In a dramatic turn, Hunter Biden, the president’s son, has been indicted over gun charges, raising potential prison time of up to 25 years. This development intensifies the spotlight on President Biden, who previously has maintained he would not pardon his son, but have recent events changed things?
Late in July, when the White House Press Secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, was questioned about the possibility of a presidential pardon for Hunter, her response was unequivocal: “No.” Pressed for elaboration, she reiterated, “I answered, no.” It’s noteworthy that Jean-Pierre often sidesteps questions of a legal nature, often deferring to the Department of Justice or simply declining comment.
The Biden administration has consistently emphasized its respect for an independent judiciary. Rep. Dan Goldman (D-NY) weighed in on the matter, expressing that a presidential pardon for Hunter would be a “mistake”. He added, “I don’t think there’s any chance President Biden is going to do that.”
The power of presidential pardons, described in Article II of the Constitution, has been described as a “blank check” due to its broad scope. Although there’s been debate over whether a president can pardon himself, the authority to pardon a family member is undisputed. Yet, such decisions often come with political ramifications. History provides context: President Bill Clinton pardoned his brother Roger and, more recently, former President Trump pardoned Charles Kushner, father-in-law to his daughter, Ivanka.
Given the looming possibility of Hunter’s trial coinciding with President Biden’s reelection campaign, questions around the indictment are certain to amplify. The bond between father and son is reportedly strong, with daily conversations, as shared by Hunter’s former business associate, Devon Archer. As this saga unfolds, all eyes are on the White House, awaiting its next move.