The White House dodged questions on Friday about a bombshell report suggesting the president’s son could be charged with tax crimes and lying about buying a gun.
Hunter Biden has been under investigation for years and now sources say investigators have enough evidence to bring charges.
Details of the probe were leaked on Thursday.
But White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre sidestepped questions from DailyMail.com about whether President Joe Biden was worried about the leaks or the possibility that his son could be charged.
‘This is an ongoing investigation being handled independently by the Department of Justice, so I would refer you to the Department of Justice,’ she told reporters traveling with Biden on Air Force One.
It is the same form of words she has used with all questions about the investigation and whether Hunter tried to profit out of his famous name.
A day earlier a report revealed that federal agents now think they have enough evidence to bring charges.
The Washington Post claims the investigation into the president’s son that began in 2018 is now in the hands of U.S. Attorney David Weiss, who was nominated by Donald Trump and would oversee any charging decision.
‘This is an ongoing investigation being handled independently by the Department of Justice, so I would refer you to the Department of Justice,’ said Karine Jean-Pierre on Friday
The president was joined by his son Hunter during a trip in August, when they flew to South Carolina for a week-long vacation on Kiawah Island
The investigation was sparked by Hunter Biden’s business deals with foreign countries while father Joe was vice president, and the charges could include failure to pay income tax, money laundering and violations of U.S. tax laws.
A series of deals Hunter has made with business tycoons in China, Ukraine and Kazakhstan have been under intense scrutiny – and the president has insisted he knows nothing about them.
DailyMail.com however obtained a voicemail in 2018 establishing that Joe had knowledge by saying ‘I think you’re in the clear’ following a New York Times article detailing a connection between Hunter and a Chinese oil tycoon.
Investigators have also zeroed in on whether he lied on paperwork to buy a gun in 2018 that his late brother’s wife Hallie later threw in the trash near a Delaware high school.
Hunter’s lawyers reacted to the Washington Post’s Thursday story with fury by suggesting leaking such information is a federal crime.
Hunter paid an outstanding tax liability back in 2020 and acknowledged a probe into what he called his ‘tax affairs.’
The case is being overseen by a Weiss, the U.S. attorney in Delaware, who was confirmed in 2018 and asked to stay on during the Biden administraiton. Biden and AG Merrick Garland have repeatedly said they would leave the case to career prosecutors. The paper cited anonymous people familiar with the case.
The gun purchase matter relates to standard paperwork for purchasing a weapon. On the form Hunter denied using unlawful drugs or being addicted to drugs – statements undermined by his own conduct.
He has disclosed in his own memoir that he was addicted to crack cocaine and has struggled with drug and alcohol use.
Images found on his infamous laptop, which emerged weeks before Election Day 2020 and which contained data that experts who analyzed it have authenticated for DailyMail.com, appear to to show crack cocaine use.
Hunter Biden has been under investigation for years on tax and other matters. In 2020 he acknowledged a government probe and settled a back payment
Emails traced to the laptop also point to an array of business activities in China and other locations. He also secured a lucrative board position with a Ukrainian energy firm, and did business in Kazakhstan and other far-flung locales.
The gun matter is of the type that prosecutors sometimes charge and sometimes overlook. But according to DOJ figures cited by the Post, there were 478 referrals for lying on firearms forms the year of Hunter Biden’s purchase, with charges filed in 298 cases.
Rebecca Roiphe, Joseph Solomon Distinguished Professor of Law at New York Law School, told DailyMail.com that prosecutions for lying on a federal form are rare, but if guilty the crime carries a fine $250,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison.
‘Prosecutors have broad discretion whether to bring charges in a case even if they have sufficient evidence to prove that an individual violated federal criminal law,’ she said.
‘Some of the factors a prosecutor might weigh include: the extent of harm caused by the offense, the background or characteristics of the offender and whether he has made any efforts at restitution or shown any signs of rehabilitation, how like cases have been treated in the past, and generally, whether this expenditure of resources would be in the interest of the public.
‘I believe that prosecutions for lying on gun purchase forms are relatively rare but I do not know precise numbers. I imagine generally it would be quite hard to prove that an individual lied on the form. With tax crimes, prosecutors tend to consider whether the individual has made efforts to pay back taxes and whether it would be sufficient to pursue civil remedies.
