The decade's most triggering comedy
Delaware’s U.S. Attorney David Weiss, who has been investigating President Joe Biden‘s son on financial and other matters for years, received the new status after a plea deal on tax evasion charges made in conjunction with a diversion agreement on a firearm count hit a roadblock in federal court, setting the stage for a trial.
Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on Friday that he had granted a request by Weiss to be appointed special counsel, a designation that will allow the prosecutor to more easily bring charges outside of his district. Garland said he made the decision after considering the “extraordinary circumstances” of the case and “concluded that it is in the public interest.”
Republicans, many of whom called for there to be a special counsel months ago, have broadly denigrated the appointment as it follows an attempt at what GOP critics have called a “sweetheart” plea arrangement that could have spared Hunter Biden from prison time as well as new revelations unearthed by congressional investigators examining the Biden family’s finances.
House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY), who has spearheaded the Biden-focused investigative effort in Congress, claimed “the Biden Justice Department is trying to stonewall congressional oversight as we have presented evidence to the American people about the Biden family’s corruption.”
During an appearance on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures,” Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) told anchor Maria Bartiromo that the special counsel appointment elevates the need for an impeachment inquiry against the president.
“It makes it more important because they will have subpoena power if they do the impeachment inquiry,” Blackburn said. “And I think everyone knows David Weiss is not a prosecutor. He’s not a special counsel. He is a collaborator.”
The special counsel news comes as the 2024 election cycle heats up, leading the campaign for the GOP frontrunner — former President Donald Trump — to issue a statement on the matter.
“If this special counsel is truly independent — even though he failed to bring proper charges after a four year investigation and he appears to be trying to move the case to a more Democrat-friendly venue — he will quickly conclude that Joe Biden, his troubled son Hunter, and their enablers, including the media … should face the required consequences,” an unnamed spokesperson said.
Whereas White House adviser Steve Benjamin declined to make any comment about the special appointment during a weekend appearance on MSNBC —sticking to the stated view that the criminal case is a personal matter for Hunter Biden — Democrats in Congress took to the airwaves on Sunday to defend the Department of Justice and the president.
"Does the White House have any comment on [the Hunter Biden special counsel]?"
Top Biden advisor Steve Benjamin: "None whatsoever." pic.twitter.com/JxXtN24Sr3
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) August 13, 2023
“From my perspective, it is the rule of law and the justice system working itself out the way that it does, and, you know, obviously, it’s bumpy and this side or that side doesn’t necessarily prefer this course of events, but our job, I think as political people, is to allow the justice system to run its course,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), the top Democrat on the oversight panel, said on ABC’s This Week.
Rep. Dan Goldman (D-NY) said on CNN that the special counsel appointment was indicative of “the true independence of this Department of Justice” and insisted that “Congress needs to stop investigating a private citizen and stop this fishing expedition to try to link President Biden to Hunter Biden’s conduct, when there is no evidence to support that.”
The congressman also conceded, “If Hunter Biden has committed crimes, he should be charged with them. I’m a Democrat saying that,” while arguing that elected Republicans would not dare make the same statement when it comes to Trump and the alleged crimes he is fighting in court.
Gary Shapley, one of the two Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents who came forward with whistleblower claims that the criminal inquiry into Hunter Biden had been slow-walked, also commented on the development.
In a CNN appearance on Saturday, Shapley argued the special counsel announcement “runs afoul” of prior assertions that Weiss had the “ultimate authority” to bring charges. “It’s absolute, unquestionable vindication,” Shapley added in an exchange with host Michael Smerconish.
The legal team for Hunter Biden appeared Sunday on CBS News’s “Face the Nation” to offer their reaction to the special counsel decision.
Abbe Lowell, an attorney representing the younger Biden, said “there’s no new evidence to be found” when asked if he’s confident Hunter Biden will not face new criminal charges as a special counsel is appointed, adding, the “only thing that will change is the scrutiny on some of the charges.”