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Biden says he won’t pardon Hunter Biden or commute his sentence in first public remarks after guilty verdict


By Kevin Liptak and Michael Williams, CNN

(CNN) — President Joe Biden on Thursday offered his first public remarks about his son Hunter’s conviction on federal gun charges earlier this week, telling reporters in Italy he is “proud” of him and accepts the jury’s verdict.

“I’m extremely proud of my son Hunter. He has overcome an addiction, he’s one of the brightest, most decent men I know,” Biden said during a news conference on the margins of the G7 summit.

“I am satisfied that I’m not going to do anything — I said I’d abide by the jury decision. I will do that. And I will not pardon him,” he added.

Hunter Biden was found guilty on three federal charges this week, punctuating an emotionally tumultuous trial that unearthed many dark and private moments for the Biden family.

Biden reaffirmed that he would not pardon his son, echoing a commitment he made last week, before he was convicted in his gun case.

The president also went a step further Thursday, saying he would not consider commuting his son’s sentence. Presidents have the power both pardon and commute, or reduce, sentences in federal cases.

Hunter Biden has not yet been sentenced in his gun case, and it likely will not happen for another couple of months.

White House officials suspected the president may face questions from reporters at Thursday’s press conference regarding his son’s conviction, including whether the president would commute the sentence, a senior White House official told CNN.

Biden aides suspected there was a good chance the president would be asked to comment on the verdict, the official said, and they were sensitive to the fact that White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre’s response to a question the day before had inadvertently created fresh headlines that the White House would not rule out the possibility of a commutation.

But the official told CNN that Jean-Pierre’s response had simply been a reflection of the fact that some aides had not discussed that matter with the president.

The president has sought to draw a distinction between his own acceptance of the jury’s verdict and rival Donald Trump’s claim that his own legal issues amount to a “rigged” justice system. To that end, he has largely chosen to stay quiet about his son’s criminal trial.

Last week, the president in a statement noted that while he is the commander-in-chief, he is also a father. He repeated those sentiments in a statement after his son’s conviction on Tuesday.

While Biden has largely shied away from talking about his son’s criminal case in an effort to avoid looking like he is putting his thumb on the scale, other family members had shown up to support Hunter Biden in court. First lady Dr. Jill Biden was in the courtroom for most of the trial, making several transatlantic flights to be by Hunter Biden’s side while the first family was in France to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

The president’s siblings, Valerie and James, also appeared in court to support Hunter Biden.

This story has been updated with additional reporting.

CNN’s MJ Lee contributed to this report.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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