CNN legal analyst Elie Honig offered a critical assessment of the incoming Joe Biden administration regarding the president-elect’s scandal-plagued son and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
During an appearance on Law&Crime founder Dan Abrams‘ eponymous SiriusXM radio show on the POTUS channel, legal commentator and former federal prosecutor Honig discussed recent comments made by the Biden-Harris transition team in support of Hunter Biden as news broke that the younger Biden was under federal investigation in Delaware.
“My advice to Joe Biden would be: let the new [attorney general] decide. Period,” Honig said on Tuesday afternoon. “You have nothing to do with this decision. And, by the way, Joe Biden is not off to a great start on that count because he already weighed in when the Hunter Biden news came out with a statement about how Hunter’s been put through so much and emerged stronger.”
Recall: On Dec. 9, the Hunter Biden released a statement which admitted that his “tax affairs” are under federal investigation. Subsequent reporting cast a bit more light on that admission. As it turns out, there is currently a federal criminal investigation into the scion of the Biden clan over his business dealings with China–and it involves the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Delaware, the IRS, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
But aside from the somewhat fudged facts of Hunter Biden’s admission via omission, controversy quickly ensued due to precisely how the news was delivered and confirmed to the press and public.
To wit: the Biden-Harris transition team was the entity that released Hunter Biden’s statement–complete on transition letterhead. That decision was inexplicable to many people and members of the press–critics, fans and disinterested observers alike. Indeed, all but the most-devoted Biden-Harris and Democratic Party stalwarts faulted the incoming administration for the optics of the decision.
Statement from Hunter Biden and Biden transition: investigation by US Attorney in Delaware of Hunter Biden is underway, related at least in part to taxes. pic.twitter.com/nhQ16XTQeq
— Eric Lipton (@EricLiptonNYT) December 9, 2020
“This shouldn’t have come from the transition team,” noted legal expert and Tulane Law Professor Ross Garber at the time. “As far as we know it has nothing to do with the transition. If investigation isn’t closed by inauguration, there should be a serious discussion about appointment of a special counsel.”
Perhaps even more controversial was the transition team’s decision to issue a preemptively forgiving statement from the elder Biden that suggested his son did nothing wrong and that the inquiry into possible wrongdoing was perhaps somehow untoward.
“President-elect Biden is deeply proud of his son, who has fought through difficult challenges, including the vicious personal attacks of recent months, only to emerge stronger,” the Biden-Harris transition said, on the exact same document as the statement from Hunter Biden regarding the existence of the investigation.
Honig appeared to be shocked by the decision as well. And on Tuesday, he advised the soon-to-be 46th president to keep his statements and fingers out of the DOJ’s decision-making process–adding that Biden’s actions so far were a form of interference.
“It’s not nearly as fragrant as what Donald Trump did, the way he interfered with cases, but don’t step–don’t dip a toe in that pool,” Honig said. “He should have said nothing, Joe Biden.”
[image via screengrab/SiriusXM/The Dan Abrams Show]
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