The White House hasn’t ruled out the possibility of President Biden reducing his son’s sentence.


When asked about the possibility of commuting Hunter Biden’s sentence, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre stated that she had “nothing to share beyond” what President Biden had already commented on the matter. This response came after a Delaware jury found Hunter Biden guilty on Tuesday of lying about his drug use when purchasing a revolver in 2018.

Jean-Pierre, who clarified that she had not discussed the issue of commutation with President Biden, referenced the president’s comments from last week, where he affirmed he would not pardon his son. “Hunter Biden’s story is a story that all too many Americans know,” Jean-Pierre remarked.

U.S. presidents have the authority to commute sentences for those convicted of federal offenses or to issue pardons, which completely vacate the convictions. Commuting a sentence would maintain the conviction but reduce the severity of the punishment imposed by the court. However, presidential powers of commutation and pardon do not extend to state-level cases.

During a press briefing aboard Air Force One on Wednesday, Jean-Pierre told reporters, “He [President Biden] and the First Lady love their son and support him. I just don’t have anything beyond that.” She also declined to discuss details of President Biden’s visit to Wilmington, Delaware, on Tuesday evening, following the jury’s guilty verdict in Hunter Biden’s case.

Jean-Pierre’s stance seems to have evolved since last September, when she was asked if President Biden would consider pardoning or commuting his son’s sentence if convicted. At that time, she firmly responded, “I’ve answered this question before. It was asked of me not too long ago, a couple of weeks ago. And I was very clear, and I said no.”

En route to Italy for the G7 summit, Jean-Pierre reiterated President Biden’s commitment to respecting the judicial process and accepting the outcome of the case. “He has made it very clear that he respects the judicial process and accepts the outcome of this case,” she said, reading from a previous statement by the president.

Hunter Biden faced charges related to lying on a federal background check about his drug use and for possessing a gun while under the influence of drugs. He maintained that he was in recovery when he purchased the firearm in October 2018. He now faces up to 25 years in prison, although legal experts believe such a lengthy sentence is unlikely.

The scope of a president’s pardon power has been a topic of debate among constitutional scholars, with some questioning whether a president can pardon himself. If Donald Trump were to win the presidency again, he might be the first to attempt such a move if convicted in either of the federal criminal cases against him.


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