- Legal experts said Attorney General Merrick Garland’s Friday decision to appoint U.S. Attorney David Weiss as special counsel on the investigation into criminal allegations against Hunter Biden could shield the investigation from further congressional inquiries.
- “The initial impact is to insulate Weiss from calls for testimony before Congress,” George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley said.
- Mike Davis, founder and president of the Article III Project, called Weiss a “loyal political foot soldier for Biden.”
Legal experts said Friday that U.S. Attorney David Weiss’ appointment as special counsel on the investigation into criminal allegations against Hunter Biden will likely complicate further congressional inquiries into the matter.
Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Friday that Weiss would be appointed as special counsel and would “continue to have the authority and the responsibility that he has previously exercised.” Legal experts noted that Weiss’ appointment as special counsel ignores testimony of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) whistleblowers who alleged he did not have ultimate authority to charge Hunter Biden and appears aimed at shielding the president from being implicated in his son’s alleged influence peddling.
“Naming Weiss as Special Counsel probably blocks further congressional inquiry into what has happened thus far,” lawyer and former federal prosecutor Bill Shipley said in a tweet. He also raised questions about “what [Weiss] is authorized to pursue in terms of the investigation.”
Weiss allegedly told a group of law enforcement officials he is “not the deciding person on whether charges are filed” in the Hunter Biden investigation, according to an October 2022 email sent by IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley that was released by his attorneys. Weiss denied this in a July letter to Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, where he said he has “never been denied the authority to bring charges in any jurisdiction.”
The Justice Department is refusing to answer whether the President is now subject to the Special Counsel investigation. The failure of AG Garland to expressly expand the mandate to include the influence peddling scandal is glaring…
— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) August 11, 2023
George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley highlighted two problems with the announcement: first, that Weiss was appointed special counsel “despite the testimony of the whistleblowers” and second that the announcement “does not seem to expand the mandate from a narrow focus on Hunter as opposed to the broader Biden corruption scandal.”
“The initial impact is to insulate Weiss from calls for testimony before Congress,” Turley said in a tweet. “The question is, if Weiss always had this power to ask for an appointment, why didn’t he when he was reportedly prevented from pursuing charges in two other jurisdictions?”
Congressional Republicans who have been leading investigations into Hunter Biden allege his foreign business dealings are part of an influence-peddling scheme that implicates his father. Devon Archer, Hunter Biden’s business associate, recently said during congressional testimony that Joe Biden spoke to his son’s business associates more than 20 times.
Archer also said that that the value of adding Hunter Biden to the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma was “the brand” — then-Vice President Joe Biden.
Mike Davis, founder and president of the Article III Project, said in a statement that Weiss has “proven himself as a loyal political foot soldier for Biden.”
“Garland’s appointment of Weiss as special counsel, with his ‘ongoing investigation,’ will simply shield Biden from accountability before the 2024 election,” Mike Davis, founder and president of the Article III Project, said in a statement. “Now Garland and Weiss want to move Hunter’s criminal case away from Judge Noreika in Delaware to a more compliant Democrat judge in California or D.C. This is an obvious coverup.”
Turley also noted that the Department of Justice is “refusing to answer whether the President is now subject to the Special Counsel investigation.”
“The failure of AG Garland to expressly expand the mandate to include the influence-peddling scandal is glaring,” Turley said. “If the President is to be subject to a full and independent investigation, the Attorney General would need to state so clearly and unambiguously. His silence speaks loudly to the rank-and-file that the mandate is still focused narrowly on Hunter.”
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