On Tuesday, Special Counsel David Weiss told the House Judiciary Committee he was not “blocked” or “prevented from pursuing charges” against Hunter Biden in his lengthy probe, maintaining that “political considerations played no party” in his decision-making.
Weiss appeared for an “unprecedented” and voluntary transcribed interview before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday morning to address “misunderstandings about the scope” of his “authority to decide where, when, and whether to bring charges.”
In a statement that followed his hours-long testimony, Weiss said to the best of his knowledge, he is “the first Special Counsel to testify before the submission of the Special Counsel report.”
“I have done so out of respect for the committee’s oversight responsibilities and to respond to questions raised about the scope of my authority,” said Weiss.
Weiss stressed he is “in the midst of conducting an ongoing investigation and prosecution” and said he was “limited as to what I can say at this point.” However, Weiss said that when his work is concluded, he will prepare a report and “will be able to share more information at that time.”
Special Counsel Weiss said during his transcribed interview he was “prepared to address misunderstandings about the scope of my authority to decide where, when, and whether to bring charges in this matter.”
However, Weiss vowed not to answer questions “that could jeopardize the ongoing litigation, our investigations, or the rights of defendants or other individuals involved in these matters.”
“I am, and have been, the decision-maker on this case,” said Weiss. “I do not, however, make these decisions in a vacuum. I am bound by federal law, the principles of federal prosecution, and DOJ guidelines.”
Weiss stressed that the result is “there are processes that I must adhere to in making investigative and charging decisions.”
“The processes did not interfere with my decision-making authority,” said Weiss. “At no time was I blocked, or otherwise prevented from pursuing charges or taking the steps necessary in the investigation by other United States Attorneys, the Tax Division, or anyone else at the Department of Justice.”
Weiss stressed he “did not request Special Counsel status until August 2023.”
“When I made that request, it was promptly granted,” said Weiss.
Whistleblowers alleged Weiss previously requested status as special counsel and was denied. Attorney General Merrick Garland tapped Weiss in August to serve as special counsel with jurisdiction over Biden’s investigation as well as any other issues that may come up, or may come up, in relation to the probe.
Weiss has led the Biden investigation since 2018.
“Throughout this investigation, the career prosecutors on my team and I have made decisions based on the facts and the law,” said Weiss. “Political considerations played no part in our decision-making.”
Weiss said that his team’s “analysis has been moored to the principles of federal prosecution, and going forward, my team and I will continue to abide by the same principles as we try to bring this matter to a just conclusion.”
The interview with Weiss comes after several current and former Justice Department officials related to the probe into Hunter Biden have testified voluntarily on the matter behind closed doors at the committee, led by GOP Chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio.
On the matter of requesting special counsel status, Jordan said Weiss requested it before being appointed in August.
“When he was specifically asked, did you ever request special attorney authority under Section 515, Mr. Weiss? His response was yes, in the spring of 2022,” said Jordan after Weiss’ interview. “So that goes to the heart of the matter. He requested it but was not given that request. Never had that authority throughout the time. And yet he, he, he pretends that somehow he did have that.”
Jordan said Weiss wouldn’t answer “a lot of questions” but said the “key takeaway” is about “the changing story we got from DOJ regarding the authority” Weiss had.
Jordan said Weiss’ testimony was “entirely consistent” with what Gary Shapley, IRS whistleblower, said. Shapley alleged in October 2022, Weiss said he requested special counsel authority, but “DOJ denied his request and told him to follow the process.”
“So once again, Shapley and Ziegler’s testimony continues to stand up to every single witness we brought in,” said Jordan.
Whistleblowers allege politics impacted prosecutorial decisions
IRS whistleblowers Joseph Ziegler and Gary Shapley alleged politics impacted prosecutorial decisions throughout the probe concerning search warrants, and decisions regarding questioning lines during interviews of specific individuals, and more. Shapley alleged Weiss didn’t have “ultimate authority” to pursue charges against the president’s son and needed approval instead from Justice in Washington — something DOJ officials have confirmed in voluntary transcribed interviews in front of the committee.
Stuart Goldberg, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the DOJ Tax Division, participated in the transcribed interview in front of the House Judiciary Committee last month. In Goldberg’s interview transcript, he said Weiss needed the approval of his unit at the Justice Department before bringing charges in Hunter Biden’s probe. However, Goldberg said a prosecutor could appeal his division’s decision if they disagreed.
Shapley alleges Weiss considered bringing charges against Hunter Biden in California but said the U.S. attorney chose not to partner with him for prosecution. Charges were never filed.
U.S. attorney for the Central District of California, Martin Estrada, told the House Judiciary Committee during his transcribed interview last month that he declined to partner with Weiss to bring charges against Hunter Biden in his district. However, Estrada did offer Weiss “administrative support.”
As his first move as special counsel, Weiss charged Biden with making false statements when purchasing a firearm, making a false statement related to information required to be retained by a licensed federal firearms dealer, a count of possession of a firearm by a person who is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance.
The son of the president pleaded not guilty to all charges last month.
The interview with Weiss comes amid the House GOP impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden. Jordan, Republican House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith of Missouri, and GOP House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer of Kentucky lead the impeachment inquiry.