CNN’s Senior Legal Analyst Elie Honig provided searing legal analysis of the Hunter Biden investigation on the cable news network on Monday night.
“So when we look at this evolution, it really is quite the evolution in a fairly short period of time according to the New York Times,” the host Erica Hill asked. “I know you’ve noted on multiple occasions just how long this investigation had dragged on. Have you ever seen a federal case play out like this before?
“No, Erica, it’s really inexplicable to me,” Honig replied. “I mean, first we had basically five years of behind-the-scenes investigation with no transparency, no action, and some questions being asked what’s taken so long. But in the last couple months we’ve seen a pattern here… and we’ve now seen it play out two or three separate times.”
“DOJ moves towards a very lenient disposition,” Honig notes. “They’re just about to lock in that lenient disposition and then there arises pressure either through whistleblower testimony or through public scrutiny. And then DOJ backs off and says, actually, ‘we’re not gonna do that.’ Now that it’s been called out, we’re going to try to up it a little bit. And then that happened again. And then they go all the way to appointing special counsel, the same guy who’s been presiding over the case for five plus years already. So I genuinely am perplexed by what DOJ’s doing here. I think they’ve made a real mess for themselves and now they’re going to have to deal with the consequences of it.”
Erica Hill then followed up with questioning of the public fallout of the DOJ’s handling of the investigation into the Biden family’s alleged corruption.
“So in terms of the asking and those consequences look, public trust is certainly one of them. Is there anything that you see that DOJ could do based on your experience?” Hill asked. “Right, as a former federal prosecutor to restore public confidence in this investigation? Is the only way to fix this, a trial?”
“It may be, Erica, you know, DOJ’s sort of been in a darned-if-they-do, darned-if-they-don’t posture on this from the start, but they’ve made it way worse by sort of careening back-and-forth here,” Honig responded. “It may well be that any deal is never going to be accepted as fair. So if I’m in David Weiss’s shoes here, heaven help me, I would just say, ‘look, we’re charging everything we have’. We’re not in position to make a deal. It’ll go to trial and we’ll let the jury decide this. I think that’s the only way to restore any credibility to this matter.”
However, Honig’s argument did draw some criticism online, such as from former House Oversight staff member David Leavitt, who made a pointed response.
For starters, noting the length of the investigation just supports what the IRS whistleblowers disclosed: the (3-year) investigation should have moved much faster, but the Delaware U.S. Attorney’s Office slow-walked it. The whistleblowers have explained why there was “no action.” https://t.co/dx3Pvd2r6u
— Tristan Leavitt (@tristanleavitt) August 22, 2023
“For starters, noting the length of the investigation just supports what the IRS whistleblowers disclosed: the (3-year) investigation should have moved much faster, but the Delaware U.S. Attorney’s Office slow-walked it. The whistleblowers have explained why there was ‘no action’,” he pointed out.
“If by ‘DOJ’ @eliehonig means various Biden-appointed officials at Main Justice or U.S. Attorneys Matt Graves and Martin Estrada then he’s correct—they have moved towards a very lenient disposition,” he continued. “But the ‘pattern’ for Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss is the exact opposite.”
“Even after obstructing various avenues of investigation, Weiss’s office at least approved in early 2022 the felony tax charges for Hunter Biden that no one could ignore,” he went on. “But they had to get the approval of Biden’s DOJ Tax Division and Biden-appointed U.S. attorneys to bring them.”
“This is *directly contrary* to what AG Merrick Garland has told the American people—that long before being appointed Special Counsel, Weiss could bring charges wherever he wanted WITHOUT the approval of Biden political appointees, who have a clear conflict of interest,” he noted.
“Now, we’ve learned that just weeks after Garland swore to Congress the buck stopped with Weiss alone, Main DOJ granted an audience for Biden lawyers to appeal above Weiss’s head,” he added. “Main DOJ’s meeting with Weiss and Clark seems to have been the genesis of the sweetheart plea deal.”
“So not only is all of this worse than the public initially knew, it DIRECTLY UNDERCUTS Garland’s testimony to Congress,” Leavitt went on. “Garland, Lisa Monaco, David Weiss & others need to account for this to Congress, which can and should get docs & force their testimony.”
“Because as @TheLeadCNN notes, ‘It really is quite the evolution in a fairly short period of time.’ (It’s not that inexplicable though, @eliehonig.)”