Why the Hunter Biden verdict isn't the slam dunk Republicans have been calling for

After years of targeting the president's family amidst claims of a rigged justice system, some conservatives still aren't satisfied with the younger Biden's three felony convictions

Monochrome photo composite of Joe Biden and Hunter Biden
Republicans "can't agree on how" to prevent Hunter Biden's convictions from "undermining their argument that the judicial system is being weaponized against Donald Trump"
(Image credit: Illustration by Stephen Kelly / Getty ImagesGetty Images)

Hunter Biden is hardly the first presidential relation to have their personal struggles and legal challenges turned into national news and fodder for their family's political opposition. Nevertheless, the younger Biden's three felony convictions this week are a particularly notable entry in the long history of first family challenges. It comes after years of conservatives pointing to both Hunter's history of addiction and various business dealings as evidence of his father's alleged — and to date unsubstantiated — criminality. That Hunter now potentially faces hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of fines and an extended prison sentence for having lied on federal firearm purchasing forms would presumably be occasion for celebration from the same Republicans who have long sought to prosecute the first family.

Hunter's conviction is a "step toward accountability" House Oversight and Accountability Chairman Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) said in a statement. Still, until the Justice Department pursues "everyone involved in the Bidens' corrupt influence peddling schemes," Comer said, "it will be clear department officials continue to cover for the Big Guy, Joe Biden."

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Rafi Schwartz, The Week US

Rafi Schwartz has worked as a politics writer at The Week since 2022, where he covers elections, Congress and the White House. He was previously a contributing writer with Mic focusing largely on politics, a senior writer with Splinter News, a staff writer for Fusion's news lab, and the managing editor of Heeb Magazine, a Jewish life and culture publication. Rafi's work has appeared in Rolling Stone, GOOD and The Forward, among others.