The adults are back in charge, and normalcy is restored to Washington. White House evacuations, profanity-laced rants, disavowal of family members, corruption of justice, hard drugs — that’s what normal means, right?
The U.S. Secret Service evacuated the White House last Sunday evening after a small bag of white powder, later determined to be cocaine, was discovered. At least three different locations have been suggested as the place where the bag of powder was found. On Tuesday, the Secret Service informed Bloomberg Business investigative reporter Jason Leopold that they could not, in fact, disclose records “referencing the cocaine found in the West Wing of the White House,” as “disclosure could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings.”
But if investigators have a lead on who left cocaine in the White House, they haven’t tipped their hand. Last Wednesday, Politico quoted an unnamed law enforcement official suggesting it is unlikely the culprit will be caught. “Even if there were surveillance cameras, unless you were waving it around, it may not have been caught” by cameras, the official said. “It’s a bit of a thoroughfare. People walk by there all the time.”
But entering the White House is not like crossing the southern border. Federal law enforcement performs a prior background check on every staffer, intern, and visitor. Those with security clearances face a more strenuous investigative process — and using hard drugs would be grounds for immediate revocation and termination — while even interns are fingerprinted and tested for drugs. Security for the West Wing is even more stringent; visitors (restricted to certain times and numbers) and interns (thanks to President Clinton) are not allowed to waltz through without a staff escort. Meticulous record-keeping and visitor logs should enable the Secret Service to rapidly narrow the pool of suspects.
Unless, that is, the culprit was a member of the executive family — exempt from visitor logs and the usual screening protocols. That would make the investigation, if not harder, a more sensitive affair.
One member of the president’s family has a public history of cocaine use: Hunter Biden, the president’s son. The younger Biden (who is in his 50s) wrote in his memoir about a low point in his life when he was “smoking crack every 15 minutes.” His laptop, abandoned at a Delaware repair shop, also provides evidence of his addiction, among other crimes and immorality. He was kicked out of the Navy in 2013 and out of a strip club in 2019, both for drug use. (In 2018, he answered the question, “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?” in the negative, on a form to purchase a handgun, which he subsequently lost after his girlfriend — also his brother’s widow — threw it in a trashcan across the street from a high school.)
That isn’t to say that the cocaine found in the White House belonged to Hunter Biden. There could be other suspects, another cause, or a bulletproof alibi. But National Review’s Jim Geraghty has pointed out that he is at least a natural target for suspicion. In response to a question along that line, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre claimed that even asking if the cocaine belonged to Hunter or another Biden family member “is actually incredibly irresponsible.” At the very least, this response does not incite public confidence that the investigation is going forward with the open-mindedness required to maximize the likelihood of success.
In fact, Geraghty also noted that Hunter Biden somehow avoided prosecution for the near-constant possession and use of cocaine (federally and locally illegal) during years in which his father’s high ranking public offices placed him in frequent proximity to law enforcement. “We have this odd situation of a top government official’s son who, in his own description, was constantly doing drugs, and regularly around law-enforcement agents with drug-sniffing dogs, who somehow never got caught,” he wrote. “Remarkable luck!”
Hunter’s “luck” rolls on like a casino’s. Last month, Hunter Biden was facing decades of jail time, as an investigation the Justice Department (DOJ) could no longer slow-walk found itself in possession of strong evidence that Hunter had committed multiple felonies — in addition to lying on the firearms form, Hunter Biden also failed to pay his taxes for multiple years, not to mention his influence peddling in foreign countries. Instead of charging him with any felonies, the DOJ allowed Hunter Biden to plead guilty to two misdemeanor tax charges and avoid jail time in a probation deal that suspends any other prosecution while he abides by his probation terms.
Of course, there is an obvious conflict-of-interest in officials who serve at the will and pleasure of President Joe Biden supervising the criminal prosecution of his son. Former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy wrote that Attorney General Merrick Garland was “duty-bound” by law to appoint a special counsel in the Hunter Biden case, yet he did not do so. Instead, Garland delivered an “intentionally provocative” sweetheart deal for the president’s son just as the DOJ was unveiling a politically inflammatory prosecution of a former president and current presidential candidate.
In an added twist, the DOJ unsealed an indictment this week against Gal Luft, believed to be a witness in the U.S. House investigation into Hunter Biden’s foreign influence-peddling, charging him with violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. The DOJ seems determinedly uncurious about the foreign business dealings of the Biden family, despite a suspicious number of large bank transfers. Luft advised a now-defunct Chinese energy company for four years, while Hunter Biden had business dealings with the company. Luft contacted the FBI and DOJ as early as 2019 and offered to provide them with evidence of Hunter Biden’s misdoings.
