Attorney General Merrick Garland denied allegations of political interference in the Justice Department’s investigation into Hunter Biden, reiterating that the U.S. attorney overseeing the case had full authority to decide what charges to bring.
Garland said during a press conference on Friday that he had said early on that David Weiss, the U.S. attorney for the District of Delaware who was appointed by former President Trump, would be allowed to continue his investigation during the Biden administration and decide what he wanted to prosecute “any way he wanted to.”
Hunter Biden reached a deal with prosecutors on Tuesday to plead guilty to two minor tax charges for failing to pay taxes on income in 2017 and 2018 and enter a pretrial diversion agreement on a charge of unlawfully possessing a firearm while having an addiction. The settlement will likely allow Biden to avoid jail time and only receive probation.
Republicans have railed against the deal in the days following, arguing that it was too lenient and shows evidence of a two-tiered justice system in which Trump is facing much more serious charges.
Garland said Weiss has also sent a letter to the House Judiciary Committee confirming his authority to make prosecutorial decisions in the case.
“I don’t know how it would be possible for anybody to block him from bringing a prosecution given that he has this authority,” he said.
The attorney general was responding to a question about two whistleblowers who told the House Ways and Means Committee that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recommended felony charges against Biden and prosecutors slow-walked the investigation.
One IRS supervisory special agent, Gary Shapley, told the committee that the IRS recommended felony tax evasion charges and felony charges for filing false tax returns against Biden, but he received “preferential treatment.” A second unnamed special agent from the IRS criminal investigation team said prosecutors slowed down the case and their conduct has “honestly been appalling.”
Garland said Weiss never asked for special counsels to be appointed, and he had more authority than a special counsel would have, with “complete” authority to bring any case he wants.
President Biden and Garland have both said they would allow the investigation to proceed without any interference from them, and Weiss was kept on to continue the probe despite presidents typically asking U.S. attorneys to step down once they take office.
Source: The Hill