters.

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

Viktor Shokin: Joe and Hunter Biden Were Being Bribed

On Saturday’s broadcast of FNC’s “One Nation,” former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin said he believed that both President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden were bribed.

According to the former prosecutor general, he said his firing by then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko was done at the behest of then-Vice President Biden, who once boasted about it in a discussion with the Council on Foreign Relations.

“I have said repeatedly in my previous interviews that Poroshenko fired me at the insistence of the then-Vice President Biden because I was investigating Burisma,” Shokin said through a translator.

“You understood me correctly. This is how it was,” he added. “There were no complaints whatsoever and no problems with how I was performing at my job. But because pressure was repeatedly put on Poroshenko, that is what ended up in him firing me.”

Later, during the interview, Shokin said he believed the Bidens had received bribes.

“Do you believe that Joe Biden or Hunter Biden got bribes?

Click here to read the full article in BreitbartCA

The Miraculously Changing Narrative Around Biden’s Involvement in Hunter Inc.

The media are committed to defending the first family, no matter what facts emerge.

Rarely have newsrooms committed so much effort to protecting men of such little character.

As recently as just four years ago, the New York Times and other news outlets would have jumped at the chance to investigate allegations that the president and his son operated an influence-peddling operation involving foreign nationals. Every editor at every major newsroom would be barking at his staff right now, demanding that they look into whether the president’s son had, in fact, leveraged the family name in return for huge sums of cash, whether the president got a cut of the action, and whether the president himself coordinated quid pro quos with well-heeled foreign interests.

But that was then. Now, there’s a Democrat in the Oval Office. For major media, most especially the New York Times, there’s not much value to the Biden family corruption story, which alleges President Joe Biden conspired with his son, Hunter, to rake in mountains of cash from foreign entities in return for certain preferred policies toward their countries. After all, according to the Times, the story is old news. It’s also none of your damn business.

Last week, after yet another fact emerged suggesting that Joe Biden had indeed been involved to some degree with his son’s overseas business dealings, contrary to what he himself stated unequivocally during the 2020 presidential election, the New York Times ran to the president’s aid with the classic “old news!” defense.

“It has long been known that the elder Mr. Biden at times interacted with his son’s business partners,” the paper of record declared on Monday.

Is that so? This thing Joe Biden vigorously denied in the 2020 election has “long been known”?

Recall that Biden declared in the 2020 election, “I have never discussed, with my son or my brother or with anyone else, anything having to do with their businesses. Period.”

“And what I will do is the same thing we did in our administration,” he added. “There will be an absolute wall between personal and private [business interests] and the government. There wasn’t any hint of scandal at all when we were there. And I’m going to propose the same kind of strict, strict rules. That’s why I never talked with my son or my brother or anyone else — even distant family — about their business interests. Period.”

That same year, during a campaign event in Iowa, Biden insisted again that he had never, ever spoken to his son about his business interests.

“I have never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings,” Biden said. “I know Trump deserves to be investigated. He is violating every basic norm of a president. You should be looking at Trump. . . . Everybody looked at [allegations that I spoke with Hunter about his overseas business activities] and everybody looked at it and said there is nothing there. Ask the right questions.”

Later, after it became increasingly likely that Joe Biden had, in fact, interacted with his son’s business partners, the White House amended, ever so slightly, the president’s earlier assurances.

“The answer remains the same,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in July. “The president was never in business with his son. I just don’t have anything else to add.”

Click here to read the full article in the National Review

The Jaw-Dropping Hunter Biden–Investigation Revelations

The compelling congressional testimony of two IRS whistleblower agents has established three things.

First, the investigation into Biden corruption — millions of dollars pouring into the family coffers from apparatchiks of corrupt and anti-American regimes seeking to buy Joe Biden’s political influence — is real and has been thwarted by the Biden Justice Department. Second, the president’s son Hunter Biden received preferential treatment, and, next week, a federal judge should reject the sweetheart plea deal he was given by the Justice Department. Third, Attorney General Merrick Garland owes the country an explanation for why the Biden investigation has been sabotaged from within, even as he maintains publicly that it was conducted with independence and integrity.

