In the realm of politics today, there exist two distinct Americas, each harboring its own set of grievances and suspicions. One segment is deeply distressed and appalled by the 91 federal and state criminal charges looming over the former President, Donald Trump. They perceive this as the result of a vast conspiracy masterminded by what they view as a politicized Department of Justice under President Joe Biden’s leadership.
Conversely, the other America firmly believes that this very Department of Justice has spent an unfair five years relentlessly pursuing Hunter Biden, the President’s son, for alleged misconduct related to his tax affairs and his past struggles as a self-proclaimed, repentant drug addict. In essence, both sides of the political spectrum contend that the department responsible for upholding the nation’s laws has fallen under the sway of its ideological opponents and has become irreversibly entangled in politics.
In response to the news of Hunter Biden’s indictment on three federal gun-related charges, his legal counsel fired back by accusing the prosecutor of yielding to “improper and partisan interference” from Republicans who support Donald Trump. On the other side of the aisle, Andy Biggs, a conservative member of Congress, suggested that these charges were merely a smokescreen to create the illusion of impartiality within the justice department. He stated, “Don’t fall for it. They’re trying to protect him from way more serious charges coming his way!” via X, previously known as Twitter.
While Hunter Biden’s legal issues are undoubtedly a personal setback for his father and family, their implications extend far beyond their immediate circle. Republicans have long regarded the President’s son as a potential vulnerability. Exploiting this vulnerability not only has the potential to provoke a strong reaction from Joe Biden but also serves as a means to divert attention from their own challenges regarding legal issues surrounding Donald Trump.
Moreover, it’s worth noting that a substantial portion of Democrats, when asked, do not express enthusiasm about Joe Biden’s candidacy for the 2024 presidential race. For some, Hunter Biden’s troubles provide yet another reason to push for the 80-year-old President to make way for the next generation.
All these dynamics collectively signify that the outcome of Hunter Biden’s case will be a pivotal factor in what promises to be a tumultuous election year. However, Republicans find themselves in a somewhat precarious position. While it is true that the three felony charges related to firearms are serious, and further charges might surface in connection to Hunter Biden’s tax matters and foreign dealings, none of it currently appears to approach the scale and quantity of alleged crimes associated with Donald Trump.
Hence, any attempt by Republicans to weaponize Hunter Biden’s legal issues might inadvertently invite comparisons between the two cases. Additionally, Democrats are likely to emphasize that Hunter Biden is not a candidate for any public office, let alone the presidency of the United States.
An intriguing aspect of Hunter Biden’s legal situation is that his lawyers appear to believe that the previously collapsed plea deal from July could potentially be revived. They also suggest that recent expansions of Second Amendment rights by various courts might factor into his defense. After all, there is nothing in the Constitution that bars individuals with a history of drug addiction from bearing arms. This irony isn’t lost, given the general stance of most Democrats on gun control.
The indictment against Hunter Biden was unveiled just days after Kevin McCarthy, the Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, announced an impeachment inquiry into President Biden—a move that the White House promptly dismissed as a political maneuver. McCarthy cited “serious and credible allegations” related to the Biden family’s business dealings and the President’s conduct. Republicans are hopeful that this new inquiry will implicate the President in allegations of power abuse and corruption.
However, to date, seven months of investigations into Hunter Biden have yielded only fragments of information from former business associates, an FBI informant, and a couple of IRS agents. Nothing substantial has emerged that could be considered a smoking gun. It remains uncertain whether, as subpoenas start flying, the slim Republican majority in the House would secure an impeachment vote if the inquiry reaches that stage.
What is undeniably clear is that the once well-defined boundary between the political and legal systems has become increasingly blurred. According to Randy Zelin, an adjunct professor of law at Cornell Law School, “Somebody woke up one day and said, boy I have a new toy and that is called the federal criminal justice system, where I’m going to use the criminal system to punish people who don’t agree with my politics.” He goes on to express deep concern about how this ongoing battle is tearing the country apart.