In major escalation, Delaware federal prosecutor named special counsel to investigate Biden family
Republicans fear a 'coverup' but Attorney General Merrick Garland says appointment required under department rules.
In a dramatic shift, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Friday that Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss was being upgraded to a special counsel to investigate the Biden family finances.
The decision means the probe into Hunter Biden's taxes and his father's potential dealings with his foreign clients will carry into the 2024 election at the same time the president's chief rival Donald Trump faces two federal indictments brought by the same department. The tax case is likely to be moved to Washington and Los Angeles, officials said.
Republicans, however, gave the announcement a cold reaction, saying Weiss was the wrong person for the job after offering Hunter Biden a prison-sparing plea deal that fell apart.
"This move by AG Garland is part of the Justice Department’s efforts to attempt a Biden family coverup in light of @GOPoversight's mounting evidence of President Biden’s role in his family’s schemes selling ‘the brand’ for millions of dollars to foreign nationals," House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer wrote.
Added House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan: "David Weiss can’t be trusted, and this is just a new way to whitewash the Biden family’s corruption. Weiss has already signed off on a sweetheart plea deal that was so awful and unfair that a federal judge rejected it."
Garland said the appointment of Weiss to an independent prosecutor was in the "public interest," required by department rules and requested earlier in the week by Weiss.
"On Tuesday of this week, Mr. Weiss advised me that in his judgment, his investigation had reached a stage at which he should continue his work as a special counsel, and he asked to be appointed," Garland said.
Christopher Clark, a lawyer for Hunter Biden, said he expected justice will be administered fairly. “Whether in Delaware, Washington, D.C., or anywhere else, we expect a fair resolution not infected by politics,” Clark said.
Weiss is the federal prosecutor who brought charges against President Biden's son in Delaware. Last month, he announced a probation-only plea agreement for Hunter Biden, which was rejected by a judge.
In June, Hunter Biden struck a deal with federal prosecutors to avoid prison by pleading guilty to two tax crimes and admitting to a gun charge that could be dismissed. Weiss' team on Friday asked the judge to disregard that deal because the two sides were at an "impasse."
Garland did not take questions after the press conference.