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White House pressed on whether Biden would pardon his son
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White House pressed on whether Biden would pardon his son

The White House was pressed Thursday on whether President Joe Biden would pardon Hunter Biden if the first son was ultimately convicted of a crime. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre answered in the negative — an answer that may handcuff Biden should his son literally find himself in restraints.

Mark Meredith of Fox News asked Jean-Pierre, "Is there any possibility that the president would end up pardoning his son?"

Article II of the U.S. Constitution (Section 2, Clause 1) provides the president with the power to "grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment."

The first presidential pardon was issued by George Washington on Nov. 2, 1795, sparing two Pennsylvania men who partook in the Whiskey Rebellion from hanging for treason. This drew the ire of then-Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton.

While there have been thousands of pardons since — especially by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who granted 3,687 — familial pardons are extremely rare. In fact, it appears as though there may have only been one of the kind Meredith was asking about, which was issued by another Democratic president.

Bill Clinton granted a pardon to his younger half-brother Roger in 2001 for a 1980s drug-trafficking conviction.

It would, therefore, not be unprecedented for Biden to pardon a family member, which he could even do pre-emptively. However, the president would be unable to do so if that family member was convicted of a state crime, which could only be pardoned by a governor.

Fortunately for Hunter Biden, he presently faces federal tax charges, which his father could expunge.

In response to Meredith's question, Jean-Pierre said flatly, "No. ... No, I just answered."

Despite the press secretary's definitive answer, many remain skeptical that Joe Biden — who congressional investigators have indicated may have been deeply embroiled in his son's suspect business dealings with foreign nationals — won't go the distance to spare Hunter Biden from answering for his alleged crimes.

RealClearInvestigations editor Benjamin Weingarten asked for clarification, writing, "For which crimes?

Stephen Miller, contributing editor to the Spectator, wrote regarding the question of a pardon, "Why would he need to? His own DOJ just tried to slip a blanket immunity deal past a federal judge."

Miranda Devine of the New York Post wrote, "Pin that on the wall."

Legal scholar Jonathan Turley indicated in a column that Jean-Pierre's response "would have been more assuring to come from someone who did not clearly misrepresent the President's earlier denial just a day earlier and change his long-standing position."

Turley previously suggested that the "ultimate 'break-the-glass'" option open to the Bidens would be for the president to "pardon his son and then announce that he will not run for reelection. Facing an impeachment inquiry, low public support, and a son in the legal dock, Biden could use the case to close out his political career ... with an act as a father, which some would condemn but most would understand."

The collapse this week of Hunter Biden's sweetheart plea deal might ultimately leave the first son in desperate want of a pardon should the greater charges prevail. After all, the plea deal would have kept Hunter Biden out of prison, requiring him only to serve probation.

ABC News indicated that when asked whether Biden has spoken to his son, Jean-Pierre said she wouldn't divulge any private conversations Joe Biden has with his family, stressing, "This is a personal matter."

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Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.
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