Chris Hayes Calls Republican Focus on Hunter Biden ‘Sheer Sadism’ for ‘Political Purposes’ (Video)

Hayes discusses the plea deal President Joe Biden’s son reached with the Justice Department on Tuesday

Chris Hayes on Hunter Biden Plea Deal

At the top of MSNBC’s “All In With Chris Hayes” on Tuesday, Hayes began with a look into the news that Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden’s troubled son, has reached a plea deal with the Department of Justice, bringing an end to a federal investigation that has lasted more than five years.

But Hayes, who did express criticism of the younger Biden’s conduct, was focused on the fact that Republicans have been “obsessed” with him for years, an obsession Hayes dismissed as “sheer sadism” and nothing more than “an attempt to wield a son’s addiction against the father for political purposes.”

In case you need a refresher, Hunter Biden has been under investigation for a variety of alleged crimes since 2018, an investigation ordered under the Trump administration and continued under the Biden administration. It’s convoluted, but the gist is that in the mid-2010s, Hunter Biden relapsed in his drug and alcohol addiction while also working for foreign companies in positions that clearly traded on his closeness to American centers of power. His behavior during that period then became public because of leaked videos and other information documenting his struggle.

His father has never been implicated in any wrongdoing, but Hunter’s problems became a fixation for conservatives attempting to draw equivalence between Biden and Donald Trump, and the whole thing has been the subject of speculation and conspiracy theories involving Ukraine, alongside the real questions regarding wrongdoing or unethical behavior. He has reached a deal in which he’ll plead guilty to tax evasion, and will avoid being charged for unlawful purchase of a firearm. Read more about it here.

Kicking off his remarks, Hayes noted that President Biden has specifically not interfered in the investigation. Biden, Hayes explained, did what all other presidents have done — fired all the U.S. attorneys and replaced them, but he made exceptions for two of them conducting investigations ordered by Trump.

“He kept John Durham. Remember that guy? Durham was allowed to stay on and complete what was essentially a Trump-ordered wild goose chase to bring the ‘deep state’ to account, a goose chase which came up with basically nothing,” Hayes said. “And then there was David Weiss. David Weiss is the Delaware U.S. attorney, and he is the man who launched the probe into Hunter Biden in 2018. The new President Joe Biden left Weiss there in Delaware, so as not to interfere in any way in the ongoing investigation of his own son.”

Hayes then explained where things stand with Hunter, adding, “It’s been a remarkable road to get to this point. I mean, the first time the Department of Justice has brought charges against the child of a sitting president. And it appears from what we know, and from the timeline, that federal prosecutors dealt with this case very similarly to their investigation into ex-President Trump. Which is to say at every point, up and down the chain of command, they went out of their way, bending over backwards so as not to appear partisan or biased or unfair.”

Hayes noted the bombshell Washington Post story published Sunday that details how the FBI and Attorney General Merrick Garland apparently resisted even investigating Trump for his role fomenting the Jan. 6 insurrection. Supposedly due to “a weariness about appearing partisan institutional caution and clashes over how much evidence was sufficient to investigate the actions of Trump and those around him all contributed to the slow pace.”

“This probe of Hunter Biden has dragged on for five years. That’s a long time, a sweeping investigation involving federal prosecutors, FBI agents, IRS officials, it has resulted in charges that experts say are rarely prosecuted. That gun charge in particular, prohibiting a drug addict from owning a weapon, a rarely used statute that is facing legal challenges has been used in high profile cases where the underlying conduct doesn’t violate any obvious federal criminal statute. Notably Weiss did not bring any charges related to Hunter Biden’s dealing with foreign entities, following years of accusations from Republicans about his ties to China and Ukraine,” Hayes said.

“And again, presumably they looked at that stuff in the five years they were going through it all, right? Of course, Republicans began moving the goalposts almost immediately after the news broke,” Hayes continued, noting unhinged comments by Trump and a Republican congressman complaining about the plea deal and accusing President Biden of being some kind of crime boss.

“Now, the right wing attacks on the Bidens, particularly on Hunter Biden, have generally been in bad faith. I will say there has been some legitimate criticism, particularly of Hunter Biden’s work for a Ukrainian energy company called Burisma, an appointment that certainly had the appearance and to my mind likely substance of a foreign entity clearly attempting to just purchase access to the then-Vice President of the United States or to curry favor. And Hunter Biden obviously should not accept to that role. But he’s made a lot of bad judgment calls over the years, it’s not just that one. And I think both Hunter Biden and his father would agree, largely related to his lifelong struggles with drug and alcohol use,” Hayes said.

But, Hayes continued, “all the attacks on Hunter Biden are of course, just a way to hurt his father.”

Later in the segment, Hayes concluded that “today’s result of the long investigation into Hunter Biden is ultimately good for the rule of law and for justice, even though I think honestly, they probably went out of their way to charge him. But no one — no one — should lose sight of what this was all about. The sheer sadism of an attempt to wield a son’s addiction against the father for political purposes. That’s what has animated this entire enterprise from the beginning.”

Watch the full “All In With Chris Hayes” segment in the video above.