Key congressman says Hunter Biden was 'operative for foreign influence,' belongs in jail

California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa alleges "free pass" for president's son on tax evasion, signals GOP probe of undisclosed lobbying for foreign clients.

Updated: September 21, 2022 - 11:14pm

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Alleging that Hunter Biden "clearly" acted as "an operative for foreign influence" who failed to disclose foreign earnings and clients, an influential congressman is questioning why it has taken four years to decide whether to prosecute President Joe Biden's son.

"It's surprising that he didn't go to jail," California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa said Monday on the "Just the News, Not Noise" TV show.

Before the 2020 presidential election, damaging revelations from Hunter Biden's abandoned laptop began surfacing in independent media outlets, leading to allegations of wide-ranging misconduct by the president's son, including alleged tax evasion, money laundering, business dealings with entities tied to China's ruling communist regime, undisclosed lobbying for foreign clients and trading on his father's name and foreign policy clout to secure overseas business.

Establishment media outlets and major social media platforms attempted to ignore, censor or discredit the laptop story during the 2020 campaign, while, according to recent whistleblower reports, the FBI's Washington Field Office sought to block criminal investigation of the allegations. Mainstream legacy outlets like the New York Times and Washington Post belatedly acknowledged the authenticity of the laptop long after the 2020 election was decided.

"[W]hen you deliberately don't disclose income — even in the thousands of dollars, much less the millions of dollars — that's a crime," said Issa. "It's a felony. And usually, at best, you get to pay compensation and plead to a crime in lieu of maybe going to jail. That's not the case [with Hunter Biden]. He appears as though he's getting a free pass, and just paying now what he should have paid years ago.

"And the reality is, the laptop also reveals that this was a man making millions but always in financial trouble ... [with] ex-wife payments, child support payments and, quite frankly, his drug addiction."

If Republicans gain a majority in the House in the midterm elections, one of the issues surrounding Hunter Biden they will look at, Issa revealed, is whether the president's son benefited from selective enforcement of the 1938 Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

Obscure and rarely enforced with criminal penalties over the last half-century, the measure was weaponized during the Trump administration by a politically biased Department of Justice, according to Issa and other critics, to target Trump associates such as Paul Manafort and retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn in an effort to extract incriminating testimony against Trump.

"Hunter Biden was an operative for foreign influence, and did use or at least appears to have used his father and others for that game," the California Republican continued. "Meaning he lobbied, and when you lobby and you don't disclose that, you've committed a crime. So one of the things we're going to look at is this selective prosecution and whether this law needs to either be scrapped or real teeth to be put into it so that it's consistent in prosecution. Which unless they prosecute Hunter Biden, certainly it wasn't."

In a "60 Minutes" interview Sunday night, Joe Biden was asked if he thought his son's foreign business dealings created a conflict of interest. 

"There's not a single thing that I've observed at all that would affect me or the United States relative to my son Hunter," the president replied. 

"I love my son, number one," Biden later said. "He fought an addiction problem, he overcame it, he wrote about it."

Hunter Biden's attorney has not responded for comment. 

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