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Should Trump have confidence in his lawyers? Legal experts weigh in

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Should Trump have confidence in his lawyers? Legal experts weigh in

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As attorneys for former President Donald Trump work behind the scenes on an appeal following his conviction in the New York v. Trump trial, legal observers speculated to Fox News Digital about whether the presumptive Republican nominee is confident in his legal team ahead of his sentencing hearing – scheduled just four days before the Republican National Convention. 

While under normal circumstances, defense attorneys usually wait until after sentencing to file an appeal, legal analyst Phil Holloway questioned the lack of urgency from Trump’s lawyers in seeking federal intervention. 

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“I’m curious to know why we have not seen any effort by Trump’s legal team to stay the looming sentencing,” Holloway told Fox News Digital. “I think there’s a reasonable argument to be made to a NY Appeals court, or even a federal court, that under the extraordinary circumstances present in this case, a stay of the NY proceedings is necessary to prevent a serious disruption of the federal electoral process.” 

“Every American citizen, at any rate, has an interest in being able to vote for the candidate of their choice in a presidential election. So we’re not talking about a normal and customary kind of an appeal,” Holloway said. “It’s unheard of in American jurisprudence. And so I think you can take the traditional rule book and throw it out. I think they need to pursue every conceivable avenue to get relief from another court.” 

LEGAL ANALYSTS, PUNDITS SOUND ALARM ON TRUMP VERDICT, SUGGEST THERE’S ROOM FOR APPEAL: ‘CONTORTED THE LAW’

Former President Donald Trump speaks to the media alongside his attorney, Todd Blanche, after his New York conviction, Thursday, May 30, 2024.  (Michael M. Santiago/Pool Photo via AP)

Holloway and David Gelman, another legal analyst who spoke with Fox News Digital, both separately referenced the Bush v. Gore case, when the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately ruled that Florida did not need to complete a recount in the 2000 presidential election, because it could not be accomplished in a constitutionally valid way within the time limit set by federal law. 

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Gelman said that usually the Supreme Court or lower federal courts will not intervene in state decisions unless it’s a matter of “national importance,” as it was in 2000 and is again with the Trump case. 

“Look, it’s a Hail Mary. I’m not going to say it isn’t. However, you have nothing to lose. And, I think that this may, you know, get their attention a little more than a normal Hail Mary, if you will,” Gelman told Fox News Digital. “And also the Supreme Court is also hearing President Trump’s immunity claims right now. . . . So they’re very familiar with the arguments that are set forth with President Trump, even though this is not an immunity issue. So I think that it would be very prudent on the defense attorneys to throw that too, put up a motion before the Supreme Court to ask them to intervene and to file an emergency application to do so.” 

“We don’t know what they’re doing behind the scenes to prepare for the sentencing and obviously to prepare for the appeal. But I do wish we would see them acting with more of a sense of urgency regarding the appeal,” Holloway said. “If it were me, I might consider going to federal court now ahead of sentencing, seeking some kind of injunction to pause or to stop the sentencing from going forward, considering that you have the federal interest regarding the upcoming election at stake, and I think there’s enough federal issue involved to get a federal court involved in this.” 

The appeal must not go to the intermediate Appellate Division, which is Manhattan-based, and at a minimum go before the state Appellate Division of New York, if not the Supreme Court, Gelman said. 

Holloway said that if Trump’s legal team could “could somehow put a stop to the sentencing or pause it, they could perhaps begin the process of giving something up to the U.S. Supreme Court before the election.”

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“If they have a client who gets sentenced to jail or even who is put on probation, that’s a significant restriction on the former president’s personal liberty,” Holloway said. “Either way, and it has an impact on the election. And I think there’s a significant federal issue there that would give the federal courts the jurisdiction they need to weigh in on, even before an appeal runs its traditional course.” 

