(WASHINGTON) — Rep. Dan Goldman, D-N.Y., said Sunday that President Joe Biden would never consider a pardon for his son Hunter Biden after a plea deal that the younger Biden agreed to on tax and gun charges fell apart last week.
“I don’t think there’s any chance that President Biden is going to do that, unlike his predecessor, who pardoned all of his friends and anyone who had any access to him,” Goldman told ABC “This Week” co-anchor Jonathan Karl, referring to former President Donald Trump. (Trump has defended his grants of clemency, claiming some people were mistreated.)
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said last week the president would not consider a pardon, but the president himself has not said anything on the matter.
On “This Week,” Goldman defended how the White House has handled the ongoing federal investigation into Hunter Biden, who last week pleaded not guilty to tax charges.
“President Biden has restored the integrity of the Department of Justice,” Goldman said. “And I think you see that in this case, where he kept on, and [Attorney General] Merrick Garland kept on, a Trump-appointed U.S. attorney to investigate the president’s son — if there is not an indication of the independence of the Department of Justice beyond that, I don’t know what we could look for.”
Hunter Biden previously agreed to a deal with prosecutors in which he would have pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor tax charges and enter into a pretrial diversion program to help him avoid prosecution on a separate felony gun charge.
However, the arrangement fell apart — for now — during a hearing in Delaware on Wednesday when U.S. District Court Judge Maryellen Noreika pressed prosecutors and Hunter Biden’s attorneys over some aspects of their agreement, including linking the prospective tax plea to the gun charge and whether or not a provision in the deal would grant Hunter Biden broader immunity going forward even as prosecutors acknowledged he is still under investigation.
Noreika ultimately deferred the plea deal, which she called “atypical” and “not straightforward.”
The two sides are now negotiating.
Goldman, who served as House Democrats’ majority counsel during Trump’s first impeachment, contended on “This Week” that the language in the deal protecting Hunter Biden from future prosecution was fueled by concerns from his attorneys at the prospect of Trump returning to the White House and targeting him.
“The fact of the matter is that this is a Trump-appointed U.S. attorney and Trump-appointed judge, this is a very independent and thorough investigation,” he said. “And I think that whatever happens in the Hunter Biden case, we can rest assured that it was done based solely on the facts and the evidence, and that there was nothing else to it.”
Pressed by Karl on if he thought the immunity provision in the deal was “too broad,” Goldman insisted otherwise.
“That’s fairly typical and, oftentimes, prosecutors and defense lawyers go back and forth about what degree of immunity a defendant will get,” he said.
And despite withering criticism from Republicans who claim Hunter Biden received a favorable deal because of who he is — with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy saying last week that “there shouldn’t be two justice systems in America” — Goldman said that “this is a fairly typical process.”
Separately, Goldman also hammered Trump over last week’s superseding indictment adding charges onto the former president’s previous federal indictment over his handling of government secrets while out of office.
The new allegations include a claim that he pushed for security footage from Mar-a-Lago to be deleted after that footage was subpoenaed.
“It demonstrates Donald Trump’s knowledge of what his conduct was and how wrong it was, and that he was trying to obstruct the investigation that he knew was ongoing,” Goldman said. “That is quintessential consciousness of guilt.”
Trump has denied any wrongdoing and cast the charges against him as politically motivated.
He pleaded not guilty to the original federal indictment but has not yet pleaded to the superseding indictment.
“I think the most important thing to take away is that Donald Trump does not believe that the law applies to him,” Goldman argued on Sunday. “He simply believes he’s above the law and that he can do whatever he wants.”
ABC News’ Lucien Bruggeman contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.