Will the Hunter Biden Gun Trial Impact the Presidential Race?

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

The Hunter Biden trial starts on Monday and some Republicans have high hopes that it will reflect badly on Joe Biden and impact the presidential race. However, the fact is that voters' attitude toward the younger Biden are baked into the race already. Barring major revelations (and none are expected), the trial will reflect badly on Hunter Biden but not his father.

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The tax evasion trial set for September is going to be far more explosive. It wouldn't be surprising if the younger Biden's attorneys try to delay the trial until after the election.

By contrast, the gun trial is going to be boring. Hunter Biden is charged "with making a false statement in the purchase of a firearm; making a false statement related to information required to be kept by a licensed firearm dealer; and one count of possession of a firearm by a person who is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance," according to Fox News.  

Few voters are going to hold Joe Biden responsible for his son's drug addiction, which will be prominently featured by both the defense and the prosecution. The case may even elicit some sympathy for the president. But Hunter Biden is facing other, far more serious charges, including the charge that he perjured himself while testifying to Congress.

Lost in the shuffle will be how this trial and the tax evasion trial came into being in the first place. The younger Biden had a sweetheart deal with prosecutors that would have kept him out of jail on the gun charge and given him probation for evading $1.4 million in taxes. It would have basically wiped the slate clean, giving Biden 2 years probation for felony gun possession and serious tax delinquency.

U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika questioned the deal, and the plea agreement fell apart. A few weeks later, David Weiss, the Trump-nominated U.S. attorney in Delaware, was named as a special counsel.

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Hunter Biden was then indicted on the gun charges and Weiss charged him with tax evasion.

The bad blood between Biden's attorneys and the prosecutors will be on full display during the trial as the younger Biden's lawyers think Weiss double-crossed them. Chris Clark, one of Biden's attorneys, resigned because of his involvement in negotiating the sweetheart deal.

“Mr. Biden is not being prosecuted for any sin that DOJ (the Department of Justice) believes he has committed. He is being punished for the perceived sins of his father — the sin of opposing Mr. Trump’s election to the president,” according to court papers filed by Hunter Biden's attorney, Abbe Lowell, who accuses Weiss of bowing to "political pressure" to indict the president's son.

Associated Press:

Prosecutors say Lowell’s contention is “fiction designed for a Hollywood script.”

“Contrary to his assertion, he has not established that the Special Counsel, appointed by and serving at the pleasure of President Biden and his Attorney General, is punishing the defendant ‘for the perceived sins of his father’ in order to capitulate to a former President because of his tweets,” Weiss’ team responded.

Weiss has said “political considerations” played no part in the investigation. He told lawmakers behind closed doors last year that that no one at the Justice Department prevented him from pursuing charges or taking other necessary steps, disputing claims from two IRS whistleblowers that the department improperly interfered in the tax investigation.

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Weiss, you'll recall, is also accused of putting his thumb on the scale in the matter of Biden's confused, addled testimony in the classified documents case. 

Hunter Biden has said he's been sober since 2019, a claim that prosecutors won't challenge but will use to show that Biden made a false statement on the application for a firearm license regarding his addiction to cocaine. 

Biden also owes his ex-wife millions in alimony, penalties, and interest. She is set to testify after finding the gun in Biden's truck and disposing of it. Other witnesses might include Beau Biden's widow, with whom Hunter had a relationship after his brother's death in 2015.

The trail will generate few headlines. The media will see to that. But whatever coverage the media will grant the trial, it will likely be sympathetic and respectful of Joe Biden's feelings. 

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