US attorney defends Hunter Biden investigation amid GOP accusations

Washington – David Weiss, the Trump-appointed U.S. attorney in Delaware who recently brought criminal charges against Hunter Biden, has spoken out for the first time since reaching a plea deal with the president’s son. In a letter sent to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan on Friday, Weiss pushed back against allegations that the investigation was obstructed.

Weiss’s letter was written in response to June 22 correspondence from House Republicans in which they requested material related to charges made by IRS agents in the Hunter Biden case who alleged in congressional testimony that there were irregularities in the investigation and that some retaliatory measures had been taken. taken against them.

“As the United States Attorney for the District of Delaware, my billing authority is geographically limited to my home district. If a case location is elsewhere, standard department practice is to contact the office of the United States Attorney for the district in question and to determine if he wants to join the case. If not, I can ask the attorney general for special prosecutor status,” Weiss wrote, “Here we m assured that, if necessary after the above process, I would receive § 515 authority in the District of Columbia, the Central District of California, or any other district where charges may be brought in this matter.”

Unsealed court documents earlier this month showed Weiss’s office charged Biden with two counts of tax crimes – to which the president’s son agreed to plead guilty – and one count of firearm for which Biden had agreed to participate in a diversionary program. The deal with prosecutors will need to be approved by a judge at a hearing which is currently set for July 26.

An IRS agent who worked on the case, Gary Shapely, told congressional investigators and CBS News that the evidence he saw warranted more serious charges. He also alleged in his testimony that Weiss told him that Delaware prosecutors had been barred from bringing charges in other jurisdictions — including California and Washington, D.C. — and that Weiss had been denied trial status. special counsel by the Department of Justice.

In his Friday letter — his first since Hunter Biden was indicted — Weiss reiterated his defense of the investigation he conducted weeks ago, in which he wrote at the time: “I received ultimate authority over this matter, including responsibility for deciding where, when, and whether to file charges and for making decisions necessary to preserve the integrity of the prosecution, in accordance with federal law, prosecution principles federal government and departmental regulations.

“I stand by what I wrote,” Weiss told Jordan Friday.

Attorney General Merrick Garland – who kept Weiss appointed by Trump to work to complete the Biden investigation – previously said in response to claims that Weiss was “cleared to continue his investigation and make the decision to prosecute in the manner he wanted to and in any district in which he wanted.”

“The only person with the authority to appoint someone special counsel or decline to appoint someone special counsel is the Attorney General. Mr. Weiss never made that request to me,” Garland said earlier this month. ci, “He had and has full authority…to bring a matter where he will, at his discretion.”

“I documented what I saw, and ultimately this is proof. If they want to explain how it’s wrong, they can,” Shapley told CBS News earlier this week in defense of his claims. allegations. “All of the things that I testified to before the House Ways and Means Committee are from my perspective, but they are based on the experience that I have gained over 14 years.”

Weiss’s letter on Friday also pushed back against the allegations of retaliation, writing, “The Department of Justice has not retaliated against “a Criminal Supervisory Special Agent and Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) whistleblower. ), along with his entire investigative team…to ​​make protected disclosures to Congress.”

The letter comes after Jordan and his counterparts on the House Oversight and Ways and Means committees asked the Justice Department to make Weiss and other investigators available for closed-door interviews with Congress. Weiss made no immediate commitments ahead of the July 26 hearing in which a judge conducts final review and approval of the plea deal.

“At the appropriate time, I welcome the opportunity to discuss these topics with the Committee in greater detail and to respond to questions related to the whistleblowers’ allegations in accordance with law and Department policy,” said Weiss Friday. “I understand that the Office of Legislative Affairs will work with the Committee to discuss the appropriate timing and scope.”

Garland previously said he supports Weiss speaking out at the appropriate time.

Weiss, however, said Friday he was unable to provide certain documents and documents requested by House Republicans, citing the ongoing investigation.

“At this time, I am required to protect confidential law enforcement information and deliberative communications related to the case. As such, I will not be providing specific information related to the Hunter Biden investigation at this time.” , wrote Weiss.

On Friday, one of Hunter Biden’s attorneys accused House Republicans of trying to derail Biden’s plea deal with Weiss by advancing what he called “false allegations” from whistleblowers. the IRS.

‘To any objective eye, your actions were intended to improperly undermine the legal proceedings provided for in the case,’ attorney Abbe Lowell wrote to House Ways and Means chairman Jason Smith. “Your publication of this selective set of false allegations was an attempt to score a headline in a news cycle – full facts be damned. We all know the adage: an allegation grabs attention on the front page, while that the explanation or exoneration never gets coverage. or is buried on page 10. This letter is an attempt to make sure the answer is found.”

IRS whistleblowers began coming forward months before their closed-door testimony before the GOP-controlled House Ways and Means Committee.

Asked about Shapley’s June 23 testimony, the White House referred to a previously released statement.

“President Biden has made it clear that this case will be handled independently by the Department of Justice, under the direction of a U.S. attorney appointed by former President Trump, free of political interference from the White House,” it says. the press release. “He kept that promise.”

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