If Feds have the evidence, why haven't they charged Hunter Biden with gun crime?

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

According to a bombshell report in the Washington Post, federal agents have gathered enough evidence to charge Hunter Biden with lying on the paperwork he filled out to purchase a firearm, but prosecutors have been holding off for months on whether or not to actually prosecute the president’s son.

The WaPo report goes to great lengths to point out that Attorney General Merrick Garland has left any charging decision up to the U.S. Attorney in Delaware, but it’s hard to argue that politics isn’t playing a role in whether or not to prosecute Biden for not being honest about his drug use when filling out the paperwork required for a background check on all retail sales of firearms.

The primary focus of the tax investigation has been whether Hunter Biden did not declare income related to his various business ventures, including overseas. The gun paperwork part of the investigation stems from 2018, a time period in which Hunter Biden, by his own account, was smoking crack cocaine.

In October of that year, Biden purchased a handgun, filling out a federal form in which he allegedly answered “no” to the question whether he was “an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?”

According to a book Hunter Biden later wrote about his struggles with substance abuse, he was using drugs heavily that year.

Prosecutions for false statements on gun-purchase forms are relatively rare, but they do happen. Federal agents refer to such cases as “lying and buying.” Historically, prosecutors have significant discretion to decide which ones are worth federal resources.

“A prosecutor can say they have bigger fish to catch, or they can decide to seek a deal,” said Joseph G. Green, a retired agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. “As agents, we would always include as many charges as we could, but it’s ultimately up to the prosecutor to decide which ones they will bring.”

Yeah, these types of prosecutions do happen, and sometimes even celebrities wind up in court. Back in 2019, for instance, rapper Kodak Black was sentenced to nearly four years in federal prison after pleading guilty to making false statements on the Form 4473 he used to purchase several firearms. Black’s sentence was ultimately commuted by then-President Donald Trump in 2021 on his last full day in office.

Who knows, maybe Trump will get the chance to do the same for Hunter Biden if he’s prosecuted and convicted. For now, however, attorneys for Biden are trying to deflect their client’s alleged wrongdoing by accusing the agents leading the investigation of illegally spilling the beans to the press in an attempt to pressure prosecutors.

In a written statement to the Washington Post on Thursday, Hunter Biden attorney Chris Clark accused investigators of leaking information from ongoing grand jury proceedings.

“It is a federal felony for a federal agent to leak information about a Grand Jury investigation such as this one,” Clark said. “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.”

When it comes to the potential charge of making false statements, I’m not sure what any witnesses for the defense could say that would absolve Hunter Biden or get him off the hook. We know he filled out the paperwork attesting that he was not an unlawful user or addicted to any controlled substance at a time when he himself has admitted in print to smoking crack. That’s pretty damning information, and there have been previous cases where gun owners have been charged by federal prosecutors with similar evidence.

The U.S. Attorney in Delaware may still be digging into Hunter Biden’s financial doings, but it seems to me that the case against Biden and his gun purchase is wrapped up and ready to go. Are political considerations holding back prosecutors? It’s a reasonable question to ask, but don’t expect anything but boilerplate non-answers from the DOJ or the Biden administration itself.