White House won’t rule out commuting Hunter Biden sentence – as it happened

Gun Rights

The White House has not ruled out a possible commutation for Hunter Biden after a jury found him guilty on three federal gun crimes.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, speaking to reporters on Wednesday on Air Force One, said:

As we all know, the sentencing hasn’t even been scheduled yet.

She said she had not spoken to Joe Biden about the issue since the verdict was delivered on Tuesday. The president has previously ruled out pardoning his son.

“He was very clear, very upfront, obviously very definitive,” Jean-Pierre said of Biden’s remarks about a potential pardon.

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But on a commutation, “I just don’t have anything beyond that,” she added.

https://x.com/RiegerReport/status/1800928902543487234

Here’s a wrap-up of the day’s key events:

  • The US has announced a new slew of sanctions on Russia over its military invasion of Ukraine. On Wednesday, the treasury and state departments announced sanctions targeting more than 300 targets including entities in Russia as well as in China, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

  • Joe Biden has announced the reopening of the port of Baltimore after the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed in March, killing six construction workers. In a statement released via the White House, Biden said: “I made clear that my administration would move heaven and earth to reopen the port of Baltimore – one of our nation’s largest shipping hubs. Today, thanks to the tireless work by the men and women in the Unified Command, the full navigation channel is now open to all vessel traffic, allowing a full return of commerce to the port of Baltimore.”

  • Republicans in Congress are vowing to block Democrats’ push to enforce a code of ethics in the supreme court after reports of justices, including Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, accepting lavish gifts and travel opportunities. Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina senator and top Republican on the Senate judiciary committee, told NBC News that he will object to Democrats’ efforts to unanimously pass the bill.

  • Rapper and singer Usher visited Capitol Hill on Wednesday and met with congressional leaders to focus on screening for type 1 diabetes. Speaking about his visit to reporters, Usher said: “It’s not my first time, won’t be my last time coming. Today I’m just talking about type 1 diabetes and early screening for type 1 diabetes.”

  • Donald Trump is expected to meet with congressional Republicans in Washington DC this Thursday, as the GOP tries to present a united front ahead of the November elections. Trump is scheduled on Thursday to meet with House Republicans at the Capitol Hill Club, and then with Republican senators in the afternoon at the National Republican Senatorial Committee headquarters, according to reports.

  • The White House has not ruled out a possible commutation for Hunter Biden after a jury found him guilty on three federal gun crimes. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, speaking to reporters on Wednesday on Air Force One, said: “As we all know, the sentencing hasn’t even been scheduled yet.”

That’s it as we wrap up the blog for today. Thank you for following along.

Hillary Clinton has publicly endorsed George Latimer, a moderate Democrat from Westchester ahead of a New York congressional primary.

In a post on Twitter/X, Clinton wrote:

With Trump on the ballot, we need strong, principled Democrats in Congress more than ever. In Congress, @LatimerforNY will protect abortion rights, stand up to the NRA, and fight for President Biden’s agenda-just like he’s always done. Make a plan to vote by June 25th!

With Trump on the ballot, we need strong, principled Democrats in Congress more than ever.

In Congress, @LatimerforNY will protect abortion rights, stand up to the NRA, and fight for President Biden’s agenda—just like he’s always done.

Make a plan to vote by June 25th!

— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 12, 2024

Multiple pro-Israel groups have also thrown their efforts into endorsing Latimer – who is running against New York congressman Jamaal Bowman – in attempts to unseat the progressive “squad” in Congress over their criticisms of Israel’s deadly war on Gaza.

Rapper and singer Usher visited Capitol Hill on Wednesday and met with congressional leaders to focus on screening for type 1 diabetes.

Speaking about his visit to reporters, Usher said:

It’s not my first time, won’t be my last time coming. Today I’m just talking about type 1 diabetes and early screening for type 1 diabetes.

