Lesley Wolf Vindicated by Alexander Smirnov Indictment

In the wake of the Alexander Smirnov indictment, the 51 former spooks who wrote a letter stating their opinion that the release of Hunter Biden emails to the NY Post is consistent with a Russian information operation have claimed vindication. That has led to this problematic Ken Dilanian report parroting David Weiss filings that deliberately obscured the evidence in the Hunter Biden case. And that, in turn, has led to a flood of people expressing opinions about the laptop turned over by John Paul Mac Isaac (Olivia Nuzzi, Reese Gorman) that exhibit no clue about how precarious that evidence is now.

In other words, that has renewed a debate consisting of misrepresenting the 51-spook letter, then misstating what the public evidence about the laptop shows.

I’ll return to the details about the laptop that these people are missing; hopefully until I get there, they’ll consider whether David Weiss’ claim that a Keith Ablow picture of a picture of a table saw with sawdust was instead Hunter Biden’s cocaine really validates the laptop, as they seem to believe it does.

But there is one person who has been vindicated: Lesley Wolf, the AUSA who aggressively pursued real charges against Hunter Biden, even while attempting to prevent repeated onslaughts of political garbage from tainting the case.

Among the many complaints the two disgruntled IRS agents aired, largely targeting her, one was that, “This investigation has been hampered and artificially slowed by various claims of potential election meddling.” That appeared in a memo submitted within the IRS in December 2020, probably written by Gary Shapley. The IRS agents believed they knew better than Lesley Wolf about efforts to interfere in the election.

The IRS agents and their allies in Congress bitched over and over that Wolf and others had not ingested politicized dirt into the investigation readily enough.

For example, Joseph Ziegler described that investigators asked to reinterview Tony Bobulinski after his October 23, 2020 meeting with the FBI, but were not permitted to do so because he “was not viewed as a credible witness” — and that was before Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony, now backed by video, about the sketchy meeting Bobulinski had with Mark Meadows.

I can recall that agents on the investigative team brought up on multiple occasions to the assigned prosecutors that they wanted to do an interview of Bobulinski with the assigned case agents. I can recall being told that they would think about it and then ultimately being told there was no need for the team to interview Bobulinski and that Bobulinski was not viewed as a credible witness.

In his House testimony, Bobulinski backed off all the most inflammatory claims — such as that he attended a key meeting in Miami and witnessed Hunter receive a large diamond as a gift –made to the FBI.

Republicans in Congress have repeatedly complained that Tim Thibault shut down Peter Schweizer as a confidential human source in September 2020. Thibault explained to Congress that the Supervisory Special Agent called him and asked him to stop sending Schweizer’s reporting, because doing so would give Hunter’s attorneys ammunition if the case ever went to trial.

A I understand you don’t need the reporting anymore. I understand that if this goes to trial, Hunter Biden’s attorney —

Q Uh-huh?

A — could have some ammunition.

And Shapley specifically complained that Lesley Wolf withheld a particular email about some anomalies in the the hard drive image obtained from John Paul Mac Isaac.

Prosecutors deliberately withheld that email from agents who might have to testify to avoid making it Jencks production that would have to be shared with Hunter’s lawyers. Thanks to Shapley, it will presumably play a role in any suppression and Brady complaints tied to the laptop.

None of this is particularly noble on Wolf’s part. It’s typical, among prosecutors, in that they watch out for any evidence that would harm a case at trial, and avoid ingesting it in ways that would give defendants access to it. Lesley Wolf was not withholding details about problems with the hard drive JPMI provided the FBI to protect Hunter Biden. She was doing it to protect her case. In fact, her treatment of the laptop may be the one thing that helps bollox the case, if Leo Wise ends up needing any assistance on that front.

But it seems quite clear that efforts Wolf made to preserve a case for trial were instead spun by the disgruntled IRS agents as attempts to thwart the investigation. Their efforts to sell that spin have not only endangered the case, but also resulted in death threats targeting Wolf and her family.

Particularly given the timing of Congress’ focus on the FD-1023, including Bill Barr’s public commentary, Alexander Smirnov’s attempt to frame Biden is an important example of an effort Wolf made to protect a viable case against Hunter.

Gary Shapley released a memo that will be central to Hunter Biden’s bid to obtain discovery on the treatment of the Smirnov tip and the Scott Brady back channel, generally. It shows that the FD-1023, “was ordered to be received by this prosecution team by [Richard Donoghue]. It is happening on 10/23/2020 at 3pm in the Delaware FBI office.” It is proof that days after Trump yelled at Barr about the Hunter Biden investigation, DOJ ordered Wolf to accept this briefing.

Yet in his testimony, Shapley said that “We never discussed the form,” seemingly a reference to the Smirnov allegation.

After Barr ran his mouth to Margot Cleveland, both Ziegler and Shapley submitted supplements complaining that they hadn’t gotten briefed on the allegation. Shapley’s testimony, that neither the IRS agents nor the FBI agents, had checked out the allegation seems inconsistent with his claim never to have spoken about it.

Neither I nor the line IRS-CI agents acting under my supervision, nor the FBI agents working with IRS-CI, were ever provided the CHS information that Attorney General Barr recently referenced was sent to Delaware to have it “checked out.” Prosecutors never provided such information to IRS-CI. As such, neither IRS-CI nor the FBI agents working with him were provided the opportunity to conduct proper investigation into the allegations presented by this CHS. I, long with other IRS-Cl investigators, requested 10 be apart of briefings that the Delaware USAO and DOJ were having with the Pittsburgh USAO during the investigation, but our requests were denied.

Both further elaborated their complaints about not getting access to the FD-1023 in their public July testimony.

Then, even more forthcoming testimony Shapley gave to House Ways and Means served as a cue during Scott Brady’s House Judiciary Committee testimony, in which Brady described Lesley Wolf’s skepticism about the material being funneled from Brady’s office.

Q And were you ever told that the Delaware U.S. Attorney’s Office did not want a briefing from your office?

A I believe I was. I don’t remember. But I know that we had trouble scheduling it.

Q Okay. And then, further down, it states AUSA Wolf’s comments made clear she did not want to cooperate with the Pittsburgh USAO, and that she had already concluded no information from that office could be credible stating her belief that it all came from Rudy Giuliani.

Were you ever made aware of Ms. Wolf’s processing and decisions regarding this briefing, and why she didn’t want the briefing?

A I was not. We did, however, make it clear that some of the information including this 1023 did not come from Mr. Giuliani.

Q And did your team ever tell you that they were receiving comments from Ms. Wolf that she didn’t find the information your office was receiving credible?

A I don’t remember that, no.

Q If those conversations took place, would those have been between a AUSA at your office and Ms. Wolf?

A If they would have shared that with us at all, yes, likely, and had I been made aware, I would have called Mr. Weiss directly.

Q When you would have called Mr. Weiss directly, would you have told him the information the 1023 wasn’t coming from Mr. Giuliani, is that accurate?

A Yes, I would have, and that was already communicated to their office, that the 1023 was from a credible CHS that had a history with the FBI, and that it was not derived from any of the information from Mr. Giuliani.

Side note: The publicly released HJC transcript redacts several references to David Weiss, perhaps in an effort to hide the degree to which he is a witness to and therefore hopelessly conflicted on the Smirnov prosecution.

I’m guessing that neither Smirnov nor Hunter’s attorneys are so stupid that they can’t figure out who is named behind that redaction! But if they have any questions: Yes, Jim Jordan’s people really did redact references that make it clear what David Weiss personally witnessed in this transcript!

Unsurprisingly, in her testimony, Lesley Wolf did a far, far better job than Shapley and Brady adhering to her ethical duty to avoid speaking of an ongoing investigation. She also suggestsed that a lot of the decisions that Shapley and Ziegler complained about were made for ethical reasons, even an unwillingness on her part to risk her law license to take more aggressive steps. “Hey, I like my law license, and I know this person has a lawyer, so we’re going to have to work through counsel to get that interview you want,” she characterized such discussions with the investigators.

As a result of her strict adherence to prohibitions on her speaking about the investigation, her explanation for her reluctance to accept information from Brady’s side channel was very general. In her general explanation for why she might want to keep the existing Hunter Biden investigation separate from whatever Brady was doing, though, she provided the same reason Thibault got explaining why Delaware didn’t want to receive tips involving Peter Schweizer.

Q And during the course of your career, have you ever had a situation where you were reluctant to cooperate with a different U.S. Attorney’s Office? And by cooperate, I mean have meetings, take telephone calls.

[Wolf attorney Jenny] Kramer. I know this is almost too formal for this process, but I’m going to object to form. What does that mean, unwilling to cooperate? I’m just not clear on what exactly you’re trying to ask.

Mr. Castor. Unwilling to take meetings?

Ms. Kramer. Generally?

