Is Hunter Biden the latest iteration of Barack Obama’s birth certificate? So argues Danielle Allen in today’s Washington Post, claiming that the impeachment of Donald Trump has turned into yet another platform for Trump’s conspiracy theories. The only path out of the thicket of Hunterism is the same way out of the birtherism thicket, Allen argues — produce the Hunter.

That might not be quite as analogous as Allen thinks, however:

Trump’s demand for an announcement by Ukraine of an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden is analogous to his demand for an investigation into Barack Obama’s birth certificate. The Hunter issue is Joe Biden’s birther issue. The biggest difference between birtherism and Hunterism is that Trump pursued the former without any of the trappings of credibility that come with holding the highest office in the land. Nonetheless, he succeeded in forcing a sitting president of the United States to release his birth certificate as the only means by which a baseless conspiracy theory could finally be quelled.

Trump now brings all the authority of that same presidency to his mode of operation, yet his mode is no different than when he was peddling birtherism. He finds a way to sow just enough doubt to keep baseless allegations alive. Only production of the proof that the allegations are baseless brought it to an end then. The same is true now. Hunter Biden will dog Joe Biden from now until the election just as the birth certificate did Obama.

The Democrats should face the fact sooner rather than later that Hunter Biden will have to be produced in order to put an end to the matter. They should accept a deal for witnesses in the impeachment trial that involves having Hunter Biden testify, too. Not because having him testify is warranted by the evidence. Not because one wants to give credence to a baseless conspiracy theory. But as a service to the country. Conspiracy theories die only when it’s possible to say conclusively, “Nothing to see here, folks.” We are trapped inside the worldview of a conspiracy theorist, and the only way out may be through it.

The birther conspiracy theory never had any evidence to support it, however. From the start, evidence existed to refute it, evidence that was flat-out ignored by those who pushed those theories. That, by the way, definitely includes Donald Trump, who pushed it long enough for Obama to release the certified copy of the birth certificate, which Hawaii state officials had long verified was accurate. Allen’s criticism in that case is fully warranted.

That’s not true of Hunter Biden’s odd involvement in Ukraine and his hiring by Mykola Zlochevsky to sit on Burisma’s board. Hunter had no expertise in energy production, no expertise in Ukraine, and appeared to do little to support the $50,000 a month he was paid as a board member. No one, not even Hunter himself, can explain how a Ukrainian oligarch facing a hostile US administration with Biden’s father as VP came to offer him that job. Joe Biden’s intervention while his son filled a no-responsibilities job that paid $600K a year in Ukraine created at least the appearance of a conflict of interest, and arguably an actual conflict of interest. And that would make Hunter and Joe Biden reasonable persons of interest in a corruption investigation — not to mention Hunter’s other work crossing Joe’s streams in China and perhaps Romania, too.

With all that said, Democrats aren’t going to push for Hunter Biden’s subpoena in a trade. Not only aren’t they interested in potentially legitimizing Trump’s interest in the Bidens, they should be worried whether Hunter will show up at all. For some reason, Hunter won’t turn over his financial records in a paternity lawsuit in Arkansas, repeatedly defying a judge’s orders to do so. Now that judge has ordered Hunter to appear to explain why he shouldn’t be sitting in jail (via American Thinker and PJM):

Hunter Biden must appear Jan. 29 in a Batesville courtroom and explain why he shouldn’t be held in contempt for violating court orders to provide financial information in his Arkansas paternity case.

Independence County Circuit Judge Holly Meyer signed an “Order to Appear and Show Cause” on Monday, a day when Arkansas courts were closed to honor the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The judge’s order was filed into the court record Tuesday. …

Biden missed a Jan. 16 deadline to provide financial information for the past five years as ordered by the court, Lancaster wrote. The financial information would remain under seal, according to a court order.

Among the things Biden has failed to provide, Lancaster wrote, are addresses, telephone numbers, names of financial institutions, a list of all sources of income, a list of all companies in which he has an ownership interest, copies of deeds to properties he owns, copies of his 2017 and 2018 tax returns, and unredacted copies of his other tax returns.

Hunter Biden told the court that he’s unemployed at the moment. However, the Washington Examiner’s Alana Goodman did some digging and found Hunter living in posh Hollywood gigs … at the same address as his China business is registered, to boot:

Hunter Biden is defying a court order to disclose his financial information as part of a child support fight while renting a $3.8 million designer home in Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles, for $12,000 per month.

Biden and his new wife, Melissa Cohen, are getting use of a stunning, midcentury modern home for the price. …

One of Biden’s businesses, Skaneateles LLC, is registered to the Hollywood Hills address, according to corporate records. Biden used the company to purchase a 10% equity stock in Chinese investment fund BHR Equity Investment Fund Management Co. in 2017, according to his attorney.

Biden’s business dealings in China have faced scrutiny during his father’s presidential campaign. Hunter Biden said he would step down from the board of the BHR investment fund in October, although he has not said whether he would divest his shares in the company. He is still the director at Skaneateles LLC, the company he used to purchase equity in the Chinese fund, the Daily Caller reported in October.

There is no way in hell that Senate Democrats will let Hunter Biden testify under oath in Trump’s impeachment trial. There is just too much potential for dirt to get dug up, and too much potential for damage to Joe Biden, to allow it. The Senate will end up acquitting Trump anyway, so what’s the upside of having Hunter testify? They’re better off pretending that this is just another birtherism eruption rather than the murky business it actually is.