I’m afraid I have to agree with your husband. Intent always matters.
Intent is why we enact stronger punishments on people who commit premeditated murder compared with people who accidentally kill someone through criminal negligence. We have a distinction between first-degree murder and manslaughter.
That does not mean Biden should be “pardoned,” to use your own word.
We don’t immediately pardon people who are guilty of manslaughter. We acknowledge that they committed a lesser crime than murder, and we judge them accordingly.
The same should apply to Biden. His feet should be held to the fire to a degree that is fitting for his actions. But that is not the same degree that men like Spacey and Weinstein should endure.