Opinion / Politics

The Case for Prosecuting Hunter Biden

BidenCharles C. W. Cooke had a post this week that said everything that ought to be said about why it would be fitting to prosecute Hunter Biden’s apparent making of a false statement on the required firearms application form. I want to add a few points about prosecutorial discretion, the potential of an additional gun crime, and our two-tiered justice system.

The Politico story Charlie cites stresses that prosecutions arising out of false statements on Form 4473 are rare. As Charlie rightly observes, that in itself is a problem (a point Kevin D. Williamson also made a few days ago). Still, it is worth widening the lens beyond the narrow false-statements provision in the gun laws because the government actually prosecutes false statements all the time.

There is a general false-statements statute (Section 1001 of the penal code) which can be applied any time someone makes a false statement, including a material omission, to some branch, department, or agency of the federal government. Then there are false statements charges that apply to particular subject-matter areas, such as firearms or taxes. Hence, we have Section 922(a)(6), which, as Charlie explained, applies to false statements made in connection with the acquisition or attempted acquisition of a firearm.

The fact that these narrowly tailored false-statements statutes are invoked more rarely should not be taken to mean that false-statements prosecutions are infrequent. They are not. And a good many false statements that result in indictments involve situations markedly less serious than lying to conceal a disqualification from firearms possession — especially under circumstances where, due to the lie, the disqualified person succeeded in obtaining a gun (and then was lax in safeguarding it).

In the Mueller investigation, for instance, Michael Flynn was prosecuted for misdescribing a conversation, indicative of no misconduct, of which the FBI had a recording and therefore no need to question him. George Papadopoulos and Alex van der Zwaan were prosecuted for false statements about the dates of meetings, and in neither situation was an investigation impeded — much less were the prevaricators, thereby, able to acquire dangerous weapons.

Moreover, it would be misleading for Biden apologists to claim that the rarity of prosecution means the Justice Department regards false statements on the firearms form to be a trifling matter. To be sure, there should be more prosecutions. But when there are prosecutions, the Justice Department trumpets them. Check out, for example this 2018 press release, entitled, “Convicted Felon Indicted for Making False Statements on a Federal Background Check while Attempting to Purchase a Firearm.” In that case, the government charged both the general false-statements offense and the more specific false-statements offense related to firearms. The statement issued by the U.S. attorney for Western Tennessee, who brought the case, is worth quoting:

Prosecutions of violent crimes must be paired with proactive prevention efforts to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and other prohibited persons. A valuable tool in this prevention effort is the ATF Background Check Form 4473, which must be completed before a federally licensed firearms dealer sells or transfers a firearm. Criminals and other prohibited persons who attempt to thwart the background check process by lying on the required forms threaten to undermine this important crime prevention tool, and such conduct cannot be tolerated. . . . Let this serve as a warning: This office will vigorously prosecute any prohibited persons who attempt to illegally obtain a firearm in these “lie-and-try” cases.

Big talk . . . but will the Justice Department back it up when the matter involves a Democrat with unparalleled connections and no shortage of press sympathy? A Democrat who did not merely “lie-and-try” but, it appears, lied and . . . got the gun.

On that last point, there is a second potential felony gun offense at issue. Section 922(g)(3) of the penal law makes it a crime, also punishable by ten years’ imprisonment, for a person who is an unlawful user of narcotics to receive or possess a firearm or ammunition. (Note: Politico reports that Hunter Biden told police he used the gun in question for target practice.) Hunter, of course, has notorious drug-abuse issues. Narcotics use has factored into a number of his escapades, and the Daily Mail reported that recreational drug use appeared to be depicted in video images stored on his laptop computers (the ones the press wouldn’t cover in the weeks before Election Day).

Hunter Biden was also kicked out of the U.S. Navy in 2014 for cocaine use. Consistent with the special treatment to which he is accustomed, the son of the then-vice president of the United States was permitted to be separated from the Navy administratively, rather than be dishonorably discharged.

That’s worth noting because another provision in the federal gun laws, Section 922(g)(6), makes it a ten-year felony for a person to possess a firearm if he “has been discharged from the armed forces under dishonorable conditions.” Technically, Hunter’s administrative separation probably spares him that status. Nevertheless, for a prosecutor responsible for exercising discretion regarding whether Hunter Biden should be charged with making a false statement, it would weigh heavily that a) he actually got a gun due to the false statement, b) the gun was temporarily lost because of the negligent way in which it was kept, and c) his mere receipt and possession of the gun (indeed, of even the ammunition, apart from the gun) was likely a separate felony offense under at least one other provision of the gun laws.