Trump in court with his lawyers

Former President Donald Trump, sitting with attorneys Todd Blanche and Emil Bove, awaits the start of proceedings in his criminal trial at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City, on May 29, 2024.  (JABIN BOTSFORD/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

He also noted how the timing of the Republican convention could play into Trump’s attorneys’ strategy. “I think that it makes a big difference to a federal court potentially if you’re talking about someone who is the actual nominee of the party versus someone who is a presumptive nominee,” Holloway said. “I think that if you have the actual nominee facing the significant restrictions on his personal liberty, whether he’s in jail or whether he’s on probation or house arrest or some combination of all of that. I think that it’s a very real issue that the federal courts ought to get involved in, because there’s a strong argument to be made that they ought to sort of hit the pause button to stay any further proceedings until the election plays out.”

NEW YORK APPEALS COURT JUDGES IN TRUMP CASE ROUTINELY DONATED TO DEMOCRATS, RECORDS SHOW

Another case to consider is in Georgia, where the state’s court of appeals halted any proceedings in the 2020 election interference case until it hears Trump’s appeal to disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Fanis Willis. The hearing date is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 4. While Holloway and Gelman agreed that both Manhattan and Fulton County, Georgia, are heavily blue jurisdictions, Holloway noted that a small portion of northern Fulton County is traditionally more red, so because the jury pool comes from the county as a whole, Trump has a slightly better chance of getting a more friendly jury, compared to Manhattan.

“I think there’s a very good possibility that the DA, Fani Willis, will have to be recused and no longer be able to be on that case. And then once that happens, if another fresh set of eyes looks at it, meaning like the attorney general’s office or an independent authority of Georgia, I think that it’ll be thrown away,” Gelman said, comparing the cases. “I think they’re kind of apples and oranges.” 

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As for Trump’s attorneys’ performance throughout the Manhattan trial, both Holloway and Gelman both said they were at a disadvantage from the start, due to the trial venue in New York City and Judge Juan Merchan, who refused to recuse himself from the case despite Trump’s team citing how the judge had donated to President Biden’s campaign.

Stormy Daniels is questioned by defense attorney Susan Necheles during former U.S. President Donald Trump's criminal trial

Stormy Daniels is questioned by defense attorney Susan Necheles during former President Donald Trump’s criminal trial on charges that he falsified business records to conceal money paid to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016, in Manhattan state court in New York City, May 9, 2024, in this courtroom sketch. (Reuters/Jane Rosenberg)

“If he wasn’t confident in his attorneys, you would probably hear by now that he has other attorneys on it,” Gelman told Fox News Digital. “We all know President Trump. He’s not really shy about letting his feelings known, and he’s not shy about firing people and hiring people. . . . He only wants the best people to work for him, and that includes attorneys. So by him not doing anything drastic, meaning by not firing Todd Blanche and the other people on the legal team and replacing them, you know, it shows me that he was happy with them. I know he’s not happy with the result and nobody is. But at the same time, you know, he’s a realist.” 

Gelman said that Trump’s attorneys in the Manhattan trial, Blanche, Emil Bove and Susan Necheles, “did an outstanding job with the facts that were given.” 

“I’ll be honest, I thought that there was no crime that was alleged, number one,” Gelman told Fox News Digital. 

“You cannot tell me with a straight face that there was not reasonable doubt,” Gelman said. I mean, you have two witnesses, specifically Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels, who literally said on the stand they would like to see President Trump in jail. They had a bone to pick with him. They were out for blood. And then with Cohen, you had him, who pretty much is the walking, talking epitome of reasonable doubt.” 

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Gelman said he thought Trump’s attorneys “kept their cool” while cross-examining Daniels and Cohen. 

“Trump’s legal team, they objected as much as they could. A lot of the objections that they put out were overruled,” Gelman told Fox News Digital. “Again, I think that the judge did a terrible job with that, because a lot of the objections should not have been overruled. And then you look on the other side where the prosecution, they objected to the same things – very, very similar – and their objections were sustained. So, the double standard was very noticeable.” 

