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SAUNDERS: Some call it influence peddling, others call it the ‘Biden lift’

WASHINGTON — “This is the best guy they can get?” Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., asked rhetorically at a House Oversight Committee hearing Wednesday to look into President Joe Biden’s role in his family’s alleged influence peddling.

The “guy” was Jason Galanis, a witness, invited by Republicans, who testified remotely from a Florida prison where he was serving 14 years for fraud. He talked about his business dealings with Hunter Biden some ten years ago.

The problem with Lynch’s put-down was the person invited by committee Democrats to speak as their key witness: Lev Parnas. In 2021, Parnas was sentenced to 20 months in prison after he was found guilty of conspiring to make illegal political contributions by a foreign national, participating in wire fraud, and making false statements and falsifying records.

Galanis looked gaunt and repentant as he talked about his conviction on multiple security fraud charges that have nothing to do with the Biden family.

“I’ve pleaded guilty,” he said, and deserved the long sentence. He also made it clear that he thought Hunter Biden’s contribution to their deals was the Biden name. Galanis called it “the Biden lift.”

The lift works so well that Hunter Biden did not testify publicly before the committee. He kept changing the terms under which he would talk to the committee, something the rest of us chickens couldn’t get away with. He said he’d only testify publicly. Then he wouldn’t. On Feb. 28, the president’s son was deposed behind closed doors.

Cable news devoted days to former President Donald Trump’s conjecture that there would be a “bloodbath” in the auto industry if he is not elected in November. But the president’s son’s refusal to testify in public wasn’t even a one-day story. Not much to see here — except a glaring double standard.

On Tuesday, Peter Navarro, former Trump trade adviser, reported to the Federal Correctional Institution in Miami to begin a four-month sentence for two misdemeanor counts of contempt of Congress. His crime: The Harvard-educated economist wouldn’t testify or hand over documents to Congress. “I’m pissed,” he told reporters before the prison doors slammed behind him.

And so, Democrats see a win here. They gleefully slammed Republicans for failing to come up with articles of impeachment — as impeachment is the pretext for these hearings.

Fact is, there are House Republicans who won’t vote to impeach. They shouldn’t. There are no stipulated high crimes or misdemeanors. And one party without some support across the aisle should not use its power to overturn in election, especially when the election is months away.

Besides, the Democrat-controlled Senate won’t convict. So this exercise was simply performance art, without the art.

At the end of the day, Americans understand that at a time when Hunter Biden was torching his career and reputation, he nonetheless was raking in millions by waving the family name. And according to Special Counsel David Weiss, who has filed tax evasion and gun charges against Hunter Biden, the president’s son plowed that money into “drugs, escorts and girlfriends, luxury hotels and rental properties, exotic cars, clothing, and other items of a personal nature — in short, everything but his taxes.”

Former business partner Tony Bobulinski summed it up well when, according to The Wall Street Journal, he said, “Just read the latest motion by the Department of Justice related to Hunter Biden’s criminal indictments in California. The DOJ states that he made large sums of money for very little work.” It’s called the “Biden lift.”

Contact Review-Journal Washington columnist Debra J. Saunders at dsaunders@reviewjournal.com. Follow @debrajsaunders on X.

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