Mr. Castor. With a different U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Ms. Wolf. I can answer those questions, generally.


Q Sure, sure.

A I think as a general matter, the idea would be that you are coming from a place of cooperation and the common mission of the Department of Justice and what it is you’re trying to accomplish. But there may well be very, very valid means, reasons for a desire and an interest to keep investigations separate and apart. And in those circumstances, you would — and it wouldn’t be unusual to say, you know what, we’re not going to need to share information, we’re not going to do this. And it would just depend, again, on the particulars of an investigation and what the needs and what the various interests were at play.

Q Okay. Are you familiar with Supervisory Special Agent Gary Shapley’s testimony where he indicated you were unwilling to interact with Scott Brady?

A I’m generally familiar with Special Agent Shapley’s testimony, yes.

Q Okay. Are you familiar with that particular aspect of it?

A I mean, I’ve read his testimony.

Chairman Jordan. Would there be a reason not to interact and meet with Mr. Brady and his team?

Ms. Wolf. As that relates to a particular investigation, I’m not authorized to speak to that.

Chairman Jordan. You said there were some situations that — the general way of doing things is to, you know, “cooperate,” I think, is the word you used. And you said there are times that we’re not going to do that. Why would there be a reason not to do it in this situation?

Ms. Kramer. Chairman, respectfully, I think you had left the room when I had asked Mr. Castor earlier, please allow Ms. Wolf to finish her answers to the questions before —

Chairman Jordan. Okay, sure. I apologize.

Ms. Kramer. — and me as well, number one. And number two, I believe you mischaracterized her very recent answer. I don’t believe you said that there were times that you would refuse to cooperate, unless I misheard. So let’s break that down. I think your first question, Chairman Jordan, is what again, if you don’t mind repeating it?

Chairman Jordan. Would there be a reason not to cooperate with Mr. Brady’s office?

Ms. Wolf. As to this particular case, I’m not authorized to speak to that.

As a general matter, and I think to potentially recast and just reframe, the infusion on the point, there are valid investigative reasons in any given case that would need to be evaluated before joining, overlapping, even taking in information, and that would all be factored in, in any case, to deciding how to move forward in a matter, all in the spirit of advancing and the best interest of the investigation.


You know, to the extent that it then subsequently touches on an investigation or a matter in your district, I would expect that would be something that you would be aware of and usually the kind of thing that would probably take place above the line level. And that’s part of, you know, a sort of lack of clarity or understanding on how this sort of what is and isn’t typical. I hesitate to answer. And, quite frankly, I think in answering whether this was typical or atypical, it runs afoul of what I am authorized to discuss, because it essentially acknowledges or will be interpreted as acknowledging or denying or endorsing what may or may not have happened.

Wolf is being coy here.

But she’s also making it clear that she decided sharing information with Brady’s project would harm the investigation.

This is why I posted Leo Wise’s repeated, defensive rebuttals to David Chesnoff’s claim that the Smirnov indictment was “makeweight.”

It seems clear that Lesley Wolf left the Smirnov allegation well enough alone, knowing that the project generally was producing garbage that could only endanger the case.

Leo Wise seemingly used the Smirnov allegation as an excuse to reopen the case against the President’s son, only to discover it opened a nasty can of worms.  It gave Abbe Lowell the evidence to prove that the prosecution of Hunter Biden was infected by an effort by the Attorney General to accommodate the dirt that Trump’s lawyers picked up from Russian spies. And it gave Wise a real headache of a prosecution to deal with.

Lesley Wolf probably didn’t decline all the garbage from Scott Brady for noble reasons. She was just protecting her case. But having made the opposite decision, Wise may end up blowing that case.

You know who is vindicated by the Alexander Smirnov indictment? Lesley Wolf.

The December Warrant Shows David Weiss Wasn’t Going to Charge Gun Crimes Until Trump Elicited Threats

Over a week ago, NBC’s Gary Grumbach emailed me to figure out how he could access the then still-sealed warrant dockets I liberated.

To the best of my knowledge, neither he nor anyone else at NBC reported that the dockets revealed that David Weiss first obtained a warrant to search Hunter Biden’s iCloud content and a laptop attributed to him for evidence relating to the gun charges on December 4, 81 days after indicting him. Indeed, besides me, only right wing outlets (Fox, NYPost, Washington Examiner) reported on the warrant.

The existence of the warrant was first disclosed as part of a legal fight (MTD; response; reply) over whether David Weiss charged Hunter Biden only because pressure from Donald Trump and Jim Jordan generated threats that led Weiss to fear for the safety of his family.

Q Do you have concerns for the safety of individuals working in your office?

A Sure. I have safety concerns for everybody who has worked on the case, and we want to make sure that folks — yeah, folks are encouraged to do what they need to do with respect to the pursuit of justice generally and they not be intimidated in any way from performing their responsibilities.

Q Do you have concerns that the threats and harassment employees have received are intended to intimidate them into not doing their jobs?

A I really can’t speak to the intention of any actor in this realm. I just know that these — that certain actions have been taken by individuals, doxing, and, you know, threats that have been made, and that gives rise to concern. We’ve got to be able to do our jobs. And, sure, people shouldn’t be intimidated, threatened, or in any way influenced by others who — again, I don’t know what their motives are, but we’re just trying to do a public service here, so —

Q Have you yourself been the subject of any threats or harassment?

A I’ve certainly received messages, calls, emails from folks who have not been completely enamored of my — with my role in this case.

Q Do you have concerns for your safety or that of your family because of these threats?

A You know, I’m not — for myself, I’m not particularly concerned. Certainly I am concerned, as any parent or spouse would be for — yeah, for family, yep.

The fact that, in five years of investigating Hunter Biden, in the over two years after Hunter Biden’s book came out, David Weiss never obtained a warrant to search the iCloud content that he already had in possession for evidence to support gun charges (and also never sent the gun to the FBI lab for testing) is pretty compelling evidence that he never intended to charge Hunter for gun crimes until Donald Trump elicited threats that led Weiss to fear for the safety of his family. In his response, Weiss claims it is a Hollywood plot that such threats might lead him to renege on his decision to deal with the gun crime as part of a diversion agreement, making light of the same threats that, he told Congress, led him to be “concerned, as any parent or spouse would be for — yeah, for family, yep.”

This is unbelievably scandalous — that in the middle of a presidential campaign, Donald Trump ginned up threats against a prosecutor and then, for the first time, after the statute of limitations expired, that prosecutor sought new evidence to prosecute Joe Biden’s son.

Yet Gary Grumbach doesn’t think that’s newsworthy.

Instead, Grumbach is focused on important things: like whether Joe Biden will visit his son on his birthday.

A Second Trump Term Would Replace Competent Corrupt People with Incompetent Ones

Steve Neukam is one of the Messenger scribes who often chases Dick Pics with little care for the actual evidence.

In the middle of a paragraph quoting an anonymous Republican saying that Republicans don’t even need direct financial ties to Joe Biden to impeach him, for example, Neukam treats the factual explanation that Republicans are trying to impeach Joe Biden based on loans he made to his family while a private citizen as a brush-off.

The source close to Trump also said Comer “set the bar too high” for an impeachable offense, attempting to prove a direct payment to Joe Biden in the probe. The investigation spent weeks rolling out payments to Joe Biden from Hunter Biden and James Biden, the president’s son and brother, which the White House and Biden allies brushed off as loan repayments. Proving a direct payment to the president, the source said, was not necessary. [my emphasis]

But by being a committed Dick Pic Sniffer, Neukam has hit paydirt with a story quoting a slew of MAGAts trying to blame James Comer, and James Comer exclusively, that Republicans haven’t even succeeded in the single thing they tried to do with their House majority last year: Impeach Joe Biden.

Comer has led a”clueless investigation” at best and — at worst — “a disaster.”

“It’s been a parade of embarrassments.”


“James Comer continues to embarrass himself and House Republicans. He screws up over and over and over,” the source said. “I don’t know how Republicans actually impeach the president based on his clueless investigation and lack of leadership.”


“It seems like they got played by Hunter Biden,” one senior House GOP aide said. “It was a disaster. They looked like buffoons.”

Behind these hilarious quotes, however, is a particular power structure, one that is actually far more telling than the quotes.

The same article that claims that Comer’s problem is that he was picked because of his fundraising prowess…

“This is why we shouldn’t pick our chairman based on how much money they raise,” another member told Moskowitz, according to the congressman.

… Has these two deliciously contradictory claims about Mike Johnson’s impotence, a Speaker picked in spite of his non-existing fundraising record.

The Republican lawmaker who took his complaints of Comer to the speaker’s office was told that Johnson is aware of the problem, agrees with the criticism but can’t really do much other than watch and shake his head, the lawmaker told The Messenger.


