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Shed no tears for Hunter Biden, who exploited the family name but also broke the law

Just over two years ago, while promoting his memoir “Beautiful Things” on “CBS Sunday Morning,” Hunter Biden told an interviewer that he was “100% certain” that at the end of a Justice Department investigation into his finance: “I will be cleared of any wrongdoing.”

Well, he wasn’t.

On Thursday, after a plea deal he worked out fell through, the FBI announced it had charged Biden with three felonies for lying about his illegal drug use to buy a firearm in 2018, when he was in the grip of a crack cocaine trafficking ring. cocaine addiction.

It remains to be seen how special prosecutor David Weiss, appointed by Atty. Gen. Merrick Garland will handle the tax evasion charge that was part of the failed plea deal. And while it’s rare to be prosecuted for lying on a gun, it doesn’t look like Hunter Biden is getting off easy.

He is the prodigal son of a president whose unconditional love for his children has blinded him to the political danger of being used by his drug and alcohol-addicted child to make money, or a few million of them.

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With a presidential election looming, Hunter Biden, 53, has gone from being a mere distraction to a pawn in the country’s partisan political wars.

And yes, it really is his own fault.

Biden is the one who carelessly left a laptop with evidence of his personal disintegration in a repair shop. He’s the one who took naked selfies while high. He’s the one who inserted himself into the meandering drug-addled conversations with his brother’s widow. And he’s the one who wrote a memoir about his harrowing, long-term crack addiction, which is essentially an admission that he lied to buy a gun.

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“I made a lot of decisions that I probably shouldn’t have made,” Biden told CBS Sunday Morning, which seems like the understatement of the decade.

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The operatic contours of Biden’s family story are now known:

As young boys, Hunter and his older brother Beau were almost killed in a car accident that killed their mother and sister. Their father was sworn in at their hospital bedside for his first term in the Senate. Hunter, the underachiever, struggled with sobriety and lived. Beau, the standout, was elected attorney general of Delaware, served in Iraq, was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2013 and died.

After his brother’s death in 2015, Hunter, who had been through rehab in 2003 and 2012, suffered a vengeful relapse. The long-married father of three girls went on a weeks-long binge of booze and drugs, whores and hangers-on, all the while raking in millions of dollars from deals in China and Ukraine. He failed to pay taxes on more than $1.5 million in income. He got a woman pregnant who he claimed had no memory of meeting him. A tumultuous affair with his brother’s widow ended disastrously. His marriage ended disastrously.

At some point he bought a .38 caliber pistol. He did not use the weapon to commit a crime. But he was clearly using drugs during that period.

I don’t have much invested in Hunter Biden’s fate.

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He is a privileged child who has not used his powers for good. And while I believe, as many brain researchers do, that addiction is a disease and not a moral wrong, you can’t say the same thing when you use your last name to rake in undeserved millions. (And yes, the latter applies to adult children on both sides of the political divide.)

Biden is still on the nepotistic gravy train, having reinvented himself as a Malibu-based painter who charges indefensibly high prices for his work. He remarried, with a young son named after his deceased brother. I wish him the best in sobriety and hope he pays his taxes.

For anyone interested in the debilitating effect of substance addiction on entire families, it is also worth noting that his ex-wife, Kathleen Buhle, self-published a memoir last year, “If We Break: A Memoir of Marriage, Addiction, and Healing.” “

Marrying into a family like the Bidens, who are blue-blooded in behavior if not in reality, who are high-profile, political, and protective of their public image, would be a shock to anyone who grew up in an unfamiliar middle class. environment. Not surprisingly, Buhle lost himself in the process of becoming Biden.

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The layers of secrecy, dishonesty and anger surrounding Hunter Biden’s drug and alcohol use contributed to a kind of denial by the family that ultimately devastated the couple and led to his current legal jeopardy.

Buhle is concerned with all that, and with her own complicity in Hunter’s unraveling. (For example, he was under a lot of pressure as the family’s sole breadwinner, and although she liked to spend money, she never asked questions about where their money came from or how much they had.) It lasted until at least his third rehab. stint, perhaps even later, that she was involved in family therapy with him.

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And the children, who told Kathleen that Hunter and Beau’s widow were having an affair, were left in the dark about most of their father’s rehabilitations and relapses.

Whatever happens to Hunter, I hope voters don’t hold his shortcomings against his father, whose advanced age is raising concerns that threaten to overshadow his solid record in the first term.

The MAGA House Republicans, egged on by the much-indicted former President Trump, are doing their best to tarnish Joe with the sins of Hunter, even going so far as to open an impeachment inquiry in the absence of any evidence of wrongdoing by the President unless you count supporting his son, perhaps to the point of indulgence, as a high crime or misdemeanor.

This farcical undertaking by the House is reminiscent of Rudy Giuliani’s famous statement about non-existent 2020 election fraud, as quoted by then-House Speaker Rusty Bowers to the January 6 committee: “We have a lot of theories “We just don’t have the right evidence.”


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This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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