Files Show Politics Permeated Hunter Biden-Justice Talks

Lawyer warned president could take the stand in a trial
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 20, 2023 2:55 PM CDT
Files Show Politics Permeated Hunter Biden-Justice Talks
President Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrive at Reno-Tahoe International Airport on Friday in Reno, Nevada, for a vacation in the area.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

As Hunter Biden's lawyers argued with the Justice Department to dissuade it from filing charges, one of them slipped a bombshell into a 32-page letter. Should Hunter Biden be charged, Chris Clark wrote, "President Biden now unquestionably would be a fact witness for the defense in any criminal trial." The letter and more than 300 pages of emails and documents illustrate how negotiations on a plea deal for the president's son fell apart, Politico reports, and the ways political considerations were raised in the legal negotiations.

Biden's team maintained that pressure from Republicans in Congress was affecting prosecutors' decisions, especially after the Washington Post reported last fall that US agents said they had the evidence to charge Hunter Biden with illegally buying a gun as a drug user. Clark wrote that the leak by investigators was illegal and would make prosecution appear politically driven, risking constitutional tumult by having the president work against his own Justice Department. "This of all cases justifies neither the spectacle of a sitting President testifying at a criminal trial nor the potential for a resulting Constitutional crisis," Clark wrote.

The legal team for the president's son brought 100 PowerPoint slides to an April 2022 meeting with prosecutors, the first of which was about Donald Trump's impeachment trial and regular accusations that Hunter Biden was a criminal. They argued that bringing tax charges would make it appear prosecturors had caved to Trump's pressure campaign, which the lawyers said would be "devastating to the reputation" of the Justice Department, per Politico. The charges were filed in June. The plea deal crumbled in July, and prosecutor David Weiss was named special counsel in the case. Clark withdrew from the case last week, saying he might have to testify in a trial. (More Hunter Biden stories.)

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