‘I’m very proud of my son’: Joe Biden defends son Hunter Biden after deal with DoJ to plead guilty to federal charges

President Joe Biden’s son will plead guilty to three federal charges, the Justice Department said in a court filing on Tuesday morning

Eric Garcia,Megan Sheets
Wednesday 21 June 2023 13:54 BST
Hunter Biden charged with federal tax, weapons offenses

President Joe Biden said he was proud of his son Hunter Biden, after the younger Mr Biden reached a plea deal with the Department of Justice, agreeing to plead guilty to federal charges following an investigation into his taxes.

The president responded to shouted questions from reporters in San Francisco, who asked if he had spoken to his son.

“I’m very proud of my son,” he said. He did not respond to a question about if he encouraged his son to take a guilty plea.

The president’s son will plead guilty to two federal charges, the Justice Department said in a court filing on Tuesday morning. Mr Biden has been the subject of not only the ongoing federal investigation but a focus of Republicans’ probe into the Biden administration.

A court filing from David Weiss, the US Attorney for District of Delaware, said that the president’s only living son will plea guilty to two federal charges of willful failure to pay federal income tax one charge of a firearm by a person who is “an unlawful user or addicted to a controlled substance.” At the time, Mr Biden, the sole surviving son of the president’s first marriage, was actively addicted to drugs.

“The parties jointly request that the Court schedule a consolidated Initial Appearance on the firearm Inform and an Initial Appearance and Change of Plea Hearing on the tax charges,” the filing said. Mr Weiss was appointed by former president Donald Trump and has been in charge of the probe into Mr Biden.

The case says that in 2017, Mr Biden had received taxable income in excess of $1.5m, with an excess of $100,000 that was taxable to the federal government, but he failed the pay it to the Internal Revenue Service by 17 April 2018. He reportedly failed to do the same the following year.

Mr Biden also agreed to a pretrial diversion agreement to regarding the firearm charge. According to the legal filing, Mr Biden knew he was an unlawful user of and addicted to a controlled substance and possessed a Colt Cobra 38SPL firearm, which was shipped through interstate commerce.

White House Spokesman Iam Sams put out a statement after the charges were made public.

“The President and First Lady love their son and support him as he continues to rebuild his life,” he said. “We will have no further comment.”

Mr Biden’s attorney Christopher Clark said in a statement that the announcement of the two agreements meant that the investigation that began five years ago was concluded.

“Hunter will take responsibility for two instances of misdemeanor failure to file tax payments when due pursuant to a plea agreement,” he said. “A firearm charge, which will be subject to a pretrial diversion agreement and will not be the subject of the plea agreement, will also be filed by the Government. 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. He looks forward to continuing his recovery and moving forward.”

But a statement from Mr Weiss to Fox News said “The investigation is ongoing.”

The charges come days after former president Donald Trump’s indictment and arraigment related to his alleged mishandling of documents related to national security. The former president criticised Mr Biden’s agreement with the federal government.

"Wow! The corrupt Biden DOJ just cleared up hundreds of years of criminal liability by giving Hunter Biden a mere 'traffic ticket,'” Mr Trump posted on Truth Social. “Our system is BROKEN!”

Mr Trump attacked the younger Mr Biden for his addictions in his debate with his father in September of 2020. Mr Biden has discussed his addictions in the past and his father addressed them in that debate.

“My son like a lot of people, like a lot of people we know at home had a drug problem,” the then-Democratic nominee for president said. “He’s overtaken it. He’s, he’s fixed it. He’s worked on it. And I’m proud of him. I’m proud of my son.”

Mr Biden is the sole surviving son of the president’s first marriage to Nelia Hunter Biden. Shortly after his father’s election to the Senate in 1972, his mother and his sister Naomi were killed in a car crash that left him and his elder brother Beau severely injured. Beau Biden, who later served as attorney general of Delaware, died of brain cancer in 2015. The elder Mr Biden later remarried Jill Biden, the current first lady, and the two had a daughter Ashley Biden.

Since taking back the House majority in November, Republicans have made Mr Biden the chief focus of many of their investigations and have attempted to show a link between his business dealings and his father’s work as vice president. House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer intimated that this would not deter the committee.

“Hunter Biden is getting away with a slap on the wrist when growing evidence uncovered by the House Oversight Committee reveals the Bidens engaged in a pattern of corruption, influence peddling, and possibly bribery,” he said.

Rep Jamie Raskin (D-MD), the top Democrat on the committee, said that the charges were a sign of an equal justice system.

“This development reflects the Justice Department’s continued institutional independence in following the evidence of actual crimes and enforcing the rule of law even in the face of constant criticism and heckling by my GOP colleagues who think that the system of justice should only follow their partisan wishes,” he said. “ Oversight Committee Republicans have advanced debunked conspiracy theories about President Biden and are now, again, wailing about the work of a Trump appointed U.S. Attorney. Meanwhile, our colleagues have refused to investigate Jared Kushner and Donald Trump’s receipt of billions of dollars from autocratic regimes after handing them a string of outrageous policy favors and concessions.”

So far, the House Oversight Committee has not been able to produce clear evidence of a link between Mr Biden’s actions and his father’s work as either vice president or president.

-Andrew Feinberg and John Bowden contributed to this report

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in