The two whistleblowers — supervisory agent Gary Shapley and the Biden investigation’s main case agent, Joseph Ziegler — began cooperating with the House Ways and Means Committee several weeks back. While Shapley went public in June, Ziegler was not publicly identified until Wednesday’s hearing. Their revelations have been jaw-dropping.

The agents recounted being blocked at every turn by Justice Department prosecutors as they tried to go about the routine steps investigators would take in any case — or, at least, any case not involving politically connected suspects. The investigation was slow-walked by prosecutors from the office of Delaware U.S. attorney David Weiss, to whom the case was assigned in 2018.

Garland and congressional Democrats never tire of branding Weiss a Trump-appointee — it’s Garland’s rationalization for not appointing a special counsel. Conveniently omitted from this story is the fact that Weiss could not have been confirmed absent the support of Delaware’s two Democratic senators, Biden allies Tom Carper and Chris Coons. More to the point, Weiss reports to Garland and, because the Hunter Biden matter is a tax case, DOJ rules dictate that any tax charges must be approved by the Tax Division at Main Justice — run by Biden appointees. Most obviously, Weiss’s appointment by Trump does nothing to eradicate the conflict of interest inherent in the Biden Justice Department’s investigation of the president’s son over conduct in which the president himself is implicated.

Weiss and his underlings used the pendency of the 2020 presidential campaign as an excuse to instruct the IRS and FBI agents on the case not to take measures that might call attention to the investigation and thus influence the election. Note that, simultaneously, according to tech executives and Republican senators Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson, FBI agents were signaling that the pre-election emergence of derogatory information about the Bidens — e.g., the Hunter laptop and the influx of money from foreign sources — was likely the result of a Russian intelligence operation.

After Biden was elected, Shapley and Ziegler recalled being undermined in attempting to uncover evidence. The day before they planned to conduct interviews of Hunter Biden and other investigative subjects, the FBI alerted the Secret Service, which tipped off the Biden transition team. As a result, lawyers for Hunter and most other subjects refused to speak to the IRS. In connection with interviews that were later planned, the lead prosecutor from Weiss’s office, Lesley Wolf, forbade them from pursuing investigative leads that could potentially connect the president himself to the Biden family business — instructing them not to ask questions about Hunter’s “dad,” or about “the big guy” (as we now know several investigative subjects referred to the now-president).

In 2019, the FBI obtained Hunter’s laptop, teeming with data about the Bidens’ lucrative foreign transactions and Joe Biden’s potential connections to them; yet Weiss’s office denied the IRS agents access to this evidence. In early September 2020, Wolf agreed with the agents that there was more than enough probable cause to support a warrant to search a guest house at the Bidens’ Wilmington residence where Hunter was living; still, she is said to have declined to seek the warrant because “the optics” would be bad. After the election, the agents learned that Hunter had moved documents from his business office in Washington, D.C., to a commercial storage unit in northern Virginia. They convinced Weiss, over Wolf’s objection, to allow them to seek a search warrant if Hunter did not access the unit for 30 days. But, while the agents were preparing the warrant, Wolf precluded them by alerting Hunter’s defense lawyers about the existence of the storage unit, again putting the evidence out of the investigators’ reach.

Shapley and Ziegler are among the IRS’s most experienced and accomplished agents. Despite the strictures placed on them, they built a compelling tax case against Hunter Biden — even the limited evidence, according to Ziegler, showed that Hunter had evaded roughly $2.2 million in taxes on $8.3 million in foreign income between 2014 and 2019. The agents and the line lawyers in DOJ’s Tax Division and Weiss’s office all agreed that a felony prosecution was called for.

