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News Busters
Newsbusters
9 Sep 2023
Alex Christy


NextImg:Brooks Alleges Republicans 'Don't Really Have Anything' On Joe, Hunter Biden

New York Times columnist David Brooks is supposed to be the conservative half of PBS NewsHour’s Brooks and Capehart weekly roundup, but often fails to deliver. Such was the case on Friday as Brooks dismissed the DOJ’s decision to indict Hunter Biden on gun charges as an “ancillary issue” and claim Republicans “don't really have anything” on Joe Biden.

Host Amna Nawaz began by wondering, “David, as you well know, those questions around Hunter Biden continue to fuel Republicans' threats to impeach President Biden. Is this becoming a liability for the president?”

Bouncing back and forth between various Biden scandals, Brooks began with the charges of influence peddling, “Well, it's certainly a liability. You know, it sort of feeds into the narrative that he's part of the Washington establishment, everybody's self-dealing. So that's a liability.”

Shifting to the impending gun charges, “the gun charge, to me, is an ancillary issue.” Reversing back to accusations of influence peddling, “To me, I want to know — he was clearly trying to peddle influence. Did he successfully peddle influence? Was any law changed? Did Joe Biden's policies change? Did Joe Biden sit on any of those meetings?”

Brooks thought it all unlikely:

I kind of doubt it on all counts. But I do think now I’ve sort of underestimated the Hunter Biden story. I think it's probably worth a look to see if there was actual influence peddling. But, for the Republicans to talk about impeachment, you got to have a crime. Like, you got to have some accusation you can make. And they don't really have anything right now. It's worth looking into, but they're way premature in talking about impeachment.

Whether the narrow House majority has enough votes for an impeachment inquiry or impeachment itself is a different question than whether or not House Republicans have been able to produce evidence connecting Joe Biden to Hunter Biden’s business dealings.

Nawaz then turned to Washington Post associated editor Jonathan Capehart and asked, “Jonathan, what do you make of that? Is it worth a look by both the Department of Justice and House Republicans, as they say they want to do?”

Considering that David Weiss has been appointed special counsel, Capehart said it was, “But the one thing I want folks to remember, and to always remember, and that is the legal predicament surrounding Hunter Biden, the son of the president, it is nowhere near and it is not the same as what is facing the former president, twice impeached, four times indicted on 91 counts in four different jurisdictions.”

And if Republicans decide to impeach Biden, the “impeached” label will be applied to him to, whether Brooks and Capehart like it or not.

Still, Capehart proclaimed, “Republicans, especially congressional Republicans, have been spending a lot of time trying to focus attention on Hunter Biden and the — quote, unquote — ‘weaponization’ of the Justice Department because of what is happening to Donald Trump, as opposed to focusing in on the fact that the guy’s got four indictments, 91 counts for some very serious, very serious crimes, but also affronts to American democracy.”

It's ironic that Brooks dismissed the gun charges as not particularly relevant and that Capehart dismissed allegations of double standards when even CNN liberal legal analyst Elie Honig concluded Hunter’s pending indictment proves the whistleblowers were correct.

This segment was sponsored by viewers like you.

Here is a transcript for the September 8 show:

PBS NewsHour

9/8/2023

7:42 PM ET

AMNA NAWAZ: David, as you well know, those questions around Hunter Biden continue to fuel Republicans' threats to impeach President Biden. Is this becoming a liability for the president?

DAVID BROOKS: Well, it's certainly a liability. You know, it sort of feeds into the narrative that he's part of the Washington establishment, everybody's self-dealing. So that's a liability.

The gun charge, he was a sick man, frankly, who had some drug issues. And the gun charge, to me, is an ancillary issue. To me, I want to know — he was clearly trying to peddle influence. Did he successfully peddle influence? Was any law changed? Did Joe Biden's policies change? Did Joe Biden sit on any of those meetings?

I kind of doubt it on all counts. But I do think now I’ve sort of underestimated the Hunter Biden story. I think it's probably worth a look to see if there was actual influence peddling. But, for the Republicans to talk about impeachment, you got to have a crime. Like, you got to have some accusation you can make.

And they don't really have anything right now. It's worth looking into, but they're way premature in talking about impeachment.

NAWAZ: Jonathan, what do you make of that? Is it worth a look by both the Department of Justice and House Republicans, as they say they want to do?

JONATHAN CAPEHART: Well, it's worth a look by the Department of Justice, because they're already looking.

And with the special counsel having already been appointed, there apparently is a reason to look. But the one thing I want folks to remember, and to always remember, and that is the legal predicament surrounding Hunter Biden, the son of the president, it is nowhere near and it is not the same as what is facing the former president, twice impeached, four times indicted on 91 counts in four different jurisdictions.

I mean, they're — Republicans, especially congressional Republicans, have been spending a lot of time trying to focus attention on Hunter Biden and the — quote, unquote — "weaponization" of the Justice Department because of what is happening to Donald Trump, as opposed to focusing in on the fact that the guy’s got four indictments, 91 counts for some very serious, very serious crimes, but also affronts to American democracy.

And that is nowhere near — what Hunter Biden may or may not have done does not even come close to the level of legal drama that's facing the former president of the United States.