Hunter Biden’s family has banded together for his trial. A bigger challenge awaits you.

WILMINGTON, Del. – Moments after a jury convicted him of three felony gun charges, Hunter Biden vowed to family members and friends who had attended nearly every day of his weeklong trial that the verdict “will not stop us from moving forward”.

The small group was gathered in the defense room, a few steps from the courtroom where they had just learned their fate. Hunter Biden choked up when he pointed the finger at his parents and his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden.

Without it, he said, “I would be dead.”

First lady Jill Biden appeared to cry, as did several others in the room.

“We were hopeful,” said one person in the room. “We believed there were strong defenses that would resonate with at least some jurors.”

This conviction shook the close-knit Biden family. President Joe Biden changed his plans and flew to Wilmington to join his son, who met him on the airport tarmac and hugged him.

Despite the brave faces put on publicly by father and son on Tuesday, the road ahead could become even more difficult for both men – personally, politically and legally.

Hours after the verdict, Republicans were already telegraphing that even though they had held their fire during a trial dealing with the sensitive issue of drug addiction, they would not spare themselves when attention turned to a possible tax case including the trial would be scheduled for September.

“This trial has been nothing more than a distraction from the true crimes of the Biden Crime Family,” Karoline Leavitt, a campaign spokeswoman for former President Donald Trump, said in a statement.

Biden aides are already looking forward to this. As gun trial highlights humiliating and personal family dynamics and history, California trial on tax evasion charges could reveal controversial information about Hunter Biden’s business dealings, which Republicans have long sought to link to his father, without proof.

The timing of the trial raises the stakes. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for mid-August, just before the Democratic National Convention, with jury selection beginning weeks later, when Biden and Trump would meet for their second and final debate. A verdict could be reached as early voting begins in some key states ahead of the November election.

Close Biden aides and allies say family issues are among the most sensitive topics for those working in the White House and on the campaign — and that scrutiny will only intensify as attention grows. now turns to the September trial. Conversations about public comments regarding the family are usually handled through “discreet channels,” a former aide said. And only a select few are allowed to write statements to the media.

A former Biden campaign official said: “Issues involving family have always been so paramount to Joe Biden, so any issue involving family, particularly if it’s in the public eye, was going to be something that would be handled with the greatest care. You just didn’t want to shoot from the hip on something involving family. If they saw it and weren’t happy with it, it wouldn’t be good.

A former White House official said that could complicate communication around the fall trial, due to the Bidens’ tendency to sharply limit comments on sensitive family matters.

“If they don’t speak, others will, and so the void is filled, the story is told in a narrative that is not shaped by the campaign” or by the White House, the former said responsible. “And I’m sure Democrats everywhere will be wringing their hands. Can I say something? Can I react?

The president changed his plans and flew to Wilmington, Del., to be with his son after Tuesday’s verdict.Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Biden released only written statements at the beginning and end of his son’s first trial. Both stressed that he would “respect the legal process” when it comes to his son – just as he said in a statement after Trump was convicted in a New York trial.

But let’s stop the similarities there.

Biden and his re-election campaign mocked Trump as a “convicted felon.” They used his conviction in New York on 34 counts to raise money for the Biden campaign. And they pointed to it to argue that Trump is unfit to serve another term in the White House.

The Biden campaign plans to keep its distance from Hunter Biden’s legal troubles, although its approach toward Trump is unlikely to change.

“Republicans have been trying to attack Hunter Biden and tie him to his father for about five years now, and it has never been effective,” said Josh Schwerin, a Democratic strategist. “If anything, it will simply show that the legal system is not rigged against Donald Trump, that there is no two-tiered justice system like Trump is trying to say, and that undermines his main defensive argument.”

As much as Trump and his allies try to tie the president to Hunter Biden’s tax burdens, the president and his allies will try to separate the two. His team will also repeatedly seek to distinguish between criminal charges brought against a candidate for the White House and those brought against a relative of a candidate running for the same office.

“It’s obviously a horrible day for Hunter and a bad day for the Biden family, but as they have in past tragedies, a lot of them, unfortunately, is that they will be there for each other others,” said Bill Russo, who worked in Biden’s vice presidential office, on his 2020 campaign and at the State Department.

Russo, however, pointed to Republicans’ disjointed reaction to the verdict as an indication that the opposing side didn’t exactly view Hunter Biden’s guilty verdict as a victory.

“If your political response to this is to attack the DOJ and lash out, that doesn’t mean you view this as some sort of political win,” Russo said.

House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., reacted quickly to the verdict Tuesday, saying it was “a step toward accountability,” but he said the Department of Justice continues to “cover for the big guy, Joe Biden.”

Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa, who represents a more politically competitive seat, was more measured even as she walked a fine line with her party’s nominee.

“I think for most of us who want to have confidence in the criminal justice system, that’s reassuring, especially given what happened in New York last week with President Trump,” he said. she declared.

For Democrats, the most important question may be how the weight of Tuesday’s convictions will add to the burden on a family that has already endured tragedy in the public eye and for a president in particular, as he prepares to a debate in two weeks against Trump. this could be a turning point in his final campaign.

The uncertainty over whether Hunter Biden will go to prison in either case weighs heavily on the first family. Two of the gun-related charges carry a maximum prison sentence of 10 years, while the third carries a maximum sentence of five years.

One supporter noted how difficult it was for the president to watch his son endure the public airing of his personal struggles. But the way Joe Biden handled the accusations publicly, respecting the outcome and promising not to intervene, was proof, his supporter said, that the president was more concerned with protecting the country.

“He knows how he feels as a parent for his son. He is proud of the fact that [Hunter Biden’s] was strong enough to recover, but at the same time, Biden showed his true colors when it came to integrity,” the supporter said. “He understands that the choices he makes as president could seriously harm the rule of law. He said from the beginning that he would not intervene and never did. »

A source close to the family who was at the courthouse Tuesday said the family “cares deeply about his service to this country” and would rally around each other.

“Nothing will stop them,” they said.

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