(WASHINGTON) — David Weiss, the special counsel investigating President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden, appeared for voluntary testimony Tuesday behind closed doors before the House Judiciary Committee.
It’s rare for a special counsel to testify before a congressional committee while an investigation is ongoing, and Weiss is unlikely to reveal any details of his probe.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Weiss, who at the time was serving as the Delaware U.S. attorney appointed by former President Donald Trump, as special counsel in August.
Garland has said Weiss has been told he has “full authority” to make any charging decisions stemming from the investigation, even if that would involve bringing a case in a district outside Delaware.
The move came as a plea deal struck between Hunter Biden and federal prosecutors fell apart over the summer and the case appeared to be headed for trial. Hunter Biden pleaded not guilty to felony gun charges in October after the plea deal fell apart, following a yearslong investigation by special counsel Weiss.
Republicans have blasted Weiss’ appointment, after months of calling for a special counsel to be appointed, with House Oversight Chair James Comer, R-Ky., claiming the Department of Justice is trying to “stonewall” Congress’ own investigations into Hunter Biden and called the news part of a “Biden family cover-up,” despite Republicans offering no evidence of such a “cover-up.”
A spokesperson for Weiss said he will “make clear that he’s had and continues to have full authority over his investigation.”
“Consistent with department policy and the law, he will be unable to address the specifics of his investigation,” said Wyn Hornbuckle, a spokesperson for Weiss. “At the close of this matter, Special Counsel Weiss will prepare a report, which the Attorney General has committed to making public to the greatest extent possible, consistent with the law, department policy and the public interest.”
Since Republicans retook the House last year, they have launched multiple investigations aimed at learning more about who paid Hunter Biden in the past, and have contended that the swirl of foreign money sullies Joe Biden himself.
The GOP-led House Ways and Means Committee released transcripts in June of their interviews with two IRS whistleblowers that they say shows senior Biden administration officials stymied Weiss’ investigation into Hunter Biden.
In their testimony, the whistleblowers claim senior Justice Department officials blocked prosecutors’ attempts to bring charges against Hunter Biden in Washington and California, and refused to grant Weiss special counsel status.
Justice Department officials have disputed this claim, saying, “As both the Attorney General and U.S. Attorney David Weiss have said, U.S. Attorney Weiss has full authority over this matter, including responsibility for deciding where, when and whether to file charges as he deems appropriate. He needs no further approval to do so.” Several witnesses who appeared before the panel have undercut core claims made by the two IRS whistleblowers.
This interview also comes as House Republicans are looking to bolster support for their impeachment inquiry into President Biden and his family after weeks of it being on the back burner.
Hunter Biden’s attorneys have said they’ll seek a dismissal ahead of the trial date, which has not yet been set. The special counsel, meanwhile, has signaled his intention to bring separate tax charges against Hunter Biden in California or Washington, D.C., as well as possible charges related to his overseas business endeavors, which are also being investigated by GOP-led House Oversight Committee.
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