By Annie Grayer, CNN
(CNN) — House and Senate Republicans have been quick to criticize the plea deal between the Department of Justice and Hunter Biden, arguing Tuesday that the charges brought against President Joe Biden’s son exemplify what they describe as the weaponization of the DOJ.
The reaction underscores how the charges brought by the DOJ as the result of a five-year investigation led by a Donald Trump appointee will not deter Republicans on Capitol Hill, particularly GOP lawmakers who control the House and by extension the committees, from pursuing their own probes into the Biden family.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy dismissed the fact that the US attorney was a Trump holdover when asked by CNN’s Manu Raju.
“You think it’s equal and fair that a political opponent is going to be given jail time, but a presidential son – and if you compare this to other individuals in America that have the same accusations against them, same crimes that they had been guilty of, that they were proposed to have 10 years and other time periods – I think that’s a difference of justice,” McCarthy said.
The argument that the Justice Department has been politicized against conservatives has been central to how House Republicans approach their congressional investigations, how they frame their defense of Trump and how they rationalize the cuts in funding they want to make to the DOJ and specifically the FBI across the board through the House appropriations process.
House Oversight Chairman James Comer criticized the Justice Department for only giving Hunter Biden “a slap on the wrist,” saying he received a “sweetheart plea deal.”
Comer, a Kentucky Republican who has made Hunter Biden a fixture of his committee, said the charges will have no impact on his investigation, which has focused on the Biden family’s foreign business dealings. While House Republicans have used their subpoena power to try and uncover a money trail, they have still not established a direct link to President Biden.
“We will not rest until the full extent of President Biden’s involvement in the family’s schemes are revealed,” Comer said in a statement Tuesday.
McCarthy similarly said Tuesday’s news should aid their investigation.
“It actually should enhance our investigation because the DOJ should not be able to withhold any information now, saying that because a pending investigation, they should be able to provide Chairman Comer with any information that he requires,” the California Republican said.
House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio, who has made alleged politicization of DOJ central to his work as committee chairman, tweeted that the news exemplified a “double standard of justice” in light of the charges brought against Hunter Biden.
House GOP Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik, who sits on the so-called weaponization subcommittee led by Jordan, was the first member of House GOP leadership to weigh in.
“This is the epitome of the politicization and Weaponization of Joe Biden’s Department of Justice as they give a slap on the wrist to President Biden’s son – a tax fraud and corrupt pay-to-play criminal,” Stefanik, a Republican from New York, said in a statement provided to CNN. “House Republicans will not rest until the full illegal corruption of the Biden Crime Family is exposed.”
Republican senators, including Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, echoed that the charges against Hunter Biden by the DOJ reflect a “sweetheart deal.”
Sen. J.D. Vance of Ohio said Hunter Biden’s deal is “exhibit 1,042 for why I’m holding Biden’s DOJ nominees.” Last week, Vance vowed to hold on all judicial nominees “indefinitely,” until Attorney General Merrick Garland commits to a new policy on “prosecutions” and “politically motivated law.”
The argument that the DOJ is politicized resurfaced Tuesday among the right wing of the House GOP, with a number of them saying that US Attorney David Weiss, the Trump appointee who brought the charges, ignored evidence despite not knowing any details of how Weiss conducted his five-year investigation.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia called the DOJ “pathetic and weaponized.”
Rep. Bob Good of Virginia called Garland “compromised and politicized,” and claimed the Justice Department had “no interest” in investigating the Biden family’s business dealings.
Rep. Darrell Issa of California said the plea deal as “only the first crack in the Biden corruption cover-up.”
And Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona claimed the announcement of the charges against Hunter Biden were to “distract” from special counsel John Durham’s testimony in front of the House Intelligence Committee later Tuesday about his report on the FBI. Biggs vowed House Republicans would continue to investigate the Biden family.
“Make no mistake, Hunter Biden’s plea deal today will not impede @JudiciaryGOP and @GOPoversight’s investigations into him and the rest of the Biden Family,” he tweeted. “They are not above the law.”
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CNN’s Melanie Zanona, Nicky Roberston, Haley Talbot and Morgan Rimmer contributed to this report.