Hunter Biden's legal issues are an opportunity for GOP
Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, DC shares his perspective on US politics.
Is President Biden's son Hunter a political liability for him?
This week, an extraordinary scene played out in a courtroom in Delaware as a judge rejected a plea deal that was negotiated by lawyers for President Biden's son Hunter over illegal possession of a firearm and tax evasion. Republicans have been criticizing the plea deal for weeks, saying it was far too lenient on the president's son, and reflected what they've called a two-tier justice system being pursued by federal law enforcement. One tier is attempting to prosecute former President Trump for mishandling classified documents and his role in trying to overturn the election results in 2020, and another that is giving the current president's son a slap on the wrist that would've provided him immunity from far more serious charges that he acted as an unregistered foreign agent.
The younger Biden has struggled with drug addiction and has been involved in what seems to be some very shady business deals, including serving in lucrative board positions for foreign companies, despite seemingly offering very little value other than his last name, and making significant sums of money selling his art to democratic donors and others trying to curry favor with the Biden administration. Despite this, President Biden has defended him and kept him close, even inviting him to the state dinner last month with Indian Prime Minister Modi. And though Biden sees no threat to his reelection campaign, Republicans see this as a massive opportunity to take one of Biden's biggest campaign assets, the appearance of his integrity, and turn it against him by painting Biden with a whiff of corruption, including unfounded allegations that he took bribes as vice president to interfere with an ongoing investigation in Ukraine.
Republicans are hoping to neutralize the charges being leveled against former President Trump in state and federal courtrooms and paint the FBI and federal law enforcement as deeply politicized. Republicans don't have to prove a thing for this tactic to be successful. With the amount of confusing information about what President Biden did and didn't do that will come out in congressional hearings and a likely impeachment inquiry later this year, it will be enough for even normal independent voters to start asking questions about the politicization of federal law enforcement, what Biden did and didn't do, and ultimately discredit the Department of Justice with a large segment of the most partisan Republican voters. These issues are not top of mind for voters this year. The economy is. But they do show how brutal and ugly the 2024 campaign season is going to be.
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