Top House Republicans stand next to Comer amid the intra-party criticism. Johnson told The Messenger that he is “fully supportive” of the chairman’s work.

“I am grateful for the superb efforts of Chairman Comer,” the speaker said in a statement to The Messenger. “Without his and the other investigators’ work, we wouldn’t have uncovered the millions in foreign funds going to the Biden family, the dozens of exchanges between the President and Hunter Biden’s clients, and the litany of lies the White House has told.”

Meanwhile, at least some of the people griping are people close to Trump venting because the House GOP hasn’t delivered on Trump’s demands.

Twice-impeached Trump himself threatened House Republicans in August to impeach Biden “or fade into OBLIVION.”


“You have to start producing,” a Trump ally said. “The base is starting to get more and more frustrated with him because they see all this smoke but they don’t see the movement.”

It is virtually certain that many of the Republicans quoted here (with the possible exception of Jim Jordan’s chief counsel Steve Castor) suffer from the very same problems James Comer has faced in this investigation. They’re incompetent. They exist in a Fox/Newsmax bubble that rewards feral loyalty, incompetence, and lies. When exposed to any real scrutiny, those lies crumble.

You won’t find them reflecting on whether their own false claims have contributed to the hilarity of Comer’s failures. Amid increasing concerns that Republicans will lose the House in November, they’re busy passing the blame, even while they ignore an even bigger underlying problem.

One reason this impeachment has failed, thus far, is because they’re pursuing impeachment for the sake of impeachment. One reason this impeachment has failed, thus far, is because the House GOP has dedicated their entire first year to delivering whatever Trump demanded, when he demanded it, irrespective of whether it served their own interests or was justified by anything but Trump’s petulant demands.

Of course, none of the Republicans quoted here (Neukam also relies on Jared Moskowitz’s second-hand claims about what Republicans have told him) would admit they’re no different than Comer. They could do no better.

The Republicans on these committees have, like Comer, gleefully made false claims about smoking guns for which they had no evidence, for example. These Republicans continue to chase every one of Comer’s new diversions, in hope somewhere there’ll be evidence.

This is the persistent problem with claims — renewed today from the NYT team — that Trump will use DOJ to pursue partisan retribution.

[Maggie] He and his allies have also been clear that a big agenda item is eroding the Justice Department’s independence.

Charlie: Yes, Trump has vowed to use his power over the Justice Department to turn it into an instrument of vengeance against his political adversaries. This would end the post-Watergate norm that the department carries out criminal investigations independently of White House political control, and it would be a big deal for American-style democracy.

He already did this!!! No matter how many times NYT claims this would be a new development, none of it can eliminate the evidence that Trump’s focus on retribution began when he ordered investigations into Hillary and John Kerry under Jeff Sessions and accelerated as Bill Barr tried to find ways to charge Hillary and other Democrats for Trump’s efforts to cozy up to Russia. These efforts continue, with wild success, as Trump’s demands for a Hunter Biden investigation finally bore fruit.

As people consider the dangers of a second Trump term — and make no mistake, it could end American democracy — they need to consider whether incompetent corrupt partisans like James Comer will be any more effective than what Bill Barr already tried. Hell, under Barr, DOJ altered evidence to attempt to implicate Joe Biden in Trump’s corruption. John Durham fabricated a claim to impugn Hillary, but still couldn’t make charges against her attorney stick.

The difference — the one place where Comer, and to a much greater degree, Jim Jordan — have succeeded where Barr did not is not in the quasi-legal outcome. Rather, it is in ginning up threats against — seemingly — every single adverse witness.

The incompetent corrupt people that Trump is relying on while disavowing his past competent agents of retribution are really really good at one thing: Sowing political violence. But it’s not clear they’d be any better at politicizing DOJ than Trump already managed.

For Almost a Year, “Jim Jordan” Has Been Saying Hunter Biden Didn’t Need to Testify

I came to the Hunter Biden beat a bit late — only after I read Gary Shapley’s testimony. And so when Democrats mentioned that Abbe Lowell had sent Congress six letters in last week’s circus hearing — only two of which were cited in the contempt referral — I realized I hadn’t read them all.

I posted them all below.

It turns out, the two earliest ones — the ones I hadn’t read, ones which were sent to James Comer but not Jim Jordan — Abbe Lowell cited Jordan to lay out the impropriety of the requests for information from Hunter.

We know, from the Steve Bannon prosecution, that were the House to refer Hunter Biden for contempt, the first thing DOJ would do is ask for paperwork from both sides. On the January 6 Committee side, that all went through senior staffers. On Bannon’s side, Robert Costello claimed to have certain representations from Trump, but when asked, he admitted he didn’t have anything to backup that claim (Peter Navarro had still less since he didn’t lawyer up until after being charged). DOJ went so far as to get Costello’s call records to make sure there weren’t communications they didn’t know about.

Here, the first thing Abbe Lowell would do if Hunter were referred to contempt would be to share the six letters he had sent, documenting the authority on which he was relying for asking for further accommodations. The Oversight contempt referral — and even the letter issued Sunday moving toward setting up a deposition — made no mention of the earlier letters. As I noted, when DOJ asked the staffers in charge of the contempt referral what had happened, that hapless person would have to explain why the Committee withheld relevant documents from its contempt referral.

But as I also noted, even when relying on just the more recent letter, Jordan has said enough about the authority of subpoenas that he risked being a witness in any contempt investigation and then trial, something Bennie Thompson studiously avoided by letting staffers manage the guts of the legal issues.

That may explain why Jordan, whose chief counsel Steve Castor is bad faith but a good lawyer, saw the wisdom of issuing a new subpoena.

There’s still a conflict here. Lowell suggested hybrid accommodation in his letter from last week.

You have not explained why you are not interested in transparency and having the American people witness the full and complete testimony of Mr. Biden at a public hearing. If you issue a new proper subpoena, now that there is a duly authorized impeachment inquiry, Mr. Biden will comply for a hearing or deposition. 33 We will accept such a subpoena on Mr. Biden’s behalf.

33 During the January 10, 2024, Judiciary Committee markup, Representative Glenn Ivey suggested a procedure for a hybrid process—a public deposition/hearing with alternating rounds of questions for Republicans and Democrats, and with similar rules (e.g., role of counsel in questioning), as is done in a closed-door deposition. Four Republicans actually voted in committee in support of this process. Perhaps that could be the basis for our discussion.

In Sunday’s letter, Jordan and Comer rejected that, falsely claiming that the rules prohibit it (and ignoring Comer’s offer of public testimony in the past, something that came up in the contempt hearing).

While we welcome Mr. Biden’s public testimony at the appropriate time, he must appear for a deposition that conforms to the House Rules and the rules and practices of the Committees, just like every other witness before the Committees.26

26 For this reason, the Committees cannot accept the so-called “hybrid process” you propose. See January 12 Letter, supra note 1, at 8 n.33

I would not be surprised if Lowell did what Jim Comey did back in 2018, when House Republicans were conducting a similarly politicized non-public investigation into the Russian investigation. He sued to quash the subpoena, largely in an attempt to get some means of preventing Members from making false claims while hiding the transcript. That ended with an agreement that the House would release the transcript a day after the testimony.

The letter Lowell sent Mike Johnson on November 8 already extensively documented the false claims that Republicans had made about Hunter. There are some interesting false claims in the HJC report on the Hunter investigation that would not only further substantiate the need for transparency, but would also bolster Hunter’s claim — made in a motion to dismiss — that the House is unconstitutionally trying to conduct a prosecution of him.

Plus, there are other details of Jordan’s investigation — most notably the threats, which Becca Balint laid out during the contempt hearing last week. It is absolutely critical to Hunter Biden’s legal case that US Attorneys David Weiss and Martin Estrada as well as FBI Special Agent in Charge Thomas Sobocinski testified that threats were made in conjunction with this investigation, threats that in Delaware’s case preceded a radical reversal on the prosecutorial decision. Yet Jordan is sitting on that testimony.

Most people, myself included, think it’d be insane for someone fighting two indictments to appear before a hostile committee, much less without some means of acquiring his own record. But at the same time, Jordan keeps providing Lowell more evidence that the House, not DOJ, is the branch of government driving that prosecution.

