White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre repeatedly shut down questions from reporters concerning the collapse of Hunter Biden's plea deal during Wednesday's daily press briefing.
Jean-Pierre began the briefing by attempting to preemptively encourage reporters not to ask questions related to Hunter's ongoing legal issues by stating he "is a private citizen and this was a personal matter for him," and directed questions to his legal representation.
It didn't work.
"Have the president and his attorneys been in touch with Hunter's legal team today? And have they been keeping tabs on the proceedings?" one reporter asked.
"Look, I don't have anything to share. I would refer you to — on this particular issue I would refer you to Hunter's representative. I would refer you to the Department of Justice. I don't have anything to share beyond on what I shared at the top of this briefing," Jean-Pierre responded.
The reporter noted it was "extremely rare" for such a high-profile plea deal to fall apart, and asked if President Biden felt federal prosecutors in the case has acted "appropriately and competently."
"This was an independent investigation that was overseen by the Department of Justice. As we've been very clear, they are independent. We give them the space to do their work. We believe in the rule of law. I just don't have anything else to share on this. I would refer you to the Department of Justice. Again, this was done independently, and I would also refer you to Hunter's representatives," Jean-Pierre answered.
Another reporter noted President Biden's steadfast support for stricter gun laws throughout his political career, and asked if he believed "someone who is charged with possessing a firearm illegally should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," referencing Hunter.
"I think I know where this question is going, and I'm just going to continue to say, as it relates to the case that we're seeing in Delaware, I'm just going to not speak to that. It is an independent matter," Jean-Pierre answered.
"This is up for the Department of Justice. Even with the question that you're asking me, it's up to — it's one of those legal criminal matters, and it's up to that process, that legal process. I'm just not going to speak to it here," she said.
The reporter pressed Jean-Pierre, noting Biden's previous work on gun legislation and his comments on getting "illegal firearms off of our streets." "So when someone possesses one illegally, what does the president believe should happen today?" the reporter asked.
"The president has been very clear. You just laid out where his position has been, what his policies have been, what he was able to pass into law. I'm going to be very mindful here. I'm going to be very careful because I see where this question is going," Jean-Pierre responded.
"And I'm just going to refer you — as this has been an independent investigation. It's overseen by the Department of Justice. I'm going to let them speak to this as they are moving forward," she added.
Hunter Biden's plea deal fell apart during his first court appearance earlier in the day, leading to his "not guilty" pleas as federal prosecutors confirmed the president's son is still under federal investigation.
He was expected to plead guilty to two misdemeanor tax counts of willful failure to pay federal income tax as part of a plea deal to avoid jail time on a felony gun charge.
But Judge Maryellen Noreika did not accept the plea agreement, questioning the constitutionality — specifically the diversion clause and the immunity Hunter Biden would receive.
Hunter Biden was also expected to enter into a pretrial diversion agreement regarding a separate felony charge of possession of a firearm by a person who is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance.
Fox News' Brooke Singman contributed to this report.