I know some people who are not interested in hearing or reading criticism of their positions. I find it helpful to read or listen to others who may disagree with what I write. This past week is a good example. Someone mentioned to me about my comments relating to Supreme Court Justice Thomas and his wife’s texts with then-Trump-Chief-of-Staff Mark Meadows. He thought it was unclear as to who wrote the texts and, in any event, why should a husband be responsible for his wife’s activities? It sounds sexist.
I will respond to both. First, Ginni Thomas - not Justice Thomas - wrote and exchanged text messages with Meadows.
As to the second argument, I will mention Hunter Biden, who is also in the news. Those on the right have been talking about Hunter for years, arguing that Hunter’s activity while President Biden was vice president indicates that Joe Biden acted improperly. Just like husband and wife are separate, the same argument can be made about a father and son. Hunter Biden’s being paid because of his name is not illegal and does not establish that Joe Biden did anything illegal. Hunter has other reported legal problems.
The commonality between the Thomas and Biden situations is that although on their face they’re not illegal, they create a perception of a conflict of interest or other improper conduct. Is Joe Biden or Justice Thomas acting in the public’s best interest, or helping to protect or help a spouse or a son?
It was leaked that the Justice Department is examining Hunter’s conduct and that there could be criminal charges. Those on the right are ecstatic and are in overdrive in presenting its significance. They claim that it is worse than what occurred on January 6.
The more that it is exaggerated, the better Attorney General Merrick Garland looks. It is hard to claim that the Attorney General is biased or under the control of the president when the Department of Justice is investigating and ends up bringing charges against a sitting president’s child. This is a unique situation in United States history. Do you think that under a Trump administration the DOJ would investigate and prosecute one of the Trump children?
This has ramifications for the second leak that came out around the same time as the Hunter Biden leak. The DOJ is investigating about the planning and the financing of the January 6 attack. This is the first indication that they are investigating other conduct besides the attack itself. I do not think that it was mere coincidence that both leaks came out about the same time.
If I were Donald Trump or anyone close to him, I would start to get a little worried. They have thought like I did that there is no way they are going to charge the Teflon Don. An arrest of Hunter Biden would make it more likely that charges would be brought against a former president. The DOJ can rightfully argue that they are apolitical. They will go after anyone, no matter who they are or who their family is. If the DOJ can charge the son of a sitting president, then why not charge an ex-president, even if he may plan to run again for president?
The DOJ has also been subject to complaints by some on the January 6 Commission as well as some in the Democratic Party base about their failure to bring contempt charges against Meadows, who refused to testify before the committee. Meadows had turned over many documents before he backed off. The DOJ, by not going after Meadows despite the pressure, is also showing its independence.
Additionally, this week a Federal Judge in California had to determine whether Attorney John Eastman can claim attorney-client and work product privilege for documents that were requested by the January 6 committee concerning Trump. The Judge ruled that most of the documents must be produced because of the crime fraud exception to the privilege. This first requires that “client consults an attorney for advice that will serve [them] in the commission of a fraud or crime,” and second, that the communications are “sufficiently related to” and were made “in furtherance of” the crime. In other words, the Court ruled that it believed that Trump had violated federal law. For example, the Judge concluded “that it is more likely than not that President Trump and Dr. Eastman dishonestly conspired to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021.” The judge has no power to refer a case to the DOJ. However, it is never a good thing to be accused by a federal judge of committing a crime, even when it relates to a discovery dispute.
Likewise, it was disclosed that there was a seven-and-a-half-hour gap in the White House phone log on January 6. It was between 11:17 a.m. and 6:54 p.m. It just happened to occur during the time of the protest and the attack on the Capitol. It reminded many people of the 18-minute gap in the most important White House tape, when Nixon’s secretary Rosemary Woods claimed that she unknowingly erased the tape. No one bought that story. It helped lead to Nixon’s downfall.
After the gap was publicly disclosed, there was discussion about the use of burner phones. Trump said he never heard of the term “burner phone.” This was contradicted by his former National Security Advisor John Bolton, who said that Trump had mentioned burner phones. Trump’s discredited claim of ignorance sounds like someone with something to hide.
The January 6 Commission does not have any power to bring charges. However, they have been helpful in being a fact-finder by having hundreds of witnesses come in and give testimony on the record. They have also garnered public attention while the DOJ has done its investigation in the background. They have also released some essential information which could prepare the public if DOJ later brings charges.
Trumpians, enjoy your celebration if Hunter Biden is charged with a federal crime. You may regret that you made this into a major scandal. You have made the DOJ’s decision whether to charge Trump with a crime much easier.