A federal investigation into President Biden’s son Hunter is reportedly reaching a critical stage as prosecutors weigh whether to bring charges ahead of the midterm elections.
The Department of Justice is discussing the case with Delaware-based prosecutors and consulting guidelines around politically sensitive cases, according to CNN, which cited people familiar with the talks.
Talks about charges have centered on potential tax violations and making a false statement regarding Hunter Biden’s purchase of a firearm when he would have been prevented from doing so because of his struggles with drug addiction, the report said.
The probe, which began in 2018, is being led by David Weiss, the U.S. attorney in Delaware, who was appointed by President Trump.
A spokesperson for Mr. Weiss and the lawyer representing Hunter Biden in the probe did not respond to requests for comment.
It’s another headache for President Biden, who faces the prospect of Republican investigations into his family’s business ties if they win control of the House in November.
Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, the ranking member on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, vowed last month that his committee will investigate Hunter Biden if Republicans take control of the House.
“I believe that his son is corrupt,” Mr. Comer said of the president.
It’s also a fraught situation for Attorney General Merrick Garland, given that the probe hits close to home for the White House. Mr. Garland has fiercely defended the investigation’s independence and pledged that there will be no political or other improper interference.
Republicans have called for a special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden, though it’s not clear whether the public has the appetite for another high-profile special counsel investigation.
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings are still being debated in Washington more than three years after his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election wrapped up. John Durham, a special prosecutor appointed by then-Attorney General William Barr, is continuing his probe into the FBI’s handling of reported links between Mr. Trump and Russia.
Hunter Biden has denied wrongdoing, and the president is not being investigated despite claims that his son leveraged his stature in foreign business dealings.
SEE ALSO: Treasury Dept. blocking probe into Hunter Biden’s business dealings, says top GOP lawmaker
Sources familiar with the investigation confirmed the authenticity this year of Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop, which became a source of contention during the 2020 presidential election.
The laptop’s existence, first reported by the New York Post in October 2020, was initially dismissed by the Bidens and mainstream media as Russian disinformation.
The laptop’s hard drive contained emails, text messages, photos and other material detailing how Hunter Biden used his political connections to boost his overseas business dealings.
Sens. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, respectively the top Republicans on the Judiciary and Homeland Security committees, have presented bank records showing Hunter Biden and the president’s brother, James Biden, receiving millions of dollars from companies connected to the communist Chinese regime.
The Chinese energy conglomerate CEFC and its executives paid $4.8 million to firms owned and managed by Hunter Biden and his uncle for 14 months, according to government records, court documents, bank statements and documents from the laptop, Mr. Grassley said.
The White House has insisted that the president has never talked to his son about his far-flung foreign business dealings, despite the revelations depicting more complex and intertwined family financial relationships.
SEE ALSO: Kevin McCarthy pledges to investigate Hunter Biden if GOP wins House
A Rasmussen Reports poll this week found that 69% of likely U.S. voters believed it was likely the president was aware of at least some of Hunter Biden’s major foreign business dealings, including 49% who thought it was very likely.
Only 22% did not think it was likely that Mr. Biden was aware of his son’s foreign deals, while 10% were not sure.
More notably, the majority (62%) of voters said the president personally profited from deals with Chinese-government-connected companies, including 44% who thought it was very likely. Thirty percent said they did not believe it was likely that the president profited from his son’s Chinese deals.
The CNN report said investigators have narrowed their focus to tax- and gun-related charges instead of Hunter Biden‘s financial dealings.
Hunter Biden told associates this year that he paid off his more than $1 million tax bill, a move that didn’t eliminate the criminal probe but could be an attempt to lessen any penalties.
The Justice Department typically doesn’t bring charges within 60 days of an election, but there is debate about whether that would apply in this case because the president is not on the ballot in the midterm elections.
In August 2018, during the last midterm cycle, prosecutors in New York charged Michael Cohen, Mr. Trump‘s former attorney, and then-Rep. Chris Collins, a New York Republican who was running for reelection.