The recent appointment of a special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden has raised concerns that the ongoing criminal probe involving the president’s son will significantly impact his father’s re-election campaign in 2024. The selection of Delaware US Attorney David Weiss as the special counsel, announced on Friday, is expected to divert attention and focus away from key campaign topics such as the economy and signature legislation, according to senior Democrats.
This development is predicted to have a substantial effect on the re-election campaign, potentially causing disruptions and distractions whenever individuals are called before a grand jury or subpoenaed. The press is likely to continue probing the issue, pulling the campaign off-message. A senior Democrat noted that President Biden’s desire to discuss subjects like the economy, national security, and gun control could be hindered by the ongoing investigation.
Furthermore, Democrats express concerns that the scope of the special counsel investigation might expand beyond initial expectations, as such probes tend to uncover unexpected findings. This phenomenon has been observed in previous special counsel investigations, as exemplified by the investigation into former President Bill Clinton, which initially focused on a real estate deal but ultimately led to the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
The Biden campaign has not provided a response to requests for comment on this matter. Hunter Biden had previously pleaded not guilty to charges related to tax evasion and unlawful possession of a firearm while using illegal drugs. Democrats had hoped for a plea agreement between Hunter Biden and David Weiss to resolve his legal issues and shift the focus away from them. However, a proposed plea deal was rejected by a federal judge, and talks between the two sides have broken down.
The potential trial of Hunter Biden could lead to a historic spectacle, with the son of a sitting president facing criminal charges while his father campaigns for re-election. This scenario could unfold as former President Donald Trump, a Republican, also faces multiple upcoming criminal trials. Republicans have accused Joe Biden of benefiting from his son’s business activities in Ukraine and China, although no concrete evidence of wrongdoing has been produced.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll in June indicated that half of Americans believed Hunter Biden received preferential treatment in the attempted plea deal. Despite the collapse of the plea deal, most Americans stated that Hunter Biden’s legal situation did not affect their likelihood of voting for Joe Biden in the upcoming election.