House Republicans are extending an investigation into Attorney General Merrick Garland’s appointment of Special Counsel David Weiss to oversee Hunter Biden’s federal case.
A joint letter sent by the chairmen of the Oversight, Judiciary and Ways and Means Committees said Weiss’s elevation from Delaware U.S. Attorney to special counsel “raises numerous concerns,” claiming it undercuts Garland and Weiss’s previous insistence that the prosecutor was already operating independently without political pressure.
“Given the extremely serious nature of these issues, the Committees expect unfettered cooperation with our oversight from both you and the Department,” the letter said.
They questioned why Weiss opened the investigation in 2018, after being appointed by former President Donald Trump, but was only made special counsel this summer.
“It is not clear why you have only now, after the investigation has been going on for five years, opted to appoint Mr. Weiss as special counsel, especially after you and the Department represented that Mr. Weiss already had ‘ultimate’ authority over the case,” the lawmakers said.
“Indeed, the only explanation you have offered is that ‘extraordinary circumstances’ require the appointment. The order appointing Mr. Weiss as special counsel is similarly lacking in any meaningful explanation.”
The Republicans’ letter primarily cited the whistleblower testimony of IRS agent Gary Shapley, who was on the Hunter Biden investigation for a time and who told lawmakers on Capitol Hill that Weiss’s investigation was intentionally stymied by the Biden administration.
He and fellow IRS agent Joseph Ziegler testified before Congress last month that they believe investigators were blocked from probing any potential ties between Hunter Biden’s alleged misdeeds and his father, President Joe Biden. They also accused the Justice Department of limiting their investigation outside of the normal boundaries of procedure.
Republicans also attacked Weiss in the wake of a now-defunct plea agreement between the Justice Department and Hunter Biden that they categorized as a “sweetheart deal.” Weiss was appointed as special counsel just weeks after the deal fell apart and the president’s son pleaded “not guilty” to two federal tax charges in late July.
“The Department pulled punches in this investigation, handicapping veteran investigators and preventing them from freely pursuing the facts,” the Monday letter said. “Now you have appointed as special counsel an individual who oversaw all the investigation’s irregularities, who spent the past two months claiming that he did not need special counsel status, and who was responsible for the plea agreement that collapsed in court and is widely viewed as an embarrassment for the Department. In light of Mr. Weiss’s record leading this investigation, we have concerns with his appointment as special counsel.”
Garland said when he named Weiss as special counsel that the prosecutor had asked for the title himself.
The House Republicans are now calling on him to hand over all communications and documents related to Weiss’s special counsel appointment from when Biden took over the White House until now, with a deadline of Sept. 11.
The letter was signed by Ways and Means Chair Jason Smith, R-Mo., Oversight Chair James Comer, R-Ky., and Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan, R-Ohio.
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