.@Usher may be coming back to the Capitol soon:

“It’s not my first time, won’t be my last time coming,” he told me. “Today, just talking about type 1 diabetes and early screening for type 1 diabetes.” pic.twitter.com/W5L1Y5WXzI

— Mychael Schnell (@mychaelschnell) June 12, 2024

Georgia’s Democratic senator Raphael Warnock was among the congressional members who met with Usher.

In a post on Twitter/X, Warnock wrote:

I’m so glad Usher could stop by my office to talk about the importance of screening for type 1 diabetes. Whether pushing to strengthen access to screening or to lower the exorbitant costs of insulin, I won’t stop fighting for people with diabetes in Georgia & across the nation.

I’m so glad @Usher could stop by my office to talk about the importance of screening for Type 1 diabetes.

Whether pushing to strengthen access to screening or to lower the exorbitant costs of insulin, I won’t stop fighting for people with diabetes in Georgia & across the nation. pic.twitter.com/x3I4B66eAX

— Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (@SenatorWarnock) June 12, 2024

Hunter Biden’s latest federal conviction could boost his father against Donald Trump amid Trump’s claims that the justice department is unfairly rigged against him.

Robert Tait reports for the Guardian:

Trump, the former president and presumptive GOP presidential nominee, has pushed that line relentlessly to explain his conviction last month on charges related to the concealment of hush-money payments to a porn star to help him win the 2016 election.

He has made the claim even though his prosecution was brought in a New York state court that is independent of the Department of Justice, which is overseeing 54 other criminal charges against him that have so far not come to trial.

Hunter Biden, by contrast, was prosecuted and convicted under the authority of the justice department, which is part of his father’s administration – an inconvenient fact that weakens Republican claims that it has been turned into a political weapon in the president’s hands.

The result, some observers say, is that Hunter’s conviction may help the president in a close race, even though the personal cost of his son’s troubles is heavy.

Read the full story here:

Donald Trump is expected to meet with congressional Republicans in Washington DC this Thursday, as the GOP tries to present a united front ahead of the November elections.

Trump is scheduled on Thursday to meet with House Republicans at the Capitol Hill Club, and then with Republican senators in the afternoon at the National Republican Senatorial Committee headquarters, according to reports.

Mike Johnson, the Republican House speaker, and Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, are expected to attend.

It will mark the first meeting between the former president and GOP lawmakers since he was found guilty in the hush-money trial.

Here’s more on the latest slew of US sanctions against Russia over its military invasion of Russia.

The package targets Chinese companies that have helped Russia pursue its war and raised the stakes for foreign financial institutions which work with sanctioned Russian entities.

It also targets the Russian financial infrastructure in an attempt to limit the amount of money flowing in and out of the country.

The announcement came shortly before Joe Biden arrived in Italy, where he and other G7 leaders are urgently looking at aiding Ukraine.

Americans don’t have much faith in America right now. Or at least not in its institutions.

In 2022, a Gallup poll found that Americans had experienced “significant declines” in trust in 11 of 16 major US institutions. The supreme court and the presidency saw the largest drops in public confidence – by 11% and 15%, respectively. Trust also fell in the medical system, banks, police, public schools and newspapers.

Things didn’t improve in 2023: a follow-up poll found that levels of trust remained low, with none of the scores “worsening or improving meaningfully”.

Public confidence waxes and wanes, but these numbers are notably bleak. Trust in institutions has “never been lower”, confirms Jeffrey Jones, a senior editor of the Gallup poll and the author of the 2022 report.

This mistrust is not a one-time blip, a rough patch in an otherwise happy relationship between a country and its people. According to polling experts, it is partly the result of a decades-long effort by political leaders to erode public confidence in institutions such as science, media and government. And the consequences are serious. Not trusting the forces that govern their lives is detrimental to the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities, and makes the country less prepared to face a major crisis.

“Trust is the grease that oils the gears and makes things work,” says Dr Marc Hetherington, professor of political science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “Without it, everything is more difficult.”

But how did we lose this trust in the first place? And is there a way to get it back?

