Joe Biden’s son Hunter and rival Donald Trump may both be before criminal courts in run-up to presidential election

Indictment of Hunter Biden on gun charges will be seized upon by Republicans to put pressure on US president

The months leading up to the US presidential election next year may now see both the son of the White House incumbent, as well as his likely main challenger, standing before a court on criminal charges.

The indictment of Hunter Biden on gun charges on Thursday is expected to be seized upon by Republicans to put pressure on US president Joe Biden.

Earlier this week, Republicans in the House of Representatives announced an impeachment inquiry into the president, largely arising from allegations regarding the business affairs of his son.

Hunter Biden’s activities in Ukraine and China were always potentially troublesome for the president.


Republicans claim Biden junior was trading on his family name when he accepted high-paying positions with overseas companies when his father was vice-president under the administration of Barack Obama.

They argue that Hunter Biden had no expertise in the gas or energy industries he was involved in and his real usefulness was his close connection to Joe Biden.

Republicans, over recent months, have been trying to drag Joe Biden into controversy surrounding his son’s business dealings.

Without providing evidence, they have peddled claims that Joe Biden received payments for helping his son’s business friends in Ukraine. Joe Biden has strongly denied any allegations that he received bribes.

While dealing with the added pressures of an impeachment inquiry – even one that seems to have little prospect of forcing him from office in the absence of credible evidence – the president will now wait for a date for his son to go on trial.

The indictment on Thursday does not relate to Hunter Biden’s business in Ukraine, butcentres on a gun charge. Prosecutors say that, when purchasing a pistol in 2018, he lied on a federal form when he declared he was not taking drugs at the time.

If convicted, Hunter Biden could face up to 25 years in jail. However, first time offenders who have not used the gun to commit a further crime tend not to get lengthy sentences.

Hunter Biden has publicly acknowledged his struggles with drugs in the past. The indictment follows the collapse in July of a deal which would have seen him plead guilty to a pair of misdemeanour tax charges and avoid prosecution on the gun issue if he remained drug-free and promised to never own a firearm again. The deal, if implemented, would likely have seen Hunter Biden remain out of jail.

Republicans condemned the proposed agreement as too lenient before it collapsed when presented to a judge in Delaware. In addition to the gun charge, Hunter Biden could still face prosecution in relation to alleged tax offences.

Before any trial takes place, Hunter Biden’s lawyers may challenge the indictment in court.

But while all this is going on, his father will be on the election campaign. And his opponents are likely to continually raise the story of Hunter Biden’s business dealings, particularly as there is evidence the claims about Joe Biden are beginning to cut through to the public.

A poll for CNN last week found that a majority, 61 per cent, said they believed that Joe Biden had at least some involvement in Hunter Biden’s business dealings.

Meanwhile, the president’s likely opponent, Donald Trump, is also scheduled to have his own days in court, facing over 90 charges across his various legal troubles.