Special counsel appointed in Hunter Biden case as plea deal hits ‘dead end’
Garland announced Friday that Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed Delaware Attorney General David Weiss as special counsel in his investigation of President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden.
The move came as a plea agreement between Hunter Biden and federal prosecutors last month collapsed and the case appeared to be heading to trial. Meanwhile, Hunter Biden entered a not guilty plea.
Weiss, who was previously appointed by former President Donald Trump, asked to appoint Garland as a special counsel on Tuesday, and Garland said he concluded it was in the public interest after considering the request.
A senior Justice Department official told reporters that this was the first time Weiss had requested the appointment of a special counsel. Weiss himself has said the same thing before, dismissing allegations by an IRS whistleblower.
“This appointment underscores my commitment to providing Mr. Weiss with all the resources he requires,” Garland said. “It also confirms that Mr. Weiss has the authority he needs to conduct a thorough investigation and to continue to take such steps as he deems appropriate relying solely on the facts and the law.”
Garland said Weiss “will continue to have the authority and responsibility he previously exercised to oversee the investigation and determine where, when and whether charges will be pressed.”
Prosecutors also wrote in court filings that they intend to drop misdemeanor tax charges against Hunter Biden in Delaware and instead bring them to California and Washington, D.C. — where plaintiffs say the alleged misconduct occurred.
“since then [of Hunter Biden’s not-guilty plea]The two parties have engaged in further petition negotiations but are at an impasse. The government now believes that the case will not be resolved before trial,” he said.
“Now that the parties are deadlocked, a trial is in order,” they wrote. “The place must be suitable for each count of the indictment.”
Judge Hunter Biden has given until Monday to respond to a US request to overturn the court’s briefing order.
Republicans have criticized Weiss’s appointment as special counsel, with House Oversight Chief James Comer, D-Ky., alleging that the Justice Department is trying to “block” congressional special investigations into the Hunter Biden case, calling the news segment a “Biden family cover-up,” though Republicans They provided no evidence of a “cover-up”.
“This move by Attorney General Garland is part of the Department of Justice’s efforts to try to cover up the Biden family in light of the House Oversight Committee’s mounting evidence of President Joe Biden’s role in his family’s schemes to sell the multimillion-dollar “brand” to foreign nationals,” said Kummer, who leads efforts of House Republicans investigating Joe Biden and his family, in a statement Friday.
Since Republicans took back the House last year, they’ve launched multiple investigative efforts aimed at learning more about who paid Hunter Biden in the past, when and why, and claim that a whirlpool of foreign money is tainting Joe Biden himself.
The White House has repeatedly rejected allegations of misconduct by the president, saying there is no evidence that Joe Biden has been or is connected to his son’s business. The chief said the same thing.
ABC News’ Will Steakin contributed to this report.
This article originally appeared on abcnews.go.com