White House doesn't rule out potential sentence commutation for Hunter Biden

Karine Jean-Pierre said she hadn't spoken to the president about the matter.

June 12, 2024, 7:24 PM

The White House on Wednesday declined to rule out a presidential sentence commutation for Hunter Biden following his conviction earlier this week on federal gun charges.

When asked specifically by a reporter on Air Force One as President Joe Biden traveled to the G7 summit in Italy -- about whether a commutation of Hunter Biden's eventual sentence was on the table -- White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said she hadn't spoken to the president about the matter since Tuesday's verdict.

First lady Jill Biden and Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden leave the federal court after the jury finds him guilty on all three counts in his trial on criminal gun charges, in Wilmington, Del., June 11, 2024.
Hannah Beier/Reuters

"As we all know, the sentencing hasn't even been scheduled yet," Jean-Pierre said. "I don't have anything beyond what the president said," she answered, referring to his comment to ABC "World News Tonight" anchor David Muir in an interview last week when he ruled out a pardon. "He's been very clear about this."

"He was asked about a pardon, he was asked about the trial specifically and he answered it very clearly, very forthright," Jean-Pierre said.

David Muir interviews President Joe Biden at the Normandy American Cemetery in Normandy, France, June 6, 2024.
ABC News

"You have his words ... I just don't have anything beyond [that]," she added.

She repeatedly referred reporters to the statement President Biden made right after the verdict in which he said, "I am the President, but I am also a Dad. Jill and I love our son, and we are so proud of the man he is today."

"He's very clear, very clear. You know, he loves his son. And he and the first lady love their son and they support their son. I just don't have anything ... beyond that," Jean-Pierre added.

U.S. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre holds a press briefing at the White House, May 28, 2024, in Washington.
Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters

While a pardon is an executive forgiveness of a crime, a commutation is an executive lowering of a sentence or punishment.

Last September, Jean-Pierre answered more directly when confronted with a similar question.

Asked by a reporter if Biden would "pardon or commute his son" if he were convicted, she responded that she had answered that question before, "and I was very clear, and I said no."

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