‘Federal prosecutors consider this because in some cases, they may be able to obtain a reasonable resolution and deter others from committing tax crimes without expending resources in a criminal prosecution.
‘In terms of sentences, the penalty for the tax crimes would vary depending on the particular crime charged. The sentence for lying on the federal form could be up to ten years in prison.’
White House chief of staff Ron Klain vouched for the president’s son in a TV interview in April.
The White House said ‘no one’ at the White House was involved in the allegations regarding the president’s son, which Chief of Staff Ron Klain called a ‘private matter’
Acting U.S. Attorney David Weiss is overseeing the probe. AG Merrick Garland has said he would defer to the Trump-appointed prosecutor
Information from Hunter Biden’s infamous laptop provide information on his foreign business dealings
Hunter Biden has spoken openly of his battles with drug addiction. His admissions could work against him if prosecutors decide to charge him with lying about drug use on a document when purchasing a firearm in 2018
‘Of course the president’s confident that his son didn’t break the law,’ Klain said.
‘But most importantly, as I said, that’s a matter that’s to be decided by the Justice Department, by the legal process. It’s something that no one at the White House has involvement in.’
A 2018 voicemail from Hunter’s iPhone, revealed by DailyMail.com, appears to show Joe Biden reaching out to his son to discuss a New York Times article about his work with CEFC, notwithstanding the president’s denials that he ever talked with Hunter about his overseas business dealings.
‘Hey pal, it’s Dad. It’s 8:15 on Wednesday night. If you get a chance just give me a call. Nothing urgent. I just wanted to talk to you,’ Biden said on the voicemail.
‘I thought the article released online, it’s going to be printed tomorrow in the Times, was good. I think you’re clear. And anyway if you get a chance give me a call, I love you.’
Hunter’s lawyer, Chris Clark, teed off on ‘leakers’ in his own slashing response to the story.
‘It is a federal felony for a federal agent to leak information about a Grand Jury investigation such as this one,’ he said in a statement to the Post. ‘Any agent you cite as a source in your article apparently has committed such a felony. We expect the Department of Justice will diligently investigate and prosecute such bad actors. ‘
‘As is proper and legally required, we believe the prosecutors in this case are diligently and thoroughly weighing not just evidence provided by agents, but also all the other witnesses in this case, including witnesses for the defense. That is the job of the prosecutors. They should not be pressured, rushed, or criticized for doing their job.’
With information in the public realm that investigators working the case believe there is sufficient evidence to charge, it could put pressure on the prosecutor overseeing the case to bring charges.
Hunter’s business practices have come under increased scrutiny as media organizations continue to probe the contents of material derived from Hunter’s laptop.
He and Biden’s brother James were reportedly paid an estimated $5million by Chinese energy giant CEFC.
He even recounted once being presented with a 2.8 carat diamond by CEFC Energy China tycoon Ye Jianming.
Klain also told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos: ‘I want to just be really clear, these are actions by Hunter and his brother. They’re private matters. They don’t involve the president. And they certainly are something that no one at the White House is involved in.’
The trove of emails uncovered on Hunter’s laptop, which a Wilmington repair shop owner says someone resembling Hunter dropped off at his repair shop and never picked up, include emails making reference to an apparently dysfunctional tax situation.
‘You need to get 2017 filed so we can try to work out a payment schedule,’ his accountant Bill Morgan wrote him, in messages CNN said it authenticated.
At the time, the IRS was still pinging him to make due on his 2015 return.
‘They want $158,000,’ Morgan wrote. ‘IRS has notified the State Department and they will not renew your passport until this is resolved.’
The gun matter had its origins in a 2018 incident where Beau Biden’s widow, Hallie Biden, who was having an affair with Hunter, took Hunter’s gun and threw it in a trash bin.
Amid a search for the weapon, Secret Service agents approached a gun store owner seeking paperwork on the purchase, Politico reported last year. The gun shop owner subsequently turned the paperwork over to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
The tax probe began all the way back in the Obama administration, the New York Times reported, then expanded in 2018 to include potential criminal tax violations.