During a global press conference in Stockholm, Sweden, Attorney General Merrick Garland was asked by Associated Press News Director Karl Ritter about the recent plea deal reached by Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, and whether it reflects a different standard of justice compared to former President Donald Trump’s criminal charges.
Ritter veered off topic, seizing the opportunity to explore Republican criticisms of Hunter Biden’s plea deal, which involves three federal charges, including two tax misdemeanors and one gun felony. Republicans had been quick to raise concerns about the leniency of the deal, particularly in light of the recent bombshell 37-count indictment against Trump related to violations of the Espionage Act.
Garland, joined by Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, Swedish Minister for Justice Gunnar Strömmer, and European Commissioners for Justice and Home Affairs, addressed the question during the EU-US Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial meeting. Garland emphasized that it was Trump who had appointed the U.S. attorney responsible for negotiating Hunter Biden’s plea deal.
Acknowledging Ritter’s request to drift off topic, Garland explained that he had entrusted the decision-making process to the U.S. attorney, who had been assigned to the case by the previous administration. Garland reiterated that the U.S. attorney had been given full authority to determine the appropriate course of action. He advised Ritter to direct any further inquiries about the matter to the U.S. attorney for a detailed explanation of his decision.
With that response, the press conference concluded, and the participants thanked the attendees for joining the event online.
KARL RITTER: Karl Ritter here for the Associated Press. If I can drift off topic for a second, I have a question for Attorney General Garland about the deal that President Biden’s son made with the Justice Department, under which he’s pleading guilty to some charges and will likely avoid jail time. Some Republicans say he’s being treated more leniently than he should have, and compare and contrast the case to that of former President Trump, who has been criminally indicted. Do these cases reflect a different standard of justice depending on political leanings?
AG MERRICK GARLAND: So as I said, from the moment of my appointment as attorney general, I would leave this matter in the hands of the United States attorney who was appointed by the previous president and assigned to this matter by the previous administration, that he would be given full authority to decide the matter as he decided was appropriate. And that’s what he’s done. And if you have any further questions about that matter, you should direct them to the U.S. attorney to explain his decision. Thank you.
MODERATOR: Thank you, everyone. Unfortunately, that’s all the time we have. Thank you for coming and joining us online.