Republicans attack justice system, echoing Trump, after Hunter Biden conviction

PHOENIX (AP) — Republicans respond to Hunter Biden’s remarks conviction on federal gun charges with a version of “Is that it?” »

Loyal to Donald Trump, they largely echoed the former president’s assertion that the Justice Department treated President Joe Biden’s son with kid gloves while pursue with zeal Asset. Capitalizing on the attention given to Hunter Biden’s conviction on charges related to purchasing a gun while he was a drug addict, they have pushed unsubstantiated or debunked claims that Joe Biden — while he was vice president – ​​had acted to promote the foreign business interests of his family members.

The GOP argument that Joe Biden is ordering prosecutors to target political opponents has been undermined by the Biden-led Justice Department pursuing the president’s son – with Biden refusing to stop the investigation or issue a pardon Hunter Biden. But in making this point, Republicans may be trying to move away from Trump’s stated intentions to use the criminal justice system against his opponents if he returns to the White House.

While president, Trump attempted to undermine the Justice Department’s investigation into his campaign’s alleged ties to Russia and pardoned a a series of former campaign aides, friends and donors. And during the election campaign, Trump repeatedly said declared himself the victim of a “rigged” system And promised to appoint a special prosecutor to target Biden and his family.

House Republicans voted on Wednesday to detain Attorney General Merrick Garland contempt of Congressfurther intensifying their battle with the Justice Department.

And Trump sent a fundraising email with the subject line “Take out the guillotine!” » The email claimed that Trump’s critics had a “sick dream” of seeing him beheaded, the latest example of Trump’s incendiary rhetoric since his hush money conviction.

In a deal with prosecutors last year, Hunter Biden was supposed to plead guilty to tax crimes and avoid prosecution in the gun case if he stayed out of trouble for two years. But the the deal collapsed After the judge, appointed by Trump, questioned unusual aspects of the proposed deal, lawyers were unable to resolve the issue.

He was convicted Tuesday and faces a potential sentence of 25 years in prison, although as a first-time offender he will likely face a much shorter sentence or avoid prison altogether.

He must still be tried in September in California for Accusations of non-payment of $1.4 million in taxes, and congressional Republicans have indicated they will continue to pursue him in their effort to impeach the president. The president has not been accused or charged with wrongdoing by prosecutors investigating his son.

Biden definitively ruled out pardoning his son during an ABC News interview last week. On Wednesday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre did not rule out the president issuing a possible commutation that could reduce or erase a sentence while leaving the conviction intact.

Hunter Biden’s conviction came weeks after a New York jury convicted Trump. guilty of 34 counts Linked to a hush money payment to a porn actor during the 2016 campaign. Trump falsely claims the verdict was “rigged.” Biden said he accepted his son’s verdict.

Trump’s campaign released a statement calling the Hunter Biden verdict “nothing more than a distraction from the true crimes of the Biden crime family.” Several of his allies followed him.

“Remember, this was Joe Biden’s corrupt Justice Department trying to negotiate outside immunity unrelated to this case,” the representative said. Elise Stefanik, Republican from New York and candidate for Trump’s vice-presidential running mate. “Today is the first step toward holding the Biden crime family accountable.”

Sen. JD Vance, an Ohio Republican and fellow vice presidential candidate, shared a message from Ohio Republican Senate candidate Bernie Moreno saying the gun charges were meant to “isolate and protect” the president.

Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson said the guilty verdict was “appropriate” and did not undermine his own. critical of a two-tiered justice system for Trump and the Bidens.

“Every case is different,” Johnson said. “And it’s clear that the evidence here was overwhelming.” I don’t think that’s the case in the Trump trial, and all the charges against him have obviously been for political purposes. Biden Hunter is a separate incident.

Democrats did not attack the Justice Department or the courts. Said the representative. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., the No. 3 House Democrat: “Hunter Biden sat before a jury of his peers, a verdict was reached, and House Democrats believe in the rule of law , and we therefore respect this decision.”

As president, Trump repeatedly sought to direct the criminal investigation into whether his 2016 presidential campaign conspired with Russia.

He fired the FBI director who led the investigation, reprimanded the attorney general he appointed to recuse himself from overseeing the investigation, and ordered his White House counsel to seek the adviser’s firing special Robert Mueller. These and other actions contributed to an investigation into whether he illegally sought to obstruct the Russia investigation; Mueller did find evidence of obstruction, but declined to determine whether Trump broke the law.

More recently, Trump and his allies have suggested that if elected, he might advocate jailing political opponents, something he advocated even before becoming president.

In an interview with Fox & Friends this month, he falsely claimed that he did not use the words “lock her up” in reference to Hillary Clinton and her 2016 opponent’s use of a private email server to transmit sensitive information as Secretary of State. He said he could have sought to have her imprisoned but that “would have been a terrible thing”.

He suggested things are different now that he faces four felony indictments, including the New York case that resulted in a conviction.

“And then this happened to me, and so I may feel differently about it,” he said.

The charges against Hunter Biden stem from a dark period in his life, during which he acknowledged a spiraling descent after the death of his brother, Beau Biden, from cancer in 2015. Jurors found him guilty of lying to a federally licensed gun dealer when he purchased a revolver in 2018, making a false statement on the application that he was not a drug user and that he illegally possessed the weapon for 11 days.

Many members of Trump’s Republican Party are strongly opposed to gun control and some of his supporters question whether Hunter Biden should have been tried on gun-related charges.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican and prominent Trump supporter, posted on X: “Hunter Biden’s gun conviction is kind of stupid. »

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told reporters at the Capitol that the gun charge was a “waste of time,” although he said other charges related to Hunter Biden’s taxes were “serious “.

“I just think he’s being punished,” Graham said, adding that the average person would be “put into drug diversion or something.”

Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., made similar comments.

“Hunter may deserve to be in jail for something, but buying a gun is not it,” Massie posted on X. “There are millions of marijuana users who own guns in this country, and none of them should be in prison for purchasing or possessing a firearm against the laws in force.

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Tucker reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Kevin Freking, Stephen Groves and Farnoush Amiri in Washington contributed to this report.

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