In the long four years since Hunter Biden’s name first became associated with political scandal, the main strategy for the president’s son has been to try and stay out of the spotlight as much as possible. But with Republicans in control of the House and eager to investigate his finances, that plan is changing.
In a series of letters on Wednesday, Biden’s lead attorney wrote to the Justice Department to encourage its national security division to investigate those responsible for disseminating the personal data on Biden’s laptop. This cache, of course, was made public in the final days of the 2020 election in a failed bid to help Donald Trump’s reelection prospects. In a letter to the Delaware attorney general and the DOJ, attorney Abbe Lowell (who represented Jared Kushner during the Russia investigation) asked the authorities to investigate Trump allies such as Rudy Giuliani and Steve Bannon, who helped circulate the laptop’s contents in conservative media. Also named were Bannon aide Jack Maxey, Giuliani’s attorney Robert Costello, and John Paul Mac Isaac, the owner of the computer-repair shop in Delaware where Biden left his laptop. (All accused parties have denied wrongdoing with an attorney for Mac Isaac saying that “the only thing I see is a privileged person hiring yet another high-priced attorney to redirect attention away from his own unlawful actions.”)
Other attorneys for Biden are trying more direct approaches as well, writing to Tucker Carlson and Fox News to demand a retraction of what they call false statements or they’ll face a defamation suit. The attorneys pointed to a Carlson segment from last month in which he claimed that Biden paid $50,000 in rent to his father as a way to funnel money to his dad. The allegation, which has been debunked, was retracted by other conservative outlets such as the Daily Caller, but no correction has run on Fox News to date.
Biden’s attorneys also went after other conservative figures, including Garrett Ziegler, a former Trump-administration staffer turned activist. Through his nonprofit group, Marco Polo, Ziegler informed conservative tabloids that Biden’s texts showed that he threatened not to pay an assistant unless she had sex with him. Biden’s lawyers wrote to the IRS to contest Marco Polo’s nonprofit status, claiming that the group’s political activity violates its tax-exempt status.
As is usual with Hunter Biden, his new legal strategy puts him in a complicated spot. The attempt by the president’s son to convince an independent Justice Department to go after the people that exposed his personal life is unlikely to succeed given that the DOJ has had years to consider the matter on its own. And while it may convince some conservative-media figures to stop treating him like a punching bag for all occasions, it will also surely amplify calls on the right that he is using the government, through his father, to do his own bidding. It’s not as if he is clear of trouble, either: The DOJ was investigating him last year for tax evasion and lying on a firearms purchasing form when he answered that he had never used illegal drugs.