Legal Law

Majority of Democrats Want Hunter Prosecuted for Contempt – JONATHAN TURLEY

It appears that the concerted effort to excuse Hunter Biden’s defiance of a subpoena in the media has failed. According to a Harvard Caps/Harris poll, 71 percent of Americans believe that Hunter should be prosecuted for contempt of Congress. What is remarkable is that 54 percent of Democrats support his prosecution.

I have previously written that Hunter committed a flagrant, criminal violation in holding his presser in front of the Congress and refusing to appear for a deposition in the House. There is an equally compelling basis to take action against Rep. Eric Swalwell (D., Cal.) under House rules for facilitating the alleged federal crime.

The poll shows that, again, the public has rejected the spin in the media and correctly sees this act for what it was: a federal crime.

Every group is lined up in favor of prosecution:

  • Democrats: 54 percent support
  • Republicans: 89 percent support
  • Independents: 72 percent support

The decision of Hunter and his counsel to take this action remains legally incomprehensible. He could have gone into the committee room and taken the 5th Amendment. There is no cognizable defense in my view to this charge.

Hunter may now have not just created a third threat of incarceration, but placed his father and his administration in the worst of possible positions.

Two Trump associates – Steven Bannon and Peter Navarro – refused to appear in the House and were quickly held in contempt by a majority of the House, including Swalwell.

Indeed, President Biden himself has maintained that defying subpoenas cannot be tolerated. When subpoenas were issued to Republicans during the House’s Jan. 6 investigation, Biden declared: “I hope that the committee goes after them and holds them accountable criminally.”

The Justice Department clearly agreed. Under Attorney General Merrick Garland, Bannon went from a failure to appear to an actual indictment in just two months.

Garland would be expected to show the same commitment and speed with the President’s son.

The possibility of a third indictment also can have blowback on his other cases. It shows a continuing contempt for the legal process and a pattern of criminality. It also could be cited as another example of attempting to conceal information from the government. If Hunter faces sentencing on the tax or gun charges, subsequent criminal conduct can make a court less likely to be lenient.

None of this is good for Joe Biden. It shows that the public rejects the claim that Hunter is a victim. Instead, he is seen as displaying the ultimate sense of entitlement and privilege in going to the Hill to thumb his nose at Congress.

Hunter’s contempt is reminiscent of when he told ABC News reporter Amy Robach to “say it nicer” when she asked him about his prior conduct. While the Bidens may be able to get away with instructing the media on how to question family members, it does not have the same license with Congress. Hunter Biden does not get to dictate how or when he will answer questions from Congress. Congress does not have to “say it nicer.”

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