Updated Jun 11, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Democrats embrace Hunter Biden guilty verdict

Hunter Biden, wearing a blue suit, walking into a building.

Hunter Biden arrives at the J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building on Tuesday. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images.

House Democrats are pointing to Hunter Biden's guilty verdict as a body blow to Republican claims that the judicial system is rigged against conservatives.

Why it matters: It's an attempt to blunt a multi-pronged Republican effort to chip away at the the perceived legitimacy of former President Trump's guilty verdict in his New York hush money case.

Driving the news: Hunter Biden was found guilty Tuesday on charges of illegally purchasing and possessing a firearm while using a narcotic and faces up to 25 years in prison, Axios' Alex Thompson and Erin Doherty reported.

What they're saying: The key phrase for Democrats when discussing the Hunter Biden verdict on Tuesday was "nobody is above the law."

  • "Same thing I said about Trump, no one is above the law," said Rep. Greg Landsman (D-Ohio).
  • "Nobody is above the law," a senior House Democrat also said.

Zoom in: "I have to sit through sham Judiciary Committee hearings on bogus claims that the government has been 'weaponized' against Republicans," Rep. Becca Balint (D-Vt.) told Axios.

  • Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) "repeatedly rails against a 'rigged' system, but this verdict shows that no one is above the law," she added. "I can't wait to see how Trump apologists and enablers spin this one."
  • Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Texas), also a Judiciary member, acknowledged to Axios the verdict was "somewhat of a surprise considering the venue" of the case in Biden-friendly Delaware.

Yes, but: The senior House Democrat who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that while the verdict "should" undermine Republicans' "weaponization" claims, "they can rationalize anything."

  • The lawmaker added that it could influence public opinion, but will likely only do so "on the margins."

The other side: Some Republicans have argued that prosecutors ultimately went easy on Biden – and that the only reason he didn't get a plea deal is because of GOP outrage last year.

  • "The entire prosecution was a ploy to keep from a more serious prosecution," another House Republican argued to Axios.
  • Others like House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) went even further, arguing that other Biden family members should be facing prosecution as well.
  • Nehls said he believes the Biden family "are criminals and must be held accountable."

The intrigue: The GOP's longstanding opposition to gun laws and growing distaste for federal law enforcement have led to some internal dissent, with Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) criticizing the conviction.

  • "Hunter might deserve to be in jail for something, but purchasing a gun is not it," said Massie.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional reporting.

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