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The grubby dealings of Hunter Biden

Hunter Biden (left) and his father, the US President. Teresa Kroeger/Getty

“I have long dismissed the Hunter Biden story as an irrelevant sideshow,” says Henry Olsen in The Washington Post. Evidence that emerged in 2020 suggested that, when Joe Biden was vice president, his son tried to use that fact to generate business in China and Ukraine. It looked grubby but didn’t implicate the older Biden in wrongdoing. Recent developments, however, “have gotten my attention”. Hunter’s former business partner has testified before a House Committee that Joe Biden attended dinners in Washington with Hunter and members of Burisma, the Ukrainian firm on whose board Hunter served, and “regularly participated in phone calls with Hunter and his clients”.

That might not be illegal, but it “sure does stink”. And Republicans have long alleged that Joe Biden made money out of the arrangement, referring to a 2017 email which suggested that Hunter would hold 10% of a Chinese energy deal for a mystery “big guy”. Democrats respond to these accusations with “whataboutism”, pointing out how foreign officials “spent hundreds of thousands of dollars” to stay at Donald Trump’s hotel in Washington during his presidency. But when it comes to Trump’s alleged crimes, they also talk about applying the rule of law “even-handedly”, regardless of the political power of the person involved. Surely that principle should also apply to Hunter and Joe Biden? The whole sordid affair must be thoroughly investigated.