Pardon Or Commute: How The President Might Use Semantics To Save Hunter From Prison

by Tommy Grant
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While President Joe Biden seemed adamant a few days ago that he would not pardon his son, Hunter Biden, if he was convicted on felony gun charges, the White House seems to be backing off that stance—at least a bit.

On Tuesday, a federal court jury in Delaware found the younger Biden guilty on all three federal felony gun charges stemming from buying and possessing a firearm while he was addicted to illegal drugs. A sentencing date has not yet been set, but the charges could carry a fine of up to $750,000 and up to 25 years in prison.

The president positively ruled out pardoning his son during an ABC news interview last week, before the trial ended. However, today’s White House press conference has many speculating that Biden will commute Hunter’s sentence, another way to spare him from the penalty without making his earlier statement about pardoning his son another outright lie in a long list of prevarications he’s uttered during his administration.

At a press conference on Wednesday, White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Air Force One,  “As we all know, the sentencing hasn’t even been scheduled yet.” However, concerning the possibility of the president commuting Hunter’s sentence, she said, “I just don’t have anything beyond that.”

A pardon is an act that grants official forgiveness to a person for a crime. Unlike a pardon, a commutation does not mean that there is forgiveness for the underlying offense. It simply means that the period of incarceration served for the offense has been reduced.

Of course, with Jean-Pierre’s statement some in the so-called “mainstream media” immediately went on the president’s defense—as usual. Within just a few hours, MSNBC posted a story in which author Jordan Rubin wrote, “… it would be a potentially odd distinction to pre-emptively rule out a pardon but hold open the possibility of commutation.”

The case revolved around the younger Biden’s 2018 purchase of a firearm from a licensed dealer in which, while filling in Form 4473, Hunter responded “no” to the question of whether he was “an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance.” However, per Hunter’s own account of his addiction—as chronicled in his 2021 book, Beautiful Things—it is almost certain that he was an addict at the time he purchased the gun.

Earlier this week, the jury took less than a day of deliberation to decide that Hunter Biden was guilty as charged. Since a sentencing date has not yet been set, his penalty is still unknown.

Concerning the pardon vs. commutation scenario, with the president’s propensity to say one thing and do another, a pardon for his son certainly isn’t out of the question. Now it seems, however, that a commutation of Hunter’s upcoming sentence might be even more likely.

Either way, it will probably be yet another example of Hunter benefitting from his father, just as he did during several verified cases of influence peddling when the current president was vice president.

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