- Prosecutors are nearing a charging decision in the Hunter Biden case, The Washington Post reported.
- An indictment would mark the biggest test yet of Joe Biden’s pledge to maintain a firewall between the White House and DOJ.
- It would also come as the president kicks off his 2024 reelection campaign.
Federal prosecutors are close to reaching a final decision on whether to indict President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, on tax and and gun-related charges.
That’s according to The Washington Post, which reported that the younger Biden’s lawyers met with the US attorney for Delaware, David Weiss, at Justice Department headquarters last week. It’s likely that Biden’s attorneys urged prosecutors not to bring criminal charges against Hunter Biden, and The Post reported that these types of meetings typically come near the end of an investigation.
An indictment against Biden would take place against the backdrop of his father’s 2024 campaign; the elder Biden formally launched his reelection campaign last week, and criminal charges against his son would mark the biggest test yet of Biden’s pledge to restore independence to the Justice Department following the Trump era.
It would also give fresh ammunition to congressional Republicans who are investigating the Biden family’s potential financial conflicts of interest, and who have long pointed to Hunter Biden’s activities as being an ethical and national security risk.
A lawyer for Hunter Biden and a spokesperson for the president did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.
The Hunter Biden investigation has been underway for nearly four years, and he first announced the existence of the probe in December 2020.
“I learned yesterday for the first time that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Delaware advised my legal counsel, also yesterday, that they are investigating my tax affairs,” he said in a statement at the time. “I take this matter very seriously but I am confident that a professional and objective review of these matters will demonstrate that I handled my affairs legally and appropriately, including with the benefit of professional tax advisors.”
CNN reported prosecutors started investigating Biden’s taxes in 2018 but temporarily halted the inquiry because of Justice Department rules barring prosecutors from taking actions that could influence the outcome of an election. The US attorney’s office in Delaware told prosecutors after the election that they could resume the probe and take overt investigative steps.
While the case initially centered on Biden’s taxes, it expanded to focus on whether he failed to report all his income and whether he lied on paperwork linked to a gun purchase in 2018. In October, The Post reported that prosecutors believed they had enough evidence to charge the president’s son with tax crimes and with making a false statement related to the gun purchase.
But some law enforcement officials have grown frustrated recently as the investigation has taken longer than they thought it would, Wednesday’s report said.
Attorney General Merrick Garland, meanwhile, previously testified to Congress that the investigation would be free from political interference. He recently reiterated that pledge in response to an IRS supervisor’s claim that the inquiry was being mishandled.
A lawyer for the supervisor said in a letter to lawmakers last month that his client was overseeing an “ongoing and sensitive investigation of a high-profile, controversial subject since early 2020 and would like to make protected whistleblower disclosures to Congress.” The letter did not name the subject, but ABC News reported that lawmakers had been made aware that the individual was Hunter Biden.
The letter went on to say that the agent’s disclosures would “contradict sworn testimony to Congress by a senior political appointee”; involved a “failure to mitigate clear conflicts of interest in the ultimate disposition of the case”; and laid out “examples of preferential treatment and politics improperly infecting decisions and protocols that would normally be followed by career law enforcement professionals in similar circumstances if the subject were not politically connected.”
Garland rejected those claims after congressional Republicans publicized them, saying he stood by his previous testimony.
“Yes, it’s still the case I stand by my testimony, and I refer you to the US attorney for the District of Delaware who is in charge of this case and capable of making any decisions that he feels are appropriate,” the attorney general said.