Will Joe Biden Pardon Hunter Biden?

Gun Rights

President Joe Biden‘s son Hunter was indicted on Thursday on three charges related to false statements in the 2018 purchase of a firearm, prompting legal analyst Jonathan Turley to question the possibility of a presidential pardon.

Hunter Biden was previously charged with illegal possession of a firearm “as a drug user” and failing to pay federal income tax in June, according to filings from a Delaware District Court. His legal team agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors in which he would plead guilty to two misdemeanors for failing to pay federal tax but avoid prosecution on the felony firearms charge.

However, the deal collapsed during a court hearing in late July after a row over whether the president’s son would receive sweeping immunity for an ongoing investigation.

On Thursday, in the indictment filed by Special Counsel David Weiss, Hunter is accused of knowingly making a false and fictitious written statement about his drug use when purchasing a gun in October 2018.

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Joe Biden, Hunter Biden
President Joe Biden (left) delivers remarks during a news conference on August 18, 2023, in Camp David, Maryland. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) Hunter Biden (right) at the World Food Program USA’s Annual McGovern-Dole Leadership Award Ceremony at Organization of American States on April 12, 2016, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for World Food Program USA). Hunter was indicted on September 14, 2023, on three charges related to false statements in the 2018 purchase of a firearm, prompting one legal analyst to question the possibility of his father pardoning him.

Taking to X, formerly Twitter, after news of the indictment, Turley wrote, “This may be the first child of a sitting president ever indicted. I previously raised the possibility that Joe Biden could pardon Hunter and then cite that abuse of power as a reason for declining to run for reelection.

“There is little room for a defense here beyond what I previously raised: challenging the constitutionality of the underlying law under the Second Amendment. However, to do so, Hunter would be challenging a law that his father enthusiastically supports with cases that his father has vigorously condemned. Having Hunter go full NRA could present political problems for the President.”

Turley continued in a comment to Newsweek: “Even if Weiss is no longer interested in a plea deal, Hunter could simply plead guilty and throw himself on the mercy of the court. However, with three counts and a failed plea deal on the record, the Justice Department would ordinarily be expected to seek some jail time. For a president who is 80, that prospect could make a pardon look more appealing, even if it would effectively end his reelection bid.”

In July, however, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at a briefing that Joe Biden would not pardon his son.

“From a presidential perspective, is there any possibility that the president would end up pardoning his son?” Jean-Pierre was asked. She replied, “No.” When further pressed Jean-Pierre responded, “I just said no. I just answered.”

Jeffrey Crouch, assistant professor of American politics at American University, told Newsweek: “We don’t have to look far for an example of a president pardoning a family member: In December 2020, President Donald Trump pardoned Charles Kushner, his daughter Ivanka’s father-in-law. If President Joe Biden pardoned his son, it would—and should—be seen as a Trump-like abuse of the clemency power.

“The presidential pardon power is meant to be used to show mercy to individuals or to serve the public welfare, not for the president’s personal interests.”

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