Finally, even if it were true that false-statements charges were rare, our response, under the Mueller standards that Democrats cheered during the Trump years, ought to be: So what?

As I related in Ball of Collusion, in the half-century prior to Donald Trump’s election, the Justice Department prosecuted violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) just seven times, winning only three convictions (one at trial and two by guilty plea; of the other four, two cases were dismissed and two were disposed of on non-FARA charges). The fact that such prosecutions were rare made no difference to the Obama/Biden Justice Department, the FBI, or the Mueller probe. For criminal-enforcement purposes, FARA became the backbone of the Trump-Russia investigation, even though not a single person connected to the probe — including Paul Manafort, who was convicted of conspiring to violate FARA in connection with his Ukraine work — was ever alleged to be a foreign agent of Russia.

The basis for a criminal investigation of Hunter Biden, aspects of which I discussed in last weekend’s column, was already considerable before the sudden emergence of the apparent false statement on the firearms form. Though the latter is serious in its own right, we should not allow it to overshadow the former. Attorney General Merrick Garland vowed that there would be a single standard of justice, applied to all Americans, with politics kept out of prosecutorial decision-making. The day for testing the sincerity of that commitment is fast approaching.

Reprinted with Permission from - National Review by - Andrew McCarthy

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BwaHa
12 days ago

The Hunter Biden and Joe Biden international influence circus continues. Ukraine, China, Russia and now, half of the Middle East are all seemingly part owners of that Biden clan. They’ve invested heavily in that Biden duo and now, they expect some dividends, crumbs at least.

Ain’t this whole “Biden” farce getting more interesting and fun by the day?! No one can tell which one of that Biden clan is lying the most. It ain’t going to get any better anytime soon.

IMHO

MAGA2024! TRUMP2024!

Jerry
5 months ago

We do have a two tiered justice system. If all the DemonRats who are criminals such as hiLIARy, Comey, many other FBI officials, and many other crooks were ever indicted, the courts would be backed up for years. And now Hunter and Joe Biden are the latest to be above the law. Will we ever see REAL justice anymore? I think NOT!

Gary
5 months ago

There is no equal justice. Just look at the raid on Guilliani’s apartment and office today.

David P Nelson
5 months ago

I think we all can conclude that ‘Dad’ will take care of Hunter’s dilemma. Very sad.

Karen
6 months ago

What goes around, comes around…………

BwaHa
12 days ago
Reply to  Karen

I’m hoping so!

MAGA2024! TRUMP2024!

Michael Tutrone
6 months ago

prosecuting Hunter is forBIDEN , I am approaching 80 and it will probably take another 80 years before it ever happens

Joseph A OReilly
6 months ago

Prosecute a Biden? Not in this life, in this country. We have two (or more) systems of justice. No, two legal systems, justice being well out of reach. One is for the regime, its families, elite and selected apparatchiki and the second for the proles and especially for those who oppose the regime. The crime whether pedophilia, sex trafficking, drug abuse, bribery or theft is only actionable if the accused is outside of the regime. If accused is a political opponent, the full weight of the state will come to bear. Thus the Clintons, the Biden’s, the Obamas all skate free in spite of their documented criminality while the rest of us are prosecuted, and if actual political opponents coerced by the state. Little remains of the rule of law and its vestiges are being attacked daily.

Claire
6 months ago

It will never happen. He has too much money.

Hamm
6 months ago

Democrats are Socialists. They will suck us dry, spend all tax-payer monies, turn our country over to those who came illegally just to stomp on American Citizens, what we privately own will be forced out of our hands. We’ll be watching Hollywood celebrities devouring their pets (like Venezuela and others) and calling it “CHIC!”

Lora Laney
6 months ago

At one point in time, we could as Americans protest as we did during the Vietnam war and change the course of history. The government listened and withdrew the troops. Now, government doesn’t listen to the people. Government is too big and is full of ideologies. Our government will soon take over our country and become socialistic and no longer listen at all to the people. It has placated the people with money dropping from the sky like candy. It will take a war civil or a war external before we wake up and shake the foundations and go back to our roots and the Constitution. It is sad when people do not believe history. I believe history happened and I learn from history I have listened to my elders youth today does not listen to the elders. One cannot play nice with the Democrats. They are bullies. One must always be suspect of those who say one thing and do another.

