What a coincidence!
On the eve of Devon Archer’s bombshell testimony to the House Oversight Committee, the Department of Justice tried to put him in jail.
If you don’t suspect that’s an attempt to intimidate Hunter Biden’s former best friend before he reveals damaging secrets about the president, then I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.
It’s another example of a DOJ gone astray.
Coming hot on the heels of the first son’s dubious plea deal in Delaware collapsing last week, and amid allegations from senior IRS whistleblowers of political favoritism by prosecutors to protect Joe Biden, you have to wonder how far a weaponized, all-powerful, unaccountable justice system can go.
Two more examples from the past week tell you the sky’s the limit — and they’re not even bothering to hide it anymore.
On Wednesday, federal prosecutors dropped campaign-finance violation charges against cryptocurrency billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried, who just so happens to have been Biden’s second-biggest donor.
On Thursday, new charges against Biden’s chief political rival, Donald Trump, were filed by special counsel Jack Smith over the former president’s handling of classified files.
‘Obstruction of justice’
It’s impossible not to view the gratuitous intervention in Archer’s case by Damian Williams, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, through the same prism of suspicion and distrust.
Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer describes the letter as “obstruction of justice.”
In an interview with Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo on Sunday, he decried “the lengths to which the Biden legal team has gone to try to intimidate our witnesses, to coordinate with the DOJ and certainly to coordinate with the Democrats on the House Oversight Committee to encourage people not to cooperate with our investigation.”
Williams’ extraordinary letter was sent to Judge Ronnie Abrams on Saturday, two days before Archer was to tell the Republican-controlled committee what he had witnessed of then-Vice President Joe Biden’s involvement in his son Hunter’s overseas business dealings.
The letter asks Abrams to set a date for Archer, 58, to report to prison to serve a one-year sentence for his role in a $60 million bond fraud; he was convicted in 2018.
His appeal failed two months ago.
In his letter, Williams explicitly rejects a request he received from Archer’s lawyer to postpone any decision until Wednesday. So, he wants the date set sooner.
But why the big hurry?
Archer is scheduled to testify at 10 a.m. Monday that he witnessed Hunter dial in his father on speakerphone during meetings with his overseas business partners, including executives of the corrupt Ukrainian energy company Burisma, who paid Hunter $83,000 a month during his father’s vice presidency and cut the payments in half weeks after Joe left office.
Archer, who served on the Burisma board with Hunter, also will be able to testify about dinners Hunter organized at Georgetown’s Café Milano for his father to meet his shady benefactors from Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan.
The claims are devastating to the president’s credibility after he repeatedly has claimed that he knew nothing about the millions of dollars Hunter raked in from corrupt countries where his father wielded power as veep.
“I’ve never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings,” Joe Biden famously told Fox News in September 2019.
White House press secretaries have repeated the line ad nauseam for almost three years, until last week, in the wake of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, when the phrasing changed.
“The president was never in business with his son,” declared Karine Jean-Pierre.
Big difference. They’ll soon be parsing the meaning of “in business.”
In return for his cooperation, Archer will be hoping for a letter from the Oversight Committee to Abrams urging leniency, perhaps in the form of home detention.
But any decisions about his sentence are a matter for the judge to decide, not for the SDNY.
It is “highly unusual” for a US attorney to pressure a judge over a surrender date, says Bob Costello, former Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division of the SDNY.
“The Southern District shouldn’t be involved,” Costello said. “They’re allowed to be but there’s no need.
“Why are they suddenly interested in a surrender date right on the eve of his testimony?
“They want to put pressure on him. They want this to be weighing on his mind.”
Costello sees the letter to Abrams as “a psychological operation on Archer to see . . . how it affects his ability to recollect [damning details during his testimony].
“I think what the SDNY has done borders on obstructing justice, by interfering with a congressional witness. While they might technically be allowed to do this, it exhibits bad form at the very least.”
The pressure on Archer already was torturous when Williams’ letter dropped.
The father of three has been receiving death threats and was forced to go into hiding last week.
Saturday’s SDNY letter carries a double whammy.
Firstly, it serves to intimidate the witness, although Archer’s lawyer, Matthew Schwartz, a managing partner at Boies Schiller, the firm where Hunter once was “of counsel,” denied any deleterious effect on his client Sunday.
“We are aware of speculation that the DOJ’s weekend request to have Mr. Archer report to prison is an attempt by the Biden administration to intimidate him in advance of his meeting with the House Oversight Committee,” Schwartz said in a statement to Politico. “To be clear, Mr. Archer does not agree with that speculation.”
Secondly, the letter serves to pre-discredit Archer’s testimony by highlighting his fraud conviction.
However, Archer may flip the advantage by using his moment in the spotlight (albeit behind closed doors) to place on the record his belief that he is innocent.
There is evidence to bolster his claim that he was a victim of fraud by his co-defendants, since he personally lost millions of dollars, and Abrams declared “an unwavering concern that Archer is innocent” when she initially overturned his conviction.
In any case, Hunter Biden’s former best friend has nothing to lose by testifying, and every hope that the truth will set him free.
Shame on you, GOP RINOs of the Senate
Senate Republicans rushed out last week to sabotage House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s efforts to hold Joe Biden accountable.
Why else would they join Adam Schiff in criticizing McCarthy for raising the prospect of an impeachment inquiry in the face of an avalanche of evidence and allegations of corruption against the president?
If Senate RINOs think impeachment is a bad idea, they should counsel their House colleagues in private.
Why carry water for Biden?
It’s a stab in the back to House Republicans who finally are doing what the DOJ and the FBI have failed to do for a decade.
If the DOJ can’t be trusted, then Congress has its own powers and a duty to investigate alleged high crimes and misdemeanors of the executive branch.
But Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) last week warned his House colleagues against following the lead of Democrats who “cheapened” the impeachment process under Trump.
Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-SD) told reporters it was better to “be making an argument for why we need to have the majority in the House, the Senate and the White House come Jan. 2025.”
That’s all very well. But Democrats don’t care about niceties.
Joe Biden sicced the DOJ onto his main political rival, for crying out loud. Thune and Tillis haven’t exactly been railing against that “cheapening” of the justice system.
If GOP senators can’t support their House colleagues in the difficult task of investigating Biden family corruption, they should at least keep their mouths shut. Voters didn’t send them to Washington to support Joe Biden.
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