Hunter Biden, White House
Hunter Biden in the East Room at the White House in Washington, DC, on July 7, 2022. Photo credit: © Gripas Yuri/Abaca via ZUMA Press

In the movies, Mr. Smith goes to Washington to fight corruption and wrongdoing. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO) is doing the opposite in trying to get a private citizen locked up.

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You have to give Republicans credit: They no longer just like to fantasize about locking up their political opponents — or, in this case, one of their kids; they’re working overtime to make that happen.

The latest example is House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO) firing off a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and US Attorney David Weiss in an effort to torpedo Hunter Biden’s plea deal for tax offenses and a gun charge.

Under the agreement, Hunter Biden would avoid jail in return for admitting to committing two minor tax crimes and lying about his drug use on an application to purchase a gun.

Instead, he will do some counseling and get two years of probation. Depending on how you spin the facts and whom you ask, that’s a pretty normal deal — especially for a well-connected, wealthy white man.

In addition, considering all we know about the president’s son, it’s a big ask of Hunter Biden to not run afoul of any laws in a given 24-month period, so he might end up in jail in any case.

But that’s not enough for the GOP, which is why Smith sent that letter.

Specifically, he wanted Garland and Weiss, the prosecutor overseeing the case, to ensure that the judge who has to sign off on the deal has the “relevant information.” In this case, that means being aware of allegations two IRS whistleblowers have made regarding the investigation and prosecution of Hunter Biden.

Therefore, helpful as ever, Smith provided a bunch of documents that he wants to be included in the record, including stories of how past judges have rejected plea deals.

That way, just in case the judge doesn’t watch Fox News or follow any House Republican on Twitter, where this information is made freely available around the clock, she will have access to these pertinent facts.

“Placing the attached materials into the record is critical because the testimony provided by the two IRS whistleblowers brings new and compelling facts to light, and because it is essential for the Judge in this matter to have relevant information before her when evaluating the plea agreement,” he wrote.

That’s nice.

Actually, it’s not. It’s deeply troubling, and it amounts to exactly what Republicans like to accuse Democrats of… so much so that they set up a separate subcommittee for it: the weaponization of the government.

That’s typical. 

In recent years, whenever Republicans have accused Democrats of some sort of wrongdoing, like using the levers of power for political purposes, you can be virtually assured that they are the ones doing that very thing or are at least thinking about it. 

This is the perfect example. 

Republicans are spending untold hours and millions of dollars on going after a private citizen. Hunter Biden may be a screwup and a crook, but he is still a private citizen who has no role in government.

Now, if you are wondering what Democrats would be doing in the same situation, you just have to look at how the Senate and Department of Justice investigations into the potentially corrupt behavior of Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, are going. 

Are you unfamiliar with those? That’s because there aren’t any. Certainly none that the public is kept abreast of 24/7. 

Not that there weren’t ample reasons to look into the activities of that couple. 

For example, there are the patents that China approved for Ivanka. Or the hundreds of millions of dollars the couple made while her dad, former President Donald Trump, was in the White House and both of them had roles in government. And, of course, the $2 billion Kushner got from the Saudis in what certainly looks like a shady arrangement. However, at the time, he was, you guessed it, a private citizen. 

Now, if you wanted to get to Trump, you would start harassing Ivanka, who is his favorite child. 

The fact that none of this is happening shows you exactly who is weaponizing what.

Which brings us back to Smith, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. If you are unfamiliar with what that panel does, it has jurisdiction over taxes and other revenue-raising measures. It also oversees minor government programs like Medicare and Social Security.

In other words, Ways and Means is the most powerful committee in the House of Representatives, and Smith, as its chairman, could spend all day dreaming up new ways for rich people to evade paying taxes (just not Hunter Biden), and for poor people to lose essential benefits.

Instead, he is fetishizing about locking up a private citizen and investing time and effort in making that private citizen’s life more miserable in an effort to get to his dad.

Instead of doing that, he might as well just stroll over to where that weaponization subcommittee holds its next hearing and turn himself in. 

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