1. February 9, 2023: Re request for documents [Comer]

[T]hen Ranking Member Jim Jordan (who sat next to you at your February 8th hearing) stated that a subpoena of President Trump and his family’s personal records was “an unprecedented abuse of the Committee’s subpoena authority[.]”1 Mr. Jordan described the subpoena for financial and business records as an “irresponsible and gravely dangerous course of conduct in a singular obsession of attacking President Trump and his family for political gain.”2 Mr. Jordan feared that Chairman Cummings would selectively release information gained from the subpoena “in a misleading fashion to create a false narrative for partisan political gain.”3


Representative Jordan, citing Watkins, even emphasized that private persons have a limited place in Committee investigations: “[t]he Supreme Court has cautioned that Congress does not have ‘general authority to expose the private affairs of individuals without justification in terms of the functions of the Congress.’”4

2. June 14, 2023: Re records from art dealer Georges Bergès [Comer]

I am sure you will remember that it was now Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, in his hollering about the subpoena issued to the Presidents’ accounting firm, citing to the same Waikins case, who stated that private persons have a limited place in Committee investigations: “[t]he Supreme Court has cautioned that Congress does not have ‘general authority to expose the private affairs of individuals without justification in terms of the functions of the Congress. ™


Let me remind you what then-Ranking Member Jim Jordan stated: that a subpoena of President Trump and his family’s personal records was “an unprecedented abuse of the Committee’s subpoena authority[.]”* (emphasis added). Mr. Jordan described the subpoena for financial and business records as an “irresponsible and gravely dangerous course of conduct in a singular obsession of attacking President Trump and his family for political gain.” (emphasis added). 1 explained in February that Mr. Jordan stated he feared that Chairman Elijah Cummings ‘would selectively release information gained from the subpoena “in a misleading fashion to create a false narrative for partisan political gain.”


No sooner did You obtain these financial records then, as admitted in you letter, you released them to the public in your “First Bank Records Memorandum.” In so doing, you decided to ignore the warning of your colleague Chairman Jordan, who cautioned that Democrats would selectively release information gained from the subpoena “in a misleading fashion to create a false namative for partisan political gain.” Oh, what a difference a few years and a change in leadership has made.

3. September 13, 2023: Re Newsmax appearance [Comer]

I write on behalf of our client regarding your statement this morning, September 13, on Newsmax, in which you stated, “We’re headed to court, more than likely. We’ve requested bank records from Hunter Biden and Jim Biden early on, and obviously we never got a response back. We will re-request those this week; if they do not comply with our request, then we will subpoena and no doubt, undoubtedly head to court.”1 Your statement was surprising as it ignores our prior exchanges.


We ask that you correct what you said, but more importantly, we remain available to have the discussion that I suggested some seven months ago.

4. November 8, 2023, to Mike Johnson: On false claims made by Republicans [Comer, Jordan, and Smith]

Chairman Jordan, for his part, used his airtime on November 1 to spew false, recycled, and debunked claims about Hunter’s time serving on the board of directors of Burisma, wielding it as an excuse to justify his obsession with pursuing an “impeachment inquiry” into President Biden when he declared: “Hunter Biden gets put on the Board of Burisma, fact number one. Fact number two, he’s not qualified to be on the Board of Burisma. Fact number three, the head of Burisma asks Hunter Biden, ‘can you help us relieve the pressure we are under from the Ukrainian prosecutor?’ Fact number four, Joe Biden does just that.” 9


As to Chairman Jordan’s made-up, nonsensical claim that “the head of Burisma ask[ed] Hunter Biden, ‘can you help us relieve the pressure we are under from the Ukrainian prosecutor?,’” I simply would ask Chairman Jordan: what evidence do you have and when is it coming? The answer is “none” and “never.” For all the hours, months, and years Chairman Jordan and others (e.g., Senators Grassley and Johnson) have spent trying to invent a scheme in which Hunter assisted Burisma in any illicit or inappropriate way to “relieve the pressure” stemming from a Ukrainian corruption investigation, while his father was Vice President, they have produced an alarmingly scant amount of proof to show for their claims. Opposite evidence abounds.

5. November 28, 2023: In response to Comer’s Newsmax appearance [Comer and Jordan]

Mr. Chairman, we take you up on your offer. Accordingly, our client will get right to it by agreeing to answer any pertinent and relevant question you or your colleagues might have, but— rather than subscribing to your cloaked, one-sided process—he will appear at a public Oversight and Accountability Committee hearing. To quote your November 8, 2023, letter accompanying the subpoena, “Given your client’s willingness to address this investigation publicly up to this point, we would expect him to be willing to testify before Congress.”6 He is, Mr. Chairman. A public proceeding would prevent selective leaks, manipulated transcripts, doctored exhibits, or one-sided press statements.

December 6, 2023: Public testimony [Comer and Jordan]

As indicated in my November 28, 2023, letter, Mr. Biden has offered to appear at a hearing on the December 13, 2023, date you have reserved, or another date this month, to answer any question pertinent and relevant to the subject matter stated in your November 8, 2023, letter. He is making this choice because the Committee has demonstrated time and again it uses closed-door sessions to manipulate, even distort, the facts and misinform the American public—a hearing would ensure transparency and truth in these proceeding

January 12, 2024: After contempt [Comer and Jordan]

And you, Chairman Jordan, during a House Republican leadership press conference immediately after the actual impeachment inquiry resolution vote finally occurred,stated: “I want you all to think about something. This morning, I was in an impeachment deposition, but then had to leave that to come to the floor for a vote on the rules for impeachment. That [] says it all about this entire process. And it is a sad day.” 11


You noticed an impeachment deposition a month before an impeachment inquiry vote was held to authorize such a deposition. Astonishingly, the sequence of events was the same as 2019. Almost four years to the day that Speaker Pelosi made her statement authorizing impeachment-based subpoenas before a House resolution authorized them, it was now Speaker Kevin McCarthy who, despite criticizing his predecessor for trying to do the same thing, did the same thing. On September 12, 2023, Speaker McCarthy said: “These are allegations of abuse of power, obstruction, and corruption. And they warrant further investigation by the House of Representatives. That’s why today, I am directing our House committee to open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.” 12 Chairman Jordan, you should be similarly saddened by your own use of pre–impeachment inquiry subpoenas against Mr. Biden.


Thus, “Resolution 660’s direction, however, was entirely prospective. . . . Accordingly, the pre-October 31 subpoenas, which had not been authorized by the House, continued to lack compulsory force.”19 As Resolution 660 was ineffective in 2019, so is Resolution 917 now. To quote you, Chairman Jordan, during the first impeachment of former President Trump, “[c]odifying a sham process halfway through doesn’t make it any less of a sham process.”


Still further, on December 13, 2023, you issued a joint statement directly tying Mr. Biden’s subpoenasto the still yet-to-be-authorized impeachment inquiry: “Today, the House will vote on an impeachment inquiry resolution to strengthen our legal case in the courts as we face obstruction from the White House and witnesses. Today’s obstruction by Hunter Biden reinforces the need for a formal vote. President Biden and his family must be held accountable for their corruption and obstruction. And we will provide that to the American people.”27

Abbe Lowell Invites James Comer to Send a Valid Subpoena, Now That He Has Authority

Hunter Biden attorney Abbe Lowell sent James Comer and Jim Jordan a letter today that has gotten all the journalists who treat James Comer as a credible human being confused.

Effectively, the letter says:

  • Whatever subpoenas you claim to have sent were invalid because you had no authority to issue an impeachment subpoena
  • Now that you have authority to issue an impeachment subpoena, if you issue one, Hunter is willing to appear at a hearing or sit for a deposition

Much of the rest of the 8-page letter is a legal discussion. There may come a time when a prosecutor or judge will weigh whether Abbe Lowell’s argument was sufficiently sound to mean that any contempt referral against Hunter Biden is garbage.

For the purposes of journalists who’ve believed that James Comer is a credible human being, though, this may be the most important detail: quoting Comer and Jordan asserting, on December 13, that the House needed to vote to authorize an impeachment inquiry “to strengthen our legal case” to subpoena Hunter Biden.

Still further, on December 13, 2023, you issued a joint statement directly tying Mr. Biden’s subpoenas to the still yet-to-be-authorized impeachment inquiry: “Today, the House will vote on an impeachment inquiry resolution to strengthen our legal case in the courts as we face obstruction from the White House and witnesses. Today’s obstruction by Hunter Biden reinforces the need for a formal vote. President Biden and his family must be held accountable for their corruption and obstruction. And we will provide that to the American people.”

If you believe James Comer is a credible human being, then you should take Comer at his word that until the House voted to authorize an impeachment inquiry on December 13, Comer and Jordan didn’t have a very good legal case to enforce an impeachment subpoena to Hunter Biden.

Abbe Lowell may well have had the better legal argument in any case. In his letter, he cites some of the earlier letters he sent that didn’t make the contempt referrals. Those earlier letters are quite central to the legal argument, and the fact that Oversight and Judiciary didn’t mention them in the contempt referrals is going to make things awkward for whatever staffer is going to have to testify about this contempt referral before prosecutors, much less a jury.

And Lowell cites things that Jordan has said himself about the standards for subpoenas. If Lowell is lucky, those past statements will give him a way to call Jordan to the stand, something Bennie Thompson avoided in both the Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro cases.

