Opinion: If Hunter Biden broke the law, by all means, throw the book at him

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta / Hunter Biden, behind his father, President Joe Biden, boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022.

For years, supporters of Donald Trump have alleged a vast news media conspiracy to cover up the alleged corrupt activities of Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden's son. The allegations typically escalate whenever Trump finds himself in legal trouble over tax evasion, purloining government documents, meddling in elections or leading an insurrection -- as if Hunter Biden's legal issues somehow compare and deserve equal coverage.

What about Hunter Biden? The Washington Post reports that federal authorities have gathered enough evidence of malfeasance to charge him with lying on a federal gun purchase application and tax crimes. If the authorities have the evidence, by all means, the president's son deserves prosecution with no less vigor than what Trump deserves for his alleged crimes.

Trump followers have been obsessed with Hunter Biden's laptop, which he reportedly left at a repair shop sometime before the 2020 election. It apparently contained 217 gigabytes of information that included records of his overseas business dealings along with all sorts of potentially embarrassing photos and communications. Hunter Biden is a recovering drug addict, and Republicans were salivating at the possibility that his laptop might contain evidence of criminal activity or trying to profit off his family name. Of particular interest were payments he received to serve on a Ukrainian natural gas company's board.

It's been apparent for months that the Justice Department is conducting an investigation and may have referred its findings to a grand jury -- all of which, by law, is secret. The Washington Post's story last week cites as sources "people familiar with the case."

Hunter Biden's attorney, Chris Clark, didn't deny the contents of the story and actually appeared to confirm some details by issuing a written statement: "It is a federal felony for a federal agent to leak information about a Grand Jury investigation such as this one."

No person is above the law. Hunter Biden has never held elective office, and his alleged crimes aren't slightly comparable to the seriousness of what Trump did while in office. As private citizens, both allegedly evaded taxes.

As for a vague allegation that Hunter Biden lied on a federal gun purchase form, it apparently involves a question he answered about whether he was "an unlawful user of, or addicted to" a narcotic drug or controlled substance. He reportedly answered "no" at a time when he had acknowledged he was smoking crack cocaine. If proven, that means he lied to the federal government -- not unlike Trump when he claimed to have handed over all government documents he unlawfully kept at his Mar-a-Lago estate, even though he clearly had not handed them over.

It'll be up to a Trump-appointed federal prosecutor in Delaware to decide Hunter Biden's fate if a grand jury indictment comes down. The fact that he's the president's son should matter not one whit. No person is above the law.

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