Biden Should Have a Special Prosecutor Investigate Hunter
When Joe Biden begins his tenure as President of the United States on the 20th of next month, he will have a unique political opportunity awaiting him; it will be cleverly disguised as a family problem.
As of this morning, Hunter Biden is under federal investigation regarding his taxes. According to the Associated Press, Donald Trump is already “considering pushing to have a special counsel appointed” in light of Bill Barr’s impending departure as Attorney General. Neither Trump’s motives nor his actions should be trusted. However, Biden himself should make clear he wants a special prosecutor to investigate his son.
I have several reasons for recommending this. There is the simple matter of efficiency, for one. As AP notes, the probe currently “involves multiple U.S. attorney offices and FBI field offices.”
That implies a lot of time and effort in jurisdictional conflicts and resolutions, none of which would be at issue if a special prosecutor were to take the reins. Additionally, the USA offices themselves would be out of the political klieg lights that will come with this investigation, thus being more able to do their jobs.
Of course, the real benefits that would come from this would be political.
The investigation itself is sure to be a political headache. It is also unavoidable, since it is already ongoing. Any political damage from it has already started and is sure to happen no matter who in the Justice Department runs point. The only question now is whether a special prosecutor can minimize the damage. Not only would I say it can, but I also think it can bring some political benefit.
We still do not yet know Biden’s Attorney General-designate. We do know, however, that they are certain to face an avalanche of questions about the Hunter Biden investigation from Senate Republicans (who, even in the most optimistic Democratic scenario, would have control of the Senate until Biden and Kamala Harris are sworn in).
They can either risk all sorts of political capital with various phrasing of how they would be unbiased while putting extra attention to various USA appointments … or they can simply say, “That’s up to the special prosecutor; I’ll neither have nor want any say in it.” Problem solved.
Meanwhile, Biden can send an extremely powerful message about how America is turning the page from the Trump era. No one seriously believes Trump hasn’t tried to put his thumb on the scales of justice to protect himself and his family. Indeed, he boasts about how he obstructs justice repeatedly (calling it, “fighting back”).
In one fell swoop, Biden would send a clear message to the country that no one is above the law – not even his own relatives. He would also make it clear to his political opponents that he meant it when he talked about returning to the norms of previous eras.
Finally, a special prosecution’s findings would be far more protected from partisan distrust. Any investigation is certain to find what previous ones already have: even if Hunter Biden broke any laws, none of his actions involved his father.
Republicans care far more about smearing the president-elect than getting justice from his son. A regular investigation would be quickly accused of being politically orchestrated by Insert-Attorney-General here. It would be a specious charge, but it would be much more obviously specious if the investigation were done by a special prosecutor.
No father likes to see his son under investigation, but for Joe Biden, that’s already happening. He now has to consider how this investigation can be conducted in a way that is best for his administration politically and – more importantly – most likely to maintain and rebuild America’s trust in its institutions. A special prosecutor in the better choice for both.