The special counsel in the Hunter Biden investigation says he has not been barred from bringing charges
Washington – Special Adviser David Weisswho is supervising the investigation Hunter BidenHe told the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that he was not prevented from bringing charges against the president’s son.
“At no time was I prevented from pursuing charges or taking necessary steps in the investigation by other U.S. Attorneys, the Tax Division or anyone else at the Department of Justice,” Weiss said in closed testimony. According to prepared remarks obtained by NBC News.
Weiss also said he does not make decisions in the case “in a vacuum” and must adhere to federal laws, federal prosecutorial principles and Justice Department guidelines.
“As a result, there are processes I must adhere to in making investigative and charging decisions,” he told the committee. “These operations did not interfere with my decision-making authority.”
The special prosecutor’s interview came months after A.J Biden’s plea deal with the government collapsed When the judge in the case raised concerns about the agreement. Weiss, who was appointed by Trump and remained in office after the 2020 election to oversee the case, is leading the indictment of Biden on firearms charges. He requested and received special counsel status after a previous plea deal failed.
Weiss’ testimony Tuesday left no room for interpretation as to what the U.S. Attorney for Delaware was and was not able to do in relation to bringing charges.
A source familiar with Weiss’ testimony told NBC News that Weiss testified before the Republican-led panel that he had no direct contact with Attorney General Merrick Garland outside of an August letter he sent to Garland requesting the special counsel status that Garland granted.
Weiss also testified that he had interactions with then-Attorney General William Barr regarding the investigation.
Weiss’s testimony marks the first time a special counsel has answered questions from congressional investigators before the conclusion of the investigation. His appearance comes as Republicans seek to intensify their efforts Achieving accountability To the President regarding his family’s business dealings.
Weiss had volunteered to appear before Congress to explain the discrepancies between his public statements about the investigation and the president’s public testimony. Two IRS investigatorswho claimed that Weiss was prevented from pressing charges against Biden.
According to his prepared remarks, Weiss said he would only provide details about his authority to bring charges and “address misunderstandings about the scope of my authority to decide where, when, and whether to bring charges in this matter,” but declined to go into detail. In details of the investigation, citing concerns about jeopardizing the ongoing investigation.
A source familiar with the investigation confirmed that Weiss inquired about filing charges in other jurisdictions and shortly after contacted the US Attorney in Washington, D.C., to begin the process.
Weiss also clarified on Tuesday that his investigation is not yet over and that he will be able to share more information in a report after his investigation concludes.
In a statement Monday, Special Counsel spokesman Wayne Hornbuckle noted that Weiss’s appearance before the committee was intended “to make clear that he had and continues to have full authority over his investigation and charges in any jurisdiction.”
Democratic Reps. Daniel Goldman, of New York, and Mary Gay Scanlon, of Pennsylvania, told reporters outside the conference room that the questions Republicans were asking Weiss were misleading and repetitive.
Goldman said Weiss told them he always had the authority to bring charges in the investigation and confirmed that he was granted special counsel status shortly after he requested it.
“Mr. Weiss has just asserted the fact that he has absolute and independent authority to bring charges as he sees fit.”
Scanlon described the action as a “travesty” and a “waste of time” before leaving the building.
New York Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler repeated it on his way out, calling the meeting a “waste of time” and saying he had “other things to do.”
Nadler said Weiss was a “very credible witness.” “He has stated multiple times that he made all the charging decisions on his own. No one gave him any instructions or suggestions on charging decisions. Republicans keep repeating the same theme and getting the same answers.”
Representative Ted Lieu, Democrat of California, went further by saying that Republicans wasted the special counsel’s time.
“So the whole interview process is stupid. I don’t know what we’re doing here,” Liu said. “We’re not going to learn anything new because he pursued a specific case and had complete discretion to do what he had to do. “No one stopped him from doing what he had to do.”
Meanwhile, Florida Republican Matt Gaetz told reporters: “Mr. Weiss was here in person, but not particularly in spirit,” he said, adding that the interviewers got “almost nothing” from him.
Gaetz said that whenever Republicans had a question about communications involving the Department of Justice or an IRS agent, “he would sit back and say that was just part of his deliberative process.” “Well, the reason we’re asking questions in Congress is because that deliberative process led to some very strange results that we can’t explain to our constituents. We think Mr. Weiss was very evasive and viewed the whole thing as deliberative.”
Gaetz said Weiss was “evasive” and “vague” in his answers.
“I mean, to the point where if we asked Mr. Weiss how his correspondence and communications with the Department of Justice work, he wouldn’t even tell us whether they were via email or not,” he said. “So, not only was Mr. Weiss not even answering questions about the substance of his discussions with other prosecutors and people at the Department of Justice, he wasn’t even addressing the medium of those discussions, which I think shows what an obscure being he is. A real being.”
The committee’s chairman, Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, told reporters that the main finding is that Weiss said he requested “special counsel status” in the spring of 2022 and was not granted it. Weiss said the Justice Department asked him to “follow the process,” Jordan said.
The three federal firearms charges in the September indictment include two counts accusing him of falsely indicating he was not using illegal drugs on a gun purchase form in 2018 and a third count alleging he was in possession of a firearm while using drugs.
Several people connected to the investigation and the central issue of Weiss’s authority appeared before the House Judiciary Committee.
Matthew Graves, the U.S. attorney from Washington, D.C., told the committee last month that he never stood in the way of charges being brought against Weiss, according to a transcript of his testimony reviewed by NBC News. Martin Estrada, the U.S. Attorney for Central California, also appeared before the committee in October and denied that his office was standing in the way of any potential prosecution of Biden, according to a similar transcript reviewed by NBC News.
House Republicans are investigating whether the Justice Department gave the president’s son preferential treatment because of his father, claiming he should have been charged in some of his business dealings as well.
House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., indicated that his committee is preparing to issue subpoenas focusing on the Biden family’s business dealings. Two sources connected to the investigation told NBC News that Hunter Biden and the president’s brother, James Biden, are among the people expected to be subpoenaed by the committee in the middle of this week.
Ryan Nobles reported from Washington and Summer Concepcion from New York.
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com