The third year of Joe Biden’s presidency has been a brutal one. And it’s about to get much worse — in a very personal way.
At a time of deep polarization, Americans of all political persuasions are united in rejecting Biden’s economic policies. Polls show 70% of voters believe the country is headed in the wrong direction and a majority rate the economy as poor.
His open-border policy is raising security alarms at the FBI and causing serious financial problems in cities run by fellow Democrats.
Beyond his policy failures, the president’s mental and physical declines are so pronounced that most voters don’t want him to seek a second term, including a majority of his own party.
Then there are the two regional wars that could erupt into global conflicts. Even as he leads the West’s long, costly support for Ukraine against the Russian invasion, Biden has been compelled to help Israel destroy Hamas, a stance dividing his party and leading to a shocking surge of antisemitism at home.
The crush of crises is more than trouble enough for any 80-year-old president facing a grueling re-election campaign, one where a New York Times poll showed him trailing Donald Trump in five of six battleground states.
And now comes the threat that hits closest to home: The president likely will be impeached by Republicans over his involvement in his family’s corrupt influence-peddling schemes.
All of Biden’s chickens are coming home to roost — at the same time.
Last week’s announcement by House Oversight Chairman James Comer of Kentucky that he subpoenaed the president’s son Hunter and brother, Jim Biden, and other relatives shows the probe has entered a new phase.
Although Comer made no secret from the outset that he was targeting the president, the demand for testimony and documents from relatives and former family associates puts a clear target on Biden’s back.
It’s as if the preliminary stage is complete and the final act is about to unfold.
The precedent for the new subpoenas was the discovery of two checks written to Joe from brother Jim and Jim’s wife, Sara. One check was for $200,000, another was for $40,000, and both contained the words “loan repayment” in the memo space.
The transfers came to Joe within days of the family getting large payments from clients that passed through a convoluted series of bank accounts obviously designed to obscure the source and ultimate recipients of the money.
One of the clients, a Chinese energy conglomerate, sent $5 million to a joint account controlled by Hunter Biden and a Chinese national. The money arrived days after Hunter said on a 2017 WhatsApp message to a company leader that he was sitting beside his father and both would never forget a failure to send the money, which Hunter claimed was owed for previous work.
According to Comer, soon after the $5 million landed, $400,000 was transferred to an account owned by Hunter.
He then wired $150,000 to another account controlled by Jim and Sara Biden.
She soon withdrew $50,000 in cash, deposited it into her and Jim’s personal checking account and days later, cut a check to Joe Biden for $40,000.
The amount, representing 10% of Hunter’s $400,000, matches the percentage of the deal Hunter was said to be secretly holding for the “big guy.”
Comer, who scoffs at the claim that both checks to Joe were loan repayments, demanded the White House produce paperwork “clarifying the nature of this payment and whether all applicable documentation and IRS filings were properly made.”
He got no response, but Comer made the most important point: Even if the payments were to cover loans, they still would prove the heart of the impeachment case — that the president directly benefited from his family’s schemes to sell his “brand.”
So far, the probe has found 20 shell companies, most of them created when Joe Biden was vice president.
It also identified $24 million the family and associates got over five years from foreign nationals in China, Russia, Ukraine, Romania and Kazakhstan.
Again, most of those payments were for work ostensibly done during Joe’s vice presidency, even if he received some payments when he was a private citizen, starting in 2017.
Beijing’s Biden intel
As I have noted, Chinese President Xi Jinping, whom Biden is scheduled to meet Wednesday, knows more about Joe’s haul from China and any quid pro quo than Americans do.
Comer puts it this way: By taking Chinese funds, “Joe Biden exposed himself to future blackmail and put America’s interests behind his own desire for money.”
The probe is designated a “preliminary impeachment inquiry,” which gives it more power than a regular congressional subpoena to compel documents and testimony.
The next step would be a formal impeachment process, which usually leads to articles of impeachment and a full House vote.
The Dems on Comer’s panel, desperate to head off that moment, have been almost comical in trying to defend the president. Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland even insisted the evidence shows Joe “did not profit from his family members’ business ventures.”
That’s actually the opposite of what the evidence shows, but the effort demonstrates how little Dems have to work with as one Biden lie after another gets shredded.
Recall that, once upon a time, the president claimed he had never discussed his son’s business with him. When photos and emails on Hunter’s laptop proved otherwise, the White House retreated to the claim the president was “never in business” with his son.
That’s a laugher, as if Republicans need to produce a father-son partnership agreement to make their case.
Hunter, facing a federal gun charge and two tax charges after a disgraceful five-year probe the Justice Department tried to quash, might have some success in delaying testimony and document production because of his pending trial.
That’s probably the closest thing to good news Joe Biden will get, but it won’t be nearly enough to protect him from the truth.