Republicans launch into Hunter Biden trial after week of revealing testimony | Hunter Biden

TThe picture of criminal behavior and dissolute lifestyle was painted last week in sometimes painfully frank testimony in a Delaware courtroom and would have been difficult for any defendant’s family to hear .

But Hunter Biden, the man in the dock in Wilmington, is no ordinary plaintiff; he is the son of the President of the United States.

Biden Jr., 54, went on trial last Monday facing three federal charges related to the illegal purchase and possession of a firearm while in the throes of a longtime drug addiction.

Throughout the week, debates put a microscope on the personal conductor of the oldest living presidential descendant.

A hometown jury heard details about his prior addiction to crack cocaine and how, in 2018 — as his father prepared to run for president — he bought a handgun while allegedly lying to a registered firearms dealer regarding his drug use. He then desperately tried to retrieve it from a trash can where his then lover, the widow of Joe Biden’s other son, Beau, who died in 2015, had thrown it in a panic.

The trial will continue next week, when Hunter’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, presents his defense. Still, the details of a president’s son’s misdirection should already be a windfall in an election year for Republicans, who have focused for years on Hunter Biden’s business interests and alleged wrongdoing in an effort to to politically discredit his father.

Instead, the trial presented Republicans with a difficult dilemma.

That this is happening undermines the now dominant narrative – dictated by Donald Trump and echoed in unison by his staunchest Republican supporters – of a Justice Department weaponized by the Biden administration to pursue its political opponents, Trump in head of them.

Trump, the former president and presumptive 2024 Republican nominee, amplified that claim after his recent conviction on 34 counts of falsifying documents to hide the payment of hush money to Stormy Daniels, a film actor for adults, to help him win the 2016 presidential election.

Yet Trump’s conviction was the result of a New York state prosecution by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who does not work under the Justice Department — while Hunter’s Biden is a federal prosecution brought by the department that is officially part of the Department of Justice. administration.

“The fact that the Justice Department is prosecuting Hunter Biden shows you that Trump’s argument that the Justice Department is a weapon is a raging lie,” said Rick Wilson, co-founder of the Lincoln Project, a group of anti-Trump former Republicans.

“It makes their base happy or excited, but it doesn’t move anyone else.” [with] the idea that Joe Biden was this criminal mastermind who protected his son. It just doesn’t hold up because Joe Biden is saying, “I love my child, but I’m not going to interfere in the matter because it’s inappropriate.” »

Joe Biden, who was in France to mark the anniversary of the D-Day landings, confirmed this week that he would not pardon Hunter if he was found guilty. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison, although such a sentence is highly unlikely for a nonviolent first-time offender.

If the president’s vow of non-pardon highlighted a vexing problem for Republicans trying to project Trump’s image of the “crooked Joe” and “the Biden crime family,” another was presented by the fact that the main charge against Hunter concerns violating gun laws, that the GOP favors keeping it as lenient as possible, contrasting with Democrats’ calls for tighter controls.

While on trial for violating federal gun background regulations, the Republican-led House of Representatives narrowly passed a measure this week that would exempt veterans who had been flagged to the FBI for mental health issues to be placed on the registry for such checks.

Larry Jacobs, a politics professor at the University of Minnesota, said the contradiction reveals an irrationality at the heart of the Republican argument.

“This is a story that contradicts a central point of the Republican policy agenda – that guns should be more readily available,” he said.

“And here Hunter Biden is given a gun and he’s being prosecuted for it. Instead of the right standing up and saying these are bogus prosecutions, it shows the overzealousness of the justice system, they are so locked into some sort of hatred against Biden that they can’t think clearly. »

Far from focusing on the merits of the case, some segments of the pro-Trump media have managed to put a sinister spin on the public support that Joe Biden and his wife, Jill – who attended the trial for several days this week – have brought to Hunter.

When a photo of the president and Hunter on a bike ride circulated last weekend, Greg Gutfeld, a Fox News host, speculated that Joe Biden was subliminally warning jurors.

“This photo is a message. This is Delaware for: Remember, jurors, I’m the president and I can always call the IRS,” Gutfield told viewers.

Fox legal analyst Jeanine Pirro accused Jill Biden of “using mob tactics” while appearing in court, saying it was intended to intimidate the jury, according to Media Matters for America, a watchdog group that has compiled a list of sound bites from conservative media. on the trial. This showed a trend of commentators trying to portray Joe and Jill Biden as subtly interfering in the debates.

Some Republican politicians have echoed this theme. Ted Cruz, the right-wing Republican senator from Texas, suggested on his podcast that the president engaged in “witness tampering” by recently visiting the home of Hallie Biden, Beau’s widow, who testified this week last as a prosecution witness.

Matt Gertz, senior researcher at Media Matters, said the sniping was intended to prepare for a possible acquittal. “Therefore, they sort of create some sort of explanation that fits their larger narrative,” Gertz said. The narrative, he said, depicts a justice system that punishes Republicans while letting Democrats escape unscathed.

Even though early polls show that Trump’s recent conviction may have given Joe Biden a marginal but potentially vital advantage – particularly among unaligned independent voters – there is no indication that a Hunter Biden conviction would work in the opposite direction.

“There doesn’t seem to be a connection at all,” said John Zogby, a veteran pollster and historian. “As far as independents go, I just don’t know if you really hear about Hunter.

“Another element here is that it is the president’s son, not the president himself, who is on trial. And I taught history for almost a quarter of a century. I don’t know of any case where a difficult child, a difficult sibling, or a difficult wife has actually hurt a president. [at the polls]”

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