Throughout the scandals, President Joe Biden has stuck by his son Hunter, categorically declaring in May, “my son has done nothing wrong,” even though he authored the gun law Hunter violated. Only days after pleading guilty to misdemeanors, Hunter appeared at a White House state dinner. Could these public declarations of support have any influence on the conduct of government officials who report to the president?
The optics are so poor that even NBC News is concerned:
“The public displays of parental support, to the dismay of some Democrats, aren’t just about a loving father or a stubborn president’s defiance. For Biden, keeping his son — a recovering drug addict — close means keeping him safe, people close to the president say. Behind the Hunter Biden photo-ops and the state dinner invitations, they say, is an existential concern that weighs on the president daily: If he loosens his grip on his son, who or what will replace it — and to what end? ‘It’s consumed him,’ a person close to the president said.
Of course, helping a recovering drug addict to make good choices is not a bad thing. But President Biden seems to have taken the concept a bit too far. President Biden reportedly refuses to hear advice about Hunter from well-meaning aides. Again, from NBC:
“President Joe Biden has made it clear to his closest aides in no uncertain terms that he not only will reject any political advice that he try to limit his son Hunter’s public visibility but that he also doesn’t want to hear such suggestions, according to three people familiar with the discussions. His message, as one of the sources described it, was: ‘Hands off my family.’”
The aides would do well to heed the warning. Axios recently reported that, “behind closed doors, Biden has such a quick-trigger temper that some aides try to avoid meeting alone with him.” His go-to admonitions are too laced with profanity to be reprinted here. Out of the media’s eye, the ice cream-licking back-slapper is a different person altogether.
Loyalty to one’s family is not a bad quality, but Joe Biden only extends it to some family members. In fact, President Biden has refused to acknowledge his relationship to one of his grandchildren so often that even the mainstream media is starting to notice.
An affair between Hunter Biden and a former stripper produced a little girl, Navy Joan Roberts, born out-of-wedlock in 2018. A 2020 paternity test (which he tried to dodge) proved he is her father. After he was sued for child support, Biden continued to fight a losing legal battle in Arkansas family court. Eventually, he gave the child’s mother some of his overpriced paintings in exchange for denying his daughter the right to use the Biden family name (can you imagine your own father doing that to you?).
Navy Joan is Biden’s seventh grandchild, yet Biden insisted again, recently, that he has “six grandchildren, and I’m crazy about them — I speak to them every single day; not a joke.” At least he doesn’t send mean tweets.
There’s loving and defending your family, and then there’s the way that Joe Biden treats Hunter. When it comes to Hunter, Joe Biden seems to lack proportionality, propriety, or the ability to take advice. Proverbs 13:10 warns, “by insolence comes nothing but strife, but with those who take advice is wisdom.”
But family loyalty should not be a trump card to all other values. In Deuteronomy 21:18-21, Moses instructs the Israelites that if a son is persistently stubborn and rebellious, the penalty is death, and his own parents should initiate the legal proceedings against him. The stated purpose is, “so you shall purge the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear, and fear.” Such a drastic law demonstrates the importance of righteousness. In America today, we live in a different context where disobedience is not (and should not be) a capital crime. The lesson for us today is that righteousness and justice are more important than even the closest familial ties.
The jury is still out on how closely Joe Biden was involved in Hunter’s foreign business dealings as vice president, but he has clearly used his position as president on his son’s behalf. And even if this isn’t corruption in a legal sense or serious enough to warrant impeachment, everyone understands this is a political issue. That is why the DOJ leaned on social media companies to suppress the New York Post’s original reporting on Hunter Biden’s laptop. That is why a Biden aide said last week, when asked whether the White House cocaine belonged to Hunter, answered, “I don’t have a response to that because we have to be careful about the Hatch Act” (the Hatch Act prevents federal officials from using their official positions for campaign purposes). And that is why Hunter Biden will continue to make news as long as his father remains in the White House.
That Joe Biden seems unable to keep this perspective with regard to his son Hunter cast doubt on his ability to faithfully execute his office, or even uphold his oath to defend the U.S. Constitution. Is there nothing he won’t do for his son?
Joshua Arnold is a staff writer at The Washington Stand.
EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2023 Family Research Council.
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