It seems the Democratic Party, which had once heartily applauded the relentless scrutiny aimed at former President Donald Trump and his affiliates, might just be learning the hard way that weaponizing the law can have its own backlash. And in the case of Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, the repercussions are already becoming evident.
Last week, Hunter Biden’s proposed plea deal fell through, and one of the pivotal factors appears to be Judge Maryellen Norieka’s query concerning whether Hunter was being investigated for potential violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). For those unfamiliar, FARA mandates that U.S. citizens acting as foreign governments’ “agents” must register with the U.S. government and disclose related financial information.
The Justice Department prosecutors, who have perhaps shown more leniency toward Hunter than expected, confirmed that such an investigation was indeed in play. Consequently, the plea deal designed to shield Hunter from prosecution was scuttled. As a result, the Biden family finds itself facing the prospect of a legal battle under a law that Democrats had once brandished as their own weapon of choice.
Dating back to 1938, FARA was initially intended to counter pro-Nazi propaganda. Yet, as historical records reveal, it saw little use until the political climate of the 21st century. Prior to Trump’s 2016 election, FARA was only invoked in seven cases, with a mere three resulting in convictions.
It was the probe led by special counsel Robert Mueller into the Trump administration that thrust FARA back into the spotlight. The law was employed to indict Paul Manafort, Trump’s 2016 campaign chairman, and formed part of the legal arsenal wielded against Michael Flynn, Trump’s original national security advisor.
The potential implications for the Biden White House are substantial, and with each new revelation, the stakes only seem to increase. Democrats and their media counterparts, who had once exuberantly backed Mueller’s investigation, could soon discover the double-edged nature of their chosen sword.
There’s no denying that Hunter Biden appears vulnerable to a FARA indictment. His establishment of a shell company to conduct business with CEFC China Energy and his failure to register as a foreign agent raise serious questions about his overseas dealings, particularly in Ukraine.
However, don’t anticipate the Democrats or mainstream media — who were once eager to uncover any hint of Trump-Russia collusion — to probe too deeply into these matters or pose uncomfortable questions that might tarnish the image of the Biden administration.
Yet, even under a Democratic White House, the law remains the law. As has been noted, FARA is vaguely defined and often used selectively, rendering it an easy tool for prosecutors to leverage against their political adversaries. And while Democrats may argue that strict enforcement of FARA would put half of Washington’s lobbyists out of business, it’s an argument they should’ve made when Mueller was using FARA against their political rivals.
Back during the Mueller investigation, FARA was viewed as the ideal tool to target those linked to Trump, and Mueller’s actions were deemed beyond reproach. Yet, as revelations surrounding Hunter Biden’s questionable dealings emerge, Democrats might find themselves facing the very weapon they once wielded with such gusto.
In an ironic twist, FARA could backfire on the Biden administration and its Democratic and media supporters. A bitter pill, indeed, but perhaps one well-deserved.