Republicans Complain About Hunter Biden Guilty Verdict

Several prominent Republicans said they were not impressed by the guilty verdict against President Joe Biden’s son on Tuesday, complaining that the government should have busted him for worse crimes. 

A Delaware jury found Hunter Biden, 54, guilty on three counts related to a gun purchase in 2018 when he was addicted to crack cocaine. Hunter Biden’s crimes carry a prison sentence of up to 25 years.

“This trial has been nothing more than a distraction from the real crimes of the Biden Crime Family, which has raked in tens of millions of dollars from China, Russia and Ukraine,” Karoline Leavitt, a spokesperson for Donald Trump’s Republican presidential campaign, said in reaction to the verdict. 

Republicans spoke out against the verdict because the high-profile case against Hunter Biden undermines their constant claims that the U.S. Department of Justice has been “weaponized” against Trump and his supporters. If President Biden were masterminding a conspiracy to persecute Republicans, after all, why would he skewer his own son?

Republicans still found a way to make that argument by suggesting the gun charges were actually a cover-up. 

Stephen Miller, a former adviser in Trump’s White House, promoted the conspiracy theory that Joe Biden is pulling strings at the Justice Department and had orchestrated charges that didn’t implicate the president himself in any wrongdoing.

“The gun charges are a giant misdirection. An easy op for DOJ to sell to a pliant media that is all too willing to be duped,” Miller posted on the X social media platform. “Don’t be gaslit. This is all about protecting Joe Biden and only Joe Biden.”

House Oversight Committee chair James Comer (R-Ky.) echoed Miller, saying that “until the Department of Justice investigates everyone involved in the Bidens’ corrupt influence-peddling schemes that generated over $18 million in foreign payments to the Biden family, it will be clear department officials continue to cover for the Big Guy, Joe Biden.”

Hunter Biden, accompanied by his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, arrives at federal court before the verdict is announced Tuesday in Wilmington, Delaware.
Hunter Biden, accompanied by his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, arrives at federal court before the verdict is announced Tuesday in Wilmington, Delaware. Matt Rourke/Associated Press

Comer has led an impeachment inquiry against Biden that has sifted through thousands of pages of bank statements, phone records and wire transfers, and conducted hours of depositions with people involved in Hunter Biden’s overseas business ventures. They’ve also interviewed several officials involved in the government’s case against Hunter Biden, which includes the gun charges as well as tax charges that are scheduled to go to trial in the fall. 

As the impeachment inquiry faltered earlier this year, Comer said his committee would still make criminal referrals. But when Republicans finally referred Hunter Biden for prosecution last week, the only violation they alleged was that he had lied to Congress in his February testimony about his past business deals as part of the impeachment inquiry.

The Justice Department has been investigating Hunter Biden since 2018, with President Biden leaving U.S. Attorney David Weiss in Delaware in his post to finish the case. Republicans complained the department was protecting the younger Biden before he was charged, and when he reached a plea agreement with Weiss’s team, Republicans called it a sweetheart deal. 

“The prosecution only moved forward on these gun charges after a judge rejected the sweetheart deal,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), one of Trump’s allies in the Senate, said Tuesday on social media. 

The House Judiciary Committee, led by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), on Tuesday highlighted complaints from Internal Revenue Service agents who’ve claimed the Justice Department stymied their investigation into Hunter Biden’s alleged tax crimes. (Other officials involved in the Biden case have disputed their claims.) Weiss and Hunter Biden’s legal team reached the plea deal shortly before the IRS agents’ complaints became public; the plea deal collapsed in court amid disagreement over whether Hunter Biden would be protected from future charges. 

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) told reporters the Hunter Biden verdict doesn’t undercut the Republicans’ “weaponization” claims because the evidence against Biden’s son was “overwhelming” while the material prosecutors are presenting against Donald Trump isn’t.

Graham and some other Republicans have said they’re uncomfortable with the gun charges against Biden, since it interferes with his Second Amendment rights. Biden’s legal team raised a similar defense, and a federal appeals court has even said the restriction on gun ownership for drug users is unconstitutional, but the judge in Hunter Biden’s case rejected that argument. 

“Most people in Delaware would have faced federal legal repercussions for tax evasion and would not have been prosecuted on the gun charges,” Graham said. 

“Hunter might deserve to be in jail for something, but purchasing a gun is not it,” said Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.). “There are millions of marijuana users who own guns in this country, and none of them should be in jail for purchasing or possessing a firearm against current laws.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), meanwhile, called Biden’s conviction “kinda dumb tbh” but didn’t elaborate.