Attorney General Merrick Garland elevated US Attorney David Weiss to special counsel status as the federal investigation into President Joe Biden’s son escalates.
Attorney General Merrick Garland elevated US Attorney David Weiss to special counsel status as the federal investigation into President Joe Biden’s son escalates. Hunter Biden is now likely heading for a trial on federal criminal charges after his plea deal fell apart.
- Garland announced his decision at a surprise press conference on Friday. He disclosed that Weiss had requested special counsel status earlier this week because his investigation had “reached a stage at which he should continue his work as a special counsel.”
- Special counsel status confers on Weiss additional funding and flexibility and wider latitude to bring charges outside of Delaware. Weiss will also be required to submit a report on his investigation when it concludes.
- Weiss, the US Attorney for Delaware, has been investigating Hunter Biden for years and it was his office that was responsible for the botched plea deal that imploded in federal court after the judge began questioning the unprecedented nature of the immunity deal that the Department of Justice was offering the president’s son.
- House Republican leadership criticized Garland’s appointment of Weiss. “Don’t be fooled. Garland appointing Weiss as a sham special counsel on Hunter is a way to block info from Congress while claiming they’re investigating,” said House Majority Leader Steve Scalise. “Weiss approved the sweetheart plea deal. This is an even better deal for Hunter since charges may never come. Outrageous.”
- “This action by Biden’s DOJ cannot be used to obstruct congressional investigations or whitewash the Biden family corruption,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy posted on X. “If Weiss negotiated the sweetheart deal that couldn’t get approved, how can he be trusted as a Special Counsel? House Republicans will continue to pursue the facts for the American people.”
- Friday also saw new legal developments in former President Donald Trump’s federal trial in the 2020 election case. Judge Tanya Chutkan reached a deal for a protective order that did not go as far as Special Counsel Jack Smith requested but will still block Trump from sharing sensitive discovery materials like witness testimony.
- At the end of the hearing, Judge Chutkan warned both the government and Trump to take “special care” to avoid tainting the potential jury pool or intimidating witnesses. “I intend to ensure the orderly administration of justice in this case as I would with any other case,” Chutkan said.
- The New York Times conceded that the details of the Hunter Biden care are “not pretty.” David Leonhardt recognized, “The current president’s son made substantial sums of money from the perception of his proximity to top government officials, and the president has claimed otherwise. That story is notably different from past Republican lies about Obama’s birthplace or Kerry’s war record.” Leonhardt urged his liberal readers to take the issue more seriously.
- The Washington Post pointed out, “Garland has maintained that Weiss has wielded full authority to make independent decisions during the Hunter Biden investigation. The attorney general did not delineate Friday how special counsel status would notably change Weiss’s authority.”
- Senate Republicans joined their House counterparts in criticizing Weiss’s appointment. “Given the underhanded plea deal negotiated by the US Attorney from President Biden’s home state, it’s clear Mr. Weiss isn’t the right person for the job,” said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley per CNN.
- The Wall Street Journal reported that earlier Friday “Weiss said in a court filing that plea talks with Biden were at an impasse and prosecutors expected the case against him to go to trial. Weiss asked the Delaware judge to dismiss a previously filed tax case against Hunter Biden, saying prosecutors needed to try the case elsewhere, including in California, where Biden lived during the years at issue in the case.”
- National Review noted Garland’s announcement comes weeks after a federal judge in Delaware raised red flags over the DOJ’s proposed deal with Hunter Biden. “Judge Maryellen Noreika challenged the terms of the deal in court, pointing out that such a broad immunity deal was unprecedented, prompting prosecutors to rescind the original deal and offer a more narrow agreement.”
- “A senior Justice Department official said the White House was not informed of Garland’s decision before the announcement,” Fox News reported. Additionally, Fox noted the language in Garland’s statement “leaves open the possibility that other members of the Biden family, including President Biden, could be part of this investigation.”
© Dominic Moore, 2023