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Tuesday, July 23, 2024 | Back issues
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While bashing Trump conviction, GOP takes victory lap on Hunter Biden verdict

Some Democrats have argued that the guilty verdict against the president’s son debunks Republican claims of political bias in the justice system, but GOP lawmakers are not convinced.

WASHINGTON (CN) — Congressional Republicans on Tuesday celebrated Hunter Biden’s conviction on federal gun charges, but stopped short of suggesting that the verdict against the president’s son was the product of a fair and equitable justice system.

A 12-person jury found the younger Biden guilty of lying to a gun dealer, lying on federal documents and possessing a gun while addicted to a controlled substance. Hunter Biden, now the first child of a sitting president to be convicted on felony charges, faces up to 25 years in prison, although his sentence is likely to be shorter.

The conviction was a positive development for Republicans on Capitol Hill, who have long hunted — unsuccessfully — for evidence tying President Joe Biden to his son’s various business dealings.

“Today’s verdict is a step towards (sic) accountability,” said Kentucky Representative James Comer in a statement, but added that the Justice Department should also investigate the Biden family for what he has long called “corrupt influence peddling schemes.”

Until that happens, “it will be clear department officials continue to cover for the Big Guy, Joe Biden,” said Comer, who chairs the House Oversight Committee and has been a lead figure in Republicans’ impeachment inquiry.

“Hopefully Hunter Biden is the first domino to fall in the long line of the Biden crime family,” said Texas Representative Ronny Jackson in a Tuesday post on X, formerly Twitter. “We need President [Donald] Trump back, now!”

Missouri Representative Jason Smith, chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, concurred, writing that the verdict against Hunter Biden was “a step towards (sic) ensuring equal application of the law, regardless of one’s last name.”

Republican lawmakers also took another opportunity to bash the Justice Department for pursuing an ill-fated plea deal with the president’s son which, had it been approved, could have allowed him to avoid jail time. The agreement between prosecutors and Hunter Biden’s counsel evaporated last year after the parties failed to agree on whether the deal should include an immunity provision.

“They want you to forget DOJ was giving Hunter Biden a sweetheart deal with full immunity for all crimes against the United States until the judge asked questions,” said Missouri Senator Eric Schmitt.

U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika was the one who first raised questions about the plea deal’s immunity provision, which ultimately lead to the agreement’s collapse.

“Hunter Biden’s sweetheart plea deal was smoked out after scrutiny by a federal judge,” Comer wrote.

Republicans were also quick to set Hunter Biden’s conviction apart from the recent guilty verdict against former President Trump. A New York jury convicted the 45th president of falsifying business records to conceal a hush money payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

Republicans have framed the conviction as a political smear job from the Biden administration — even though the charges were prosecuted by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and not federal prosecutors.

“Hunter Biden is convicted of an actual crime,” said Virginia Representative Bob Good, who chairs the conservative House Freedom Caucus. “Donald Trump was railroaded by a political prosecutor and a biased judge.”

But Democrats countered Tuesday that Hunter Biden’s conviction is proof that the justice system works as designed.

“The MAGA GOP tried to tell us the Justice Department had been ‘weaponized’ against them,” said Tennessee Representative Steve Cohen. “The evidence says otherwise.”

Meanwhile, Hunter Biden is set to be sentenced 120 days — roughly four months — from Tuesday.

President Biden said in a statement that he would accept the outcome of his son’s trial, adding that he will “continue to respect the judicial process as Hunter considers an appeal. The president said he and First Lady Jill Biden “love our son, and we are so proud of the man he is today.”

Follow @BenjaminSWeiss
Categories / Government, National, Politics

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