House Republicans are lambasting the plea deal between the Justice Department and Hunter Biden as proof of a federal law enforcement double standard — and warning it won’t derail their months-long investigation into the president and his family.
As part of an agreement filed in federal court in Delaware on Tuesday, Hunter Biden will plead guilty to two misdemeanor tax charges. He’s also being charged with possessing a firearm while being a user of illegal drugs, a felony, but will have the charge dismissed if he completes a two-year probationary period.
The charges, which are the culmination of a years-long federal investigation into the president’s son, immediately sparked accusations of a “double standard” by House Republicans, who are conducting a far-reaching investigation into the business deals of Hunter Biden and other family members as they hunt for an elusive link to Joe Biden. No evidence has emerged that the then-vice president’s actions were influenced by his family’s business agreements.
Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) on Tuesday quickly vowed to push forward with his months-long investigation, accusing the Justice Department of cutting a “sweetheart deal” that would have “no impact” on his investigation. He said he and Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) would meet Tuesday night to discuss their “options moving forward.”
“Our investigation is ongoing. I’ve said from day one: This is an investigation of Joe Biden. So what happened today really doesn’t matter,” Comer said.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy, speaking to reporters Tuesday, called the deal an example of the “two-tier” system of justice, but one that “does nothing” to existing GOP investigations.
“It actually should enhance our investigations because the DOJ should not be able to withhold any information now. … They should be able to provide Chairman Comer with any information that he requires,” McCarthy said.
Comer’s team has already collected suspicious activity reports from the Treasury Department — which do not automatically indicate wrongdoing — tied to Hunter Biden and his business associates, as well as quietly subpoenaed a swath of bank documents. Committee staff is working to set up a closed-door deposition with Devon Archer, a former Hunter Biden business associate that Republicans hope will shed light on his business deals.
In addition to Comer’s probe, Jordan has been investigating GOP claims of political bias against conservatives within the federal government, with a particular focus on the FBI and Justice Department. Spokespeople for the Ohio Republican didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on whether he would expand his investigation to dive into the Justice Department’s decisions in the Hunter Biden case.
Jordan, in a tweet, called the plea deal a “double standard of justice.” And the GOP’s Judiciary Committee Twitter account, which is run by Jordan’s staff, said Hunter Biden “should be looking at a minimum of five years in prison. But since he’s a Biden, he gets a slap on the wrist.”
And there was some confusion Tuesday over whether the plea deal represented the conclusion of a federal probe into Hunter Biden or, if not, what is still under investigation. Hunter Biden’s legal team said the plea agreement is intended to conclude his potential legal liability in all matters investigated by federal authorities, including those related to GOP allegations about his business deals. Chris Clark, criminal counsel for Hunter Biden, said that “it is my understanding that the five-year investigation into Hunter is resolved.”
But the office of U.S. Attorney for Delaware David Weiss, a Trump appointee who was permitted to stay in his post after Joe Biden took office in order to lead and complete the investigation of the president’s son, said in a release about the agreement that the “investigation is ongoing.” Weiss’ office provided no details about what remains open, or if that involves Hunter Biden versus potential business associates, family members or other individuals.
“What is ongoing? … Normally there’s a press conference and more clarity,” Comer told reporters. “Is there really an ongoing an investigation, or is this just something they’re putting in there to prevent the Oversight Committee from getting new evidence?”
Comer said he was “trying to get clarity,” adding that House Republicans would likely invite Weiss to testify, either in his or Jordan’s committee.
GOP lawmakers are likely particularly curious about whether Weiss’ office had closed the case on an FBI document that is now at the center of Comer’s investigation. Former Attorney General Bill Barr has said that record was given to federal authorities, but none of Tuesday’s charges are related to that record or Hunter Biden’s business deals.
That document details a conversation a confidential source for the bureau had about allegations that an executive at Ukrainian gas company Burisma offered a bribe to then-Vice President Joe Biden and Hunter. Republicans have treated the document like a verified bombshell and repeatedly touted that it’s being passed on to federal investigators in Delaware as a sign of its validity. The FBI has stressed that including information in a so-called FD-1023 does not mean that it is verified.
It’s not just Comer and Jordan who are eager to keep digging into the Biden family. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), the No. 4 House Republican and a member of the sub-panel investigating the GOP claims of a politicized government, called the plea deal the “epitome of the politicization and weaponization of Joe Biden’s Department of Justice.”
“House Republicans will not rest until the full illegal corruption of the Biden Crime Family is exposed. Joe Biden must and will be held accountable,” Stefanik said in a statement.
A number of other Republicans were quick to embrace a familiar rallying cry on Tuesday: That Hunter Biden is benefiting from a two-tier system of justice within the country. The conference offered the same criticism after former President Donald Trump’s recent indictment in a federal classified documents investigation — and one that the former president echoed Tuesday in reaction to the plea deal.
“Hunter Biden pleading guilty to a gun charge and misdemeanor tax charges with no jail time is a stunt to make him look like he is just cooperating with the DOJ,” tweeted Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), a member of the Oversight Committee, calling the Justice Department “pathetic and weaponized.”
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), a former chair of the Oversight Committee, called the plea deal “only the first crack in the Biden corruption cover-up”
“This isn’t case closed. Anyone can see Biden’s DOJ went easy on Hunter Biden,” he added.
Democrats, meanwhile, have dismissed sharing the document with federal investigators in Delaware as standard operating procedure within the Justice Department. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) has requested that the FBI give the full committee details of a briefing he and Comer previously received about the origins of the document.
Raskin, in a statement Tuesday, praised the Justice Department, saying that the plea deal reflects its “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.”
And he accused Republicans of “wailing” about Weiss’ work while refusing “ to investigate Jared Kushner and Trump’s receipt of billions of dollars from autocratic regimes after handing them a string of outrageous policy favors and concessions.”
Josh Gerstein, Betsy Woodruff Swan and Kyle Cheney contributed to this report.
Go To Source