On Thursday, a grand jury delivered an indictment against the president's son, Hunter Biden, over three firearm-related felony charges.
The indictment was brought by Special Counsel David Weiss and filed in a federal court in Delaware, the court documents, published by The Hill, show.
The White House did not issue a comment but Hunter Biden’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, issued a statement, according to Politico.
“As expected, prosecutors filed charges today that they deemed were not warranted just six weeks ago following a five-year investigation into this case,” he said. “Hunter Biden possessing an unloaded gun for 11 days was not a threat to public safety, but a prosecutor, with all the power imaginable, bending to political pressure presents a grave threat to our system of justice.”
The attorney argued that the original plea deal that federal prosecutors struck with Biden over tax- and gun-related charges gives him immunity from new charges. The deal fell apart last month.
“We believe these charges are barred by the agreement the prosecutors made with Mr. Biden, the recent rulings by several federal courts that this statute is unconstitutional, and the facts that he did not violate that law, and we plan to demonstrate all of that in court,” Abbe said.
According to NBC News, the first two counts are related to Biden lying about not using illegal drugs on a required form before purchasing a Colt Cobra revolver. The third charge deals with his possession of the firearm while using controlled substances.
The charges together carry a maximum prison time of 25 years. Each count carries a $250,000 fine as well.
The charges coincide with the impeachment inquiry that House Republicans launched against President Joe Biden. The inquiry is focused on the Biden family’s business dealings with foreign countries. It will also look at whether Hunter Biden received special treatment amid the Justice Department investigations, as the Deseret News reported.
House Oversight Chairman James Comer, who has been leading the congressional investigations, said the indictment is “a very small start,” in a statement.
“But unless U.S. Attorney Weiss investigates everyone involved in the fraud schemes and influence peddling, it will be clear President Biden’s DOJ is protecting Hunter Biden and the big guy,” Comer, R-Ky., said.
The charges stem from allegations Biden lied about his drug usage on a form required for owning a firearm. Biden owned the gun for 11 days in 2018. He also allegedly underpaid his federal taxes by over $100,000 in both 2017 and 2018.
His plea deal came under jeopardy when Judge Maryellen Noreika questioned it over the summer and pointed to a congressional investigation into Biden, which was gaining momentum.
“It seems to me like you are saying ‘just rubber stamp the agreement, Your Honor.’ … This seems to me to be form over substance,” she said in July, asking for additional briefs.
A month later, Weiss, who launched the investigation into the president’s son in 2018, was appointed as special counsel. He said negotiations between Biden and federal prosecutors had come to an “impasse.”
Weiss launched the investigation into Hunter Biden in 2018. Recent testimony by IRS whistleblowers alleged that Weiss struggled to bring charges against Hunter Biden forward while being denied special counsel status last year.
But Weiss said in a letter to Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., that he did not request special counsel status, and had only discussed a “potential appointment.”
Top Republicans are casting doubt on Weiss’ ability to conduct the investigation. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said: “If Weiss negotiated the sweetheart deal that couldn’t get approved, how can he be trusted as a Special Counsel?”
Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham said that Weiss and his whole team are “compromised,” per CNN.