Hunter Biden was indicted on gun charges by a federal grand jury Thursday, less than two months after an earlier plea agreement he’d reached with prosecutors on tax and gun charges fell apart.
What’s in the indictment?
According to the indictment filed by special counsel David Weiss in U.S. District Court in Delaware, President Biden’s son has been charged with three criminal counts: two related to false statements he allegedly made while purchasing the firearm and a third for illegal possession of a firearm while addicted to drugs.
The three charges carry a combined maximum prison sentence of 25 years.
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Prosecutors allege that on or about Oct. 12, 2018, Hunter Biden knowingly deceived a firearms dealer in Delaware while buying a Colt Cobra 38SPL revolver by falsely stating on a federal firearms application that he was not addicted to any narcotics.
The 53-year-old Biden has since acknowledged he was a drug addict at the time.
The younger Biden allegedly certified on the form that "he was not an unlawful user of, and addicted to, any stimulant, narcotic drug, and any other controlled substance, when in fact, as he knew, that statement was false and fictitious," the indictment reads.
What are Hunter Biden’s other legal troubles?
The Justice Department has spent years investigating Hunter Biden's business dealings and drug use. In June, he struck a deal with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Delaware, agreeing to plead guilty to a pair of tax-related misdemeanors in a deal that would have required him to acknowledge his failure to pay income taxes in 2017 and 2018 in exchange for probation.
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But that deal fell apart during a court hearing in July after U.S. Judge Maryellen Noreika expressed concern over the structure of the agreement, which Republican critics had called a so-called sweetheart deal for the president's son. Weiss was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland last month to lead the Hunter Biden probe.
What does this mean for the GOP’s impeachment efforts?
Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced this week that the House would begin an impeachment inquiry into President Biden over alleged ties to his son’s business dealings. While Republicans have consistently said the president is tied to Hunter’s entanglements with foreign governments, they have yet to provide any evidence to support this. Former President Donald Trump, facing a litany of his own legal issues, has privately encouraged the inquiry.
The speaker has cited a “culture of corruption” around the president’s family, but the only examples of potential corruption have been tied to his son. Republicans have proven that the elder Biden communicated with his son and that he attended two dinners in 2014 and 2015 with foreign individuals who had paid the younger Biden millions, but not that business was discussed or promises made during the meals.
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McCarthy has a tenuous hold over his caucus, only earning the leadership position after a historic 15 votes. Many of the House’s most conservative members have pushed McCarthy to launch the impeachment inquiry, which comes as Congress is attempting to pass funding measures to stop the federal government from shutting down at the end of the month.
The White House has been preparing for the impeachment inquiry since Republicans won back control of the House in November, with press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre calling it a “political stunt” and saying that “Republicans should work with us on legitimate issues — things that actually matter to the American people.”
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Some Democrats have suggested that the impeachment attempt will galvanize the party around the president, who has tepid approval ratings ahead of next year’s election.
“Go ahead, do it. I dare you,” Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., told reporters last week. "Your man has what, three or four indictments now? Trump has a mug shot, and he’s been impeached twice. Sometimes you just gotta call their bulls***.”
Read the full indictment below.