The once-fierce pit bull has lost his bite! As Robert Mueller's closest aide during the Russia, Russia, Russia investigation, Andrew Weissmann earned the moniker, "the pit bull," for his hyper-aggressive approach to prosecution. But now that Weissmann has become an MSNBC analyst, and asked to comment on the indictment of Hunter Biden on gun charges, the pit bull has suddenly become a Biden lap dog.
On today's Morning Joe, Weissmann said of the indictment: "This really strikes me as an abuse of the enormous discretion that a prosecutor has." He said special counsel David Weiss "obviously can do it, there is probable cause that a grand jury found -- but should you be bringing the charges?"
The panel also focused on alleged Republican hypocrisy in hailing the indictment under a federal statute whose constitutionality they have challenged on Second Amendment grounds. But no word from the Morning Joe crowd on the mirror image: the hypocrisy of Democrats in challenging a gun control law, passed by a Democrat Congress, that they have vigorously defended.
Weissmann also noted that Hunter's lawyer, Abbe Lowell, was arguing that the prosecutor was still bound by plea deal (that would have dropped the gun charge if Hunter abided by certain conditions) despite its collapse.
Joe Scarborough jumped on that, whining, "I mean, they [the prosecution] made a deal with him and then they broke the deal. I mean, are they going to be barred from doing that?"
Scarborough ignored the fact that the Justice Department argued that the deal never came into effect. As Politico has reported:
"[The DOJ] Has said in court filings that the agreement is not in effect, saying a probation officer’s signature was required to make the document official, and that officer had “declined to sign and approve the agreement” in court on the day of Biden’s hearing."
Scarborough also ignored the view of Danny Cevallos, another MSNBC analyst, whom we noted in a Morning Joe appearance saying that the plea agreement was not merely a "sweetheart deal," but an unprecedented "gift from heaven" for Hunter.
The bottom line is that Weissmann, and the entire Morning Joe crew, circled the wagons around Hunter, doing their best to undermine the case against President Biden's son.
Here's the transcript.
MSNBC's Morning Joe
6:09 am EDT
JONATHAN LEMIRE: Andrew, it's Jonathan. Let's get your assessment of this, of this charge, in terms of how common it is, that someone would be charged with this. And then, secondly, you know, even if we're adding tax charges to it, as you suspect may happen, sketch out for us the likelihood of this going to trial, and if so, when?
ANDREW WEISSMANN: Sure. The way I look at this is when the former president was charged in the four separate indictments that exist, a legitimate question that people could and did ask was whether he was being treated comparably to other people. In other words, is there a precedent for other people being charged in like circumstances?
And in the January 6th case, it was an easy call because scores and scores of people have been charged for doing less than the former president. The same thing in the Mar-a-Lago documents case. So that there was, you could look to how other people had been charged and say, this is consonant and consistent with the rule of law.
I do not think that is possible in the Hunter Biden case, to say that. This really strikes me as an abuse of the enormous discretion that a prosecutor has in deciding not just can you bring a charge -- because, here, he obviously can do it, there is probable cause that a grand jury found -- but should you be bringing the charges?
And here, the first two charges are completely duplicative. And, as you mentioned, it's just not very common to see this type of charge. In my 21 years as a prosecutor, I never saw this charge. And I think that's common here.
. . .
So I think as you heard from Abbe Lowell, the new defense counsel, you're going to see two types of motions at least.
One is that there was a pretrial diversion agreement that was signed by the government in connection with these gun charges. And the claim is going to be made that this is barred, because the Department of Justice, through the special counsel, agreed that these cases would be deferred. So they're going to seek to enforce that agreement, and we'll see how the judge rules on hat.
The second, which is quite ironic, and, Jen, I'm sure it doesn't escape you, that Republicans have obviously been touting the importance of the Second Amendment. And a very lively issue, that is going to go to the Supreme Court, deals with the constitutionality of this statute.
And the Republicans have generally taken a position that this statute, and parts of it, are unconstitutional because they infringe on the Second Amendment. So it's really unusual here that you have charges that are definitely going to be subjected to scrutiny as whether they violate the Constitution or not. And so, it's unusual for the Department to be bringing these charges at this moment, while this is still untested, as to whether they'll, you know, withstand that scrutiny. So I think that is the second thing. And that, obviously, could take some time to get litigated.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Well, and Willie, there are so many questions layered upon questions. You talk about the politicalization.
As we always say here, if Hunter Biden did something that, that he deserves to be charged with, and, and is ultimately convicted, it's, it's very sad for him or for anybody, but he'll go to jail. And that's what the law is.
In this case, though, there're so many strange things that Abbe Lowell brings up. I mean, they made a deal with him and then they broke the deal. I mean, are they going to be barred from doing that?
Then you have, as Andrew said, you've got the Fifth Circuit and other Circuits going, we're not actually sure that this, that this law that he was charged in is even constitutional.
And then you have the fact that in 2021, only 5%, only 5% of the charges, of these type of charges, were, were related to guns. And I haven't, I haven't found one that's related to a gun charge if you actually didn't use that gun in commission with another crime.
WILLIE GEIST: Right.
SCARBOROUGH: Which he did not do. And then you look at the uniqueness of the misdemeanor tax charges, as well, that may be coming down the pike. And it just seems, again, that if his last name were Smith, you know what, he would have pled out a long time ago and these charges wouldn't have been brought.
WILLIE GEIST: And it's a really interesting point you make and Andrew just made. Imagine this were, say, Don Jr., and he were brought up on these charges. He'd be a Second Amendment hero, right? This law shouldn't even exist. They'd point to the pending litigation that you're talking about here.