While neither legal expert faulted Trump’s attorneys for calling former Michael Cohen legal adviser Robert Costello, Holloway admitted that the move “did backfire, because the judge handcuffed them.” 

“It’s very easy to Monday-morning-quarterback these things,” Holloway said. “They had a very tough jurisdiction. They had a very tough judge. They had a tough jury, and they were obviously in enemy territory. They did a very good job, considering where they were and what they had to work with.”

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President Biden had front row seat to dog, Commander, repeatedly biting Secret Service agents: report

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President Biden had front row seat to dog, Commander, repeatedly biting Secret Service agents: report

President Biden reportedly witnessed multiple attacks by Commander, his ferocious dog, to U.S. Secret Service (USSS) personnel – with one urging the use of a muzzle, newly released records show.

Correspondence, obtained by Judicial Watch, set the scene of life with Commander Biden – which included trips to the ER and the tailor.

Multiple USSS personnel shared that the attacks happened as Biden was walking the dog, with the president witnessing the incidents first-hand.

RECORDS SHOW BIDEN DOG, COMMANDER, ATTACKED SECRET SERVICE MEMBERS AT LEAST 24 TIMES

Commander, the dog of U.S. President Joe Biden, looks on as Biden departs on the south lawn of the White House on June 25, 2022, in Washington, D.C.  (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

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Bite marks by Commander Biden in suit jacket

The Biden family dog, Commander, repeatedly attacked U.S. Secret Service agents.  (Judicial Watch via U.S. Secret Service)

Other emails shared by staff suggested that the First Family purchase a muzzle for the German Shepherd. 

“TMZ just reported a dog bite at the White House! Can we please find a way to get this dog muzzled?” personnel from the U.S. Secret Service Safety, Health & Environment Division wrote in an email.

One Secret Service member shared that his encounter with Commander happened on Sep. 13, 2023, while Biden was taking his dog to the Kennedy Garden for an evening walk.

“As I started to walk toward him to see if he needed help, Commander ran through his legs and bit my left arm through the front of my jacket,” the USSS agent wrote. “I pulled my arm away and yelled, ‘No’. POTUS also yelled [redacted] to Commander. POTUS then [redacted]. I obliged and Commander let me pet him.”

BIDEN’S DOG, COMMANDER, TERRORIZED SECRET SERVICE IN ‘EXTREMELY AGGRESSIVE’ RAMPAGE: EMAILS

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“When turning to close the door, Commander jumped again and bit my left arm for the second time. POTUS again yelled at Commander and attached the leash to him,” he added. “My suit coat has 3 holes,1 being all the way through. No skin was broken. “

Commander Biden

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden, sit with their new dog Commander at the White House in 2021. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Other correspondence includes a sergeant writing in an email, “there was a dog bite and the officer may need to go to the hospital.”

In other email correspondence, Anthony Guglielmi, the Chief of Communications for the United States Secret Service, wrote of another interaction with Commander.

“Yesterday, around 8pm, a Secret Service Uniformed Division police officer came in contact with a First Family pet and was bitten,” Guglielmi wrote. “The officer was treated by medical personnel on complex, and I am not aware of any hospitalization.”

Bite marks by Commander Biden in suit jacket

Judicial Watch obtained images from the U.S. Secret Service of bite marks on their suit jackets. (Judicial Watch via U.S. Secret Service)

On Sept. 26, 2023, a series of media outlets reached out to Guglielmi to confirm reports of an additional bite on a female USSS officer.

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BIDEN’S DOG MAJOR BITES ANOTHER WHITE HOUSE EMPLOYEE

Bite marks by Commander Biden in suit jacket

Puncture marks in a U.S Secret Service member’s coat jacket. (Judicial Watch via U.S. Secret Service)

The latest information on Commander’s biting habits came after a previous report that the German shepherd bit and attacked at least 24 USSS personnel between October 2022 and July 2023.

