WASHINGTON (AP) – The federal prosecutor leading the investigation into President Joe Biden’s son Hunter is rejecting claims he was prevented from filing criminal charges in Los Angeles and Washington and denies retaliating against an IRS official who revealed details about the case.
In a two-page letter to House Republicans on Friday, U.S. Attorney David Weiss in Delaware defended the long-running investigation into Hunter Biden’s financial dealings that ended last month with a statement to the Department of Justice that will likely save Biden time behind bars.
Weiss, who was appointed to the post by President Donald Trump and retained by the Biden administration, said in his letter that the department “did not retaliate” against Gary Shapley, an agent of the The IRS said the prosecutor helped block Shapley’s job promotion after the tax agency employee contacted congressional investigators about the Biden case.
Shapley is one of two IRS employees interviewed by Republicans who are investigating nearly every facet of the younger Biden’s business dealings.
One of the investigative committees, the House Ways and Means Committee, voted to publicly release congressional testimony from IRS employees shortly after the plea deal was announced on June 20.
Testimony from Shapley and an unidentified agent detailed what they called a pattern of “slow investigative steps” and delayed enforcement actions in the months leading up to the 2020 presidential election won by Democrat Joe Biden.
It is not clear whether the conflict they describe amounts to an internal disagreement over how to proceed with the investigation or a pattern of interference and preferential treatment. Justice Department policy has long warned prosecutors to be careful about charging cases with potentially political overtones around election time, to avoid influencing the outcome.
Shapley also claimed that Weiss asked the Department of Justice in March 2020 to be granted special counsel status to bring the tax cases in jurisdictions outside of Delaware, including Washington and California, but was denied.
In response to that claim, the department said Weiss has “full authority over this matter, including the responsibility to decide where, when and whether to file charges as he sees fit. He needs no further approval to do so.”
In his letter, Weiss said the department assured him that if he tried to press charges somewhere other than Delaware, he would be granted special status to do so. US attorneys are generally limited to their own jurisdictions when bringing criminal charges.
Biden, 53, reached a deal with federal prosecutors to plead guilty to lesser tax crimes. The plea deal would also avoid prosecution for felony illegal possession of a firearm as a drug user, as long as Biden complies with the terms agreed to in court. He will appear in a Delaware court later this month.
Last week, leaders of the Republican-controlled House Judiciary, Oversight and Accountability and Ways and Means committees asked in a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland nine Justice Department officials and two the FBI to address IRS employee claims.
Weiss said in his letter to Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, that he would be willing to discuss these issues with congressional officials, but reiterated that the case is an active criminal investigation and that there is little else I can divulge in this regard. time
Republicans have focused a lot of attention on an unverified tip to the FBI alleging a bribery scheme involving Joe Biden when he was vice president. The baseless claim, which first surfaced in 2019, was that Biden pressured Ukraine to fire its top prosecutor to stop an investigation into Burisma, an oil and gas company where Hunter Biden served on the board.
Meanwhile, Hunter Biden’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, called the Republican investigations into various congressional committees an “obsession.”
“Since taking the majority in 2023, several House leaders and their committees have discarded established congressional protocols, rules of conduct, and even the law in what can only be called an obsession with attacking the family Biden,” he wrote.
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