Ethics experts said that President Biden was flirting with ethical boundaries when he talked about the Department of Justice (DOJ)’s investigation into his son Hunter Biden.
Hunter is facing potential DOJ charges, and we asked several ethics experts for their opinions on the president’s declaration of his son’s innocence.
Cully Stimson is a senior lawyer at the Heritage Foundation. He stated that “like most fathers, Biden will defend his son.”
Stimson stated that “as the President of the United States of America, Biden should know (or knows) it’s inappropriate for him to weigh in on a federal investigation currently underway. As the Chief Law Enforcement Officer of the United States and as the person who is assigned the Pardon Power by the Constitution, Biden should not prejudge any federal case before the case has reached its natural conclusion.”
Mike Chamberlain of Protect the Public’s Trust stated that “there is a reason why officials, such as the President, in the past, refused to comment on investigations currently underway.”
Chamberlain warned that “especially in the case where the President is ultimately responsible, any comment on a case could sway the people working on it and may even tend to manipulate the result.”
He continued, “While this is clear irresponsibility, it could be worse.” The DOJ has already been under fire for reports of a whistleblower alleging political interference with career officials’ recommendations that Hunter Biden be prosecuted. Some could interpret the President’s statements as potential obstruction of justice.
Walter Shaub, the former ethics chief for the Obama administration, said that Biden’s comments on the potential criminal charges against his son “highlights” the dangers associated with the president or White House staff talking to the DOJ about Hunter’s situation.
Shaub expressed his hope that Biden and the administration would keep a distance from Hunter’s case, but he believes it is likely acceptable for a father of a president to be cautious when claiming his son’s innocence so as not to appear to be trying to influence the outcome.
Shaub stated, “I believe these remarks show exactly why President Biden and anyone else from the White House shouldn’t talk to anyone in the IRS or Justice Department regarding the investigation of his child.” “I hope that they maintain a strict wall.”
He continued, “As long a father doesn’t do that, it is probably okay for him to say he thinks his son is innocent.” “But he must exercise caution in order to avoid appearing as if he is trying to influence or undermine the credibility of the investigation. This may include refraining from answering the interviewer’s question, for example, by raising this topic in a talk.”
According to reports, the Justice Department is nearing a final decision on whether or not to indict Hunter Biden for federal gun and tax charges.
Since 2018, the first son is under federal investigation for two misdemeanor charges of tax filing, a felony charge of tax evasion, and a charge of false statement over a firearm purchase.
In an interview with MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle last Friday, President Biden answered the question of how he would be affected by the possible looming criminal charges.
“First, I want to say that my son has done nothing wrong. I have faith in him. “I have confidence in him, and it affects my presidency because I feel proud of him,” Biden explained.