Guest Editorials, Opinion

As Biden’s son is investigated, Joe is staying out of it

It’s still unclear whether the smoke around Hunter Biden’s foreign financial connections actually indicates a fire. That’s what federal investigators are (and should be) exploring. But here’s what’s already clear about the investigation into President Joe Biden’s son: The president hasn’t responded by firing people, publicly lashing out at investigators or otherwise obstructing justice. Instead, he has responsibly stayed out of it. What a refreshing change from his predecessor’s campaign of obstruction and vengeance in response to legitimate questions about his own foreign entanglements.

What began as a federal inquiry into Hunter Biden’s unpaid taxes during the Obama administration — while Biden’s father was vice president — has since expanded to probe his profitable roles in troubled energy deals in Ukraine and China.

The probe was expanded during Donald Trump’s presidency, under a Trump-appointed U.S. attorney, even as Joe Biden’s political threat to Trump rose. Still, the same U.S. attorney has been allowed to pursue the case with the change of administrations. Contrast that to Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, his pardoning of cronies, his public trashing of investigators and other brazen steps designed to thwart the inquiry by the special counsel into Trump’s troubling Russia connections.

To hear some tell it, the Hunter Biden saga is a smoking gun that implicates President Biden in influence-peddling and other nefarious doings. In fact, there’s been no evidence of that reported. The younger Biden certainly tends to look shady with his documented past drug problems and his obvious attempts to leverage his family name to build what has been, to date, an unsuccessful business career. But if Joe Biden’s detractors have proof of illegality or even impropriety on the president’s part, they have yet to show it.

What they do have is a sinister-sounding phrase — “Hunter’s laptop!” — that they wield as if it’s proof of something other than sound and fury designed to obfuscate a sober examination of the facts.

It does appear some documents that are part of the investigation were found on a laptop that the younger Biden left at a Delaware computer repair shop. But the existence of the laptop itself isn’t especially relevant beyond its usefulness as a prop — which is how the Trump campaign used it when it sprung into the public discourse shortly before the 2020 election. And why not? They knew firsthand how well the equally irrelevant but sinister-sounding prop-phrase “Hillary’s emails!” worked for them four years earlier.

If Hunter Biden is found to have broken the law, he should be convicted and punished. If there’s any evidence that President Biden did anything improper, it should be revealed.

Meanwhile, it’s refreshing to have a president who responds to a federal inquiry into his own circle by staying out of the way and above the fray, instead of acting like a cornered mob boss.

This editorial  first appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Friday. This commentary should be considered another point of view and not necessarily the opinion or editorial policy of The Dominion Post.