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Presidential contender Tim Scott says he still believes the U.S. Department of Justice is treating Hunter Biden with "kid gloves," despite news last week that the president's son has been indicted on federal firearm charges.
Hunter Biden was charged by Special Counsel David Weiss with three offenses related to his purchase of a firearm in 2018. He is accused of possessing a firearm as an unlawful drug user and lying on purchase paperwork for the gun. The charges are felonies and could lead to multiple years imprisonment if convicted.
Scott, a Republican senator from South Carolina, for months has accused the Justice Department of improperly protecting the president's family. In an interview Monday, Scott told the Des Moines Register the new charges haven't changed his view.
"It seems like the DOJ continues to hunt Republicans by protecting Democrats," Scott said of Biden. "I can't think of an easier path they've given him than the one that we see today."
The Hunter Biden case has gone through several twists and turns, with prosecutors originally reaching a plea deal that would have seen Biden plead guilty to two tax offenses and the government agree not to prosecute the firearm case.
That deal fell apart after it became clear in a plea hearing that the parties disagreed over whether the deal would also immunize Biden to prosecution on other charges, including any related to his business dealings in Ukraine and elsewhere during his father's vice presidency.
After that deal collapsed, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland in August appointed Weiss as special counsel to continue pursuing the cases. Although Scott was among Republican legislators who had demanded the justice department do so in 2022, he condemned the appointment last month, pointing to the failed plea deal to say Weiss "cannot be trusted."
USA Today Network: Latest Tim Scott news and information
Scott said Monday he believes prosecutors should be investigating further into Hunter Biden's dealing with the Ukrainian gas company Burisma, although he did not identify any other charges he believes would be appropriate.
"They've had the case and the evidence since 2019," he said, pointing to investigations by Sen. Chuck Grassley and Rep. James Comer. "They should look forward and find the charges and not rush to a simple one or two charges when there may be evidence that suggests there's more opportunities as well."
Weiss' team continues to investigate the president's son, and additional charges, including for the tax offenses that were part of the original plea deal, are still expected.
Are gun charges constitutional? Scott defers to prosecutor
Legal experts have pointed out that prosecutors very rarely bring the type of charges filed against Biden, and there also are widespread questions about whether the law in question is constitutional in light of a 2022 U.S. Supreme Court decision.
At least one federal appellate court, the conservative-leaning Fifth Circuit, has already ruled the law is unconstitutional in an unrelated case.
Scott often speaks on the campaign trail about his support for the Second Amendment and opposition to gun regulations, but asked if he believes the unlawful-drug-user law is constitutional, Scott deferred to Weiss.
"Obviously the prosecutors do (think the charges are constitutional)," Scott said. "There is absolutely a charge when you lie on a federal application."
Scott's comments come during a pass through Iowa that saw stops Monday in Nevada, Dodge Center and Mason City. He also spoke Saturday in Dubuque and was one of the candidates featured at the Iowa Faith & Freedom banquet in Des Moines.
In recent polls, Scott has ranked third among Republican caucus voters in Iowa, behind Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis. In an August Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom Iowa Poll, Scott received 9% support.
This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Tim Scott still says Justice Department going easy on Hunter Biden