If the atrocities in Israel weren’t justifiably pulling all the focus on the world stage, a normal news cycle would include developments in President Biden’s classified documents investigation and the Biden family foreign business deals. Of course, those developments continue whether or not they receive much attention in the press. So it’s time to catch up.
Legal analyst Margot Cleveland is one who has kept her focus on the hearing room. Most recently, she compared the statements of Delaware U.S. Attorney/Special Counsel David Weiss and DC U.S. Attorney Michael Graves. Graves was interviewed by the House Judiciary Committee last Tuesday. (While the full House cannot conduct business on the floor without a Speaker, the committees are continuing to do their work.) Cleveland is trying to figure out why Hunter was not charged in Graves’ DC District Court.
Earlier this year, in a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, Weiss said that Attorney General Merrick Garland had given him ultimate authority over the Hunter Biden investigation and that if the need arose, he could be made a “special attorney” under federal statute Section 515. This would allow him to charge Hunter outside of Delaware, including California and DC.
But when Graves testified before Judiciary, he said Section 515 wasn’t usually involved in the way the different offices worked together. He said that the coordination of prosecutions between offices was more informal. He also said that when Weiss approached him, in a 10-minute phone call, about bringing charges in DC, he committed to providing Weiss “any and all logistical support” needed to do that. Graves also told Congress that following their call, he tasked the “Criminal Division chief with immediately taking steps to provide the logistical support…,” which from other testimony appeared to mean reserving time for Weiss’s team before the grand jury.
This is completely at odds with what actually happened. Weiss did not pursue charges in DC. Yet he also spoke to Department officials about obtaining “special attorney” authority under Section 515. Why would he have done that if it wasn’t necessary?
“Those questions should be the focus after Graves’ transcribed interview last Tuesday,” Cleveland said. “The clarity with which Graves testified about his conversation with Weiss just cannot be squared with Weiss’s subsequent actions unless SOMETHING substantial happened --- or Weiss was misled.”
Another possibility we would add: Congress was misled.
Graves also told Congress that he had directed his top prosecutors to review the case to decide whether or not to partner with Weiss’s office. He said THEY refused to partner with Weiss’s Delaware office but, according to Cleveland, “refused to explain his office’s reasoning.” (What??) He went on to say that even though his office had decided not to partner with Delaware, this did not alter his commitment to assist Weiss in any way he needed. This makes no sense.
If Weiss didn’t need 515 authority to prosecute Hunter in DC, and Graves had conveyed to Weiss that he would assist Weiss in bringing charges there, why then did Weiss not file the charges there? In Weiss’s letter to Jordan, he said he’d “had discussions with departmental offices regarding potential appointment under 28 U.S.C. 515, which would have allowed me to file charges in a district outside my own without the partnership of a local U.S. attorney.” Why didn’t they just grant him that?
It’s possible there was some miscommunication about this between Weiss’s office and Graves’ office. “Or,” Cleveland speculates, “someone at Main Justice, either in the deputy attorney general’s office [that’s Lisa Monaco] or in the tax division, led Weiss to believe he needed Graves to partner on the case.” We would speculate that with the latter possibility, Cleveland is likely over the target. Also, why would Graves defer to his top prosecutors when he’d already assured Weiss that they’d work together on the case? Something doesn’t feel right about that.
Cleveland got the impression that it would’ve been entirely appropriate for Weiss to work informally with Graves to charge Hunter in the DC District. “That Weiss didn’t --- and, in fact, appeared to believe he couldn’t --- suggests something else transpired or someone misled him.”
Julie Kelly has read through Graves’ testimony, and she has some observations as well. Additional details she mentions: Not only did he refuse to name his colleagues who didn’t want to take the case, he also didn’t read the underlying evidence against Hunter. He never followed up directly with Weiss. He said his courthouse was very busy at that time because of all the January 6 defendants they were prosecuting. He “played dumb” when asked about potential conflict of interest (he’s a Biden appointee, so maybe he wasn’t playing.) He tried to discredit the IRS whistleblowers without reading their testimony. Excellent summary…
Here’s something else newsworthy that almost got by: Weiss broke with ‘Justice’ Department policy to send a letter to the House Judiciary Committee in response to their letter sent directly to Merrick Garland. In it, he made the claim that he had been granted “complete authority” over the Hunter Biden investigation, as AG Garland had testified, but, as you will see, he later shaded that statement somewhat. (These attorneys are so crafty!)
He started his letter to Chairman Jordan unusually: “Your May 25th letter to Attorney General Garland was forwarded to me, with a request that I respond on behalf of the Department.”
The normal protocol would have been for only the Office of Legislative Affairs (OLA) to respond to congressional inquiries. In fact, they had previously directed Weiss, in an email, not to answer them himself, and this directive is what had kept him from personally responding to questions posed to him by Sens. Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson.
As Margot Cleveland wrote, “The DOJ’s disregard of its own policy provides further proof that both Garland and Weiss intended to obfuscate the reality that Weiss never held the reins of the Hunter Biden investigation.”
It seems obvious that Weiss was enlisted to write back to Judiciary, in violation of policy, in order to verify what Garland had testified to them --- that Weiss had full authority to bring cases in other jurisdictions if he felt that was necessary.
But then the IRS whistleblowers came forward to say Weiss claimed he did NOT have ultimate authority. Weiss penned a second, follow-up letter.
And here’s where the craftiness --- the obfuscation --- comes in: Weiss softened the earlier claim that he had been “granted ultimate authority,” saying instead that he had “been assured” that “if necessary,” he would be granted the authority to charge Hunter in any other district.
Cleveland picks this wording apart as only someone who “thinks like a lawyer” can: “HAVING ultimate authority and being assured that you WOULD BE GIVEN ultimate authority IF necessary are clearly two different things,” yet Weiss managed to give cover for Garland with these letters. “Now we have proof that the DOJ was behind those letters --- otherwise, Weiss would be in violation of the department’s policy.”
And in more news from THE FEDERALIST, this time from Evita Duffy-Alfonso, we’ve learned that it took a whole crew of White House personnel and others to deal with the cache of Joe Biden’s classified documents at the Penn Biden Center --- and that its existence was covered up for more than a year.
This crew consisted of at least five White House employees, President Biden’s personal attorneys, a Department of Defense employee, and more.
The President’s attorneys lied when they said the materials were discovered on November 2, 2022, when the National Archives was notified. Wrong! The House Oversight Committee has compiled evidence showing that the timeline for this began in March 2021.
Chairman James Comer’s very enlightening (and entertaining) letter to White House Counsel Edward Siskel is here. Don’t miss; there’s stunning information in this letter that has appeared nowhere else...
Considering he interviewed President Biden just a few days ago, Special Counsel Robert Hur is likely almost finished with his so-called investigation of this “other” classified documents case --- the one we never hear about --- but Comer’s committee is hard at work with the real investigation, as is evidenced by the long list of requests for documents and transcribed interviews in this letter.
Matt Margolis at PJ MEDIA wrote about this as well…
Note that Trump is being mercilessly prosecuted for his possession of allegedly classified documents at Mar-A-Lago, a much more secure location than the variety of places Biden used for his multiple stashes. Also, Biden’s documents date from his time as Vice President and U.S. Senator, when he would have had no power to declassify them, as Trump did have as President with his presidential documents. Biden has yet to be charged.
Jonathan Turley has a new column outlining what looks particularly serious about the Biden case. What will Hur do if he has evidence against a sitting President?