Hunter Biden’s conviction shatters Trump’s narrative of persecution



CNN

Two weeks of unprecedented legal drama that resulted in historic convictions against a former president and the son of a sitting president also produced clear policy conclusions.

The survival of America’s rule of law and intact justice could depend on the choice voters make in November.

The country’s possible divergent paths under President Joe Biden or presumptive Republican Party nominee Donald Trump were highlighted in how the men, their families and their political operations reacted to the two trials and verdicts..

Hunter Biden’s guilty verdict punctuates a long, difficult saga for the president’s family

Biden has made no effort to interfere in the prosecution of his son Hunter, neither with his executive authority nor with the media megaphone of his office. He allowed his own Justice Department to secure a guilty verdict Tuesday that could result in prison time for the recovering addict and damage his own 2024 campaign. “I will accept the outcome of this case and I “will continue to respect the legal process while Hunter considers an appeal,” the president said after the jury found his son guilty of lying on a federal background check form and possessing a firearm while addicted to or using illegal drugs. He has already stated that he will not pardon his son. In his first reaction to the verdict, Hunter Biden did not attack the judge or prosecutors, saying only that he was grateful for his family’s love and support and that he was lucky to be sober again .



01:37 – Source: CNN

CNN Reporter Describes Jill Biden’s Reaction to Hunter Biden Verdict

The Bidens’ contribution contrasts with Trump’s reaction to his own trial and conviction nearly two weeks ago in his hush money case. The ex-president attacked witnesses, prosecutors, jurors and the judge. He claimed that “this was done by (the) Biden administration with the intention of harming or injuring a political opponent.” He blasted “a rigged decision,” despite the fact that the Justice Department was not involved in the case brought by the Manhattan district attorney. Since then, Trump has warned that he will use his presidential powers to punish his political opponents and bend the justice system to his will.

“Sometimes revenge can be justified,” Trump told TV psychologist Phil McGraw last week. “I have to be honest. You know, sometimes it’s possible. The former president told Fox News last week, ‘I would have every right to sue them,’ referring to the Bidens.

Throughout his trial in Manhattan, his former hometown, Trump insisted he could not get a fair verdict in a city that votes overwhelmingly Democratic. But Delaware is a blue state — and a jury just convicted the president’s son. One juror told CNN on Tuesday that politics never came up during deliberations. Jurors in Trump’s trial have yet to speak, perhaps out of fear of being identified following the ex-president’s intimidation tactics.

Had Biden been acquitted, Republicans surely would have argued that a biased jury in a state where everyone seems to know the first family had proven their point. But the guilty verdict blew up another of their political arguments.

Joe Biden came to office pledging to restore the independence of the Justice Department following Trump’s repeated efforts to use its legal and investigative powers almost like a personal law firm during his term. But the former president left no doubt that he would do the same and more if he regained the White House in November and ignore the Justice Department’s core mission of making apply the law with “independence and impartiality”. Trump has already vowed to go after Biden and his family and “wipe out” what he calls “the deep state.” Several outside groups have developed plans to help.

Hunter Biden’s verdict also contradicted the central logic of Trump’s multiple legal defenses in his four criminal cases, several civil cases and his entire presidential campaign. It is the misconception that he is the victim of a legal system weaponized by a Justice Department that exclusively targets Republicans.

“So much for weaponizing the Justice Department to only go after the enemies of the other side,” Michael Zeldin, a former senior Justice Department official and federal prosecutor, said Tuesday on CNN Max. “This is a testament to the fact that the Department of Justice led by (Attorney General Merrick) Garland is doing its best to head straight to the middle as it should and bring to justice the people it believes deserve to be pursued.”

The notion of Justice Department neutrality was reinforced by post-trial comments from David Weiss, the Trump-appointed U.S. attorney in Delaware, whom Garland elevated to special counsel to avoid any impression of political bias . Weiss thanked the attorney general for allowing him to act independently. And, he added, at the end of two busy weeks that dragged the justice system into toxic political waters, that “no one in this country is above the law.” Everyone must be responsible for their actions, even this accused. However, Weiss added: “Hunter Biden should be no more responsible than any other citizen found guilty of this same conductor. »

Ken Buck, a former Republican congressman, told CNN’s Erin Burnett that Joe Biden handled the painful issue of his son’s trial and conviction appropriately. “(He did) a great job of trying to stay above the fry and recognizing that his Justice Department was in a very difficult position. People are looking at this case and realizing that it was conducted independently and fairly.

Julian Zelizer, a Princeton University history professor and CNN political analyst, said the criminal convictions of Trump and Hunter Biden reflected the enormous stakes in the November election. “Not only is (Joe Biden) saying the decision also comes from the courts, but he’s not saying he’s going to use presidential power to grant a pardon one way or another. And you compare that with the former president who attacked the justice system. He questioned its legitimacy. Zelizer added: “Voters will have to make a choice. What kind of answer do they want? And what kind of person do they want in the Oval Office in January 2025? »

The idea that the Justice Department only goes after Republicans is not only borne out by Hunter Biden’s gun conviction and the impending tax trial that awaits him in september. The Democratic senator. Robert Menendez, of New Jersey, is on trial in New York for bribery and corruption. The Justice Department in May indicted another well-known Democrat, Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas and his wife for allegedly accepting approximately $600,000 from a state-owned Azerbaijani oil company and a Mexican bank in exchange for official acts as a member of Congress. Both Democrats have maintained their innocence.

Nonetheless, House Republicans are expected to hold a vote Wednesday on whether to hold Garland in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over audio recordings of President Biden’s interviews with former special counsel Robert Hur. Biden claimed executive privilege over the records.

Democratic Representative. Jamie Raskin highlighted the contrast between Trump and Biden. “Republicans are attacking our entire justice system and the rule of law because they don’t like the way a case was resolved. While the son of the President of the United States is being prosecuted and I don’t hear a single Democrat crying foul,” the Maryland Democrat said.

Yet one of the lessons of the Trump era is that the truth rarely matters. Revealing inconvenient facts never penetrates the echo chamber that dominates Republican politics and conservative media. So, rather than being chastised by the collapse of Trump’s persecution narrative and successful application of the rule of law in a criminal trial, Trump supporters in Congress simply used Biden’s verdict to evoke a new series of lies and conspiracy theories.

House Oversight Chairman James Comer said the Delaware lawsuit was “a step toward accountability.” But the Kentucky Republican warned that Justice Department officials continued to “cover up for the Big Guy, Joe Biden.” Comer repeated his accusations that the president profited from his son’s ethically questionable business operations in Ukraine and China while his father was vice president, despite the failure of his commission and the Republican Party’s impeachment inquiry of the House of Representatives to find such evidence.

House Speaker Mike Johnson has taken a similar approach. “We will continue to demand accountability for the Biden family’s corrupt business dealings,” said the Louisiana Republican, a staunch Trump supporter despite the ex-president’s loss in a recent civil case that found that he, his adult sons and his organization had committed massive insurance and bank fraud. Stephen Miller, Trump’s former White House domestic policy adviser, argued that the Justice Department actually showed favoritism toward Hunter Biden by not charging him with 50 felonies for peddling foreign influence. The department should “tell him that his only way out of prison is to testify against the BIG GUY,” Miller said on X.

Some of the GOP reaction to Biden becoming a convicted felon was bizarre. One of Trump’s strongest supporters, Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene wrongly suggested on X that a verdict produced by a jury of her peers was some sort of elaborate conspiracy. “Hunter Biden just became the deep state’s sacrificial lamb to show that justice is ‘balanced’ while Biden’s other crimes go ignored,” she wrote on X.

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