Attorney General Merrick Garland Appoints David Weiss As Special Counsel In Hunter Biden Investigation
U.S. Attorney David Weiss, who has been overseeing the investigation into Hunter Biden, has been appointed to the post of special counsel, a move intended to give him a new level of independence from the Justice Department.
Attorney General Merrick Garland made the announcement on Friday, amid Republican claims that the investigation of the president’s son had been treated differently and that a proposed plea deal was too lenient.
Weiss, a Trump appointee to the post of top federal prosecutor in Delaware, has supervised the case since 2018, and remained in his position after Biden took office.
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Last month, the proposed plea deal unraveled in a Delaware federal court. Biden was to plea guilty to two counts of failure to pay federal income tax, and to enter a diversion program that would resolve a potential gun charge. At one point during the hearing, prosecutors had insisted that the investigation was ongoing, while Hunter Biden’s attorneys said that the deal meant that he would not face additional charges.
In a filing on Friday, prosecutors said that further plea negotiations “are at an impasse” and “the government now believes that the case will not resolve short of a trial.”
Although Weiss had previously not requested special counsel designation, he did so on Tuesday, Garland said. The attorney general said that Weiss advised him that “in his judgment, the investigation had reached a stage at which he should continue his work as a special counsel, and he asked to be so appointed.”
“Upon considering his request, as well as the extraordinary circumstances relating to this matter, I have concluded that it is in the public interest” to elevate Weiss to the post, Garland said.
He said that as special counsel, Weiss “will continue to have the authority and responsibility that he has previously exercised to oversee the investigation and to decide where, when and whether to file charges,” Garland said. The status also allows Weiss to investigate an array of matters related to the investigation.
“A special counsel will not be subject to the day to day supervision of any official of the department, but he must comply with the regulations, policies and procedures of the department,” Garland added.
Two whistleblowers testified last month before a House committee that federal prosecutors slow-walked the investigation into Biden, but Weiss denied the claims.
Hunter Biden has been the focus of Republicans — and much of conservative media — since before his father won the White House. Garland’s appointment of Weiss to special counsel status quickly dominated headlines at all news networks.
The younger Biden’s business dealings also have been at the center of House Republican investigations, with the prospect that GOP leaders will open an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden in the fall. Although Republicans have brought in witnesses who brought in witnesses who have alleged that the younger Biden has traded on his father’s notoriety for lucrative business deals, they have yet to put forward credible evidence that his father benefited from the arrangements or took part in his son’s financial activities.
Hunter Biden has been public about his struggles with addiction, recounted in his 2021 book Beautiful Things.
More to come.
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