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Hunter Biden prosecutor is now a special counsel, AG Garland announces

Politics

Hunter Biden prosecutor is now a special counsel, AG Garland announces

David Weiss speaks to the press in April 2021.
David Weiss speaks to the press in April 2021. Damian Giletto/Delaware News Journal/USA Today Network/File

The appointment of US Attorney David Weiss as a special counsel could complicate congressional efforts to have him testify on Capitol Hill about his investigation of President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, according to a senior Democratic congressional aide. 

The aide said that past practice suggests Weiss’ special counsel status could insulate him from testimony until after the investigation is completed and Weiss has finished the report he’s expected to deliver. 

Calls for a special counsel have intensified in recent months, with leading Republicans claiming Hunter Biden got a “sweetheart deal,” and IRS whistleblowers alleging that the Justice Department gave him preferential treatment. 

Two career IRS agents who worked on the Hunter Biden probe went public as whistleblowers, claiming there was political meddling in the probe. And last month, the plea deal between the Justice Department and Hunter Biden imploded at a court hearing where the judge said she wasn’t ready to approve the deal, calling the arrangement “confusing,” “not straightforward,” “atypical” and “unprecedented.”

House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan had asked for Weiss to testify before his committee about the Hunter Biden probe, and Weiss had offered to appear before the panel in the fall.

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A spokesperson for Jordan downplayed the significance of the special counsel designation.

“David Weiss can’t be trusted and this is just a new way to whitewash the Biden family’s corruption,” Jordan spokesperson Russell Dye said in a statement. “Weiss has already signed off on a sweetheart plea deal that was so awful and unfair that a federal judge rejected it. We will continue to pursue facts brought to light by brave whistleblowers as well as Weiss’s inconsistent statements to Congress.”

Another Democratic aide, however, said the appointment of Weiss as special counsel would make it harder for Republicans to continue repeating allegations that he does not have complete authority over the Hunter Biden investigation or the ability to bring charges. 

A DOJ official said it was unclear how the special counsel designation impacts Weiss testifying before Congress, but the official noted that two previous special counsels, John Durham and Robert Mueller, testified only after they submitted their final reports, which came after a yearslong investigations.

Federal prosecutors have spent five years investigating Hunter Biden for potential felony tax evasion, illegal foreign lobbying, money laundering, and other possible crimes. As part of plea deal – which is now on hold – Hunter Biden would have pleaded guilty to two federal tax misdemeanors and prosecutors would have recommended no jail time. 

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