Read the full story: Trust in US institutions has ‘never beenl ower’ – here’s why that matters

The latest comments by Karine Jean-Pierre mark a shift in position from September, when she was asked if Joe Biden would “pardon or commute his son if he’s convicted.”

The White House press secretary said at the time:

I’ve answered this question before. It was asked of me not too long ago, a couple of weeks ago. And I was very clear, and I said no.

A pardon is an expression of forgiveness of a criminal offense that restores some rights, such as voting, that a person loses upon conviction, AP reports.

A commutation reduces a sentence but leaves the conviction intact.

The White House has not ruled out a possible commutation for Hunter Biden after a jury found him guilty on three federal gun crimes.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, speaking to reporters on Wednesday on Air Force One, said:

As we all know, the sentencing hasn’t even been scheduled yet.

She said she had not spoken to Joe Biden about the issue since the verdict was delivered on Tuesday. The president has previously ruled out pardoning his son.

“He was very clear, very upfront, obviously very definitive,” Jean-Pierre said of Biden’s remarks about a potential pardon.

But on a commutation, “I just don’t have anything beyond that,” she added.

https://x.com/RiegerReport/status/1800928902543487234

Here’s more from House speaker Mike Johnson’s briefing with reporters earlier today.

Johnson was asked if he has spoken to Donald Trump about committing to “respecting the American tradition of peaceful transfer” of power and not attempting another January 6-style insurrection. Johnson replied:

Of course he respects that, and we all do, and we’ve all talked about it ad nauseam.

Reporter: Have you tried to get Trump to commit to respect the peaceful transfer of power and not attempt another January 6th-style insurrection?

House Speaker Mike Johnson: “Of course he respects that.” pic.twitter.com/QLfq0d5W9S

— The Recount (@therecount) June 12, 2024

Ahead of the Republican-led House’s vote to hold attorney general Merrick Garland in contempt for his decision to withhold audio recordings of Joe Biden’s interviews with special counsel Robert Hur, House speaker Mike Johnson said:

The contempt of Merrick Garland is a very important principle here … We have to defend the constitution. We have to defend the authority of Congress. We can’t allow the Department of Justice, an executive branch agency, to hide information from Congress …

And the best evidence as chairman [Jim] Jordan said, was the audio recordings because they provide critical insight in what that transcript itself cannot provide. We have to know if the transcript is accurate … The attorney general doesn’t get to decide whether he hides the tape, and that’s what will be determined here.”

Although more Americans support than oppose Joe Biden’s latest immigration executive order, public opinion on whether the order was tough on illegal immigration remains mixed, according to a new Monmouth University poll.

According to the poll, 40% of Americans are in favor of Biden’s executive order while 27% disapprove – and 33% of Americans have no opinion.

The report also found that support is evenly spread across all partisan groups – 44% of Republicans, 40% of Democrats and 38% of independents are in favor. Republicans (29%) and independents (30%) are slightly more likely than Democrats (22%) to oppose this move.

The House speaker, Mike Johnson, criticized Joe Biden’s immigration policies, telling reporters on Wednesday:

The Biden border catastrophe continues in spite of his window dressing of the executive order.

Johnson was referring to Biden’s latest executive order that limits asylum seekers from crossing the US-Mexico border.

He added:

Nothing’s changed, of course. In fact, many have argued that this increased the incentives for people to try to come and, you know, avail themselves of the welcome mat that the Biden administration has put forward.

“The Biden border catastrophe continues in spite of his window dressing of the Executive Order. Nothing’s changed, of course. In fact, many have argued that this increased the incentives for people to try to come and, you know, avail themselves of the welcome mat that the Biden… pic.twitter.com/nlJOqJ7Z94

— House Republicans (@HouseGOP) June 12, 2024

The US has announced a new slew of sanctions on Russia over its military invasion of Ukraine.

