Republicans lashed out following news of the charges, claiming, without evidence, that federal prosecutors are going soft on the president’s son. The U.S. attorney leading the investigation is a Trump administration holdover.
Federal prosecutors in U.S. Attorney David Weiss’ Delaware office have agreed to recommend probation for Hunter Biden, NBC News reported, citing two sources familiar with the agreement. Jail time for him seems unlikely, given the lower-level charges at issue and the apparent decision to plead guilty in agreement with the government.
Biden also faces a separate gun charge that will likely be dismissed if he meets certain conditions in what’s known as pretrial diversion, NBC News reported Tuesday. A legal fight over gun-related charges could have put him at the center of a Second Amendment battle against his father’s administration, which has been trying to preserve gun laws following a Supreme Court ruling last year that called a host of them into question.
NBC News reported in April that prosecutors had considered four possible charges against Hunter Biden: two misdemeanor counts for failure to file taxes, a felony count of tax evasion related to a business expense for one year of taxes, and a potential felony charge for a 2018 gun purchase in which he may have falsely stated on a form that he did not have a drug problem.
Charging decisions were ultimately made by Weiss, whom the Biden administration kept in his post to continue the Hunter Biden probe after Trump’s presidency ended. (Weiss reminded House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, of this fact in a letter earlier this month, in which the federal prosecutor noted he was granted “ultimate authority” over the matter.)
The federal investigation into Hunter Biden, which began in 2018, “narrowed from an inquiry into his international business relationships, including any possible national security implications, to an examination of the income he earned from those ventures and a false statement he’s alleged to have made during the gun purchase,” NBC News reported in April.
President Biden told MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle on May 5 that his son had done “nothing wrong.”
Republicans, of course, were upset that the charges didn’t connect with their stated vision of a shadowy Biden family crime syndicate engaged in vast corruption and masterminded by a president they claim is simultaneously too senile to know where he is.
“Let’s be clear: the Department of Justice’s charges against President Biden’s son Hunter reveal a two-tiered system of justice,” House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., said in a statement on Tuesday. “Hunter Biden is getting away with a slap on the wrist when growing evidence uncovered by the House Oversight Committee reveals the Bidens engaged in a pattern of corruption, influence peddling, and possibly bribery.”
Tuesday’s news, however, suggests that if Comer was hoping his feverish claims would translate to criminal charges, his committee should have put together a stronger presentation, or that perhaps, despite his best efforts, he just didn’t have the facts he wanted.
Comer’s comments also serve as a reminder, made even more timely by recent news of a Justice Department shy about investigating Trump‘s role in the Jan. 6 insurrection, that there’s no use attempting to appease people who act in bad faith.
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