The political heat shed from the never-ending Hunter Biden laptop revelations, and the flipping of his former business partners, Tony Bobulinski and Bevan Cooney, has the Biden campaign’s back against the wall. When not hiding, the Biden party line is that Joe never discussed with Hunter any of his business deals, nor did he ever receive any money from anybody related to these transactions. As preposterous and contrary to the evidence that the Biden line maybe, even if Joe Biden never directly received a cent related to Hunter’s shenanigans, that might not keep him on the right side of the law.
The Hobbs Act is a federal law prohibiting actual or attempted robbery or “extortion,” which is defined as “the obtaining of property from another, with his consent … under color of official right.” In McDonnell v. the United States, the Supreme Court declared that for a violation of the Hobbs Act “under color of official right” to exist, the prosecution has to show that the official made a decision or took action on a “question, matter, cause, suit, proceeding or controversy” that “may at any time be pending” or “may by law be brought” before the public official.
In March 2016, then-Vice President Joe Biden threatened to withhold $1 Billion in U.S. aid to Ukraine unless then Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko fired its top prosecutor Viktor Shokin. At the time, Shokin was investigating Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian natural gas company for whom Hunter Biden served as a board member in return for a reported salary of between $50,000 and $80,000 per month. Then-Vice President Biden was Obama’s point man on Ukraine, and in such capacity, he took action (threat to withhold aid) on a matter that was pending before him (aid to Ukraine). Whether such threat of action was justified or (more likely) not, Biden’s actions satisfy the Hobbs Act’s requirement that he acted under color of official right when he threatened to withhold aid to Ukraine.
So, what about the other requirement under the Hobbs Act that the official perpetrator obtained “property from another” for the Act to be violated? Good old Joe claims that he never received any “property” from anyone as a result of his acts in his official capacity, so I guess he is all clear since he didn’t line his own suit pockets with Burisma cash.
Sorry, ain’t so, Joe. The Department of Justice’s guidelines indicates that “a Hobbs Act violation does not require that the public official be the recipient of the benefit of the extortion and that a Hobbs Act case exists where the corpus of the corrupt payment went to a third party.” In such instances, most courts require that there be a quid pro quo understanding between the payor of the extortion (Burisma) and the public official (Joe Biden). That quid pro quo clearly exists when applied to Joe’s extortion play.
Hunter Biden has a reported history of drug addiction, has no experience in oil and gas, has no ties to Ukraine (other than a paycheck), and does not speak Ukrainian. Yet, he was paid, at a minimum, twice as much as board members (who actually have relevant credentials) of similarly situated companies – see here. That, conservatively, would amount to an extra payment of between $25,000 and $40,000 each month during Hunter’s tenure as a Burisma director. Why would Burisma pay this excess amount (or anything, for that matter) for Hunter’s services? Easy answer; the Burisma payments were made to buy Joe Biden’s office, and it paid off big time when Joe Biden had the Ukrainian prosecutor breathing down Burisma’s neck fired.
The quid pro quo required for a Hobbs Act case against Joe Biden is clearly there; he’s got issues. If Ukrainegate and the recent allegations of Tony Bobulinski are ever followed up on by the powers that be, like a Special Prosecutor, Joe’s legal team may want to start brushing up on RICO, federal bribery statutes, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, tax evasion, money laundering statutes, etc., etc.
Joe’s got a lot of explaining to do.