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Prosecutor overseeing Hunter Biden probe now a special counsel

Weiss will continue to have charging authority over investigation into president's son

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland conducts a news conference Friday at the Department of Justice announcing that U.S. Attorney David Weiss will be appointed special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden.
Attorney General Merrick B. Garland conducts a news conference Friday at the Department of Justice announcing that U.S. Attorney David Weiss will be appointed special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announced Friday that he appointed David Weiss, the U.S. attorney in Delaware overseeing the investigation into Hunter Biden, as a special counsel.

The announcement comes after a plea deal fell apart in the criminal case against President Joe Biden’s son, who had previously agreed to plead guilty to two charges of misdemeanor tax evasion and enter a pretrial diversion agreement on a firearm possession charge.

The case has drawn criticism from congressional Republicans for how it has been handled by the Justice Department.

The attorney general said Weiss asked to be appointed as a special counsel earlier this week. Garland expressed confidence in the Trump appointee and said the special counsel appointment was in the public interest.

“This appointment confirms my commitment to provide Mr. Weiss all the resources he requests,” Garland said Friday. “It also reaffirms that Mr. Weiss has the authority he needs to conduct a thorough investigation, and to continue to take the steps he deems appropriate independently, based only on the facts and the law.”

Under the special counsel appointment, Weiss will continue to have charging authority over the investigation involving Hunter Biden, Garland said.

The appointment will also allow the prosecutors, agents and analysts working on the investigation the ability “to proceed with their work expeditiously” and to make decisions “indisputably guided only by the facts and the law,” the attorney general said.

Weiss will also continue serving as U.S. attorney in Delaware, he said.

Prosecutors accused Hunter Biden of avoiding more than $100,000 in federal income tax in both 2017 and 2018, and possessing a gun while using illegal drugs in 2018.

The previous plea agreement in the case was criticized by Republicans in Congress as being too soft on the president’s son.

Congressional Republicans on Friday quickly signaled skepticism about the appointment.

House Oversight Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., has claimed that members of the Biden family have engaged in influence peddling and received payments from companies based in foreign countries.

“This move by Attorney General Garland is part of the Justice Department’s efforts to attempt a Biden family coverup in light of the House Oversight Committee’s mounting evidence,” Comer said Friday.

A post from the Republican House Judiciary Committee account on X, the platform previously known as Twitter, said Weiss “can’t be trusted and this is just a new way to whitewash the Biden family’s corruption.”

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