Did the Secret Service attempt to cover up a gun incident with Hunter Biden?

Anyone surprised to read that Hunter Biden, the drug-addled princeling son of Cheatin' Joe Biden at the White House, had a gun he shouldn't have had?

Turns out he did, and worse still, the Secret Service apparently tried to cover for him.

That's the news from a good investigative report from Tara Palmeri and Ben Schrekinger of Politico yesterday.  It began with this:

On Oct. 23, 2018, President Joe Biden's son Hunter and daughter in law Hallie were involved in a bizarre incident in which Hallie took Hunter's gun and threw it in a trash can behind a grocery store, only to return later to find it gone.

Delaware police began investigating, concerned that the trash can was across from a high school and that the missing gun could be used in a crime, according to law enforcement officials and a copy of the police report obtained by POLITICO.

But a curious thing happened at the time: Secret Service agents approached the owner of the store where Hunter bought the gun and asked to take the paperwork involving the sale, according to two people, one of whom has firsthand knowledge of the episode and the other was briefed by a Secret Service agent after the fact.

The canny gun store–owner knew enough about regulations to know that the request was illegitimate, as only the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms can make such a request, and he refused to hand the documents over.  At the time, he suspected that the gun had been used in a crime, and the Secret Service was trying to retrieve the documents in order to hide Biden's ownership of the weapon. 

It's possible it was, given Biden's creepy answer during a later part of the investigation, when Delaware state police were desperately trying to find the actual gun, which had disappeared when Hallie tried to retrieve it from the dumpster:

When a police officer asked Hunter whether the gun had been used in a crime, the officer reported that Hunter "became very agitated with me and asked me if I was intentionally trying to make him mad," according to the report.

In another part of the investigation, Biden told the cops that Hallie had tossed the gun in the trash near the high school because she thought Hunter would use the gun to kill himself, which also is plausible. 

(The gun was eventually located when a man who collects recyclables stated that he found the gun during his nightly searches and turned it in to authorities.)

Hunter's denial of drug use, though, which Politico notes is on his gun application, and is a felony offense if false, though rarely prosecuted, isn't quite as plausible.  Three years earlier, he had been dismissed from a privileged position as a naval officer for cocaine use, blowing a likely politically linked opportunity that most candidates with his dissolute history never get.  Maybe he cleaned up, sure, but the 2018 emails from his abandoned laptop suggest that maybe he didn't, given his private emails about partying hearty. 

According to the Daily Mail:

Another exchange, from 2018, shows Biden inviting a friend to The Hollywood Roosevelt hotel in LA, saying he has a "cabana suite" and is "partying like an idiot ass rock star."

"Haha sounds ridiculously fun then. I can maybe try to come later," Andrew Boshop wrote.

"I'll make your night dude," Biden replied.

Perhaps it was all good drug-free fun at an Old Hollywood–style celeb hangout like the Roosevelt, with its scantily dressed hookers and wannabe starlets lining up in the late night in their heels near the valet station — it's a place I've been to many times — but there are reasons to be skeptical.

Plus, Hallie dumped him for some reason.  We could speculate that it's not uncommon to dump a drug addict, alcoholic, or other substance-abuser, given the emotional wear and tear on the partner.  But of course, it might have been something else.

Hunter's and Hallie's irresponsible behavior in this gun incident is a textbook example of why some people really shouldn't be in possession of guns.

But the Secret Service's behavior is actually worse. 

The Secret Service denied ever asking the gun shop owner for his papers and said they had no record of doing it. So the gun shop owner, it seems, didn't experience what he said he experienced and must be some kind of liar. That right there is kind of disgusting.

An unspecified law enforcement official cited by Politico later amended the Secret Service denial to say maaaaaybe they were acting in private capacity:

[T]he alleged involvement of the Secret Service remains a mystery. One law enforcement official said that at the time of the incident, individual Secret Service agents at the agency's offices in Wilmington, Del., and Philadelphia kept an informal hand in maintaining the former vice president's security. The person cited an instance in 2019 when the Wilmington office of the Secret Service called the Delaware State Police to arrange security for a public appearance by Biden. 

The Secret Service denied even that, too, which raises questions about their record-keeping.  There's hardly a reason to deny that one.

The apparent cover-up, though, is what seems most disturbing.  Should anyone have been covering for Hunter Biden after a string of events indicating irresponsible gun ownership?  Don't think so.  The discarded gun, if it fell into the wrong hands, could have led to a shooting or worse, a mass shooting, at a high school.  That is the sort of thing that doesn't affect Hunter, that affects other people.  So covering up for Hunter is to absolve him of any potential responsibility.  Gun shop–owners are always under threat of regulatory supervision, and sometimes actual accountability, for selling guns to bad guys.  Hunter, though, would have skated if the Secret Service in this alleged incident, would have gotten its way.  One set of rules for them, one set for us.

Here's another problem.  Is the Secret Service no longer an apolitical outfit focused on personal protection of political figures, but now partial to protecting and covering up for Democrats?  That rather raises questions about whether it adequately protects Republicans.  If the Secret Service can't be apolitical, maybe it's time to clean house or get another presidential protective agency.  The partisanship involved in apparently protecting the wastrel younger son of Joe Biden, who was out of power and presumably outside Service protection, is boggling. 

It's an act that, if true, someone needs to be held accountable for.  Denials aren't going to cut it.  This action is the height of politicization of a supposedly apolitical organization, and it leaves Republicans wondering.  Why the heck should the Secret Service be involved at all in the affairs of the then-out-of-power Bidens?  Favoritism, anyone?  It's disgusting, and Biden should repay the taxpayers for this misuse of government resources.

It's perfectly plausible that this might be what happened — Hunter Biden has a history of getting around based on his father's connections, because "my name is Biden" as he said of his Burisma involvement.  If the Secret Service can't do its job without partisanship, it's time to see about a new agency that can.

Image: Acaben, extracted images, via Wikimedia CommonsCC BY-SA 2.0.