Republican Senator John Kennedy said Hunter Biden‘s plea deal over tax and weapons allegations was “very good” and that the president’s son “sucked it up like a Hoover Deluxe” when asked about whether he thought it was fair.
The junior senator for Louisiana said that if he was Biden’s lawyer, he would have advised him to “take it before they change their mind” when stopped by reporters on Tuesday, referring to the deal.
Earlier that day, the Department of Justice charged Hunter Biden with failure to pay income tax and the illegal possession of a weapon. In an agreement reached with his lawyers, prosecutors allowed him to plead guilty to a misdemeanor tax offense while avoiding another charge, provided he adheres to conditions set by a court.
Following a federal investigation into Biden’s tax affairs, court documents allege that he failed to pay over $200,000 in income taxes in 2017 and 2018, the Associated Press reported. Biden also allegedly owned a firearm while a drug user, which is prohibited by law.
“I know Hunter believes it is important to take responsibility for these mistakes he made during a period of turmoil and addiction in his life,” his lawyer, Christopher Clark, told the AP. “He looks forward to continuing his recovery and moving forward.”
House Republicans have been investigating Hunter and the wider Biden family’s financial dealings, and many on the right expressed outrage at what they characterized as a “sweetheart” deal. House Oversight Committee chair James Comer, who is leading the investigation into the Bidens, called the deal a “slap on the wrist.”
Legal experts, however—including former President Donald Trump‘s lawyer Alan Dershowitz—have argued that the agreement was “fair” and expected in similar cases where the defendant did not share the president’s surname.
Asked if he thought the deal was a fair one, Kennedy said: “I don’t know. I don’t know the facts. I just know the Justice Department—I think this is an objective fact—they’ve made him a very good deal and he sucked it up like a Hoover Deluxe. I can’t blame him.”
The GOP senator—who switched parties in 2007 and has no relation to President John F. Kennedy’s family—added that if he had been Hunter Biden’s lawyer, “based on what I know about the case…I’d say ‘Man, take it; take it before they change their mind.’”
Kennedy asked if Hunter plea deal was fair: “I don’t know. I don’t know the facts. I just know DOJ gave him a good deal, and he sucked it up like a Hoover Deluxe. I can’t blame him.” pic.twitter.com/zIrTi3fTf6
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) June 21, 2023
Newsweek reached out to Clark via email for comment.
Any plea deal will still have to be approved by a federal judge, who will be ultimately responsible for setting any punishment. But the documents filed on Tuesday do not technically count as an indictment and are unlikely to see Biden in the dock at a jury trial.
The deal does, however, pose a challenge to President Joe Biden, who recently announced his intention to run for a second term and is neck-and-neck with likely Republican rival Trump in the latest polls. As the 2024 election race ramps up and the House investigation proceeds, the guilty plea may be a recurring talking point for Republicans.
The Trump campaign has already contrasted the image of a supposedly lenient deal with the criminal indictments the former president is facing and has framed it as a politically-motivated “witch hunt.” Trump denies any wrongdoing in the case.
Stephanie Cutter, a Democratic strategist, told the AP that the deal “shows that no one is above the law and what taking responsibility looks like,” adding that “the MAGA echo chamber will continue to obsess over Hunter as they have for years, but those aren’t President Biden’s voters.”
The White House said President Biden would not be commenting on the specific charges, but that he and his wife, Jill Biden “love their son and support him as he continues to rebuild his life.”
The DOJ investigation, which began in 2018, is separate from the probe focused on Hunter and Joe Biden by House Republicans, who are investigating whether the president used his position as then-vice president to influence his son’s business dealings in Eastern Europe.
They have already accused Hunter Biden and other family members of receiving millions of dollars from foreign sources from 2009 to 2017.
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