(Jonathan Turley) Hunter Biden’s legal team has been at the center of news coverage this month after it appeared to confirm the authenticity of his laptop in a letter (only to try to backtrack 24 hours later).
It was a curious and gratuitous move for Biden and his counsel Abbe Lowell as they called for criminal investigations into his critics, suggested lawsuits against media, and even argued that the tax exempt status of some groups be rescinded by the IRS.
Now, however, the team is moving in a far more precarious direction. They seem to be adopting the strategy of Steve Bannon that resulted in his conviction for contempt of Congress. Lowell categorically refused to turn over material to Congress this week, leaving his client open to a subpoena and possible prosecution. The move may have thrilled hardcore Democrats, but it is the Republicans who should be most ecstatic with Hunter’s initial position.
Lowell has declared the oversight investigation in the Biden family’s alleged influence peddling as illegitimate and has refused to turn over records related to its investigation. In a letter to House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-KY), Lowell declared “Peddling your own inaccurate and baseless conclusions under the guise of a real investigation, turns the Committee into ‘Wonderland’ and you into the Queen of Hearts shouting, ‘sentence first, verdict afterwords.’”
The move comes after news reports of a Democratic team forming around Hunter to attack potential witnesses and adopt a scorched earth approach in litigation. Even in personal matters, Hunter appears to be dispensing with his prior cultivation of a tragic and besieged figure. Recently, Hunter moved to block one of his daughters from using his surname.
In this latest matter, Lowell appears to be channeling the same strategy of Steve Bannon who was ultimately charged with contempt and convicted. At the time, I said that Bannon was asking for a contempt charge and Biden appears to be replicating this same ill-considered strategy.
Lowell would have been far smarter to turn over some material to the Committee in good faith while seeking to negotiate on the scope of the inquiry. A categorical refusal gives the Committee ample basis to issue a subpoena. Lowell is simply wrong that there is “no legislative purpose” in seeking information on possible influence peddling by the Biden family that could involve the President himself. Such corruption scandals have been part of congressional inquiries from the XYZ Affair to the Teapot Dome scandal to the investigation of Trump family business interests.
Lowell left open the door to Comer convincing him of some “legitimate legislative purpose” in meetings, but the letter went too far in its categorical rejection of the initial demand. Comer is likely to balk at having to convince Hunter Biden of the “legitimacy” of his investigation. A court would likely support the Committee’s right to such evidence for financial and communication records. While the Committee will not necessarily get everything, it is likely to prevail on threshold issue of the right to such evidence.