Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Friday he has appointed a special counsel in the Hunter Biden probe, deepening the investigation of the president’s son ahead of the 2024 election.
via: NBC News
U.S. Attorney David Weiss will be appointed special counsel in the ongoing probe of the president’s son Hunter Biden, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Friday.
Weiss will be responsible for the “ongoing investigation” of President Joe Biden’s son “as well as for any other matters that arose or may arise from that investigation,” the Justice Department said in a statement. Weiss, who was already overseeing the Hunter Biden probe and is based in Delaware, asked to be appointed special counsel on Tuesday and Garland agreed it was “in the public interest” to do so, the attorney general said.
DOJ noted that Weiss was nominated by then-President Donald Trump in 2017 and confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate in 2018.
Garland said the appointment “reinforces for the American people the Department’s commitment to both independence and accountability in particularly sensitive matters.”
The announcement came moments before prosecutors said in a court filing that plea negotiations with Hunter Biden’s team on tax charges brought by Weiss’s office had fallen apart and revealed that the case is now expected to go to trial.
Hunter Biden agreed to plead guilty to misdemeanor charges related to his failure to pay income taxes earlier this year. But while standing in court last month waiting to enter the plea, the agreement fell apart over confusion about a separate gun charge.
The judge asked the parties to hammer out the agreement and return later, leaving Hunter Biden to enter a not-guilty plea while it’s litigated.
Lawyers for Hunter Biden had also indicated they believed that the plea agreement would settle all matters facing the president’s son, but prosecutors said that other investigations continued.
Documents in the failed plea agreement were made public last week.
Attorneys for Hunter Biden did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The White House declined comment, referring reporters to the Justice Department and Hunter Biden’s lawyers.
Garland has named two other special counsels since he took over the Justice Department in 2021.
In November 2022, Garland named Jack Smith as a special counsel to conduct two investigations into former President Donald Trump: his role in the effort to overturn the 2020 election and his handling of classified documents after leaving office.
Smith has secured two indictments against Trump, the first in a Florida court that accuses him of mishandling national secrets and the second earlier this month in a Washington, D.C. court, which accuses him of defrauding the U.S. in the bid to prevent the transfer of power.
In January, Garland named Robert Hur to investigate classified documents that were found in President Biden’s office and residence. The documents were from his time as vice president.