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White House sidesteps questions on Hunter Biden's plea deal talks

The White House on Wednesday sidestepped questions about Hunter Biden’s legal dilemma after a plea deal with the Justice Department was scrambled at a Delaware court hearing.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked several times about the case involving the president’s son. In each instance, she avoided weighing in on the substance of the proceedings.

“Hunter Biden is a private citizen, and this was a personal matter,” Jean-Pierre said in a statement at the start of a briefing with reporters. “As we have said, the president, the first lady, they love their son, and they support him as he continues to rebuild his life.”

Jean-Pierre stressed that the case was handled independently by the Justice Department and overseen by a prosecutor appointed by former President Trump. She referred additional questions to the Justice Department and to Hunter Biden’s attorneys.

Asked if she’d spoken to President Biden on Wednesday since his son appeared in court, Jean-Pierre reiterated that the president “loves his son,” but said he had been busy working on behalf of the American public.

Asked about Hunter Biden’s business dealings and whether President Biden was involved in any way, Jean-Pierre referenced comments she made Monday when she said the president “was never in business with his son.”

And asked if the president or his attorneys had been in touch with his son’s legal team, Jean-Pierre referred reporters to Hunter Biden’s representatives. 

The White House has consistently avoided commenting on legal matters involving the president’s son, seeking to maintain a barrier between the executive branch and the Justice Department, particularly on a matter involving the first family.

Hunter Biden, 53, was expected to plead guilty to two misdemeanor counts of willful failure to pay income taxes as part of a deal announced last month with the Justice Department.

But multiple outlets reported the deal is on hold after U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika, a Trump appointee who is overseeing the case, raised concerns about the scope of Biden’s immunity from any potential future charges. 

That led to Biden pleading not guilty to two tax crimes Wednesday, according to The Associated Press, which reported that Noreika gave the parties 30 days to explain why the deal, which she has to approve, should be accepted.

Source: The Hill

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