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DeSantis: Justice Department trying to appear 'apolitical' with Hunter Biden indictment

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Florida governor and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis says he's "skeptical" about what motivated the U.S. Department of Justice to indict Hunter Biden, son of President Joe Biden, on charges he failed to pay taxes.

"I think it may be being done as a way for them to feign that they're apolitical, when in reality they've advanced some very highly politicized prosecutions, including against the former president," DeSantis told reporters at an event in West Des Moines on Friday evening.

The indictment against Biden, the Justice Department announced on Thursday, alleges he failed to pay at least $1.4 million in self-assessed taxes from 2016 through 2019, and also evaded tax assessment for 2018 when he filed false returns.

From 2016 to 2020, Biden spent money "on drugs, escorts and girlfriends, luxury hotels and rental properties, exotic cars, clothing, and other items of a personal nature, in short, everything but his taxes," according to the indictment.

The announcement came months after a plea deal over tax and gun charges collapsed. Under the agreement, which a federal judge rejected, Hunter Biden was set to plead guilty to two misdemeanor counts of failing to pay taxes in 2017 and 2018.

The Justice Department also is pursuing four criminal charges against former President Donald Trump for his attempts to overturn the 2020 election results. DeSantis suggested Friday that the indictment was a way for the Justice Department to appear "apolitical."

"I wonder whether this is something where they're going to be able to point to and say, ‘See? You can't say that they're going after Trump, because they're even going after the president’s son.'" DeSantis said.

DeSantis speculated that President Biden would pardon his son "the day after the (November) election."

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Friday the president would not use his presidential authority to pardon Hunter Biden.

Lawyers for Hunter Biden suggested the president's son was being unfairly targeted.

"Based on the facts and the law, if Hunter’s last name was anything other than Biden, the charges in Delaware, and now California, would not have been brought," Abbe Lowell, an attorney for Hunter Biden, said in a statement.

"Now, after five years of investigating with no new evidence – and two years after Hunter paid his taxes in full – the U.S. Attorney has piled on nine new charges when he had agreed just months ago to resolve this matter with a pair of misdemeanors," Lowell said.

USA Today contributed reporting.

Katie Akin is a politics reporter for the Register. Reach her at kakin@registermedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at @katie_akin.

This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: In Iowa, Ron DeSantis questions motivation behind Hunter Biden charges