Robert Reich: Will Republicans’ Bogus Claim Of A ‘Double Standard’ Of Justice Stick? – OpEd


Congressional Republicans on Tuesday blasted the plea deal Hunter Biden reached with the Justice Department, in which the younger Biden pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors for failing to pay taxes on time and avoided prosecution on a separate gun charge. (He must also remain sober for two years and give up his right to own a gun ever again. The deal still requires a judge’s approval.)

They accused President Biden of orchestrating a “double standard” of justice — obtaining a lenient penalty for his son while conducting a vendetta against Trump.

“If you are the president’s leading political opponent, the Department of Justice tries to literally put you in jail and give you prison time,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters at the Capitol. “If you are the president’s son, you get a sweetheart deal.”

“Wow! The corrupt Biden DOJ just cleared up hundreds of years of criminal liability by giving Hunter Biden a mere ‘traffic ticket.’ Our system is BROKEN!” Trump posted.

Republican candidate and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley said the deal “only raises further questions about Hunter Biden’s crimes and the double standard of justice.”


There’s no comparison between the two alleged offenses. Trump stole government property that contained nuclear secrets and secret plans for defending the United States. Hunter Biden was late paying his taxes and allegedly lied about drug use when purchasing a gun. 

There’s no comparison between the defendants. Trump was president of the United States (and is now the leading Republican candidate for president in 2024), who for years violated major laws and constitutional provisions to gain power and wealth, with impunity — until now.

Hunter Biden is the son of the current president. For years, Trump and his enablers have tried to make the younger Biden a political scapegoat for questioning the honesty of his father.

And there’s not a scintilla of evidence that the White House played a role in either case.

The United States attorney who led the investigation of Hunter Biden, David C. Weiss, was appointed by Trump.

It’s a credit to President Biden and his commitment to the independence of the Justice Department that he kept Trump’s U.S. attorney on to investigate a matter involving his own son. Can you imagine Trump keeping on a Biden-appointed U.S. attorney to investigate one of Trump’s children?

Jack Smith, the person who investigated Trump, was appointed special counsel by Merrick Garland expressly to give Smith independence from the Justice Department and remove any taint of political partisanship.

In addition, the grand jury that decided to indict Trump was composed of ordinary Americans, mostly from southern Florida.

But will average Americans fall for the Republicans’ false claim of a double standard of justice — with Trump and his Republican lackeys going full blast while President Biden (appropriately) says nothing?

What do you think?

Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies, and writes at Reich served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written fifteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock", "The Work of Nations," and"Beyond Outrage," and, his most recent, "The Common Good," which is available in bookstores now. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, "Inequality For All." He's co-creator of the Netflix original documentary "Saving Capitalism," which is streaming now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *