White House Says Hunter Investigation 'Handled Independently' After Judge Rejects DOJ's Favorable Plea Deal

Federal judge Maryellen Noreika said she wouldn't 'rubber stamp' controversial deal during Wednesday court appearance

Joe and Hunter Biden / Getty Images
July 26, 2023

The White House on Wednesday defended the Department of Justice's federal tax crime investigation into Hunter Biden, saying the probe was "handled independently" after a federal judge rejected the government's favorable plea agreement with the scandal-plagued first son.

"The case was handled independently, as all of you know, by the Justice Department, under the leadership of a prosecutor appointed by the former president, President Trump," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during a briefing.

The White House's defense of the DOJ came just minutes after Delaware federal judge Maryellen Noreika rejected the government's plea deal with Hunter Biden, which would have allowed him to plead guilty to misdemeanor tax crimes. The deal also would have given the first son immunity on future criminal charges. Noreika instead told prosecutors and Biden's legal team to hammer out a new deal, saying she needed more time to review a proposal.

"You are telling me, 'Just rubber stamp the agreement, Your Honor,'" Noreika said.

The news also comes a week after two IRS agents involved in the Hunter Biden tax investigation told Congress that federal prosecutors repeatedly obstructed the probe by blocking investigators from interviewing Biden family members and obtaining search warrants. Republicans have accused the DOJ of offering Biden a "sweetheart agreement" in the tax crime case.

Jean-Pierre declined to comment further, arguing that "Hunter Biden is a private citizen and this is a personal matter for him."

"The president, the first lady, they love their son," she added. "They support him as he continues to rebuild his life."

Prosecutors admitted in court Wednesday that there is another open investigation into the president's son but declined to provide details. Biden also reached a plea agreement with the DOJ last month on gun possession charges.

Democrats have defended the Hunter Biden tax probe, noting that it was led by U.S. Attorney for Delaware David Weiss, a Trump appointee. The IRS whistleblowers, in turn, claimed the DOJ limited Weiss’s influence over the case.