Attorney General Merrick B. Garland has appointed a special counsel to investigate President Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, in relation to tax and gun charges. The decision comes after negotiations for a plea agreement fell through, indicating that the investigation has entered a new stage. David C. Weiss, the U.S. attorney in Delaware who has been handling the case since 2018, has been appointed as the special counsel. The decision to appoint a special counsel marks a significant reversal, as just last month, Weiss denied the claim that he had requested to be made special counsel and Garland dismissed the idea. However, following the collapse of the plea deal and criticisms of Weiss, he phoned Garland to request the authority. The designation as special counsel grants Weiss the power to pursue charges in any jurisdiction without needing the cooperation of local federal prosecutors.
Garland stated that the appointment of Weiss emphasizes the department’s commitment to independence and accountability in sensitive matters. This is the third special counsel appointed since Garland took office, with others overseeing investigations into former President Donald J. Trump and President Biden. This development means that while Trump will face multiple criminal cases during his presidential campaign, Biden’s supporters will have to worry about both the special counsel investigation into classified documents and the potential intensification of the case against his son.
Weiss plans to remain as the top prosecutor in Delaware but may hire additional staff in Delaware, Washington, and other jurisdictions. As a special counsel, he will not be subject to day-to-day supervision by any department official but will be required to inform Garland and his team of any significant developments in the case. Additionally, Weiss will be expected to submit a comprehensive report of his findings to Garland, who intends to release as much of the document as possible within department policy.
The appointment of a special counsel ensures that the investigation into Hunter Biden’s conduct will continue for an indefinite period. Previously, the investigation appeared to be concluding until a federal judge in Delaware refused to approve the proposed plea deal. The decision will likely anger President Biden and Democrats who have privately criticized Garland for his handling of investigations involving Trump and the appointment of special counsels.
Hunter Biden’s lawyer, Christopher Clark, expressed his expectation for a fair resolution to the case, whether it proceeds in Delaware, Washington, or elsewhere. He also questioned the proposition that there are other offenses that could be successfully prosecuted against Hunter Biden. House Republicans, on the other hand, have criticized the investigation and accused the Justice Department of cutting a favorable deal with the president’s son. They have conducted their own investigation into Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings and have demanded an explanation from the department.
Overall, the appointment of a special counsel elevates the investigation into Hunter Biden to a new level, promising ongoing scrutiny and potentially intensifying criminal charges. The decision has political implications for both President Biden and Republicans, who will continue to focus on the case in their own investigations.