President Joe Biden will not pardon his son, Hunter Biden, even as the fate of his plea deal with the Department of Justice (DOJ) hangs in the balance, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on July 27.
Asked during the daily press briefing whether the president would consider using his pardon power to dismiss charges against his son, Ms. Jean-Pierre said he would not.
“Is there any possibility the president would end up pardoning his son?” a reporter asked.
“No,” Ms. Jean-Pierre replied.
Otherwise, the White House press secretary has deflected questions on the matter, which she has called “personal” and argued is unrelated to the functions of the White House.
“I’m really not gonna say anything more than what I shared yesterday. This is a personal matter for Hunter Biden; this is a personal issue,” she said earlier in the press conference. “And as you know, this has been done in an independent way by the Department of Justice. It has been led by a Trump-appointed prosecutor, and I’m just not going to comment beyond what I said yesterday.”
However, Ms. Jean-Pierre’s comments conflict with an earlier statement by former White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield in March 2022. Ms. Bedingfield called the prospect of a pardon a “hypothetical,” refusing to definitively reject the notion out of hand.
At the time, a reporter asked, “Can I ask you if there have been—if you’re aware if there have been any discussions here inside this White House about whether the President might use his pardon or commutation power with respect to either his son or his brother?”
Ms. Bedingfield replied, “That’s not a hypothetical I’m going to entertain. I don’t have anything to add from this podium.”
Ms. Jean-Pierre’s comment comes amid speculation that the president could pardon his son as Judge Maryellen Noreika, a Delaware federal district judge appointed by President Donald Trump, remains undecided on whether or not to accept an agreement worked out between the first son and the DOJ.
A day before Ms. Jean-Pierre commented, Hunter Biden appeared at the J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building in Wilmington, Delaware, in the hope the judge would quickly approve a criminal plea deal with the DOJ that would likely see him face no jail time.
The plea agreement involved three counts: two misdemeanor charges for willful failure to file tax, and a felony firearm charge that was expected to be diverted through a pretrial agreement that became a flashpoint of controversy in a confused hearing.
The felony firearm charge could carry as much as 10 years in prison if not for the pretrial diversion agreement, while the tax charges could each carry up to 12 months.
However, the judge found significant procedural issues with the diversion agreement presented to her, which she said gave her little option to do anything but “rubber stamp” what the prosecution and defense had decided should be done.
Ultimately, lawyers were not able to convince her to change her mind over the course of the three-hour hearing, which ended without a clear outcome. A new hearing is set for at least 30 days after the original date to give the judge time to review the agreement and needed materials.
In the interim, the president’s son has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.
It’s not clear what would happen next if the judge threw out the diversion agreement altogether, but it could mean that Hunter Biden would need to stand trial for all three charges.
Thus, the fate of his legal troubles remains in the air.
Theoretically, the president could use his constitutionally-delegated pardon power to excuse the crimes, as the Constitution places practically no limits on the scope of the power of the pardon.
However, this move would have no historical precedent and would likely pose significant hurdles to the president’s reelection bid as well as raise cries of nepotism and foul play from Republicans, who are carrying out their own investigation of the Biden family.
The administration has already faced charges of giving “preferential treatment” to Hunter Biden over the course of a five-year investigation into his finances, including claims that DOJ higher-ups refused to allow U.S. Attorney David Weiss—the lead prosecutor in the case—to press more serious charges against the president’s son.
While Mr. Weiss has labeled the investigation as “ongoing,” he has not replied to GOP queries about the exact nature of these continuing probes. When Judge Noreika requested information from state prosecutors at the hearing, they, too, said they were “not at liberty” to give more details.
From The Epoch Times