Approximately one month before Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States, Hunter Biden hired a new attorney to assist with his federal criminal defense.
On Inauguration day, one of that lawyer's colleagues was appointed as the acting head of the Biden Justice Department's criminal division, according to Axios - and first reported on Friday by Fox News' Tucker Carlson.
New: in December, Hunter Biden hired a new criminal defense lawyer. A month later, on inauguration day, one of his close colleagues was appointed as the acting head of DOJ's criminal division https://t.co/xv8LHEsaop— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) February 2, 2021
In December, the younger Biden hired former federal prosecutor Chris Clark, a partner at Latham & Watkins, to defend him against alleged tax and money laundering activities, as well as potential counterintelligence concerns. Clark worked at Latham with Nicholas McQuaid on multiple cases involving white-collar defense.
Of note, the Biden investigation is being run by the US Attorney in Delaware - not the main Justice Department, according to Axios' Lachlan Markay - who notes that it "shows the need for stict ethics enforcement right off the bat."
More via Axios:
- The two were jointly representing at least one Latham client when McQuaid was tapped for his new Justice Department job on Jan. 20.
- Clark is based out of Latham’s New York office, according to the firm’s website. In December, Hunter Biden was reportedly exploring additional legal representation in Delaware.
- Clark did not respond to inquiries. There’s also no indication McQuaid did any work on the Hunter Biden case.
McQuaid, a former federal prosecutor, was tapped in January to serve as principal deputy assistant attorney general in the criminal division. Additionally, he was installed as the acting assistant attorney general to replace a Trump appointee, making McQuaid one of a handful of acting AAGs appointed on Biden’s first day in office.
According to the report, federal ethics laws and DOJ regulations would typically bar McQuaid from working on the Biden investigation without a sign-off from Justice ethics officials.
"Potential conflicts between lawyers entering government and their former clients or firms are quite common," said Kedric Payne, senior director for ethics at the Campaign Legal Center - who apparently sees nothing untoward about McQuaid's appointment.
"This situation is one of the many initial tests of Biden's ethics pledge, which looks great on paper, but time will tell if it is effective in practice," he added. "Enforcement is essential."
One can only imagine how the press would cover this if it was Don Jr.