The ongoing investigation into Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, has taken a significant turn with the appointment of U.S. Attorney David Weiss as special counsel. Attorney General Merrick Garland made the announcement on Friday, reinforcing the Department of Justice's commitment to independence and accountability in sensitive matters.
David Weiss, who was nominated by former President Donald Trump in 2017 and confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate in 2018, has been overseeing the investigation into Hunter Biden since 2019. As the U.S. attorney for Delaware, Weiss requested to be appointed as special counsel to continue the investigation, a request that Garland deemed to be in the public interest.
The appointment of Weiss as special counsel grants him expanded powers and independence to lead the ongoing investigation into Hunter Biden. It also empowers him to handle any other matters that may arise from that investigation. This move signifies the Department of Justice's commitment to conducting thorough and impartial investigations.
The investigation into Hunter Biden centers around allegations of tax evasion and a separate gun charge.
Earlier this year, Hunter Biden agreed to plead guilty to misdemeanor charges related to his failure to pay income taxes. However, the plea agreement fell apart due to confusion surrounding the gun charge. As a result, the case is now expected to go to trial.
Court documents revealed that Hunter Biden allegedly failed to pay taxes for the years 2017 and 2018, with at least $1.5 million in taxable income and a tax owed of at least $100,000. He has since repaid the back taxes and fines, including a reported $2 million payment to the government in 2022 with the assistance of a loan from his personal lawyer.
The gun charge against Hunter Biden stems from the alleged possession of a firearm by a drug user in 2018. According to Weiss, Hunter Biden had the gun for 11 days in October of that year. The details surrounding this charge will likely be further explored during the upcoming trial.
As special counsel, David Weiss will continue to serve as the U.S. attorney for Delaware but will not be subject to day-to-day supervision by any Justice Department official. He will retain the authority and responsibility to oversee the investigation, make decisions regarding charges, and determine where and when to file those charges.
Once the investigation concludes, Weiss will provide Attorney General Garland with a report explaining any prosecutorial decisions. Garland has committed to making as much of the report public as possible, ensuring transparency in the process.
The appointment of Weiss as special counsel allows the prosecutors, agents, and analysts involved in the case to proceed expeditiously and make decisions based on the facts and the law. This move aims to provide the American people with confidence in the independence and accountability of the Department of Justice.
This is not the first time Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed a special counsel during his tenure. In November 2022, Garland named Jack Smith as a special counsel to conduct two investigations into former President Donald Trump. These investigations focused on Trump's role in the effort to overturn the 2020 election and his handling of classified documents after leaving office.