5 takeaways from Hunter Biden’s agreement on tax charges, gun offense

Hunter Biden agreed to plead guilty to two counts of tax evasion on millions received in 2017 and 2018.Biden agreed to a pretrial program for a gun offense, which could ultimately dismiss the charge.

WASHINGTON — Hunter Biden’s agreement Tuesday to resolve federal tax and gun charges culminated a five-year criminal investigation and likely averted prison, but opened the door to an intensified congressional inquiry and further political attacks against President Joe Biden.

The president and first lady Jill Biden expressed support for Hunter Biden on Tuesday, after officials announced he would plead guilty to the tax charges and resolve a gun offense. Republican lawmakers and former President Donald Trump alleged that the case has been politicized and amounts to a “sweetheart” deal for a member of the president’s family.

Here are five takeaways from the charges:

Plea bargain covers two counts of tax evasion

David Weiss, the U.S. attorney for Delaware who has investigated Hunter Biden for five years, announced he was charged with two counts of willful failure to pay federal income tax.

Biden allegedly received at least $1.5 million each year in 2017 and 2018, but didn’t pay taxes, according to court records.

The Justice Department is expected to recommend probation, although a federal judge will review the agreement, an unnamed source told The Associated Press.

Biden agrees to pretrial program on gun charge

The gun charge alleges Biden possessed a firearm in 2018, a Colt Cobra 38SPL revolver, despite being addicted to drugs, which is a violation of federal law. Biden agreed to a pretrial diversion program, which could eventually lead to the dismissal of the charge.

The Gun Control Act prohibits people who use drugs from possessing firearms. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ruled the ban applies to “a conviction for use or possession of a controlled substance within the past year.”

Biden filled out a federal form when he bought a handgun in October 2018 in which he replied “no” to a question of whether he was “an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance,” according to the Washington Post. By his own account in his memoir “Beautiful Things,” Biden battled drug addiction and for periods during 2018 and smoked crack “every 15 minutes.”

Biden’s lawyer, Christopher Clark, said the president’s son will take responsibility for “mistakes he made during a period of turmoil and addiction in his life. He looks forward to continuing his recovery and moving forward.”

GOP reaction: ‘A slap on the wrist’

House Republicans led by Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., have argued that Hunter Biden peddled influence on the administration through lucrative business deals and the sale of art. Comer pledged to keep investigating, despite the plea agreement.

“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,” Comer said. “These charges against Hunter Biden and sweetheart plea deal have no impact on the Oversight Committee’s investigation. We will not rest until the full extent of President Biden’s involvement in the family’s schemes are revealed.”

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Weiss, the U.S. attorney who led the investigation, was appointed by Trump. Weiss oversaw the plea agreement for the tax charges and the diversion agreement for the gun charge.

Rep. Dan Goldman, D-N.Y., a House staffer for Trump’s first impeachment, said the charges will hold Hunter Biden accountable for every charge that could be proven during an “exhaustive investigation” that “found no wrongdoing connected to President Biden, further debunking the rumors, hearsay, and innuendo coming from House Republicans.”

Trump, facing his own indictments, campaigns on Hunter Biden case

Trump attacked President Biden over the charges and claimed political favoritism in how they were resolved.

“People are going wild over the Hunter Biden Scam with the DOJ!” Trump said in a Truth Social post. He said in another post the Justice Department gave Hunter Biden “a mere ‘traffic ticket.’ Our system is BROKEN!”

Trump has pleaded not guilty to 37 federal charges over classified documents and 34 New York state charges over allegedly falsifying business records.

Hunter Biden’s recovery:Hunter Biden’s drug use back in public eye as criminal charges could be around the corner

White House: Joe Biden supports son, keeps hands off criminal case

The White House has said President Biden hasn’t discussed his son’s investigation with Attorney General Merrick Garland or the Justice Department. Biden has dismissed bribery allegations as “malarkey.”

“The President and First Lady love their son and support him as he continues to rebuild his life,” Ian Sams, a White House spokesperson, said in a statement.

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