On Wednesday, the treasury and state departments announced sanctions targeting more than 300 targets including entities in Russia as well as in China, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

In a statement following the sanctions, the US treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, said:

Today’s actions strike at their remaining avenues for international materials and equipment, including their reliance on critical supplies from third countries …

We are increasing the risk for financial institutions dealing with Russia’s war economy and eliminating paths for evasion, and diminishing Russia’s ability to benefit from access to foreign technology, equipment, software and IT services.

Joe Biden has announced the reopening of the port of Baltimore after the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed in March, killing six construction workers.

In a statement released via the White House, Biden said:

I made clear that my administration would move heaven and earth to reopen the port of Baltimore – one of our nation’s largest shipping hubs. Today, thanks to the tireless work by the men and women in the Unified Command, the full navigation channel is now open to all vessel traffic, allowing a full return of commerce to the port of Baltimore …

Our hearts remain with the families of the victims of the bridge collapse, and we will continue to stand with the community throughout this period of recovery.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez hit back at the supreme court in a recent roundtable discussion in which she accused it of being in a “crisis of legitimacy” following a series of scandals that have surrounded several justices.

The Guardian’s Lauren Gambino reports:

Speaking during a roundtable discussion on Capitol Hill, the New York Democratic representative accused the court of “delegitimizing itself through its conduct”.

“A group of anti-democratic billionaires with their own ideological and economic agenda has been working one of the three co-equal branches of government,” she said.

Sustained scrutiny of the justices prompted the court to adopt its first code of ethics last year, but it lacks any form of enforcement. Meanwhile, public confidence in the court has plummeted to near historic lows.

In the two years since it overturned Roe v Wade, eliminating the constitutional right to abortion, a decision that sparked fierce political backlash from voters across the ideological spectrum, the court has been rocked by ethics scandals involving two of the bench’s most conservative justices, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.

“The highest court in the land today has the lowest ethical standards,” said Jamie Raskin, a Democratic congressman from Maryland, and the ranking member of the House oversight committee, who joined Ocasio-Cortez in convening the discussion.

For the full story, click here:

In a press statement released ahead of the Senate vote, Democrats said:

[The vote follows] a myriad of apparent ethical lapses by supreme court justices, which demonstrates the need for ethics reform.

Last week, Justice Clarence Thomas belatedly admitted that some luxury vacation trips he took were paid for by Harlan Crow, a conservative billionaire donor.

Those vacations included trips to Indonesia and a men’s club in California. Thomas’s admission comes more than a year after ProPublica first reported on the trips.

Meanwhile, Justice Samuel Alito’s neutrality as a judge has been questioned in recent days after reports revealed that he said in a secret recording that one side of the US’s right-left divide has to prevail.

Alito has also been at the center of several flag controversies, including an incident in which he appeared to fly an American flag upside down outside his home after the January 6 riots in 2021.

Republicans in Congress are vowing to block Democrats’ push to enforce a code of ethics in the supreme court after reports of justices, including Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, accepting lavish gifts and travel opportunities.

Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina senator and top Republican on the Senate judiciary committee, told NBC News that he will object to Democrats’ efforts to unanimously pass the bill.

Although the chair of the judiciary committee, Senate majority whip Dick Durbin, said that he plans to make a unanimous consent request, the Illinois Democrat did voice doubts over whether the legislation will pass.

“I think I know the outcome, but we’re going to go through the exercise to make sure that both parties are in the record,” Durbin said.

Meanwhile, Democratic representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said at a recent roundtable discussion in Washington DC that the supreme court is in a “crisis of legitimacy” as a result of being “captured and corrupted by money and extremism”.

Here are other developments in US politics:

  • The Republican-lead House is scheduled to vote on whether to hold the US attorney general, Merrick Garland, in contempt for his decision to withhold audio recordings of Joe Biden’s interviews with special counsel Robert Hur.

  • Joe Biden is travelling from Wilmington, Delaware, to Fasano, Italy, for the annual G7 summit.

  • Hunter Biden has been found guilty on all three counts in his federal gun trial.

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