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Hunter Biden
Hunter Biden is on trial this week in Delaware. Matt Rourke/AP

Republicans Insist the DOJ Is Biden’s Political Tool — Even With Hunter Biden on Trial

“One guy is investigating his political opponent, and the other guy is not doing that and has never proposed doing that,” Sen. J.D. Vance told NOTUS.

The fact that President Joe Biden’s son is currently on trial hasn’t stopped Republicans from saying there’s a two-tiered justice system targeting former President Donald Trump.

“One guy is investigating his political opponent, and the other guy is not doing that and has never proposed doing that,” Sen. J.D. Vance told NOTUS on Tuesday. (Trump claimed over the weekend that he did not call for then-opponent Hillary Clinton to be jailed; he did.)

Republicans have consistently said the conviction of former President Donald Trump is evidence of an unfair justice system. They’ve continued to make that argument this week after the trial closed and another historic trial began: the case against Hunter Biden in Wilmington, Delaware.

While Democratic lawmakers point to the ongoing indictments against Hunter Biden and other Democrats as proof that the system is not being weaponized against Trump — a small political upside to a difficult situation for the president — Republicans say the circumstances only bolster their argument that their party is being treated unfairly.

“Do you think that [Hunter’s] trial is being prosecuted at the same level, with the same persistence and the same ferocity as perhaps Alvin Bragg engaged in it?” Republican Rep. Marc Molinaro told NOTUS, referring to the district attorney in Trump’s recent hush money case. “If he committed a crime, he should be prosecuted. There’s no contortion to do that. What occurred in New York City is legal contortionism at its worst.”

Several GOP lawmakers argued that if it hadn’t been for investigations by House Oversight and House Judiciary Committees into Hunter Biden, the trial might not be happening at all.

“The Department of Justice had this crazy sweetheart plea deal for Hunter a year and a half ago that you can only get if your last name is Biden,” Florida Rep. Byron Donalds said. “They were basically going to bring this gun charge down to a misdemeanor. They’ve already allowed some of his tax evasion to expire, and he was gonna walk away clean. The only reason that didn’t happen is because we exposed them.”

It was more complicated, though: Hunter Biden’s attorneys and the government initially reached a plea deal in the case. However, it fell apart in court over whether it would have involved immunity for other matters, leading to a trial.

Democrats, meanwhile, pointed to the Hunter Biden trial and other Democrats being prosecuted by the Justice Department as proof that the administration isn’t pulling punches for its allies. And they largely defended the president for how he’s handled the situation as both a father and leader.

“There’s the Hunter Biden investigation and prosecution. [Bob] Menendez is being prosecuted; he’s a Democrat. [Henry] Cuellar has been indicted,” Democratic Rep. Glenn Ivey told NOTUS. “There’s just so many examples on the other side. It’s kind of hard to hear that argument from Republicans with a straight face.”

The Hunter Biden trial “shows that no one is above the law,” said Rep. Steven Horsford.

“Hunter Biden will have to go through the same process, to have his defense team present their case, and a jury of his peers will make the decision just like in Donald Trump’s case,” he said.

The president said Monday that he would avoid any involvement in his son’s trial, though he and his aides have reportedly been worried about the potential for jail time.

“I am the president, but I am also a dad,” he said in a statement. “Jill and I love our son, and we are so proud of the man he is today. … As the president, I don’t and won’t comment on pending federal cases, but as a dad, I have boundless love for my son, confidence in him and respect for his strength.”

Several Democrats said the president is making the right decision politically.

“Biden absolutely has the right approach,” Democratic Whip Rep. Katherine Clark told NOTUS. “This is a state criminal conviction that was brought by a state prosecutor and the president has rightly said, ‘The rule of law can apply, and I will let that process play out without political interference.’”

“Biden is taking it how any father would, but I don’t think he’s going too far by trying to sway decisions in any way,” Ohio Rep. Shontel Brown said. “I absolutely support his love for his son.”

Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, who saw the president at a Connecticut campaign fundraiser on Monday night, said he’s doing well emotionally — and continuing to talk about Trump’s attacks on the justice system.

“He’s in great spirits and had a great showing in Connecticut. I thought he had a really sharp message,” Murphy said. “He’s very focused on raising this issue of risk to democracy and the rule of law if these Republican attacks on the New York court case are impactful.”

Calen Razor is a NOTUS reporter and an Allbritton Journalism Institute fellow.