POLITICO is out with a lengthy report on Hunter Biden’s “counter-offensive” launched in response to investigations by the GOP into his business dealings and an indictment by special counsel David Weiss on charges of unlawfully purchasing and possessing a firearm as an “unlawful” user of drugs, but while the story offers plenty of details about Biden’s attempt to push back on many of the allegations levied against him, there’s not much of substance when it comes to his defense of the felony crimes he’s accused of committing.
Much of the piece focuses on the supposed reasons behind Biden playing offense, which includes a recent op/ed at USA Today where the president’s son labeled the federal charges as just part of a right-wing attempt to “annihilate” his character and reputation. Being quiet and waiting for the investigations to play out hasn’t done much to quiet the allegations surrounding his business and personal dealings, according to POLITICO, so now he’s adopting a more combative approach… and he’s supposedly not waiting for his old man to sign off on his strategy.
The upshot is that Hunter Biden is operating relatively independently to shape his own narrative — a narrative that mixes politics and law and that is largely outside the control of the president’s advisers and defenders.
Consistent with the president’s vow to honor the Justice Department’s independence, the White House does not comment on Hunter Biden’s criminal case or his other legal issues. Conservative lawmakers and pundits, however, feel no such strictures. And their voluminous attacks have received limited public rebuttal from the left.
It remains to be seen if Biden’s whining about being the target of a political witchhunt will help him in the court of public opinion, but it’s not going to do anything to improve his legal defense when he ends up in court on the gun charges. We’ve seen previous statements from Biden attorney Abbe Lowell that Hunter plans on challenging the constitutionality of the statute he’s charged with violating, but as of late (including in the POLITICO report) the main strategy seems to be complaining that Biden’s being unfairly targeted because of who he is, not what he’s done.
They have long argued that it’s the first time anyone has been charged in Delaware with owning a gun as a drug user without any other aggravating circumstances — such as using the gun to commit a crime.
Many House Republicans have accused Weiss of going easy on the president’s son by not charging him with crimes related to lobbying and campaign finance. But Hunter Biden’s team had a different view: In their eyes, the only explanation for bringing the gun charge at all was unrelenting political pressure from Republicans.
For Team Hunter, the special counsel announcement meant quiet patience was untenable.
“We’re not playing for a tie,” said a friend of Hunter Biden. “We’re playing for setting the record straight, and accountability for those who have harmed him.”
Setting the record straight? Does Hunter Biden actually dispute any of the allegations against him? Does he deny that he purchased a firearm from a federally licensed retailer and attested on the Form 4473 that he was not an unlawful user of drugs at a time when his own memoir states he was using crack cocaine on a daily basis? Or does “setting the record straight” mean advancing the argument that Hunter Biden is somehow above the law; that he shouldn’t be the first person charged with owning a gun as a drug user in Delaware even though the details of his alleged felony were national news when they were first reported?
Even if Hunter Biden is the first Delawarean to face such federal charges, there are plenty of other folks who’ve been prosecuted for similar offenses by the DOJ. Patrick Darnell Daniels is one of them, and last month the Solicitor General asked the Supreme Court to weigh in after a panel on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the prohibition on gun possession for “unlawful” users of drugs violates the Second Amendment. Additionally, Biden’s charged with lying on the Form 4473 he filled out when purchasing the firearm, and there are plenty of defendants who’ve gone to court and been sentenced to prison for that very thing.
Maybe Hunter is holding off on deploying his own Second Amendment defense until his trial actually begins, but so far his “counter-offensive” hasn’t really touched on the argument that the federal statutes he’s accused of violating are themselves a violation of his right to keep and bear arms.