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By Sarah May on
 July 28, 2023

Karine Jean-Pierre: No presidential pardon in the works for Hunter Biden

After Hunter Biden's controversial plea deal on federal charges collapsed in court earlier this week – a development that caused him to enter a plea of not guilty – White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked whether President Joe Biden would grant a pardon to his beleaguered son, a question to which she succinctly replied, “no,” as Reuters reports.

Once the proposed plea arrangement between Hunter Biden and the Justice Department – and its seemingly sweeping grant of immunity for other potential offenses – was subjected to scrutiny by U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika, members of the media began to wonder whether the first son might simply receive clemency from his dad as an alternative means of avoiding accountability.

During a routine briefing at the White House, Fox News' Mark Meredith asked Jean-Pierre about whether a pardon might issue from father to son if the latter should be convicted on any of the charges he faces now or in the future.

“Is there any possibility that the president would end up pardoning his son?” Meredity inquired.

Jean-Pierre did not beat around the bush, saying simply, “no,” as the New York Post noted.

Though Meredith attempted to elicit additional insight from the press secretary, none was forthcoming.

“I just said no – I just answered,” Jean-Pierre responded, before moving on to another journalist's question.

Apparently unconvinced that a pardon really is off the table, however, is George Washington Law professor Jonathan Turley, who began a recent opinion piece by noting that with each passing day, new revelations appear to increasingly implicate the president himself in possible wrongdoing.

As such, he describes a presidential pardon as Biden's “break-the-glass” option that could be used if other attempts to rig the process in Hunter's favor were unsuccessful. “Joe Biden could pardon his son and then announce that he will not run for reelection,” Turley hypothesized.

With the specter of an impeachment inquiry looming in the air, sagging support among the electorate and a son in legal jeopardy, “Biden could use the case to close out his political career,” the frequent cable news commentator explained.

Furthermore, Turley declared, “President Biden could even give Hunter a preemptive or prospective pardon. That would effectively end any federal investigation, although the pardon would need to cover the waterfront of possible charges.”

“By resigning and becoming a lame-duck president, Biden also would undermine congressional Republicans' impeachment calls. And it would allow his own allies to declare the scandal over, with Biden taking responsibility by giving up a second term in office,” Turley added.

Despite Jean-Pierre's assurances that no such outcome is in the offing, Turley seems to believe that it may yet become an extremely appealing option for the president, saying:

Everyone in Washington would win – except, of course, the public: The Bidens would keep alleged millions in influence-peddling profits; Hunter would not even have to pay his full taxes; members of Congress and the media could avoid taking responsibility for burying the reports of corruption.

This, Turley wryly concluded, “is what is called a 'happy ending' in Washington.”

Written By:
Sarah May

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