In a stunning development, the proposed plea and diversion agreements between Hunter Biden and the Department of Justice over tax and gun charges are on hold after a federal judge raised questions about the scope of the deal.
On Friday’s show, Megyn was joined by 2024 Republican presidential candidate and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to discuss the judge’s decision and the reform that is needed to end the “weaponization” of the DOJ and FBI.
The Proposed Plea Deal
In June, the first son was charged with two misdemeanor crimes related to the failure to pay more than $100,000 in taxes from over $1.5 million in earned income in both 2017 and 2018. The plan also included an agreement on a separate gun charge. Hunter was charged with possession of a firearm by a person who is a known drug user related to a Colt Cobra .38 Special he owned in October 2018. That is a felony charge that carries 10 years in prison.
Instead, he agreed to enter into a diversion agreement that would have allowed him to not plead guilty to the crime. So long as he adhered to the terms of the agreement, the charge would be removed from his record.
As it related to the tax charges, Hunter was expected to plead guilty on Wednesday as part of the plea arrangement with the DoJ. It was believed that prosecutors would recommend two years of probation for the offenses.
The Judge Puts the Deal on Hold
During what was expected to be a routine proceeding on Wednesday at a Wilmington, DE, courthouse, U.S. District Court Judge Maryellen Noreika raised multiple concerns about the specifics of the deal. The Trump-appointed judge also questioned her role in the proceedings.
“It seems to me like you are saying ‘just rubber stamp the agreement, Your Honor,'” Noreika told the courtroom. “This seems to me to be form over substance.” She asked the defense and prosecution teams to explain why she should accept the deal that dealt with overlapping agreements. Noreika told the lawyers that they would need to provide clarity on her role in enforcing the gun agreement in particular.
During the proceedings, prosecutors also revealed that Hunter remains under active investigation, but declined to reveal further details. “The judge noted that the agreement, as written, could give him sweeping immunity for all sorts of charges, including his foreign business deals,” Megyn explained. “This comes on the heels of two IRS whistleblowers coming forward to say that the DOJ repeatedly intervened in their investigation and undermined it.”
For his part, the first son was asked to provide more insight into the specific Ukrainian and Chinese entities he was in business with. Noreika also asked him about the last time he used drugs and whether or not he was receiving treatment. He ultimately pleaded not guilty to the tax charges.
The Lack of ‘Curiosity’ at the DOJ
DeSantis gave Noreika “credit” for not rubber stamping the deal. “I thought the fix was in on this thing,” he admitted. “I thought that this would end up going as a sweetheart deal and then they just kind of move on and say, ‘Oh no, we did deal with Hunter, we’re not targeting, or we don’t have two separate standards.’”
While the delay in the proceedings is encouraging to see, DeSantis does not believe this will lead to any substantial consequences for Hunter. “This Department of Justice, they have a lack of curiosity anytime there’s incriminating information about somebody that’s connected to the DC ruling class, and we see that over and over again,” he said. “And so in that sense… they’re likely going to try to figure out a way to not hold him fully accountable on this… I do not expect Merrick Garland to want to press hard against Hunter.”
The governor said that ending the “weaponization” of the FBI and Justice Department would be a top priority of his administration. He believes the institutions have accumulated unchecked power because “presidents of both parties have bought into the canard that the DOJ and FBI are quote, ‘independent.’” In his view, independence equates to a lack of accountability. “So the first thing you’ve got to do as president is to say, ‘You are not an independent agency, you answer to the elected president of the United States,’” DeSantis said.
That will cause “the DC people [to] freak out” because “they want that to be their little playpen,” but DeSantis believes it is “totally appropriate” to “hold them accountable.” If elected, he said he would insert a new FBI director and an attorney general “who has backbone,” in addition to moving the agencies out of Washington, DC. “We need a major, major house cleaning,” he concluded. “The only way you can do that is if you’re disciplined and focused as president and you are setting the agenda for these agencies to follow.”
You can check out Megyn’s full conversation with Gov. DeSantis by tuning in to episode 597 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.