Republicans are eager to speak to special counsel David Weiss, the lead prosecutor in the Hunter Biden case, after Attorney General Merrick Garland deferred several questions about the case to Weiss to answer.
Garland was grilled by House Judiciary Committee Republicans at a hearing Wednesday over allegations that the Department of Justice mishandled its yearslong investigation into President Joe Biden’s son, but the attorney general repeatedly indicated he has stayed out of the investigation, leaving a number of questions unanswered.
“Mr. Weiss was a longtime career prosecutor. President Trump appointed him,” Garland said at one point. “He knows how to conduct investigations, and I have not intruded or attempted to evaluate that because that was the promise I gave to the Senate,” Garland said in reference to his confirmation hearing in 2021.
Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) observed in a brief interview with the Washington Examiner after the hearing that Garland punted questions to Weiss “obviously more than once.”
“We asked him, ‘Who did you have discussions? Who did you talk to?’ And he wouldn’t answer that question either. So there’s lots of questions he wouldn’t answer,” Jordan said.
Jordan, as well as other Republicans on the committee, including Reps. Mike Johnson (R-LA), Dan Bishop (R-NC), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), and Tom McClintock (R-CA) raised concerns about Hunter Biden with Garland that largely centered on testimony from two Internal Revenue Service whistleblowers that the case had been “slow-walked” by the federal government.
The whistleblowers charged that Weiss was blocked from bringing charges against the first son in California and Washington, D.C., and that Weiss had requested “special counsel” authority last year but was denied it.
Weiss has said he was never blocked from bringing charges in “any jurisdiction” and that he has always had all of the authority he needed in the case, with the exception of a procedural hurdle in which he would need to request special counsel status. He did not request elevated authority in the case until August when he asked Garland for special counsel status and was granted it.
Confronted about allegations by the whistleblowers that Weiss had allowed statutes of limitations to lapse for crimes that could have been committed by Hunter Biden in 2014 and 2015, Garland said, “The explanation for why the statute of limitations was lapsed, if it was, has to come from Mr. Weiss.”
And when asked about whether he found the whistleblowers’ allegations “troubling,” Garland said the investigation “has been and still is in the hands of Mr. Weiss, an appointee of President Trump.”
Pressed further on the question, Garland replied, “Mr. Weiss will have an opportunity to explain.”
Jordan noted he expects Weiss to testify before the committee on Oct. 11, although it remains unclear if Weiss has committed to that date.
“He obviously knows what we’re going to ask him,” Jordan said. “Will he say the same thing, ‘ongoing investigation, internal deliberations,’ you know, excuses? We’ll have to see, but I guess I sort of expect that, but I hope not.”
Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) told the Washington Examiner he thought Republicans during the hearing “looked like fools” and that Garland had answered questions “properly.” He said staying out of Weiss’s investigation was in line with what Garland had vowed to the Senate in 2021 that he would do as a stipulation of his confirmation.
“And, remember, Weiss is a Trump appointee,” Nadler said, noting Republicans during the hearing “kept asking questions about the investigation on Hunter Biden, and he kept saying, ‘Ask David Weiss. I don’t know.’ What they really ought to do if they want to is have David Weiss as a witness, although it may be that he can’t conscientiously answer those questions.”
Asked if he anticipates being able to question Weiss, Nadler said, “I don’t particularly want an opportunity to question Weiss. I mean, he’s a career prosecutor. I assume he’s doing his job well.”