- Three House Republican chairmen asked Attorney General Merrick Garland for documents about the appointment of David Weiss as special counsel investigating Hunter Biden.
- The request comes after Hunter Biden’s plea deal over tax and gun charges collapsed in June.
WASHINGTON – Three House Republican chairmen wrote Monday to Attorney General Merrick Garland, demanding information about the investigation into Hunter Biden after a plea deal with the president’s son fell apart.
Reps. Jim Jordan, head of Judiciary Committee; James Comer, head of the Oversight and Accountability Committee; and Jason Smith, head of the Ways and Means Committee have questioned why U.S. Attorney David Weiss was named a special counsel in the investigation after a judge rejected his plea deal.
“In light of Mr. Weiss’s record leading this investigation, we have concerns with his appointment as special counsel,” the chairmen wrote. “Your appointment raises numerous concerns considering earlier statements from you and Mr. Weiss that Mr. Weiss already had ‘ultimate’ authority − free of any political pressure − to pursue the investigation where, when, and how he sought fit.”
The Justice Department confirmed receiving the letter but declined comment on it.
Hunter Biden has become a lightning rod for Republican criticism of the president and the target of investigations into his business deals in Ukraine, China and elsewhere.
The stakes of the latest investigation are high because House Republicans have discussed opening an impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden, in part because of his son’s financial dealings.
But the White House noted the lack of evidence of any benefit the president received from his son’s deals. Ian Sams, a White House spokesperson, called the “baseless impeachment exercise” a “partisan stunt that will ‘backfire.’”
“Instead of continuing their extreme, far-right political warfare to lie and try to politically damage the President, House Republicans should work with him on the issues that really matter to the American people, like lowering costs and creating jobs, or strengthening health care and education,” Sams said.
Hunter Biden reached a plea agreement with Weiss to resolve tax and gun issues that had been under investigation for five years. The deal appeared to prevent him from serving time behind bars.
Biden was scheduled in June to plead guilty to two misdemeanor tax charges for failing to pay taxes in 2017 and 2018. He also agreed to participate in a pretrial program would have eliminated a gun charge for allegedly lying on a federal form when buying a gun in 2018, a charge that would have carried a maximum 10-year prison sentence.
But U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika questioned and ultimately scuttled the deal because of disputes about what provisions in it meant.
Weiss, who was appointed by Donald Trump, has said he had the authority to pursue the investigation however he wanted.
But IRS whistleblowers have testified that search warrants in the probe were delayed and prosecutors refused to pursue seemingly incriminating messages between Hunter Biden and a Chinese company.
The House chairmen asked Garland for all documents relating to Weiss’s appointment as special counsel and any additional directives or instructions about the appointment. The chairmen set a deadline of Sept. 11 for the documents.