Nevertheless, Shapley recounted a meeting with the top investigators on the case at which Weiss conceded that he was not the final decision-maker on whether charges could be filed. Delaware was not the proper venue for tax charges — those could be indicted only in Washington, D.C. (for tax years 2014 and 2015), or California (for the subsequent years). Weiss explained to the flabbergasted agents that he had asked the Justice Department to give him special-counsel authority so that he could file charges in any federal district without interference, but had been rebuffed. He was thus being blocked from filing charges by Matthew Graves, the Biden-appointed U.S. attorney in Washington.

The 2014 and 2015 tax years included Hunter’s lavish, undeclared income from his sinecure at the allegedly corrupt Ukrainian energy company, Burisma. This period is crucial to the potential corruption scheme. According to information provided to the FBI by an informant with a reliable track record (and released yesterday by Senator Chuck Grassley), after speaking with then–Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Burisma founder Mykola Zlochevsky placed Hunter on the company’s board and paid him over $80,000 per month (a rate that, reportedly, was roughly halved once Joe Biden was no longer vice president). The informant added that Zlochevsky told him he’d paid then–Vice President Biden and his son a combined $10 million bribe to use Biden’s influence on Burisma’s behalf, and had made the payments through a byzantine array of companies and accounts that he bragged would take investigators a decade to trace to Joe Biden. This alleged scheme strongly resembles the pattern uncovered by House investigators showing foreign actors paying Biden family members (including grandchildren) millions of dollars through labyrinthine channels that included some 20 obscure business entities, most of which Hunter set up while Joe was vice president.

Yet, the Biden Justice Department’s infighting and foot-dragging caused the statute of limitations for the 2014 and 2015 tax years to lapse, vitiating some of the investigation’s key allegations. And it gets worse. Shapley and Ziegler testified Wednesday that, in the interests of negotiating a plea agreement, Hunter’s lawyers had agreed to extend the statute of limitations by stipulation; it was the Justice Department that allowed the charges to lapse. This is simply inexcusable: Prosecutors never have an incentive to forego the possibility of filing serious criminal charges.

As for the tax years from 2016 through 2019, Shapley learned that, when Biden’s newly appointed U.S. attorney for Los Angeles, E. Martin Estrada, was confirmed in September 2022, the felony tax charges for those years were rejected. It is thus through the tender loving care of Biden appointees that Hunter was given the sweetheart plea bargain which — if Delaware federal judge Maryellen Noreika approves it next week — would allow him to dispose of the case with pleas to two misdemeanor tax charges. Not only would there apparently be no incarceration term; it is anticipated that a gun charge — for which someone not named Biden would be staring at a prison sentence of up to ten years — would be dismissed.

Garland has insisted for years that Weiss had ultimate authority over whether and where to file charges. Weiss initially backed this story publicly, but he has subtly changed his tune since the whistleblower disclosures began. Realizing how credible and corroborated the agents are, Weiss has strained to avoid contradicting them while echoing Garland, a needle that can’t be threaded. After claiming the mantle of ultimate authority, he conceded that he could not indict outside Delaware, but made the caveat that he had been consulting with the Justice Department about that problem. Later, he weaseled about how he had never formally sought special-counsel authority — which doesn’t address whether he told a room full of agents that his request for it had been denied, and whether he didn’t seek it because he knew it would be denied.

Meantime, Garland’s story is a crock. He asserts that Weiss would have been given any necessary authority — he only needed to ask. But the U.S. attorneys for Washington and California work for Garland; they couldn’t have blocked Weiss without the attorney general’s support. And it’s not a district U.S. attorney’s job to ask the attorney general for special-counsel authority — which would be tantamount to asking to be fired since, by regulation, a special counsel must be a lawyer “from outside the United States Government.” Rather, it is the attorney general’s duty to appoint a special counsel if there is a conflict of interest that prevents the Justice Department from investigating in the normal course.

Click here to read the full story at the National Review