Republicans react to Hunter Biden’s plea deal

Hunter Biden, son of President Biden
Hunter Biden, son of President Biden, in February.
(Patrick Semansky / Associated Press)
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I first became aware of Hunter Biden’s troubled past while reading a 2019 profile of him in the New Yorker.

The story, which was published long before his father won the Democratic primary, was an effort by Hunter to shield his father from attacks from the political right. In being so open about his misdeeds, the younger Biden undermined GOP candidates’ ability to use his little known but lurid past to attack his father during the 2020 election. Hunter did not shy from sharing the worst of it, including his addiction to crack cocaine.

This strategy did not stop then-President Trump’s Justice Department from opening an investigation into Hunter in the run-up to the 2020 election. Republicans have cited the inquiry in order to attack the Biden family and contrast the Biden investigation with the congressional, federal and local queries Trump faced.


The Justice Department on Tuesday announced it had reached a deal with Hunter, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor tax offenses and a felony charge of illegally possessing a gun.

Will this plea mean the end of the Hunter Biden saga and attacks from the political right?

Hello friends, I’m Erin B. Logan, I’m a reporter for the L.A. Times. I cover the White House and national politics. Today, we are going to discuss the five-year Hunter Biden investigation.

The plea

Trump’s Department of Justice was investigating Hunter Biden as early as 2018, according to CNN. Congressional Republicans have also investigated the president’s son. Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani is said to have served as a source for news stories about Hunter’s laptop, and fueled conspiracy theories about the computer’s contents. The FBI seized the computer in late 2019, according to CNN.

Since Hunter’s father became president, the Biden administration has sought to avoid any perception that it might interfere with the Justice Department’s probe. (Atty. Gen. Merrick Garland in March promised to not intervene in the probe of Hunter’s taxes.)

The Justice Department on Tuesday revealed a deal wherein Hunter will plead guilty to misdemeanor tax offenses and a felony charge of illegally possessing a firearm as a drug user, Times writer Sarah D. Wire reported. In exchange, Hunter could avoid time in prison, if a judge green lights the deal.


The reaction

Republicans quickly blasted the agreement, some contrasting the federal charges brought by the Justice Department against Trump over his refusal to return classified documents he took when he left the White House. (Trump rejected a plea offered by department prosecutors.)

Trump political operative Roger Stone called the plea “two tiered justice at its worst.”

House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer tweeted that Biden’s son is “getting away with a slap on the wrist.” The Republican’s committee is probing Biden’s family and has suggested that there is a “pattern of corruption, influence peddling and possibly bribery.” He vowed that his committee would not stop its independent probe.

Prominent Georgia conservative radio host Erick Erickson said the “deal indeed reeks of favoritism,” noting that the Department of Justice reports to his father, the president.

The deal, however, is one “true first-time offenders frequently get,” Erickson added.

“Had Trump returned all the documents, he would not have been indicted.”

The latest from the campaign trail

—The two women running in the June 27 election for a Los Angeles City Council seat representing the central and east San Fernando Valley have striking similarities, Times writer Dakota Smith reported. Both are Democrats in their 30s, have master’s degrees and were raised in the Valley by family members who emigrated from Mexico.

—Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy made a rare California appearance outside of his Bakersfield-based district, Times writers Seema Mehta and Hannah Fry reported. The GOP leader’s visit to Orange County demonstrated that with Republicans’ narrow control of Congress in jeopardy next year, the party’s leaders are emphasizing border control and public safety as they try to appeal to affluent suburbanites.


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The latest from Washington

—A new Biden administration policy has dramatically lowered the percentage of migrants at the southern border who enter the United States and are allowed to apply for asylum, Times writer Hamed Aleaziz reported. Without these new limits to asylum, border crossings could overwhelm local towns and resources, a Department of Homeland Security official warned a federal court in a filing this month.

—Wrapping up a two-day high-stakes mission to China, America’s top diplomat, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, held “candid, constructive” talks with President Xi Jinping and other officials that eased tensions but left major, daunting differences unresolved, both sides said Monday, Times writers Tracy Wilkinson and Stephanie Yang reported.

The latest from California

—Biden on Tuesday met researchers and advocates with expertise in artificial intelligence in San Francisco as his administration attempts to tackle potential dangers of a technology that could fuel misinformation, job losses, discrimination and privacy violations, Times writer Queenie Wong reported.

—Vice President Kamala Harris greeted Juneteenth observers in Los Angeles on Monday by celebrating how far the nation has come in its treatment of Black Americans but warning that the fight for freedom is not over, Times writer Seema Mehta reported.

—Thousands of women face food insecurity each year upon their release from the California prison system, Times writer Selene Rivera reported. But that’s just the tip of an iceberg, experts say. Food insecurity can extend to family members of formerly incarcerated women and can spiral into other problems that increase the risk of recidivism.


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