The US attorney in Delaware denied retaliating against an IRS official for revealing details of the Hunter Biden investigation and denied he was blocked from pursuing serious charges against Mr. Biden, the son of the president, in Los Angeles and Washington.
David C. Weiss, a appointee for former President Donald J. Trump held over by the Biden administration, defended the integrity of his investigation in a two-page letter sent to House Republicans Friday night, in which he gave the most detailed explanation so far of the five-year investigation that culminated in a plea deal last month that would rule out jail time for Mr. Biden, who was facing misdemeanor tax charges and a separate firearms charge.
The Justice Department « didn’t strike back » against Gary Shapley, who says Mr. Weiss helped block a promotion he sought after contacting congressional investigators, Weiss wrote in letter to Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan , the chairman of the House Judiciary Commission.
Mr. Weiss went on to address, in hypothetical terms, the core of Mr. Shapley’s allegations: that US attorneys appointed by Biden in California and Washington had prevented Mr. Weiss from prosecuting Hunter Biden on criminal tax charges during a period when the president’s youngest son made millions representing foreign-controlled companies.
Mr. Shapley, testifying before the House Ways and Means Committee in May under what Republicans have called whistleblower protections, also said he and other investigators had seen Mr. Weiss claim last year that it would not be the » decisive officer » regarding whether to prosecute Mr. Biden, and that Mr. Weiss had been refused when he applied for special counsel status after local prosecutors told him he could not press charges. House Republicans released testimony last month.
While Mr. Weiss did not deny that those offices had denied his request to file the more serious charges, he supported Attorney General Merrick B. Garland’s public statement that he was given full authority in the case and had the ability to overrule the prosecutors simply by contacting Mr. Garland or his top aides.
As a United States Attorney in Delaware, « my debit authority is geographically limited to my district of residence, » wrote Mr. Weiss.
« If the location of a case is located elsewhere, common departmental practice is to contact the United States Attorney’s Office for the district in question and determine whether they would like to cooperate with the case, » he added. « If not, I could apply for special prosecutor status. »
Deputizing a federal prosecutor as a special prosecutor is different from making him a special counsel. The special prosecutor provision is, in essence, a workaround that allows an outsider to intervene in cases that span multiple jurisdictions or have special conditions. The Special Counsel regulations, by contrast, contain internal Justice Department reporting requirements and Congressional oversight provisions.
Mr. Garland said Mr. Weiss never asked him about either power.
Mr. Weiss did not address those issues explicitly in the letter he sent to Mr. Jordan on Friday. But he said if he wanted to press charges against Mr. Biden in California or Washington, he would do so without worrying about being blocked by department leadership.
« I have been assured that, if required after the above process, I would be granted § 515 Authority in the District of Columbia, the Central District of California, or any other district where charges in this matter may be brought » , wrote, referring to the federal law section which defines the role of a special prosecutor.
The letter follows a June 7 missive he sent to committee Republicans that made many of the same points in less specific terms.
Mr. Weiss has been deeply frustrated by what he believes are unwarranted attacks on his character and motives, and was eager to deliver his response to Mr. Shapley’s allegations before the July 4 recess, according to two people familiar with the situation.
An email sent to Mr. Weiss’ spokeswoman did not receive an immediate response.
Mr. Jordan, along with Representative James R. Comer of Kentucky, who leads the oversight committee, and Representative Jason Smith of Missouri, who heads the Ways and Means committee, sent letters Thursday to Mr. Weiss and other officials involved in the hunter Biden’s investigation requesting their testimony on the matter.
Weiss said the Justice Department’s legislative affairs office was reaching out to Mr. Jordan’s staff « to discuss the appropriate timing and scope » for his public testimony once it was appropriate to do so.
In his statement announcing Mr. Biden’s plea deal, Mr. Weiss said the investigation was « ongoing, » which legally precludes him from testifying about the details.