September 24, 2023
Sen. Josh Hawley arrives for a closed-door briefing by intelligence officials about the Discord leaks at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center on April 19, 2023 in Washington, DC.
Sen. Josh Hawley arrives for a closed-door briefing by intelligence officials about the Discord leaks at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center on April 19, 2023 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/File

GOP lawmakers sharply criticized the Justice Department on today’s developments over Hunter Biden’s plea deal and expect the collapse of the deal will bolster their probe into President Joe Biden.

Rep. Tom McClintock, a member of the House Judiciary Committee who had been a key holdout on impeachment proceedings against the president, said it is time to move forward with one. The Republican from California said evidence is “mounting” on bribery allegations when Biden was vice president — something the White House has furiously denied and which Republicans have yet to corroborate.

McClintock called the plea deal between the Department of Justice and Hunter Biden’s attorneys “a disgrace.”

Other Republicans said the whole plea deal with the Justice Department deserves GOP scrutiny.

Rep. Tim Burchett, a Republican from Tennessee, told CNN: “I don’t know, but it’s just another nail in the coffin. I mean, they’re selling something. You know, Trump was selling cheap steaks and awful ties, all they’re selling is influence and that scares the hell out of me.”

Rep. Troy Nehls, a Republican from Texas, said Hunter Biden is a “true criminal” when asked to react to news that a plea deal between the Justice Department and Hunter Biden’s attorneys has fallen apart.

“Maybe because they realized Hunter Biden is a true criminal and probably needs to go to prison for a few years” Nehls, who said he has not been following the plea deal hearing, told CNN. 

Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, said that the back-and-forth on the plea deal shows that the agreement was always flawed and that more charges could be coming down. 

“It’s very telling that the judge intervened here and said basically, ‘No, I’m not going to approve some sweeping blanket deal,’” Hawley said. “I mean, that tells you the court has serious concerns about other potential charges here, and also the scope of the deal, which has seemed outrageous from the beginning.” 

He added, “This, I think, signals that they’re still very much as potential for prosecution forward.” Hawley said that Biden should not receive special treatment, as whistleblowers have alleged. “He should be treated like any other person under the law. That’s my view on him.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he “can understand” why House Republicans are frustrated by the Justice Department’s handling of the Hunter Biden case, after the plea deal fell apart earlier today. “There are a lot of people in the House who are better lawyers than I am, and it’s a bit confusing now — I’m not sure what happened this morning — but to the extent that it looks like the administration is treating Democrats more favorably than Republicans, I can understand why people in the House are upset about it,” the Republican from Kentucky said.

Meanwhile, Rep. Jerry Nadler, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, pushed back on the Republicans’ claims. “He’s a Trump appointee,” the lawmaker from New York said of the US attorney leading the probe, David Weiss. “He’s doing his job and there’s just no evidence to support any conclusion of unfair deal.”

Rep. Robert Garcia, a Democrat from California, emphasized that Hunter Biden is a private citizen and that’s how the case should be looked at.

“Hunter Biden should go through the process and the legal process. And I think that what’s important is that Republicans don’t try to politicize this issue. Hunter Biden should be treated fairly within the criminal justice system. If he’s committed wrongdoing, he should be held accountable for that, and I think all of us agree on that point,” he said.


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