Federal prosecutors are prepared to enter into a plea deal with President Biden’s son Hunter, according to a document released on Tuesday.
Under the proposed deal, Hunter would plea to two counts of willful failure to pay federal income taxes. Separate charges related to possession of a firearm would be dropped if he meets certain conditions.
Republicans have spent years focusing on Hunter’s activities while clamoring for his prosecution. But Hunter’s own conduct — including years of public drug abuse and shady dealings overseas, including an infamous position on the board of directors of Ukrainian gas firm Burisma — has only made the lives of GOP researchers easier, though they’ve never come close to substantiating any connection between his behavior and that of his politician father.
Hunter faces prosecution from a Republican federal prosecutor appointed by President Trump in 2018, who the Biden administration kept on to avoid accusations of political interference in the Hunter case. That prosecutor — U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware David Weiss — has been investigating the case, and signed his name to a letter indicating that a plea deal had been reached.
That hasn’t stopped Republicans from claiming that Hunter is benefitting from illicit political pressure; those claims were already continuing Tuesday morning in the face of Hunter apparently agreeing to plead guilty to the charges.
The document itself is a letter from Weiss to a federal judicial clerk indicating that a plea deal has been reached in the matter. Per the agreement, Hunter agreed to “pretrial diversion” on the gun charge, which allows defendants to have charges dropped if they participate in a court-ordered program. The gun charge is the only felony on the list, and would be dropped upon conclusion of the program.
Hunter wrote about his 2018 gun purchase in his autobiography, saying that he was using crack cocaine while also claiming on a form required for the purchase that he was not using drugs.
The tax charges cover allegations that Hunter failed to pay a $1.2 million tax liability for 2017 and 2018, the Washington Post reported. Prosecutors are reportedly set to recommend a sentence of probation for those charges.
The Hunter Biden federal criminal investigation began in 2018.
Republicans have sought for years, via other investigations, to tie the proceeds or coordination of Hunter’s alleged wrongdoing to his father, but have been unable to do so in virtually every attempt.
This arguably reached its apex in the run-up to the 2020 election, when Trump found himself impeached for withholding military aid to the Ukrainian government as he pushed Volodymyr Zelensky’s administration to fabricate a link between the activities of the son and the father.
In another attempt to visit the alleged sins of the son on the father, Rudy Giuliani spent the weeks before the 2020 election hawking a supposed laptop belonging to Hunter which appeared to show him involved in various forms of objectionable personal conduct. Once again, nagging questions about whether the laptop had been tampered with, and what the relevance of Hunter’s personal life was to his father’s presidential candidacy, tanked that attempt to create a scandal.
Since then, Republicans have responded to the lack of reaction to the Hunter laptop and to the lack of charges against him by ginning up more grievance: claiming that it’s favorable treatment by a range of institutions — from news organizations to social media corporations to the justice system — for the privileged son of a powerful Democrat.
Now that Hunter faces three federal criminal charges, there’s no sign that they will stop saying that.
House Oversight Committee Chair Rep. James Comer (R-KY) released a statement Tuesday calling the deal “a slap on the wrist” while vowing to continue going after the Bidens.