But for the purpose of journalists who treat James Comer as a credible human being, the important takeaway is this: If Lowell is right — or even if Lowell is just sufficiently right to keep Hunter out of jail for this — then it means everything that came up to this point involved Comer and Jordan deceiving you about what was going on; Comer and Jordan deceiving you, and you believing them, and misleading your readers or viewers about what was really going on.

All those stories about how Hunter Biden “defied” a subpoena? Retract them, or issue a correction and say, “my bad, there was no subpoena. Hunter wasn’t defying anyone.”

All those stories about Hunter refusing to respond to a subpoena requiring a non-public deposition? Retract those too, because there may be no valid subpoena. Up until there’s a clearly valid subpoena, Hunter had every right to seek accommodations, as others have. That’s probably why Lowell says that if Comer and Jordan issue a valid subpoena, Hunter may even be willing to sit for a closed door deposition. That is, it’s not the preference for publicity, it’s the deference to an actually legal subpoena.

You might even do a piece that says, “Wow. That was a really dumbass thing for Comer to do, to issue a subpoena that wasn’t legally valid, because he gave Hunter Biden two opportunities to make him look like a dumbass. If only I were savvy enough to understand that’s what was going on.”

Because, ultimately, if you’ve been treating Comer as if he is a credible human being, you’re not very savvy and you owe your readers an apology.

But, honestly, if you believed any of this was real, then you’re the dumbass. If you believe that Comer and Jordan really are concerned about influence peddling from family members of Presidents, you’re the dumbass. If you believe that Comer and Jordan are primarily interested in Hunter’s testimony, then you’re the dumbass. If you believe there was an accommodation that was going to meet Comer and Jordan’s demands, then you’re the dumbass — indeed, that’s surely why Comer retracted his generous offer to let Hunter testify in public.

There’s a some reason to believe that Comer and Jordan fucked up the accommodation process so badly because they want to ensure that DC USAO or David Weiss — whoever gets any contempt referral they send — decides this contempt referral is legally garbage. Because, they have already admitted in one of the few statements that has been true, they are only looking for something — anything!! — they can use to rationalize an impeachment.

The subpoena was designed, from the start, to fail. That’s because Comer and Jordan know you’re such a dumbass that when it does, you won’t report that the failure is their own damned fault.

Update: Comer and Jordan say they’ll issue a valid subpoena. Congratulations Hill reporters, you’ve spent three months chasing a con.

The David Weiss and Leo Wise Inconsistencies Left Out of Hunter Biden Arraignment Coverage

In testimony given to the House Judiciary Committee on November 7, 2023, David Weiss told Steve Castor and then Jim Jordan that the investigation into Hunter Biden was continuing, even after the plea deal filed on June 20 (here’s Politico’s coverage).

Q One of the big questions I think a lot of our members have is that, as of last July, you know, heading into July 26th, you know, we saw the plea agreement and the pre-trial diversion agreement; you know, we thought this matter was coming to a close, and then it didn’t.

How do you address the fact that this was on the verge of being completely over and wrapped up on July 26th and then, boom, in August, you have to request Special Counsel status, now you’re standing up a whole new office, and we’ve got an investigation that could go on for some time?

A Yeah. I understand the question and the members’ curiosity.

Q Uh-huh.

A Because I’ve got ongoing litigation in Delaware, I’m not at liberty to discuss it. But —

Q Uh-huh.

A — I can say that at no time was it coming to a close. I think, as I stated in the one statement I made at the time —

Q Uh-huh.

A — the investigation was continuing. So it wasn’t ending there in any event.

Chairman Jordan. When the judge would’ve accepted the agreement, it wasn’t over?

Mr. Weiss. Our efforts were not concluded; that’s correct.

According to a declaration, made under penalty of perjury, submitted last month by former Hunter Biden attorney Chris Clark, that Weiss claim — made under penalty of prosecution — conflicts with what Weiss’ First AUSA Shannon Hanson told him on June 19, 2023.

35. On June 19, 2023, at 2:53 PM EST, after I had a phone call with AUSA Hanson indicating I would do so, I emailed AUSA Hanson a proposed press statement to accompany the public release of both Informations that read, in part, “I can confirm that the five-year long, extensive federal investigation into my client, Hunter Biden, has been concluded through agreements with the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware.” (Emphases added.) A true and correct copy of Chris Clark’s June 19, 2023, email to AUSA Hanson is attached hereto as Exhibit P.

36. Shortly after that email, I had another phone call with AUSA Hanson, during which AUSA Hanson requested that the language of Mr. Biden’s press statement be slightly revised. She proposed saying that the investigation would be “resolved” rather than “concluded.” I then asked her directly whether there was any other open or pending investigation of Mr. Biden overseen by the Delaware U.S. Attorney’s Office, and she responded there was not another open or pending investigation. Thereafter, at 4:18 PM EST that day, I sent AUSA Hanson a revised statement that read: “With the announcement of two agreements between my client, Hunter Biden, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware, it is my understanding that the five-year investigation into Hunter is resolved.” (Emphases added.) The new statement revised the language from “concluded” to “resolved,” a stylistic change that meant the same thing. A true and correct copy of Chris Clark’s June 19, 2023, email to AUSA Hanson is attached hereto as Exhibit Q [Clark’s italics, my bold]

I’ve seen no coverage of Hunter Biden’s arraignment from yesterday — not the decent stories from NYT and ABC and not the typically shoddy story from WaPo — that mentions this discrepancy. And yet even though most stories on the arraignment described that the plea deal fell apart last July, none reported that Clark claims Weiss’ office assured Hunter there was no ongoing investigation on June 19 but then claimed on June 20 that there was an ongoing investigation.

This is absolutely crucial background to ABC’s report of how the plea deal was discussed yesterday.

The parties also again discussed the failed plea deal that led to the tax indictment last month. At one point during the 30-minute hearing, an attorney for Hunter Biden stood to express frustration with the plea deal falling apart, saying “we had a resolution of this case in 2023 and then things happened.”

The government pushed back, saying: “pleas fall apart all the time.”

Plea deals fall apart all the time. But government lawyers do not tell defendants one thing in June and then tell members of Congress something entirely different in November, as Hunter’s team alleges occurred.

And there’s another discrepancy in what prosecutors are saying, something that underscores the ethical problem with the tax indictment against Hunter (and the shoddy reporting of many outlets, including WaPo).

On July 26, 2023, Leo Wise stood as an officer of the court and made this representation to Judge Maryanne Noreika.

Approximately a year-and-a-half later, on or about October 18th, 2021, a third party paid the Internal Revenue Service $955,800 to cover Biden’s self-assessed individual tax liability with interest and penalties for tax year 2017 and $956,632 to cover Biden’s self-assessed individual tax liability with interest and penalties for tax  year 2018.

In addition, in or around February of 2020, Biden’s California accountants discovered that Biden’s 2016 Form 1040 had not been filed. The return was originally prepared in or around October 2017 and showed $15,520 in taxes due and owing. Though it was delivered to Biden at Biden’s office, this return was not filed with the Internal Revenue Service. After learning in 2020 that the Form 1040 for 2016 remained unfiled, Biden filed a Form 1040 on June 12, 2020. For tax year 2016, Biden reported $1,580,283 12 in total income and self-assessed tax due of $492,895, of which $447,234 was timely paid, leaving a balance due and owing of $45,661. Biden did not include a payment with this return. On or about October 18, 2021, this liability, plus accrued interest and penalties, was also fully paid by a third party.

Finally, after seeking an extension, Biden timely filed his 2019 Form 1040 on or about October 15th, 2020. He did not, however, pay his estimated tax due when filing for an extension as required by law. For tax year 2019, Biden reported $1,045,850 in total income and a self-assessed tax due and owing of $197,372. On October 18, 2021, this liability, plus accrued interest and penalties, was also fully paid by the same third party


THE COURT: All right. In Exhibit 1, there are references to taxes paid by a third party on Mr. Biden’s behalf of $955,800, and $956,632, as well as $492,000 in 2016 and $197,000 for 2019. Just looking at 2017 and 2018 which are the subject of this case, those numbers add up to more than $1.9 million. Can you help me square that with the relevant conduct.

MR. WISE: So the amount that was paid by the third party includes significant penalties and interests which we have not included in the loss stipulation that’s in paragraph 5A. The paragraph 5A is the taxes and there is a dispute as to what the taxes were based on the business deductions and that’s something that the parties will address in their sentencing memorandum, but this number is loss without inclusion of the penalties and interest.

Nevertheless, the indictment signed by Leo Wise obtained on December 7 doesn’t mention that the taxes were paid.

Indeed, there’s no record that the grand jury ever learned that, while there’s still a dispute about 2018, the taxes have been paid, with penalties and interest.

