Mr Garland announced that David Weiss, who has served as the US Attorney for Delaware since 2018, would serve as special counsel and he had informed relevant members of Congress about the nomination.
The move is a shift from July when Mr Weiss informed Congress that he had not requested special counsel designation for his investigation into the president’s son. But on Tuesday, Mr Weiss requested such status.
“I have concluded that it is in the public interest to appoint him as special counsel,” Mr Garland said on Friday. “This appointment confirms my commitment to provide Mr. Weiss all the resources he request.”
Mr Weiss had previously been investigating Hunter Biden since 2019. Mr Garland and the Department of Justice allowed Mr Weiss to stay on board as US attorney when Joe Biden took office in 2021 to continue his investigation of Hunter Biden.
In July, Hunter Biden looked set to enter into a plea deal for unpaid taxes and lying on a federal application for a firearm. Republicans, including former president Donald Trump, had decried the agreement as a sweetheart deal. Many Republicans argued that Hunter Biden received preferential treatment because he is the president’s son despite the fact that Mr Trump nominated Mr Weiss and Republicans in the Senate voted to confirm him in 2018.
Then in late July, Hunter Biden pleaded not guilty to two of the charges after the presiding judge questioned whether the deal would prohibit the federal government from prosecuting him for other crimes he might have committed in the future.
The White House referred to remarks from Mr Garland and the Justice Department when asked by The Independent.
Mr Garland said that Mr Weiss’s office would not be subjected to day-to-day supervision but would have to comply with regulations, procedures and policies of the Justice Department. Mr Weiss would also be mandated to write a report of his investigation once it concludes.
“ As with each special counsel who has served since I have taken office, I am committed to making as much of his report public as possible, consistent with legal requirements and department policy,” he said. “Today's announcement affords the prosecutors agents and analysts working on this matter, the ability to proceed with our work expeditiously and to make decisions indisputably guided only by the facts and the law.”
Mr Garland’s announcement comes the same day that former president Donald Trump’s legal team appeared in court in Washington, DC and earned a win as US District Judge Tanya Chutkan ruled that a protective order against Mr Trump would only apply to sensitive material such as jury transcripts, witness interview records and other documents.
Mr Trump faces charges for his attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election after a federal grand jury indicted him in response to a presentation from Special Counsel Jack Smith’s office.
Make America Great Again PAC decried appointment of special counsel.
“David Weiss cut Hunter Biden an unprecedented plea deal that attempted to give Joe Biden's corrupt son blanket immunity,” spokeswoman Karoline Leavitt. “Now, Merrick Garland expects us to trust Weiss to be the Special Counsel that finally brings Hunter Biden to justice. Biden's Justice Department will do whatever it takes to cover up the Biden Crime Family's misdeeds.”
Mr Garland nominated Mr Smith to investigate Mr Smith to investigate Mr Trump. In addition, the attorney nominated Robert Hur to investigate classified documents found in locations associated with President Biden earlier this year.
But House Oversight & Accountability Committee blasted the move by Mr Garland.
“Let’s be clear what today’s move is really about,” the statement said. “The Biden Justice Department is trying to stonewall congressional oversight as we have presented evidence to the American people about the Biden family’s corruption. Our Committee will continue to follow the Biden family’s money trail and interview witnesses to determine whether foreign actors targeted the Bidens, President Biden is compromised and corrupt, and our national security is threatened.”
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