U.S. Attorney David Weiss speaks during a press conference on May 3, 2018, at his district office in Wilmington, Del.
Suchat Pederson | The News Journal | AP
The federal prosecutor in the cases against Hunter Biden told the Republican-led House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that “political considerations played no part” in his decision to charge the son of President Joe Biden with several crimes.
“I am, and have been, the decision-maker on this case,” Department of Justice special counsel David Weiss said in an opening statement for his closed-door testimony, according to a copy provided by the DOJ.
“At no time was I blocked, or otherwise prevented from pursuing charges or taking the steps necessary in the investigation by other United States Attorneys, the Tax Division or anyone else at the Department of Justice,” said Weiss, who is believed to be the first special counsel ever to testify before Congress during an ongoing investigation.
The special counsel, who also is the U.S. attorney for Delaware, earlier this year charged Hunter Biden with criminal charges related to possessing a handgun while being a drug user. Hunter Biden, 53, has pleaded not guilty in the case.
Republicans have questioned whether Weiss’ probe and charging decisions were hamstrung by political considerations within the DOJ, whose leader, Attorney General Merrick Garland, was appointed by the Democratic president.
“Today, I am prepared to address misunderstandings about the scope of my authority to decide where, when, and whether to bring charges in this matter,” Weiss said in his opening statement.
“Throughout this investigation, the career prosecutors on my team and I have made decisions based on the facts and the law,” Weiss said.
“Political considerations played no part in our decision-making. Our analysis has been moored to the principles of federal prosecution, and going forward, my team and I will continue to abide by the same principles as we try to bring this matter to a just conclusion.
U.S. President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, walks to appear in a federal court on gun charges in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., October 3, 2023. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Mike Segar | Reuters
Weiss also told the panel that he was “promptly granted” special counsel status from Garland after he requested it in August. That status gives Weiss authority to lodge criminal charges in the case outside of Delaware.
Democrats have scoffed at their GOP colleagues’ focus on Hunter Biden and on the criminal probe, arguing it is driven by a desire to harm President Biden politically.
Reps. Dan Goldman, D-N.Y., and Mary Gay Scanlon, D-Pa., said Republican members of the Judiciary Committee were asking misleading and repetitive questions of Weiss, according to NBC News.
Scanlon called the hearing “a farce,” and “an absolute waste of time.”
This is a developing story, please check back for updates.