This is what led dull-witted scribes like Devlin Barrett to state, as fact, that prosecutors alleged that Hunter failed to pay his taxes, even though their own stories claim to know what happened in July, when that very same prosecutor said Hunter did pay the taxes.

Federal prosecutors alleged in a 56-page indictment filed last month that Hunter Biden, who moved to Los Angeles in 2018, failed to pay at least $1.4 million in federal taxes from 2016 through 2019. The charges include failing to file and pay taxes, tax evasion and filing false tax returns. Three of the charges are felonies and six are misdemeanors.

And it also lies at the core of the debate over whether anyone normally would be charged for such a fact set. Which is why the conflict between what Leo Wise said in July and what Leo Wise said in December should be a central part of the story.

In June, at least according to Chris Clark, David Weiss’ top AUSA said there was no ongoing investigation. In November, under pressure from Congress, David Weiss said there was.

In July, Leo Wise said that (aside from the dispute about 2018), the taxes have been paid, with interest. In December, Leo Wise told a grand jury — along with credulous journalists — they had not been.

One cannot report, with certainty, on what has happened until you account for those two incompatible claims from Hunter Biden’s prosecutors. One cannot make any claims about how this will end up until one determines whether David Weiss lied to Congress or Chris Clark lied in his sworn declaration.

And yet none of that appeared in the arraignment coverage yesterday.

James Comer’s Second Impeachment Hearing More of a Circus than the First

The House Oversight and Judiciary Committees are attempting to hold split screen mark-up meetings to hold Hunter Biden in contempt.

It was going to be a shit-show in any case. Between the two committees, Jim Jordan, Andy Biggs, and Scott Perry all blew off January 6 Committee subpoenas. Ranking Member of the Oversight Committee, Jamie Raskin explained what Perry had done in advance of January 6 as Perry visibly seethed.

Neither Chair — Jordan or Comer — keep their committees in order. Comer in particular has problems keeping Majorie Taylor Greene from doing really outrageous things (Jordan doesn’t make the same efforts to keep Matt Gaetz in line on HJC). Indeed, she attempted to submit something into evidence that led to a halt of the hearing as staffers from both sides discussed whether whatever she had on placards could properly come in; they did not.

One after another Democrat used their turn to focus on the emoluments report they recently released, with Republicans dedicating much of their time trying to explain away that Trump was on the take of China during his presidency, while Comer desperately tried to tie a 2017 or 2018 payment from CEFC to Hunter Biden to his father, after Biden left government.

Every public hearing is going to continue to be like this — testament not just that Donald Trump has done what Republicans have found no evidence showing Biden has — but also showing that rather than government, or funding government, Republicans continue to sniff Hunter Biden’s dick pics.

Democratic Representative Robert Garcia even said that, dick pics, in the hearing.

This is the face Donald Trump has demanded that House Republicans show to the American people.

And then, to make it worse, Hunter Biden showed up himself, with Abbe Lowell in tow.

Nancy Mace immediately accused Hunter of having no balls, because it’s never a House Oversight hearing without Hunter’s genitalia being the central issue.

Comer failed to find a way to get CSPAN to stop tracking how Hunter and his attorney were responding. He similarly was helpless to prevent CSPAN showing his miserable face as Raskin made point after point.

Jared Moskowitz asked for a show of hands of Republicans who wanted to just question Hunter right then and there. Until — as soon as MTG first spoke, they all got up and walked out of the room.

Before the Committees broke for votes, Raskin was taking to calling his colleagues cult members, doing the bidding of Donald Trump.

This is the face of the Republican House. That’s what Donald Trump is demanding will be the face of the Republican House.

Jim Jordan Says Trump’s Years of Blowing Off Subpoenas May Merit Impeachment

In another ploy to get journalists at dick pic-sniffing right wing outlets like JustTheNews and NBC to air false claims, Jim Jordan and James Comer sent the White House a letter demanding any communications the White House had with Hunter Biden or his lawyers about blowing off a subpoena that — the letter itself notes — was issued before the chairmen obtained support of the House to issue impeachment subpoenas.

They base their claim that the President knew his son was going to blow off a subpoena on a misrepresentation of what Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said later that day: that the President was familiar with what his son was going to say.

Look, as you know, Hunter Biden is a private citizen, and so I certainly would refer you to his representatives. Look, the President was certainly familiar with what his son was going to say, and I think what you saw was from the heart from his son. And you’ve heard me say this, you’ve heard the president say this, when it comes to the president and the first lady, they’re proud of him continuing to rebuild his life. They are proud of their son.

Perhaps Jean-Pierre was suggesting Joe Biden knew Hunter would say things like, “James Comer, Jim Jordan, Jason Smith, and their colleagues have distorted the facts,” a true statement similar to comments Joe himself has made. Perhaps Jean-Pierre’s comment meant that Joe Biden knew his son would say that Jordan and Comer, along with Jason Smith, “ridiculed my struggle with addiction [and] belittled my recovery,” something consistent with her own focus on his recovery. Given Jean-Pierre’s observation that “what you saw was from the heart,” perhaps she was referring to Hunter’s tribute to his parents’ love:

During my battle with addiction, my parents were there for me. They literally saved my life. They helped me in ways that I will never be able to repay. And of course they would never expect me to. In the depths of my addiction, I was extremely irresponsible with my finances. But to suggest that is grounds for an impeachment inquiry is beyond the absurd. It’s shameless. There’s no evidence to support the allegations that my father was financially involved in my business because it did not happen.


They have taken the light of my Dad’s love — the light of my Dad’s love for me and presented it as darkness.

There is nothing in her statement that confirms foreknowledge that Hunter would blow off the subpoena, something conceded in the letter that her statement only, “suggests that the President had some amount of advanced knowledge that Mr. Biden would choose to defy two congressional subpoenas” [my emphasis].

Nevertheless, serial liar Comer and subpoena scofflaw Jordan use Jean-Pierre’s statement to insinuate that Joe Biden has committed what they themselves call a potentially impeachable offense of dissuading a subpoena recipient from complying with it.

Later on December 13, when asked whether President Biden had watched Mr. Biden’s statement, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated that President Biden was “certainly familiar with what his son was going to say.”11 Ms. Jean-Pierre declined, however, to provide any further details about the President’s actions or whether the President approved of his son defying congressional subpoenas.12 Nonetheless, Ms. Jean-Pierre’s statement suggests that the President had some amount of advanced knowledge that Mr. Biden would choose to defy two congressional subpoenas.

Under the relevant section of the criminal code, it is unlawful to “corruptly . . . endeavor[] to influence, obstruct, or impede the due and proper exercise of the power of inquiry under which any investigation or inquiry is being had by . . . any committee of either House or any joint committee of the Congress[.]”13 Likewise, any person who “aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures” the commission of a crime is punishable as a principal of the crime.14

In light of Ms. Jean-Pierre’s statement, we are compelled to examine the involvement of the President in his son’s scheme to defy the Committees’ subpoenas.


[T]he fact that the President had advanced awareness that Mr. Biden would defy the Committees’ subpoenas raises a troubling new question that we must examine: whether the President corruptly sought to influence or obstruct the Committees’ proceeding by preventing, discouraging, or dissuading his son from complying with the Committees’ subpoenas. Such conduct could constitute an impeachable offense.

11 Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and NSC Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby. White House Briefing Room (Dec. 13, 2023).

12 Id. 13 18 U.S.C. § 1505 (Obstruction of proceedings before departments, agencies, and committees).

14 18 U.S.C. § 2(a).

Once you wade through all the bad faith and misrepresentation, this is a breathtaking development: Donald Trump’s most vigorous defender in Congress, Jim Jordan, someone who himself defied a subpoena to cover up Trump’s actions, has accused Donald Trump of committing an impeachable offense.

There are a slew of ways that Donald Trump, “prevent[ed], discourag[ed], or dissuad[ed]” witnesses from complying with subpoenas, during both his impeachments, the January 6 Committee, and elsewhere. Most famously, during the first impeachment, for example, Trump attorney Jay Sekulow got Trump to permit Trump attorney John Dowd to represent Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. In a response to a subpoena that was very similar to the pre-impeachment vote subpoena sent to Hunter Biden, Dowd made a bunch of claims about attorney-client relationships that, with the exception of the tie to Dmitry Firtash, have since been disproven, all in an attempt to deprive Congress of their testimony. While Parnas eventually cooperated with impeachment, neither Fruman nor Rudy did. Indeed, Trump’s entire Administration blew off the inquiry.

Trump did the same with the January 6 inquiry. Trump attempted to pressure Cassidy Hutchinson about her testimony. Even better documented, Robert Costello described that Trump’s lawyer instructed him to withhold materials about a meeting involving a bunch of lawyers but also Mike Flynn based on an attorney-client privilege claim. On Jordan’s logic, Trump should join Bannon in his 4-month contempt sentence for that intervention.

