Justice is being served. The Biden family has been through enough. And it's time to move on.
So say mainstream media after news broke Tuesday that Hunter Biden reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors that will probably allow him to avoid jail time for tax and gun charges.
Republican complaints that President Joe Biden's son is getting a "sweetheart deal" are "without evidence," Politico reported:
Congressional Republicans and conservative commentators decried the plea—without evidence—as overly lenient, a "sweetheart deal" and an example of a politicized justice system. (Notably, WaPo has reported that nationally, very few people are charged for lying on the firearms form like Biden did.)
The federal gun charge, which makes it unlawful for a drug addict to possess a weapon, is a rarely used statute that is facing legal challenges and has recently been used as a catch-all charge against white supremacists.
Like the gun charge, the tax charges are rarely brought against first-time offenders and even more rarely result in jail time, Andrew Weissmann, a former FBI general counsel and NBC News contributor, tweeted Tuesday. "This is if anything harsh, not lenient," he wrote.
Experts on ABC News and CNN agreed:
CNN's Mariotti on Hunter getting off the hook for dozens of major felonies he thoroughly documented w/ photos & emails: Settlement is "actually harsher than the treatment that a typical person would receive" pic.twitter.com/GAUCS6zgwt
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) June 21, 2023
If you think about it, Biden is really a victim of his own brave honesty, CNN suggested:
It is a fascinating thing, though, certainly for Hunter Biden and the candidness of him talking about his substance abuse problems is what ended up causing some issues for him.
Looking ahead, the network predicted a national dialogue about Biden's "personal agonies and struggles with addiction":
Debate over the exact terms of the deal will likely play out until a federal judge finalizes the terms. As will the question of whether Hunter Biden’s conduct caused unnecessary political problems for his father or whether his family circumstances meant that his personal agonies and struggles with addiction played out on a far more public level than would have been the case for many people.
The New York Times pointed out that Biden will be contributing to racial equity in a way:
Hunter Biden’s deal — which includes admitting he illegally possessed a handgun because he was addicted to drugs at the time of purchase—includes his entry into a diversion program, a common alternative to incarceration. First-time offenders, especially those not accused of committing acts of violence, are often sent to such programs, which have come into greater use as prison systems attempt to reduce their inmate populations and ease racial sentencing disparities.
Meanwhile, MSNBC wanted to know: "How does Hunter Biden feel?"
"I think Hunter feels happy to move on with his life and his recovery," Biden's lawyer informed viewers.
The Washington Post and CNN delicately omitted from their write-ups of the plea deal that Biden's "then-girlfriend" who threw away his illegally obtained firearm was also the widow of his recently deceased brother.
USA Today assured readers that a little "unwanted attention" is totally normal for a president's relative.
Hunter Biden reaches agreement to resolve criminal charges, but investigations into relatives of presidents are nothing new. https://t.co/Xc80LxZnQO
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) June 21, 2023
The Associated Press likened Hunter's shenanigans to those of former president Teddy Roosevelt's young children.
Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden whose plea deal on federal tax and gun charges was made public Tuesday, is by no means the first presidential relative whose personal troubles have brought unwelcome headlines and headaches for a White House. ...
Sometimes the behavior is pure mischief, such as little Quentin Roosevelt (son of Teddy) running his toy wagon through a painting of a first lady. Or Alice Roosevelt, Quentin’s sister, who swore, showed up at parties with her pet snake and was so determined to smoke at the White House that she once called a news conference on its roof and lit a cigarette there.
None of this has been easy for "the big guy," the Times explained in one of many day-after stories:
After more than a half-century in politics, no subject may be more personally painful nor politically problematic for President Biden than his troubled son, Hunter. He is by various accounts a gaping wound in his heart and the most sensitive soft spot in his campaign armor.
The Post: "The Complicated Relationship Between a Presidential Father and a Struggling Son":
By most accounts, Hunter Biden’s life is on far more stable ground than it was four years ago. He has remarried and has a young son, named after his late brother Beau. He was at the White House to walk his daughter Naomi down the aisle at her wedding in November, and he has been a more visible presence next to his father during public events.
President Biden’s long-standing support for Hunter Biden on display following plea deal https://t.co/qrcx5cIEZq
— CNN (@CNN) June 20, 2023
Also CNN: The good news for the Bidens is that the Justice Department's "years long investigation ... has finally come to a resolution."
CNN's Paula Reid frames the charges and the investigation as just a massive inconvenience to Hunter Biden:
"...he had already paid back the taxes including the fees and penalties...this gun charge was not strongly supported by the evidence...certainly a relief [for him now]..." pic.twitter.com/0dU6GfSCzg
— Nicholas Fondacaro (@NickFondacaro) June 20, 2023
That's right. The Hunter Biden investigation—which also looked at his drug use and international business dealings—is "effectively over" and the subject has been all but "exonerated," ABC News declared.
"It is a big victory for Hunter Biden, although he does plead guilty to criminal charges," @ABC News' @jonkarl tells @TheView. "He has this, at least the criminal side of it, behind him. This investigation is effectively over now." https://t.co/cVclFZQmjA pic.twitter.com/l6VoCCOKjc
— The View (@TheView) June 20, 2023
There's just one problem, per ABC News: "It is clear Republicans are not going to drop [their investigations of Biden's corruption] despite the fact that there is nothing in this agreement to substantiate their concerns."
ABC laments that the Hunter Biden saga is a point of "personal pain" for President Biden and decries Republicans for not caring about that.
"He is a devoted father who has stood by his son throughout his struggles...But it is clear, Republicans are not gonna drop this." pic.twitter.com/rcYgOGXI1d
— Nicholas Fondacaro (@NickFondacaro) June 21, 2023
Reported CNN: "Hunter Biden ... is set to play a starring role in the 2024 election as Joe Biden’s political enemies seek to weaponize his son’s legal struggles—those that are real and those that are hyped by conservative media."
On MSNBC, former Sen. Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.) vented: "I don’t know what America [Republicans] live in. And I don’t know how they sleep at night. What do these jerks in the House want Joe Biden to do, throw [Hunter Biden] out, refuse to speak to him, say he doesn’t love him publicly?"
MSNBC's @clairecmc: "Everybody needs to back off Joe Biden about this. He loves his son. Back off. It is OK for him to love his son & there’s nothing wrong with it. They have no evidence of any wrongdoing by Joe Biden & it infuriates me they’re using this .. against Biden" pic.twitter.com/r7Hj3hwt1m
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) June 20, 2023