White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Thursday offered a decisive “no” when pressed if President Joe Biden might consider pardoning his son, Hunter, over felony gun and tax misdemeanor charges.

Earlier in the briefing, Jean-Pierre declined to say if the president had spoken to his son after a plea deal fell apart in federal court Wednesday.

“I’m really not gonna say anything more than what I shared yesterday – this is a personal matter for Hunter Biden, this is a personal issue,” she said. “And as you know, this has been done in an independent way by the Department of Justice, it has been led by a Trump-appointed prosecutor, and I’m just not going to comment beyond what I said yesterday.”

Last month, following the announcement of charges against Hunter Biden, White House spokesman Ian Sams told reporters in a statement, “The president and first lady love their son and support him as he continues to rebuild his life. We will have no further comment.”

But the White House has largely avoided commenting on the legal woes facing the president’s son, instead referring inquiries to the Department of Justice and to Hunter Biden’s personal legal team.

Hunter Biden on Wednesday was set to plead guilty to two tax charges with prosecutors agreeing to recommend a sentence of probation. But before the original plea could be entered, the deal began to unravel and a revised agreement reached during the hearing was not accepted by the judge.

The Trump-era Justice Department started investigating Hunter Biden in 2018, and the probe steadily expanded to examine whether he violated money laundering and foreign lobbying laws with his multimillion-dollar overseas business dealings. Federal investigators also looked into Hunter Biden’s unpaid taxes and lavish spending, which came amid a struggle with addiction.

US attorney David Weiss has led the investigation. He was appointed by former President Donald Trump, and Joe Biden kept him at his post so he could continue handling the probe. There is no public indication that Joe Biden or the White House ever tried to intervene in the probe and the White House has repeatedly stressed that they have not been involved in the investigation.

While the investigation was ongoing, Hunter Biden fully paid his federal tax bill, along with interest and penalties, his lawyers have previously said.

House Republicans have zeroed in on Hunter Biden’s finances as part of their broader oversight probes into the Biden family. They are seeking testimony from Weiss about the criminal probe, and the House GOP’s right-wing flank is already clamoring for a possible impeachment of Attorney General Merrick Garland.

This story has been updated with additional information.


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