Incidents with the dog began to stack up, with family pet altercations taking place in locations such as the White House, Wilmington, Delaware, Camp David, and Biden’s beach house in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

biden's dog commander

President Biden’s dog, Commander, a German shepherd, sits on the Truman balcony of the White House, Sept. 30, 2023, in Washington, D.C. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Commander’s arrival at the White House came after the Biden’s got rid of their prior dog, Major, who also behaved aggressively, including biting Secret Service and White House staff.

 

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Commander eventually left the White House to live with other family members after the series of attacks.

Fox News Digital has reached out to the Office of the First Lady for comment.

Fox News Digital’s Greg Wehner contributed to this report.

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Top manager of California's largest water supplier accused of sexism and harassment

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Top manager of California's largest water supplier accused of sexism and harassment

The board of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California voted to place General Manager Adel Hagekhalil on leave Thursday while the agency investigates accusations of harassment against him by the agency’s chief financial officer.

Chief Financial Officer Katano Kasaine made the allegations in a confidential letter to the board, which was leaked and published by Politico. She said Hagekhalil has harassed, demeaned and sidelined her and created a hostile work environment.

MWD Board Chair Adán Ortega Jr. announced the decision after a closed-door meeting, saying the board voted to immediately place Hagekhalil on administrative leave and to temporarily appoint Deven Upadhyay, an assistant general manager, as interim general manager.

“This board is determined to act with unity and swiftness in order to protect everybody,” Ortega said. “My hope is that under Deven’s leadership in the coming months, that we will find some common purpose, that we will realize the urgency of the policies and the tasks that confront us.”

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Ortega said in an interview after the meeting that there are “several investigations” underway. He declined to comment on the other investigations, and said Hagekhalil will be on administrative leave for up to 90 days.

“We’re calculating that that’s the amount of time it will take to complete the investigations,” Ortega told The Times.

Ortega began the meeting by announcing that the board had decided earlier this week to open an investigation. He called a vote allowing him to publicly discuss confidential matters discussed during that Tuesday meeting, and he criticized the release of the letter.

“The person who released this sensitive document knows that we as a board and as individuals are constrained by law not to reveal closed-session proceedings and related documents,” Ortega said. “They were trying to take advantage of that. But I’m not letting them. At minimum, by releasing the document, that person has tried to set a narrative that is potentially harmful to the general manager, the chief financial officer, this board and this agency, and they know it.”

Ortega said the board acted to start the investigation “in order to avoid the leak that happened anyway.” He said he and other board members believe that both Hagekhalil and Kasaine “deserve the due process prescribed by law.”

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Thursday’s special meeting was scheduled while Hagekhalil was traveling in Singapore for a water conference. According to the board meeting agenda, the closed session included a review of Hagekhalil’s performance as well as a discussion of potential discipline or dismissal. On those two items, Ortega said, there were “no reportable actions” during the closed meeting.

Board members voted unanimously to place Hagekhalil on administrative leave, with one abstention and several board members absent.

Kasaine said in her letter that throughout 30 years of government work, “I have encountered toxic work environments, but none as hostile and dysfunctional as Metropolitan.”

“Despite my tireless dedication and outstanding performance ratings, it has become incredibly stressful to even show up for work. I am constantly scrutinized, sidelined, and demeaned for standing up against issues that are not in Metropolitan’s best interest,” Kasaine said in the May 27 letter, which following the leak was released by the district.

Hagekhalil responded to the accusations in a text message, denying any wrongdoing.

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“I’ve always treated our MWD staff with complete respect, professionalism and kindness. Always,” Hagekhalil said. “I stand by my record of reforming the agency’s workforce policies and creating a healthy, supportive and inclusive work environment. Any investigation of these unsubstantiated claims will reveal that they are false, and I look forward to returning to my work at MWD to serve our staff and our community as soon as possible.”

He said the claims are “disagreements on management decisions.”

