USA 2024 Elections Thread

grarpamp grarpamp at
Fri Jul 28 20:24:57 PDT 2023

Biden's Break-The-Glass Option: Pardon Hunter And Withdraw From The
2024 Election

Authored by Jonathan Turley,

Below is my column in The Messenger on what I called Biden’s
“break-the-glass” option after the disaster in Delaware. After the
column ran, Fox News asked White House Spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre
about the possibility of a pardon.

Jean-Pierre cut him off and responded  unequivocally “no.”

I hope that that is true but it would have been more assuring to come
from someone who did not clearly misrepresent the President’s earlier
denial just a day earlier and change his long-standing position. The
President previously denied a series of facts that have been proven,
including the fact that his son did make money in China and President
Biden did have knowledge of (and interact with) his son’s business
dealings. The real question is whether the fix in this case will fail
and leave the President with the pardon behind the glass.

Here is the column:

The collapse of the Hunter Biden plea bargain has left many in
Washington shocked. After all, this is a city that knows how to fix a
fight. After five years, the Biden corruption scandal was supposed to
die with a vacuous plea bargain and no jail time. Most everyone was in
on the fix, from members of Congress to the media to the prosecutors.
The problem was the one notable omission: Judge Maryellen Noreika of
the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.

The sentencing hearing was a moment that made the Hindenburg disaster
look like a seamless landing. Noreika asked a basic question on the
implications of the agreement, and the entire deal immediately

Now the Justice Department is in a bind. It could not admit in the
hearing that Hunter Biden could escape future liability for a host of
uncharged crimes. Yet, when a defendant backs out of a generous plea
deal, federal prosecutors ordinarily will pursue all of the available
charges — and jail time.

While President Joe Biden once declared, in more colorful terms, that
no one messes with a Biden, the Justice Department may now find it has
no choice. It could be forced to actually treat Hunter like an
ordinary citizen.

The debacle in Delaware still could result in a plea deal. The parties
have a month to “work things out,” and most judges sign off on deals,
given the discretion afforded to the executive branch on criminal
charging decisions. They just need to be clear about the terms, and
clarity is something neither side seemed eager to establish publicly
during Wednesday’s hearing. However, an agreement would require
prosecutors either to fight to preserve a sweetheart deal — one
without additional future charges — or to proceed, as they would in
most cases, with a full prosecution.

That would include obvious potential charges under the Foreign Agents
Registration Act (FARA). Noreika forced the Justice Department to
admit that it still could charge Biden as an unregistered foreign
agent. That was the charge used against onetime Trump campaign
chairman Paul Manafort and the similarities between the cases are
striking. It took little time for the Justice Department to use the
charge against Manafort. Yet, in the Hunter Biden investigation, five
years have passed, and the Justice Department seemed mired in doubt
over applying the same standard to the president’s son.

A FARA charge could further expose Hunter’s alleged influence-peddling
operations, with what House GOP investigators say were millions in
foreign payments from a virtual rogue’s gallery of foreign officials.
The Justice Department also would face pressure to seek the same long
jail sentence given to Manafort; he was sentenced to 73 months of
imprisonment, which included the statutory maximum 60 months for a
conspiracy to violate FARA. (That same year, political consultant W.
Samuel Patten pleaded guilty to lobbying and consulting on behalf of
the Opposition Bloc, a Ukrainian political party, and received 36
months of probation.)

That is not even including potential felony charges for the original
gun violation, money laundering, or other crimes. If the Justice
Department were to show the same aggressive effort toward Hunter Biden
that was shown to figures like Manafort, Hunter could be looking at a
real possibility of years in jail.

There is, however, the ultimate “break-the-glass” option that I raised
previously if the Bidens and their supporters could not rig the
process: Joe Biden could pardon his son and then announce that he will
not run for reelection.

Facing an impeachment inquiry, low public support, and a son in the
legal dock, Biden could use the case to close out his political
career. Of course, a pardon would be what I consider another abuse of
the pardon power for personal benefit. President Bill Clinton waited
until the end of his second term to pardon his half-brother. Biden
could do the same by acknowledging that the pardoning of his son is a
form of raw self-dealing. However, as he has said throughout the
scandal, he loves his son and blames his crimes on his struggle with
addiction and grieving.

With that, Biden could bow out of the election without admitting (as
many on both sides are saying) that old age has taken its toll on his
mental and physical capacity. He would end his political career with
an act as a father, which some would condemn but most would
understand. That would clear the way for a new generation of
Democratic candidates who would have a better chance of defeating
Donald Trump or another Republican presidential candidate.

President Biden could even give Hunter a preemptive or prospective
pardon. That would effectively end any federal investigation, although
the pardon would need to cover the waterfront of possible charges. By
resigning and becoming a lame-duck president, Biden also would
undermine congressional Republicans’ impeachment calls. And it would
allow his own allies to declare the scandal over, with Biden taking
responsibility by giving up a second term in office.

Of course, there is no guarantee that the congressional investigation
would end. Even if such a move dampened the demand for an impeachment
inquiry, it would not likely stop Republicans from pursuing answers
about the official handling of this investigation and claims of
political interference.

Yet, any damage would be contained by Biden offering himself up as a
sin-eater for his family. Democratic candidates would not likely face
backlash for their opposition to investigating the scandal; their
chances of retaking the House could be substantially increased.
Likewise, the media would not have to face the mounting evidence that
it has steadfastly ignored for years.

The pardon-and-apology approach might appeal to Biden not only as an
effort to convert vice into virtue but to justify his withdrawal from
the election as a selfless act.

Everyone in Washington would win — except, of course, the public: The
Bidens would keep alleged millions in influence-peddling profits;
Hunter would not even have to pay his full taxes; members of Congress
and the media could avoid taking responsibility for burying the
reports of corruption.

That is what is called a “happy ending” in Washington.

More information about the cypherpunks mailing list