In short, while Comer and Jordan manufactured the claim that President Biden knew Hunter was going to blow off a subpoena, the evidence that Trump has ordered everyone in his orbit to do the same for years is overwhelming.

Once you argue that instructing people to blow off subpoenas merits impeachment, you’ve made the case for a third Trump impeachment.

Comer and Jordan have already surfaced far more evidence supporting an impeachment of Donald Trump than Joe Biden. Three major examples are:

  • Ties between DOJ access and dirt on Hunter Biden: In response to Comer’s allegations about Hunter and Joe Biden, Lev Parnas has renewed allegations he made in the past, much of which are backed by known communications and the recently released warrants from SDNY. Of particular note, he described that Rudy floated access with Trump’s DOJ in exchange for dirt on the Bidens with both Yuriy Lutsenko and Dmitry Firtash. Parnas also claimed that when he attempted to fly to Vienna on October 9, 2019, he believed he would retrieve content stolen from a Hunter Biden laptop.
  • Efforts to funnel Rudy Giuliani’s dirt to the investigation into Hunter Biden: Chuck Grassley revealed that during his first impeachment, when Trump was emphasizing the import of investigating Burisma corruption, his own DOJ shut down a 3.5-year old investigation into Mykola Zlochevsky. Testimony from Scott Brady enhanced what we already know about the dedicated channel Bill Barr set up days later for dirt Rudy had obtained, including from known Russian agents. Of particular import, Brady revealed that he mined the recently closed Zlochevsky investigation to obtain informant testimony about how Zlochevsky changed his story about Joe Biden during the course of impeachment. Brady and Gary Shapley both provided new details of how that information got shared with the Hunter Biden investigative team, with Brady submitting interrogatories about what they were investigative and getting David Weiss’ intervention to brief the information they obtained. Ultimately, after Trump yelled at Bill Barr about the Hunter Biden investigation, Richard Donoghue ordered the Delaware investigators to accept the FD-1023 memorializing Zlochevsky’s changed story about Biden; Bill Barr confessed that he was involved in this process. In short, Jordan and Comer, with an assist from Grassley, have confirmed many of the suspicions that drove the first impeachment.
  • Trump’s involvement in Tony Bobulinski’s inconsistent FBI testimony: The disgruntled IRS agents released Tony Bobulinski’s draft interview report (from the same day as the briefing about Zlochevsky’s changed Biden claims), key claims in which are not backed by previously unreleased communications. The disclosure of testimony that Hunter Biden alleges to be false comes even as Cassidy Hutchinson’s book describes a secret meeting Mark Meadows had weeks after that FBI interview, at which Trump’s chief of staff handed Bobulinski something that could be an envelope.

Thanks to Comer and Jordan — with an important assist from Grassley — Republicans have exposed that Trump has been corruptly involved in the Hunter Biden investigation — the Hunter Biden investigation they’re using to impeach Joe Biden — from the start.

But this letter is different.

Comer and Jordan never admitted that all the rest — all the evidence that Trump corruptly ginned up an investigation into Joe Biden’s kid — merited impeachment. They have claimed the opposite, even in the face of Grassley’s stunning claim that Trump’s DOJ shut down an investigation into Zlochevsky opened when Biden was Vice President.

But here, at long last, they’re admitting that Trump’s years-long efforts to stonewall Congress may merit impeachment.

Mind you, the outlets that believed this letter was newsworthy didn’t mention that fact. Instead, they treated Jordan’s stunning hypocrisy as if it were a good faith intervention. They didn’t even mention that Jordan himself blew off a subpoena to protect Trump!

We know why John Solomon — implicated himself in all these events — pretended this was all good faith. Solomon doesn’t pretend to be anything but a pro-Trump propagandist.

But NBC has no excuse. Either it is too stupid to recognize that this Jordan letter is the height of bad faith … or it is too addicted to dick pic-sniffing clicks to explain all that to their readers.

At some point, Jim Jordan’s confession that Donald Trump really did deserve impeachment becomes the story.

Update: I should have included Luke Broadwater — the NYT scribe who can’t do basic things like test the provenance of documents — in the right wing outlets that simply parroted Jordan’s garbage.

James Comer’s War on Christmas: The Burial Ground of a Dick Pic Impeachment

Republicans have rolled out a shiny timeline in support of their impeachment stunt.

It is riddled with unsubstantiated and at times, false claims. As one example, it states as fact that a $40,000 loan repayment James Biden made in 2017 — when Joe Biden was a private citizen — was money laundered from China.

It juxtaposes a misleading (but potentially caveated) answer at the October, 22 2020 debate from Biden with Tony Bobulinski’s interview with the FBI the next day, but doesn’t mention that Trump hosted Bobulinski at that debate and then, according to Cassidy Hutchinson’s book, Mark Meadows handed him something at a covert meeting weeks later.

It doesn’t, however, mention Tony Bobulinski in its report about a meeting between Hunter and CEFC Chairman Ye Jianming on February 16, 2017 (the date of the meeting may not even be correct).

In the testimony Bobulinski gave to the FBI between attending the debate with Trump and having a covert meeting with Mark Meadows, he claimed to have attended that February 2017 meeting and seen Hunter receive a diamond.

BOBULINSKI first met in person with members of the BIDEN family at a 2017 meeting in Miami, Florida. BOBULINSKI, GILLIAR, WALKER, HUNTER BIDEN, and YE all attended the meeting. Also in attendance was Director JIAN ZANG (“ZANG”), a CEFC Director involved in forming new businesses and capitalizing them at the request of CEFC. At the meeting, BOBULINSKI witnessed a large diamond gemstone given as a gift to HUNTER BIDEN by YE.

Perhaps the silence about Bobulinski arises from the fact that Hunter Biden has claimed Bobulinski not only wasn’t at the meeting, but didn’t yet know of James Gilliar’s business ties to him. Rob Walker, who was at the meeting testified, twice, that he didn’t see a diamond pass hands at the meeting.

Walker has read about RHB receiving a diamond from people with CEFC, but he never saw the diamond.

And James Biden testified that an associate of Ye gave Hunter a diamond at his office (not the meeting) — but it ended up being worthless.

James B did recall RHB receiving a diamond from the Chinese but that they found out it was not valuable. RHB said that he received the diamond from an associate of the Chairman at his office [redacted] James B stated that the Chinese always gave something as a welcome gift. RHB was originally told that the diamond was worth $10,000, but James B took it to a friend of his and found out that it was worthless. James B is only aware of one diamond and was not aware of a larger diamond.

All this changes Biden’s statement at the debate significantly; Trump was working off a Bobulinski claim that isn’t backed by the available records.

And then weeks later (again, according to Hutchinson’s book), Trump’s Chief of Staff handed Bobulinski something that might be an envelope.

Much of the timeline focuses on Burisma owner Mykola Zlochevsky’s years-long effort to kill legal investigations into his corruption.

Unsurprisingly, the Republican timeline makes no mention of the investigation that — per Chuck Grassley — DOJ opened into the owner of Burisma in January 2016.

Likewise, James Comer forgot to mention that — again, per Chuck Grassley — Donald Trump’s DOJ shut down that investigation into Zlochevksy in December 2019, even while justifying his Perfect Phone Call with Volodymyr Zelenskyy with a claim to be concerned about corruption at Burisma.

Comer’s timeline definitely doesn’t mention that (per Chuck GrassleyBill Barr’s DOJ shut down an investigation into Zlochevsky when it discusses that Zlochevsky was offering bribes to shut down investigations.

Maybe in addition to impeaching Trump for whatever he handed Bobulinski to make claims about big diamonds he couldn’t see, James Comer should open an impeachment investigation into why Bill Barr’s DOJ shut down that Zlochevsky investigation — and whether there’s a tie between the closure of the investigation and Zlochevksy’s new claims about Biden?

Wow. James Comer’s case for impeaching Donald Trump just keeps getting stronger and stronger!

Admittedly, Comer does take a break from substantiating an impeachment case against Trump by providing scandalous details about Biden … inviting his son to a party.

A party!! Joe Biden invited his son to a Christmas party!?!?!

This is truly scandalous stuff, particularly when contrasted to Bill Barr’s noble efforts to shut down an investigation into Zlochevsky at the same time that Trump was claiming publicly to support an investigation into Zlochevksy and Zlochevksy was, apparently, offering billions to those who shut down such investigations.

A Christmas party!

How dare a good Catholic like Joe Biden invite his own family member — his son!! — to a party at his residence? Surely the 18 Republicans from districts Biden won will be happy to explain their vote to impeach because they’ve decided to declare War on Christmas?

This impeachment gets better every day.

There’s one more utterly ridiculous detail I’m rather obsessed about. In addition to proposing to impeach Joe Biden because he invited his kid to a party, James Comer thinks it’s scandalous that Vadym Pozharskyi sent Hunter notice that his father was traveling to Ukraine.

