Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss, who is now special counsel in the Hunter Biden tax/finance case, sat for a transcribed interview Tuesday with the House Judiciary Committee. There were no cameras in the room --- presumably because this testimony would involve an ongoing investigation --- but the committee posted afterwards that Jim Jordan had told reporters this:
“When [Weiss] was specifically asked, did you ever request special counsel authority under Section 515, Mr. Weiss’s response was yes, in the spring of 2022. So that goes to the heart of the matter.”
Weiss said the authority was not given, and so he “never had that authority throughout the time and yet he pretends that somehow he did have that.” And then finally, in August, “he gets special counsel status when he requests that from the Attorney General.”
Jordan said that Weiss “won’t answer a lot of questions,” but that the “key takeaway” is that his original request for that authority was denied by Main Justice, just as whistleblower Gary Shapley had said in testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee in May.
“So once again,” Jordan told reporters, “Shapley and Ziegler’s testimony continues to stand up to every single witness we brought in for an interview.” A trove of documents released by the House Ways and Means Committee supports their testimony as well.
This does throw some shade on the changing story that came from Merrick Garland, who had tried to maintain that Weiss had “ultimate authority” all along. All the other testimony is showing Weiss did not.
A note of clarification: Special ATTORNEY authority and special COUNSEL authority are two different things. As the DAILY CALLER explains, “Special attorney authority under Section 515 would have authorized Weiss’ office to level charges against Hunter Biden outside of his district without needing to collaborate with the U.S. Attorneys in those jurisdictions.” In July, Weiss wrote a letter to South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham saying he did not request special counsel authority. He alluded to internal discussions about Section 515 special attorney authority without disclosing the results of those discussions.”
Weiss had asked for special attorney authority after having been denied cooperation by U.S. Attorney for DC Matthew Graves on bringing tax charges against Hunter in his district. (There’s news about conflicts of interest regarding the Biden-appointed Graves elsewhere in the newsletter, in today’s January 6 update.)
Graves testified before the Judiciary Committee in October and did confirm his decision not to cooperate with Weiss on bringing charges against Hunter. Again, Graves WAS APPOINTED BY JOE BIDEN. This confirms whistleblower Shapley’s testimony a few months back…
The U.S. attorney for the Central District of California, Martin Estrada, who also refused to cooperate with Weiss on bringing charges against Hunter, WAS ALSO APPOINTED BY JOE BIDEN.
Prior to his answers yesterday, Weiss seemed to be all over the map about what authority he had and what he asked for at what time. He told Jordan in a letter dated June 7 of this year that he had “ultimate authority” over charging Hunter, though clearly, he did not, as he had been denied cooperation by Graves in March 2022. Later in June, Weiss wrote another letter to Jordan in which he admitted his charging authority was geographically limited.
As for Jordan telling reporters after the meeting that Weiss “won’t answer a lot of questions,” we now have to wonder what questions were asked, which ones were answered and which were not. Most likely, Weiss repeatedly relied on the prosecutor’s standard non-answer: “I can’t comment on an ongoing investigation.” The Judiciary Committee really should release the transcript and let us see how that played in the hearing room.
Meanwhile, legal analyst Margot Cleveland at THE FEDERALIST has turned her attention to the testimony of another top DOJ official, Stuart Goldberg at the Tax Division. Her concern is that even though Goldberg has confirmed the accuracy of Shapley and Ziegler’s testimony about the DOJ putting up roadblocks, he still refused to acknowledge that Attorney General Garland and U.S. Attorney Weiss were misleading with their claims that Weiss had ultimate authority.
Instead of letting Weiss and the DOJ stand by their story, she says, Congress needs to stop deferring to that tired “ongoing investigation” excuse for withholding information. “Oversight Committees,” she says, “should start issuing and enforcing subpoenas to expose the DOJ’s cover-up of Biden family corruption --- and its cover-up of the cover-up.”
Goldberg provided needed clarification in his testimony by saying the Tax Division has authority to decide whether to open a grand jury investigation for felony tax crimes and whether to authorize prosecution for those crimes. He said the Tax Division even had to approve the specific charges that were brought. (Translation: Weiss never did have “ultimate authority” on charging Hunter with those crimes.) Certain other investigative steps also require a sign-off from the Tax Division. And even beyond the normal approval procedures required for all tax cases, in a high-profile case such as this, there would be “closer supervision” of the investigation by the Tax Division, including authorization at a higher level than normal.
We had speculated that authorizations for this case were placed squarely at deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco’s level. And Goldberg’s testimony bears that out, as he said that if the Tax Division refused to bring charges, a U.S. attorney could “appeal” that decisions to...the deputy attorney general! Goldberg said this had happened only once in the past three years.
But Cleveland points out something of concern that happened during Goldberg’s testimony about this. When he was asked specifically whether the Tax Division had recommended criminal felony charges in 2022, Goldberg’s attorney --- a “Justice” Department lawyer --- directed him not to answer the question.
So the Judiciary Committee took a different approach: “Between DOJ Tax and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Delaware, who would you say is the primary decision-maker on this case with regard to the tax component?”
Goldberg tried to threat the needle, saying that from his perspective, Weiss and his office were “leading” the case and “running” the case, and that “Tax Division had responsibilities under the Justice Department procedures and policies to review certain things,” but that “any disagreement or difference of opinion...would have to be decided by someone in higher authority.”
Is that muddled enough for you? It gets worse: after Goldberg concedes that Weiss was not the ultimate authority, he weasels out of acknowledging the obvious when confronted with Weiss’ letter claiming he HAD ultimate authority. In typical lawyerly fashion, he (and the DOJ representing him) tries to have it both ways. He says that, yes, the Tax Division has the authority to “authorize or not authorize” tax cases under Department policies. But he also justifies Weiss’ statement claiming authority, saying that as he recalled, Weiss’ letter qualified the authority to say that it was “consistent with” Department’s rules and policies and federal rules.
He said the same of Garland’s claim that Weiss had full authority.
But the DOJ’s policies NEGATE full authority. We’re tired of all this doublespeak from government attorneys. Either Weiss had authority to charge Hunter Biden or he did not. It’s clear now that he did not and that obstacles were put in his path, by the DOJ and by the U.S. Attorneys’ offices in DC and California. Even Weiss’ second-in-command in the Delaware office, Lesley Wolf, was placing roadblocks. Both Weiss and Garland have made claims about authority that were not true.
Anyone who has tried through weasel testimony to discourage us from concluding this is part of the Biden administration’s cover-up. It must be hard not to play weasel with a “Justice” Department lawyer sitting next to you, ostensibly representing you but more likely representing the “Justice Department, but that’s the truth.