Could Hunter Biden put Joe Biden’s presidency in danger?
Probably not given entrenched tribalism and the political taint of congressional investigations these days.
Hunter Biden: All Smoke and No Chance of Fire?
What I mean is that even if legitimate wrongdoing were discovered in the Hunter Biden probes (which I doubt), it wouldn’t change much politically.
Democrats would circle the wagons around their president. Republicans, who already hate Biden anyways, would be validated and reignited. The status quo would mostly persist.
These days, given entrenched tribalism and the political taint of congressional investigations, the threshold for causing legitimate damage is high.
Joe Biden Impeachment?
Basically, the investigation would need to uncover something to trigger criminal or constitutional consequences – i.e., Joe Biden would need to have done something illegal, and/or Joe Biden would need to have done something to trigger Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution, which allows for a president to be removed from office for treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.
The latter option, impeachment, is certainly possible.
A Democrat-controlled House just voted to impeach Trump twice. A Republican-controlled House could certainly reciprocate and vote to impeach Biden. Would that damage Biden’s presidency?
Impeachment would divert the administration’s time and energy, perhaps hampering production; impeachment could also serve as an enduring mark of indignity, like a presidential scarlet letter. But again, Democrats would circle the wagons around an impeached Biden would mostly emerge unscathed (oh, and the Democrat-controlled Senate would acquit him).
Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way
The stated purpose of the investigation, to uncover wrongdoings that may have imperiled US national security, is likely pretext for going after the Bidens politically.
Will the House Oversight Committee uncover that Hunter Biden committed legitimate wrongdoings? It’s possible, yes.
But I have an idea that no matter what the committee finds, they will frame it and tout it as legitimate and egregious wrongdoing.
The conclusion will have been established before the investigation even commenced.
Which is a shame.
Because if Hunter Biden did commit wrongdoings that compromised US national security (again, which I’m skeptical of), that’s something the American people ought to know about.
But unfortunately, we have an oversight body whose credibility is questionable given the hyper-political environment that the body is operating within.
Take my own proactive skepticism as proof of the oversight committees degraded credibility.
Look at Trump
The same thing happened with the House’s investigation of Donald Trump and January 6th. The investigation, which lasted eighteen months, reached the conclusion we all knew they were going to reach on the first day the investigation started. Was there ever any doubt the committee was going to find Trump guilty in the most condemning terms? No. The conclusion was predetermined. And accordingly, an incident and a person that deserves honest, non-partisan examination is treated to a political sideshow.
Congressional oversight is a vital mechanism for ensuring our people and our institutions are operating as they are supposed to be operating. When congressional oversight becomes politically tainted, and that vital mechanism is reduced in quality and effectiveness, we all lose.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.