J.R.
6 months ago
Reply to  Lora Laney

We the people and the States have to use our constituional rights and call for an Article V convention of states. This is in our constitution, we the people just have to put it to use in order to amend the constitution and fix all the mistakes that have been made in the last 80 years and take us back to the founding PRINCIPLES. This is a leagal way to fix it without violence. Look it up, you will be amazed. This is the miracle we have been praying for.

Ruth A Lance
5 months ago
Reply to  Lora Laney

Those who do not know their history are bound to repeat it.

Kaye Walker
6 months ago

No democrat will ever be investigated, nor charged and tried, for any criminal act. I have lost any and all faith in our system of “justice” following how the Clinton’s have never been charged with their many, many crimes, the way Trump and his cohorts were treated, how all this info on Hunter Biden has been disclosed with no action, and now the democrats want to pack the Supreme Court. Follow that with all the evidence of election fraud that no court was willing to even hear, and the backlash to the state of Georgia for passing common sense election integrity measures, and you have to ask yourself, are we no longer a nation of laws? I say we are not as long as you’re one of the elites.

Robert
6 months ago

People lie for personal gain and have no other motivation than to personally benefit oneself at the expense of others for whom they don’t care in the least.
The Biden’s are in this class and it is quite evident they care only about their personal gain. Their disrespect and disobedience of the Constitution is very obvious. They have no regard for anyone else.

Ruth A Lance
5 months ago
Reply to  Robert

I hope that any law that is in passed that violates the constitution will go to the supreme court (before it’s packed by the dems)

Kathryn DiPiazza
6 months ago

Nothing will be done. It’s all talk and no action. Many “ important people “ write articles , go on Tv and pontificate about the rule of law. The rule of law is gone, just look at what happened to Ashley Babbit, rules for me, not for thee. America is gone, I am so sad to say.

Robert
6 months ago

Kathryn, you are so right. We have allowed compromising to become a standard because the general public is afraid of any persecution due to their standing up for the freedoms provided by the constitution.

Kenneth J Hearrean
6 months ago

Not sure I understand the reasoning behind this article anyway, since the DOJ is Biden’s hand-picked cronies! Can we actually expect any type of justice be brought down during this administration? Furthermore, guess what, if they were to go ahead & pull-off a “pretend” trial, play it out & arrive at a pre-planned “not guilty” verdict, he could never be tried for the same crime again. I’ve got to say, in every thing the left does, they are simply smarter than us; we should be so proud!

Ralph S Mills Jr
6 months ago

How ironic… the Democratic socialist/Marxists are in favor of abolishing the 2nd [right to bear arms] and the 22nd Amendments [limiting presidents to two terms]… but continue to enjoy the two-tiered administration of justice. Do as I say, ignore what I do! The only sensible answer is to apply the 22nd Amendment to ALL politicians! Two terms, and you’re OUT! Same pension rights as ordinary Americans.

Ralph S Mills Jr
6 months ago

Meanwhile, authorities with their double standards are awaiting Democratic favorite media star attorney Michael Avenatti to be available to defend Hunter’s virtue.

Ed J
6 months ago

Hunter’s virtue? This wonderful pairing of words is one of the greatest oxymorons one can apply to the Biden crime family. Thanks … ????  

Hal
6 months ago

LOL …. That would be like inviting Hitler to visit the Holy Land!

Ralph S Mills Jr
6 months ago

The old question “Where’s Hunter?” has been answered… he was on under-cover assignment for an undisclosed house-cleaning service. Sniffing parmesan out of carpets.

John Radmacher
6 months ago

they are going to prosecute him for filling out a form wrong when he’s sold out his father and himself to china, to socialism, to communism. SOOOOOOOO BLINDDDDD! Ethics, Morals, Integrity …… ALL GONE!

Richard Naples
6 months ago

There is nothing but words about everything. They laugh at all of you and just continue on destroying America. This is a war on freedom in America and if everyone does join together to fight this they will win. Most of America has no idea of government or get the truth about anything that is going on. So until you can force the media to tell the truth what chance do you have with words that do not reach the people who have no idea.

DebS
6 months ago
Reply to  Richard Naples

I totally agree with you Richard! Most people don’t want their “comfortable” lives disrupted and if they did hear the truth they wouldn’t believe it anyway!

Barbara Ervin
6 months ago

Prosecute him and impeach his father, then Harris, then Pelosi!

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