“When I started at MWD, I increased Katano’s responsibilities on an interim basis, and as CFO, she has had an important leadership role in recent MWD actions, including overseeing the agency’s adoption of a two-year budget and development of a long-range financial plan,” Hagekhalil said.

MWD is the nation’s largest wholesale supplier of drinking water, serving cities and agencies that supply 19 million people across Southern California.

Ortega lamented that with the release of the letter, “the confidentiality that they were to enjoy in order to correct matters, has now been compromised for the benefit of an undeclared individual who, depending on our silence, thought that they could deceive the press.”

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“Thus, the person who released the document should not be considered a whistleblower, but should be questioned by those listening to him or her about their motives and the personal gain they would like to achieve by violating the rights of others and trying to taint our agency,” Ortega said, reading from a prepared statement. “While I can’t reveal the extent of our continuing deliberations today, or guarantee outcomes, on behalf of the board, I want to assure our workforce that we will continue to act in a transparent way to bring security, harmony and protection of rights for everyone who works here so we can do the work of bringing water to Southern California.”

Several people spoke at the meeting, expressing support for Hagekhalil and calling for a fair and impartial investigation.

“Due process has been tainted in a major, major way,” said Mark Gold, director of water scarcity solutions for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “It’s a personnel issue that you need to investigate and keep private as much as possible.”

Gold also said Hagekhalil “lives and breathes water in this agency more than anyone I’ve ever seen.”

Hagekhalil has led the agency at a time of major challenges, including negotiations aimed at addressing shortages of Colorado River water, plans for building the country’s largest wastewater recycling facility, and the MWD board’s consideration of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan to build a $20-billion water tunnel in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

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Hagekhalil previously worked for the city of Los Angeles leading programs focusing on sewers and streets. He was appointed MWD’s general manager in 2021 after a bitter power struggle among board members. He earns $503,942 a year as general manager and chief executive, leading more than 1,900 employees and overseeing more than $2.2 billion in annual spending.

Hagekhalil has said he is seeking to transform the district to make the region’s water supplies resilient to the effects of climate change.

“This is at a time when MWD is at a crossroads,” said Bruce Reznik, executive director of Los Angeles Waterkeeper, who has supported Hagekhalil’s efforts at MWD. “The old way of doing business, the old model for water, doesn’t work in our climate change reality, and I know MWD is wrestling with these very challenging issues. And I think Adel and his team have done an amazing job of starting to tackle that.”

Some of Hagekhalil’s supporters questioned why the matter was brought to the board while he was traveling, and suggested the public airing of grievances appeared to be a calculated ambush.

Kasaine wrote in the letter that she has been “maligned, harassed, bullied, and sidelined from my core responsibilities.” She said Hagekhalil’s “preference for male colleagues/staff over me has continued to sow the seeds of sexism and belittling.”

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She also criticized Hagekhalil’s hiring of a team of trusted, highly paid consultants, calling it “an entire shadow leadership team, wielding more power than those holding official titles.”

Kasaine said Hagekhalil has told her that she will no longer have oversight responsibilities leading the district’s human resources and diversity, equity and inclusion offices.

“Taking these core services from me without any justification or reason is highly suspect and leads me to believe it is retaliation for speaking up on key concerns,” Kasaine wrote in the letter.

During Thursday’s meeting, many speakers said the matter demands a thorough and impartial investigation.

Ellen Mackey, chair of the employee union’s women’s caucus, told the board that as the situation stands, “we don’t have facts, just accusations.”

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Some environmental advocates said they suspect a link between the surfacing of allegations against Hagekhalil and his work leading efforts to take the district in a new direction by developing a climate adaptation plan, investing in local water sources and revamping MWD’s financial model.

Charming Evelyn, who chairs the Sierra Club’s water committee in Southern California, said Hagekhalil has brought positive changes to the MWD, and that has put him in conflict with the district’s “old guard.”