Wow. Scandal. Pozharskyi knew and shared details about when Biden was traveling to Ukraine.

But I’m interested for a different reason. You see, this claim is almost certainly sourced to the copy of the “laptop” that House Republicans won’t explain — at least not on the record — how they obtained. In addition to the email from 2016 that was resent on September 1, 2020 when the hard drive was in Rudy Giuliani’s possession, this email is one with which I’m obsessed.

Here’s how it appears at BidenLaptopEmails dot com.

The President of the US-Ukraine Business Council got the alert from the White House, he sent it to Burisma, and Pozharskyi sent it — at least by all appearances — to just Devon Archer and Hunter.

As I circled, whoever’s email box this appeared in recognized Pozharskyi’s email not as “Burisma,” but instead as “Burials.” The email also had an identity for Hunter associated; most other emails that he received don’t identify himself.

There’s just one other email in the public set like this — an important one.

It was a thread sent over one week — from November 11 ET through 18, 2015. On it, Pozharskyi, Eric Schwerin, Archer, and Hunter discuss bringing in Blue Star Strategies — they’re the ones who tried to fix Zlochevsky’s legal troubles, with some initial but ultimately short-lived success.

This effort, outsourced as it was, was undoubtedly one of the sleaziest things Hunter was involved in. But the GOP didn’t include this email in their timeline (probably because it makes clear that Hunter did a pretty good job of firewalling off the legal influence peddling).

Anyway, from this email, it appears that it is Schwerin’s email account that, for a few days only, recognized Burisma as “Burials.” Only, he’s not listed as being on the other one.

I really have only suspicions about what explains this anomaly. I care about it, for two reasons. First, because the anomaly, especially on one of about ten or so that really get into Burisma’s efforts to suck Hunter and Archer into this corruption, does raise questions about the provenance of the set of emails loaded up on a laptop attributed to Hunter Biden.

Also because, according to a spreadsheet Joseph Ziegler was generous enough to share with the world, this is among the not quite 10% of emails that the IRS used in its own influence peddling investigation that they sourced to the laptop when it should have been included in returns from warrants obtained from Google on both Hunter and Schwerin’s Rosemont Seneca emails.

There’s a lot in Comer’s timeline that makes a great case for impeachment — of Donald Trump.

There’s a lot in his timeline that shows he continues to rely on fraudsters to make his case.

There’s a lot that tries to criminalize … Christmas!

And then there’s this, an email probably obtained from the famous “laptop,” one that raises some real questions about what got packaged up on a laptop attributed to Hunter Biden.

Hunter Biden Gets a Step Closer to Vindicating Twitter’s Takedown Decision

Yesterday, as things moved closer to an expulsion vote for George Santos, activist “Anarchy Princess” taunted Santos staffer, Vish Burra, about whether he hacked Hunter Biden’s phone.

AP: Like the same way that you got into Hunter Biden’s stuff?

VB: [laughter]

AP: Yeah, didn’t you hack Hunter Biden’s shit, his phone or something?

VB: [turns to camera] Yeah, and I’d do it again.

Burra, who in 2020 was the producer of Steve Bannon’s podcast, has previously described “extracting” the contents of the “laptop” and took credit for hooking Bannon up with Emma-Jo Morris, who published the initial NY Post story.

Hunter Biden described Burra’s past claims in his lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani and Robert Costello for unlawfully accessing and manipulating his data.

As further evidence of Defendants’ illegal hacking of Plaintiff’s data, it recently has come to light that Defendant Giuliani apparently worked directly with Steve Bannon and Vish Burra to access, manipulate, and copy Plaintiff’s “laptop,” which Burra has dubbed the “Manhattan Project” because he and others “were essentially creating a nuclear political weapon,” referring to Burra’s work with Defendant Giuliani and others (Steve Bannon and Bernie Kerik) to manipulate the “laptop.”

But Burra has not, as far as I know, confessed to “hack[ing] Hunter Biden’s shit.”

Yesterday — whether in jest or not — he did.

Later that same day, Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger had their semi-annual appearance before Jim Jordan’s Weaponizing Government committee.

At the hearing, Dan Goldman had this exchange with Shellenberger about the “Hunter Biden” “laptop:”

DG: You’ve talked about the Hunter Biden laptop, and how the FBI knew it existed. You are aware, of course, that the laptop, so to speak, was actually — that was published in the New York Post was actually a hard drive that the NY Post admitted — here! — was not authenticated as real. It was not the laptop the FBI had. You’re aware of that, right?

MS: It was the same contents.

DG: How do you know?

MS: Because it’s the same —

DG: You would have to authenticate it to know it was the same contents. You have no idea.

MS: [inaudible] conspiracy. Are you suggesting the NY Post participated in a conspiracy to construct the contents of the Hunter Biden laptop?

DG: No, sir, the problem is that hard drives can be manipulated by Rudy Giuliani or Russia.

MS: What’s the evidence that that happened?

DG: Well, there is actual evidence of it, but the point —

MS: There’s no evidence of it. You’re engaged in a conspiracy theory.

Miranda Devine (who keeps dog-whistling about Hunter Biden’s “expensive” lawyers) and the House GOP all seem to think this was a very clever exchange, as that’s the clip they all sent out to froth up the rubes.

Goldman is right: You’d need to authenticate the contents of the “laptop.” As I have shown, even the FBI had not checked whether anything was altered on the laptop they received while in John Paul Mac Isaac’s custody, ten months after receiving it. Their computer guy was still suggesting ways to do that on October 22, 2020, over a week after the NY Post story was published. At the time, Lesley Wolf — the villain of the Republican story — was in no rush to do so.

Understand, though: the critical question here is not whether the hard drive was authenticated. The question is whether it was hacked. Here’s how Vijaya Gadde described the decision to take down the original NY Post link in October 2020.

For example, on October 14th, 2020, the New York Post tweeted articles about Hunter Biden’s laptop with embedded images that look like they may have been obtained through hacking. In 2018, we had developed a policy intended to, to prevent Twitter from becoming a dumping ground for hacked materials. We applied this policy to the New York Post tweets and blocked links to the articles embedding those source materials. At no point did Twitter otherwise prevent tweeting, reporting, discussing or describing the contents of Mr. Biden’s laptop.

If the data in NY Post’s hands was hacked, then according to Twitter’s terms of service, links to it should have been taken down.

If the data in NY Post’s hands was hacked, then the takedown that Republicans claim was a violation of their speech was, in fact, adherence to Twitter’s terms of service as they existed at the time.

And Hunter Biden’s lawsuit alleges that Rudy Giuliani and Robert Costello unlawfully accessed — hacked — his data.

And yesterday, Burra — the guy who set up the tie between Bannon and the NY Post in the first place — laughingly agreed that he did hack Hunter Biden’s shit.

Now, Michael Shellenberger says there’s no evidence the data on the hard drive was altered by Burra and others. Miranda Devine says you have to take the word of the Bidens to believe that happened.

They said that the same day Burra laughingly said he would hack Hunter Biden again.

More importantly, you don’t have to go to the Bidens for evidence that the hard drive was altered. You can go to Garrett Ziegler, whom Hunter Biden has also accused of hacking his shit.

In the set of emails publicly released by Ziegler at BidenLaptopEmails dot com, there is an email from Hunter Biden’s Rosemont Seneca email account (hosted by Gmail), that was sent on September 1, 2020 ET (September 2 GMT).

It’s a resent version of an email sent in 2016 (DDOS says that a footer was also altered).

If everything John Paul Mac Isaac says is true, if everything Rudy Giuliani says is true, this “laptop” was in the custody of Rudy Giuliani (or Robert Costello, on Rudy’s behalf) on the date it was sent. Whoever resent this email — and it was sent over a year after Hunter left Burisma — it was added to the “laptop” while it was in Rudy’s custody.

I’ll leave it to the lawyers and the tech people to explain how an email set from an account hosted by Gmail was added to the hard drive from which Garrett Ziegler obtained his copy. I’ll leave it to the lawyers to argue about whether it would necessarily require unauthorized access to Hunter Biden’s Gmail or iCloud account for that email to be on the hard drive.

But it’s something that could not have been on the laptop when someone — allegedly Hunter Biden — dropped off a laptop at John Paul Mac Isaac’s shop on April 12, 2019. By all understandings of the dissemination of various hard drives — which Thomas Fine has illustrated this way — it would have been on what NY Post worked from on its October 14, 2020 story.

There’s no evidence, Michael Shellenberger said. You’re supposed to take the words of the Bidens, Miranda Devine said.

And on the same day they made those claims, Vish Burra said, of hacking Hunter Biden’s stuff, “Yeah, and I’d do it again.”