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The federal prosecutor investigating Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden‘s adult son, says he was never denied the authority to bring charges in the case, rejecting whistleblower claims about the Department of Justice (DOJ) allegedly inhibiting the probe.
In a Monday letter, Delaware’s U.S. Attorney David Weiss said he has “not requested” special counsel status, a designation that would allow him to file charges outside his district without partnering with the local U.S. attorney, amid allegations that he was blocked from bringing charges in Washington, D.C., and California. Attorney General Merrick Garland has also denied that Weiss requested special counsel powers.
Weiss, a Trump appointee, further stated that he had discussions with DOJ officials about a “potential” appointment under a section of U.S. Code dedicated to special attorneys and was “assured” that he would be granted this authority “if it proved necessary.” This “assurance,” the prosecutor added, was made before an October 7, 2022, meeting during which IRS supervisory special agent Gary Shapley, a whistleblower in this matter, claims Weiss announced that he had been denied special counsel status. A second IRS official also relayed to lawmakers a second-hand account of this meeting with matching claims.
NEW: US Attorney Weiss letter obtained @cbsnews to @LindseyGrahamSC @SenatorDurbin acknowledges “discussions with Department officials” about whether he had the authority to bring charges outside Delaware in Hunter Biden probe: “I was assured that I would be granted this… pic.twitter.com/3sUcyyqI8g
— Catherine Herridge (@CBS_Herridge) July 10, 2023
Shapley, who says his entire team was abruptly pulled from the Hunter Biden inquiry after he approached Congress to make a disclosure, responded to the letter with a brief statement from his legal team.
“U.S. Attorney David Weiss’s story continues to change,” the legal team said. “As a practical matter, it makes no difference whether Weiss requested special counsel or special attorney authority. Under no circumstances should ‘the process’ have included the political appointees of the subject’s father, because Congress and the public had been assured it would not — but it did.”
Miranda Devine, a New York Post columnist who often covers Hunter Biden, also commented on the letter with skepticism.
“Weiss is throwing smoke by parsing ‘Special Counsel’ v ‘Special Attorney’ (28 USC S15). The point is not the title but the similar powers it confers, and he admits here that he did not have it, only an assurance that he could get it,” Devine said in a tweet.
So far, the years-long investigation into the 53-year-old Hunter Biden has amounted to a plea deal for tax and gun violations that could keep him out of prison, an arrangement that still needs to be approved by a judge.
Weiss addressed his letter to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who had sought information in response to claims that the DOJ was slow-walking the Hunter Biden investigation, potentially for political reasons. Weiss insisted that he has “never been denied the authority to bring charges in any jurisdiction.” The prosecutor also said he could not respond to questions about allegations regarding a bribery scheme contained in an FBI FD-1023 form because they relate to “an ongoing investigation.”
Late last month, Weiss responded to another letter from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH), stating that he had been granted the “ultimate authority” in the Hunter Biden matter. In addition, Weiss denied that the DOJ retaliated against IRS officials over protected disclosures to Congress.