There is no “happy ending” to this story for the Biden family. Joe Biden has wanted to be President for 45 years — maybe more — and if he makes it to January 21, 2021, he may actually realize that dream.
The revelation yesterday by Hunter Biden that his attorney has been advised by the US Attorney’s Office in Delaware that he is under investigation offers little in the way of specifics, but an informed view of this acknowledgment reveals some practical issues that are of profound significance — in ways that are not good for Joe Biden. Such notification likely came by way of a “Target Letter”, which is the kind of “overt step” that would have been against DOJ Policy during the self-imposed “quiet period” leading up to the election.
First, Hunter Biden’s public statement claims that his taxes are under investigation. That is likely true, but the fact that the investigation is located in the US Attorney’s Office for Delaware means this is not just a tax case.
Cases that are limited to issues of tax evasion — failure to report income, or inappropriate use of tax avoidance schemes or other filing crimes — are normally handled by the Tax Division of the Justice Department. The reason for this is to promote consistency across the country in the criminal prosecution of tax crimes. If decisions on tax cases were left in the hands of the 93 US Attorneys in federal judicial districts across the country, it is almost a certainty that taxpayers in different parts of the country would receive different treatment at the hands of prosecutors. Centralizing the decision-making and handling of tax cases in one Division of DOJ provides consistent application of prosecutorial standards.
The fact that Biden is being investigated in the District of Delaware means the case involves more than just tax issues. Tax Division attorneys, and the IRS Criminal Division Special Agents who investigate the cases, have very limited authority to bring non-tax charges. Cases that involve both potential tax crimes and other financial crimes are usually handled jointly — a combined effort of a Tax Division attorney and an Assistant United States Attorney in the district where there is venue for the charges. The fact that Biden announced that his attorney was contacted by the US Attorney for the District of Delaware confirms that this is a joint-investigation and that the investigation is based in Delaware.
That means that both the alleged tax charges and any other criminal charges are both properly venued in Delaware.
I think it is also possible that if Joe Biden appears to be headed for inauguration on January 21, Attorney General Bill Barr could name a Special Counsel to continue the Hunter Biden investigation as it would put Joe Biden’s nominee for Attorney General in a particularly difficult situation of having to determine if Hunter Biden should be criminally charged — especially if Joe Biden is a potential witness.
Once the investigation begins pulling information out of the world financial network regarding the sources of revenue received by Hunter Biden, that paper trail could lead anywhere. We have the text message exchange with his daughter where he seems to suggest that he’s been paying a significant amount of his own income to Joe Biden for some undetermined length of time. There is also the reference to the “Big Guy” getting 10% in the structure of one business venture involving investment by a Chinese owned company closely connected to the Chinese government.
Subpoenas are magical things. When you have a need to seek records, it is never done so with “surgical” precision. A typical grand jury subpoena for bank account records will cover a period of several years and will request not just statements, but all deposit and withdrawal tickets, checks, wire transfers, etc. Basically, every piece of documentary information that attaches to any account used by Hunter Biden over a period of several years is going to be information obtained by investigators as part of the grand jury inquiry.
But that is just the start. Once the transfer of money to Hunter Biden is tracked and understood, if there is evidence to believe that the money he received is the “proceeds” of certain types of criminal activity, what happens to the money after it leaves his account becomes a subject of great investigatory interest.
Let’s assume that there are indicators of “fraud” which are discovered in looking into the financial entanglements of Hunter Biden outside the United States. When the money is “wired” to him by his foreign partners, that is a “wire transaction” connected to the fraud scheme, and now you have “wire fraud”. It is not necessary that the “wire transaction” itself be fraudulent, or that it be necessary to the success of the fraudulent scheme. The existence of a “wire” transaction is needed only to provide federal jurisdiction as “wires” travel in interstate commerce.
Now you have money received by Hunter as part of a “wire fraud” — that makes the money “proceeds of a specified unlawful activity” (“SUA”) under the money laundering statutes. The crime of “money laundering” involves conducting a “financial transaction” using the proceeds of an “SUA”.
What that means is that every financial transaction Hunter engaged in with funds he received from his foreign partners is a potential money laundering crime. The only other requirement is to prove that the financial transaction was intended to “conceal” or “promote” the SUA. That means his “downstream” transactions were meant to help him hide the source of the funds or to help him carry on the underlying criminal activity which generated the money in the first instance.
Every transfer of funds out of Hunter Biden’s bank account will be traced to see where the money went and what it was used for. Was real property purchased? If so, in whose name was it purchased? Was any money moved offshore or transferred to accounts in the names of other persons or entities? What was the purpose of such transfers?
If any money went to Joe Biden or his brother, Jim, the reasons for those transactions will be examined, and how they were accounted for in tax returns. If there were bona fide business dealings that underlie the payments, those will be evaluated and verified. If these are “payoffs” for no discernable purpose or benefit to Hunter Biden, that will be examined as well.
A financial investigation done through the grand jury process goes far beyond the single named individual. It extends to everyone that person did business with. The fact that this is being done in Delaware means everyone in Delaware who has a business connection to Hunter Biden is at risk for getting drawn in.
The FBI and IRS criminal investigators who do these types of investigations are exceptionally good at what they do. The combination of this investigation and health considerations will lead to the resignation of Joe Biden from office. Health reasons will be the public explanation, but there is no way for Joe Biden to escape the web of criminal entanglements that Hunter Biden was involved in with the Chinese and others based on the information that became public prior to the election. I’m confident there is much more evidence than what has been seen.
Now that the fact of the investigation is public, when combined with the specific information, documents, and witness statements that were revealed prior to the election — and suppressed by the media — this can’t be made to quietly disappear.