Aug 11, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Republicans tear into Hunter Biden special counsel pick

House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

Attorney General Merrick Garland's appointment of a special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden did little to mollify GOP lawmakers scrutinizing the Justice Department probe.

Why it matters: Top House Republicans have signaled in recent weeks that their Hunter Biden investigation will eventually escalate to an impeachment inquiry into President Biden.

Driving the news: Garland said Friday he is appointing David Weiss, the Trump-appointed U.S. attorney for Delaware, as special counsel to continue his investigation of the president’s son.

  • “This appointment confirms my commitment to provide Mr. Weiss all the resources he requests,” Garland said. “It also reaffirms that Mr. Weiss has the authority he needs to conduct a thorough investigation.”

What they’re saying: Russell Dye, a spokesperson for House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), told Axios in a statement Weiss “can’t be trusted” and that his appointment is “just a new way to whitewash the Biden family's corruption."

  • "Weiss has already signed off on a sweetheart plea deal,” Dye said. “We will continue to pursue facts brought to light by brave whistleblowers as well as Weiss's inconsistent statements to Congress."
  • House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) tweeted that the appointment “cannot be used to obstruct congressional investigations” and that House Republicans “will continue to pursue the facts for the American people.”

Between the lines: Republicans have spent months hammering on IRS whistleblower claims that the DOJ hamstrung the investigation, including by denying Weiss special counsel status.

  • “Justice Department officials … attempted to sneakily place Hunter Biden on the path to a sweetheart plea deal,” House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) said in a statement on Friday.
  • Weiss himself has denied previously seeking special counsel status. Garland said Friday that Weiss asked for the appointment this week.

The other side: Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-Fla.), a member of the Oversight Committee, noted past Republican calls for a special counsel.

  • "Jim Jordan called for a special counsel. The ... DOJ grants his request and launches a special counsel investigation into Hunter Biden, with a Republican Trump appointed attorney," Moskowitz tweeted. "Still not good enough."

What we're watching: Comer said Thursday he intends to subpoena Hunter and Joe Biden to testify before his committee. Weiss is also expected to testify to the Judiciary Committee this fall.

  • "We expect the [DOJ] to fully cooperate with our investigation, including not interfering with the 11 transcribed interviews we have requested and David Weiss upholding his commitment to testify," Dye said.
  • "We have not heard anything from the Department indicating it is no longer willing to do so."
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