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Many of his allies are privately worried: Tuesday’s guilty verdict against Hunter Biden and a trial that brought dark moments in the Biden family history to light could weigh heavily on the president in the final months of his grueling re-election campaign.

The political implications are less clear, and even some Republicans on Tuesday dismissed Hunter’s offense – he lied on a gun purchase form six years ago – as relatively minor. GOP leaders still hope the verdict will paint the Bidens as lawbreakers and offset Donald Trump’s own criminal conviction. Democratic strategists, meanwhile, argued that voters were unlikely to hold the president accountable for his son’s behavior.

But the personal toll on a president who has already been responsible for the deaths of two children and has struggled for years with his son’s addiction could be even more serious.

“What normal person wouldn’t be shocked to see their family’s suffering in a courtroom before the eyes of the world?” said David Axelrod, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama. “And when you see people you love testifying, not just your son, but your daughters-in-law and granddaughter, all reliving the most painful moments of their lives – who wouldn’t be shocked?”

Axelrod added: “I don’t think voters will blame Biden for his son’s addiction or misconduct. But I think the real question is what toll it takes on him and his family.”

The dramatic and often messy trial, in which prosecutors argued that Hunter abused illegal drugs in 2018 despite not disclosing it on the form, took place in Biden’s hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, just blocks from Biden’s reelection headquarters. Two of President Biden’s former daughters-in-law – Kathleen Buhle, Hunter’s ex-wife, and Hallie Biden, Beau Biden’s widow – testified for the prosecution. Naomi Biden, Hunter’s daughter and Biden’s granddaughter, testified for the defense.

Shortly before the president spoke at a gun control event, he released a statement in support of his son on Tuesday.

“As I said last week, I am the president, but I am also a father,” the statement said. “Jill and I love our son and we are so proud of the man he is today. So many families whose loved ones have battled addiction understand the feeling of pride when you see someone you love come out the other side and be so strong and resilient in recovery.”

The president, who has stressed that he wants to avoid any impression that he is improperly influencing a case brought by his own Justice Department, was rarely present at the trial. But his family members were present so frequently that prosecutors urged the jury on Monday not to allow them to influence the case.

“None of that is evidence,” said prosecutor Leo Wise during his closing argument, waving his hand toward the packed courtroom, which included First Lady Jill Biden, who was present almost every day of the trial. “People sitting in the gallery are not evidence.”

The president traveled to his home in Wilmington several times during the trial. He was there for the first day of the trial before leaving for an official visit to France and returned on Sunday upon his return to the United States.

After the verdict on Tuesday, the White House made a surprise announcement that Biden would travel to Wilmington in the afternoon before leaving for a summit in Italy on Wednesday. The daily White House press briefing, normally held by press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, was also canceled at the last minute on Tuesday.

Hunter Biden was found guilty on all counts on Tuesday when jurors accepted prosecutors’ testimony that he falsely stated on the federal government’s gun purchase form that he did not use or have an addiction to illegal drugs and that he subsequently possessed the weapon without permission for 11 days.

For months, House Republicans have been investigating Hunter and the Biden family more broadly, arguing that Hunter improperly profited from his father’s position as vice president, but that investigation has largely stalled.

Several Republicans said Tuesday that while they remain convinced that Hunter Biden committed financial misconduct, the gun offense was a minor offense at best.

Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, a Trump supporter who has frequently attacked Hunter Biden, dismissed the outcome of the case. “To be honest, convicting Hunter Biden on gun charges is pretty stupid,” Gaetz wrote on X, using an abbreviation for “to be honest.”

Republican Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, another staunch conservative, wrote on X: “Hunter may deserve to go to prison for anything, but buying a gun is not it.” He added: “There are millions of marijuana users in this country who own guns, and none of them should be in prison for buying or possessing a firearm in violation of the law.”

Some Democrats said they might be sympathetic to Hunter Biden’s struggle with drug addiction because American families of all stripes have already suffered from addiction.

President Biden expressed pride in Hunter’s newfound stability, including his marriage to his second wife, Melissa Cohen-Biden.

But there are more challenges ahead, especially since the president has said he will not pardon his son. That means Hunter Biden faces a conviction, including possible prison time. Because he is a first-time offender of a nonviolent crime, his legal team is hoping for a lighter sentence.

In addition, Hunter Biden faces another trial in September, this time for alleged tax evasion.

It is no secret among President Biden’s close advisers that he is deeply concerned about his son’s mental state.

Biden’s aides have often expressed reluctance to speak to the president about his son’s issues. Some advisers have tried in the past to limit Hunter’s public appearances, angering Hunter and his confidants.

The president has long tried to stay close to his son. Years ago, when news broke that Hunter had been discharged from the Marine Reserve for cocaine use, Joe Biden responded with a brief message to his family.

“As good as it could be,” he wrote in an email confirmed by The Washington Post. “Time to move on. Love, Dad.”

By Hunter’s own account, including in his memoir, the president has shown his son unconditional love, sometimes coming to his door to tell him he needed help and repeatedly telling him he loved him no matter what. President Biden checks in with his son daily, calling him, and when those calls go unanswered, sending him text messages, according to friends and associates of the president, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters.

Biden’s advisers are also well aware of the tragedy he has already experienced. In 1972, shortly after he was first elected to the Senate, his wife and young daughter were killed in a car accident. In 2015, his son Beau, then 46, died of brain cancer.

“For someone who has already experienced great loss and tragedy, this is another heavy burden to bear,” Axelrod said. “And it will take tremendous strength to carry that burden, given all the other burdens that come with the presidency and the candidacy.”

Some Democrats and Republicans questioned whether the case would have gone to trial if Hunter were not the president’s son.

“I think any average American who did his taxes like Hunter Biden probably would have been prosecuted,” Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) recently told HuffPost. “But I don’t think the average American would have been prosecuted on the gun thing. I don’t see anything good in that.”

On Tuesday, the Trump team, like other Republicans, tried to focus not on the conviction but on the money Hunter Biden had earned through foreign business dealings.

“This trial was nothing more than a distraction from the real crimes of the Biden crime family, which raked in tens of millions of dollars from China, Russia and Ukraine,” Karoline Leavitt, the Trump campaign’s national press secretary, said in a statement.

While Hunter often profited from his family name throughout his career as a businessman, there is no solid evidence that Joe Biden played an active role in or benefited from these deals.

Hunter’s allies say he is now trying to overcome his struggle with addiction, including by admitting wrongs and making amends.

His 2021 memoir, “Beautiful Things,” was in some ways a confession that prosecutors seized on during the trial. In recent months, Hunter Biden has adopted a more public profile while fending off Republican investigations.

The tax trial in September, like the one that just ended, will be led by special counsel David Weiss and could also lead to embarrassing moments for Hunter and the Biden family.

In the trial, which is set to take place in Los Angeles, prosecutors will be asked to show the various ways in which Hunter spent his money. Much of it, the indictment says, went on “drugs, escorts and girlfriends, luxury hotels and rental properties, exotic cars, clothing and other items of a personal nature – in short, everything except his taxes.”

Hunter’s lawyers say he paid back all of his taxes three years ago and claim that, as in the gun case, prosecutors did not charge an ordinary citizen.

The trial is scheduled to begin on September 5 – exactly two months before election day.

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