The California Water Impact Network, an advocacy group, said in a press release that the possibility that Hagekhalil’s efforts might lead the board to eventually vote against the proposed Delta Conveyance Project “has led to an attempted mutiny” by supporters of the tunnel among the district’s board members and staff.

The group noted that Kasaine currently serves as treasurer of the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority, the entity that was created to finance the tunnel project.

Max Gomberg, a board member of the California Water Impact Network, charged that the move against Hagekhalil appears to be a “political power play” designed to push through the tunnel project.

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Leaders of Indigenous tribes and other environmental groups also voiced concerns.

Krystal Moreno of the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians said that while the accusations should be independently investigated, “we also ask that the investigation include the questionable and concerning timing of these allegations and the board’s swift attempt to remove Adel without any investigation while he has been out of the country.”

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of the group Restore the Delta, which opposes the tunnel project, said the allegations and the timing of the claims are “equally problematic.”

“Both deserve a thorough and fact based investigation with transparent findings and due process,” she said.

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Trump has 'sort of a pretty good idea' of VP pick, will probably announce during RNC convention

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Trump has 'sort of a pretty good idea' of VP pick, will probably announce during RNC convention

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Former President Trump said he has “sort of a pretty good idea” of who his vice presidential running mate will be but will probably announce his selection during this summer’s Republican National Convention. 

Trump spoke with Fox News’ Aishah Hasnie at the Washington, D.C., headquarters of the Republican National Committee on Thursday following meetings with the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

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He was asked if his pick was present at any of the meetings.

TRUMP RILES UP FIERY SWING STATE CROWD IN FIRST RALLY SINCE NEW YORK CONVICTION

Aishah Hasnie spoke with President Trump at the Republican National Convention headquarters in Washington, D.C., following his meetings at the National Republican Senatorial Committee on Thursday. (Fox News)

“Probably. I don’t want to go, but I think (it) will probably get announced during the convention,” Trump said. “During the convention. There were some good people and, we have some very good people.”

The convention will be held from July 15-18 in Milwaukee. Trump said that Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, could be on the short list. 

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“And I think I could consider that,” he said. “Yes. I haven’t been asked that question, but he would be on that list.”

Hasnie also asked Trump about his thoughts on President Biden as a father following Hunter Biden’s conviction on federal gun charges. 

“Well, I think it’s a very serious thing,” Trump said. “I understand that whole subject. I understand it pretty well because I’ve had it with people who have it in their family,” referring to the younger Biden’s history of drug addiction. 

BIDEN CAMP JABS AT TRUMP’S ‘FAILED’ BUSINESS RECORD AS FORMER PRESIDENT LOOKS TO SWAY NATION’S TOP CEOS

President Biden says he won't pardon Hunter

President Biden, left, and his son Hunter Biden. (Getty Images)

“It’s a very tough thing. It’s a very tough situation for a father,” he added. “It’s a very tough situation for a brother or sister. And it goes on and it’s not stopping. Whether it’s alcohol or drugs or whatever it may be. It’s a tough thing. And so that’s a tough moment for the family. It’s a tough moment for any family involved in that.”

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Hunter Biden was convicted last week of three felony charges related to the purchase of a revolver in 2018 when he lied on a federal gun-purchase form by saying he was not illegally using or addicted to drugs.

Biden has said he will not use his presidential powers to appeal his son’s conviction. He’s also said in the past that he was proud of his son and that he believes he did nothing wrong. 

Hogan Maryland

Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan speaks at an annual leadership meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas on Nov. 18, 2022.  (AP Photo/John Locher)

“As I said last week, 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,” Biden said after the verdict. “So many families who have had loved ones battle addiction understand the feeling of pride seeing someone you love come out the other side and be so strong and resilient in recovery.”

Later in his interview, Trump said he hadn’t been asked to endorse former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, for the U.S. Senate. Hogan endorsed Nikki Haley over Trump and did not endorse him during the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections. 

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“Yeah, I’d like to see him win,” Trump said. “I think he has a good chance to win. I would like to see him win.”

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