Fox News host Sean Hannity tried to sell Donald Trump a new way to heal the wounds of his presidency and the deadly attack on Capitol Hill: a pardon for Hunter Biden.
The bizarre idea was hinted at in texts released by the House committee on January 6, which held its first prime-time television hearing on Thursday.
In a message, Hannity told then-White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany that Trump “was intrigued by the idea of forgiveness!! (Hunter).”
The Daily Beast said a source familiar with conversations between Hannity and Trump confirmed that Hannity was referring to Hunter Biden.
Joe Biden’s surviving son has become a magnet for Republican attacks on his business and personal life, including a collapsed marriage and addiction issues.
A laptop he once owned was touted by Trump allies, including Hannity, as an “October surprise” to blow up the 2020 election. It didn’t explode, but news outlets have since broadcast articles based on information from the computer.
Hunter Biden has confirmed that his tax history is under investigation, saying in December 2020, “I take this matter very seriously, but I am confident that a professional and objective review of these matters will demonstrate that I have managed my affairs in a lawful and proper manner”.
His business connections in China would be part of the investigation.
Hunter Biden’s dealings in Ukraine were at the heart of Trump’s first impeachment in 2019, for soliciting dirt from political rivals in exchange for military aid.
Trump was impeached for a second time in 2021 for inciting the Capitol Riot, a failed attempt to block certification of Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.
After Trump’s defeat, a Hunter Biden pardon was floated in conservative circles.
On December 10, 2020, the editor of the National Interest, a conservative magazine, wrote, “Trump himself may consider pardoning Hunter as well as his own family…and the officials who worked for him.
“The difficulty for Trump has been that such pardons would not only look selfish, but would also raise questions about trying to evict criminal responsibility, since no charges have been brought against Hunter, Ivanka or Don Jr.
“These issues may not be enough to deter him, and Hunter Biden’s predicament would allow Trump to take on the federal justice system more broadly. He could show magnanimity and impartiality by forgiving Biden’s son of grace.
The source who spoke to the Beast said Hannity floated the idea on January 7, the day after the attack on Congress, as a way to help “smooth things up.”
But the source said that as other suggestionsincluding ending Trump’s lie about a stolen election and Trump’s involvement in Joe Biden’s nomination, it went nowhere.
“He died on the vine,” the Beast quoted the source as saying, adding that although Trump was briefly interested, a pardon was “never seriously considered.”
Another source told the Beast Hannity “really wanted a cure.”
Fox News, McEnany and Trump had no comment.
Trump has granted last-minute pardons to aides and allies, including Steve Bannon, his former campaign chairman and White House strategist, accused of fraud.
Hannity continued to attack Hunter Biden on his show.