Washington — David Weiss, the Trump-appointed U.S. attorney in Delaware who recently brought criminal charges against Hunter Biden, has spoken out for the first time since reaching a plea deal with the president’s son. In a letter sent Friday to House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan, Weiss pushed back against claims that the investigation was impeded.
Weiss’ letter was written in response to a June 22 correspondence from House Republicans in which they asked for material related to accusations made by IRS agents on the Hunter Biden case who alleged in Congressional testimony that there were irregularities in the investigation and certain retaliatory measures were taken against them.
“As the U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware, my charging authority is geographically limited to my home district. If venue for a case lies elsewhere, common Departmental practice is to contact the United States Attorney’s Office for the district in question and determine whether it wants to partner on the case. If not, I may request Special Attorney status from the Attorney General,” Weiss wrote, “Here, I have been assured that, if necessary 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 could be brought in this matter.”
Court filings unsealed earlier this month showed Weiss’ office charged Biden with two misdemeanor tax counts — to which the president’s son agreed to plead guilty — and a felony gun charge for which Biden agreed to enter into a diversion program. The deal with prosecutors will have to be approved by a judge at a hearing which is currently set for July 26.
An IRS Agent who worked on the case, Gary Shapely, told Congressional investigators and CBS News that the evidence he saw warranted more severe charges. He also alleged in testimony that Weiss told him that prosecutors in Delaware were prevented from bringing charges in other jurisdictions — including California and Washington, D.C. — and that Weiss was denied special counsel status by the Justice Department.
In his letter on Friday — his first since charging Hunter Biden — Weiss rejected those claims and reiterated his defense of the investigation that he made weeks ago, in which he wrote at the time, “I have been granted ultimate authority over this matter, including responsibility for deciding where, when and whether to file charges and for making decisions necessary to preserve the integrity of the prosecution, consistent with federal law, the Principles of Federal Prosecution, and Departmental regulations.”
“I stand by what I wrote,” Weiss told Jordan Friday.
Attorney General Merrick Garland — who kept the Trump-appointed Weiss on the job to complete the Biden probe — previously said in response to the allegations that Weiss was “permitted to continue his investigation and to make a decision to prosecute any way in which he wanted to and in any district in which he wanted to.”
“The only person with authority to make somebody a special counsel or refuse to make somebody a special counsel is the attorney general. Mr. Weiss never made that request to me,” Garland said earlier this month, “He had and has complete authority … to bring a case anywhere he wants, in his discretion.”
“I documented what I saw, and ultimately that’s the evidence. If they want to explain how that’s wrong, they can,” Shapley told CBS News earlier this week defending his allegations. “All of the things that I’ve testified in front of the House Ways and Means Committee is from my perspective, but it’s based on the experience I’ve gained over 14 years.”
Weiss’ letter on Friday also pushed back on claims of retaliation, writing, “the Department of Justice did not retaliate against ‘an Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) Criminal Supervisory Special Agent and whistleblower, as well as his entire investigative team… for making protected disclosures to Congress’.”
The letter comes after Jordan and his counterparts on the House Oversight and Ways and Means Committees asked the Justice Department to make Weiss and other investigators available for closed-door interviews with Congress. Weiss made no immediate commitment prior to the July 26 hearing where a judge has final review and approval of the plea agreement.
“At the appropriate time, I welcome the opportunity to discuss these topics with the Committee in more detail, and answer questions related to the whistleblowers’ allegations consistent with the law and Department policy,” Weiss said Friday, “It is my understanding that the Office of Legislative Affairs will work with the Committee to discuss appropriate timeline and scope.”
Garland had previously said he supported Weiss speaking out at an appropriate time.
Weiss, however, said Friday he was unable to provide certain documents and materials requests by House Republicans, citing the ongoing investigation.
“At this juncture, I am required to protect confidential law enforcement information and deliberative communications related to the case. Thus, I will not provide specific information related to the Hunter Biden investigation at this time,” Weiss wrote.
On Friday, one of Hunter Biden’s attorneys accused House Republicans of attempting to derail Biden’s plea deal with Weiss by pushing forward what he characterized as “false allegations” from IRS whistleblowers.
“To any objective eye your actions were intended to improperly undermine the judicial proceedings that have been scheduled in the case,” attorney Abbe Lowell wrote to House Ways and Means Chairman Jason Smith. “Your release of this selective set of false allegations was an attempt to score a headline in a news cycle—full facts be damned. We all know the adage: an allegation gets page one attention, while the explanation or exoneration never gets coverage at all or is buried on page 10. This letter is an attempt to make sure the response is found.”
The IRS whistleblowers began the process of coming forward months before their closed-door testimony to the GOP-controlled House Ways and Means Committee.
When asked about Shapley’s testimony on June 23, the White House referred to a previously-released statement.
“President Biden has made clear that this matter would be handled independently by the Justice Department, under the leadership of a U.S. attorney appointed by former President Trump, free from any political interference by the White House,” the statement said. “He has upheld that commitment.”