Justice Department to make prosecutor in Hunter Biden case available to testify before Congress
Jul 24, 2023, 4:36 PM
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
WASHINGTON (AP) — The lead prosecutor in the case against President Joe Biden’s son Hunter says he is willing to testify publicly this fall, setting up a clash with House Republicans who have demanded he come in soon for a closed-door interview.
In a two-page letter to Rep. Jim Jordan on Monday, the Justice Department offered to make U.S. Attorney David Weiss of Delaware available before the House Judiciary Committee for a public hearing after the August break as Republicans continue to escalate their ongoing investigation into his handling of the probe into Hunter Biden.
“The Department believes it is strongly in the public interest for the American people and for Congress to hear directly from U.S. Attorney Weiss on these assertions and questions about his authority at a public hearing,” Assistant Attorney General Carlos Uriarte wrote to Jordan.
House Republicans, led by Jordan — chair of the Judiciary Committee — had requested last month for Weiss and nearly a dozen other officials to come in for transcribed interviews with the committee as part of its investigation into claims the Justice Department improperly interfered in the case.
The congressional inquiry was opened after testimony from two IRS agents who worked on the Hunter Biden case detailed what they called a pattern of “slow-walking investigative steps” and delaying enforcement actions in the months before the 2020 presidential election won by his father. The department and Weiss have vehemently denied the whistleblowers’ claims.
Over the past several weeks, the Justice Department has gone back and forth with the committee, rejecting one of the more explosive claims that Weiss did not have full authority in the lengthy investigation into Hunter Biden’s financial dealings that ended last month with a plea deal that will likely spare Biden from time behind bars.
Uriarte wrote to Jordan earlier this month that due to longstanding department policy, Weiss or any other officials involved in the case would be prohibited from testifying before Congress while the investigation was ongoing. But the committee continued to push for a closed-door interview with Weiss.
The Justice Department, looking to correct the record of what they see as a misrepresentation of the investigation, is now offering for Weiss to come before Congress in a public venue, where he could directly respond to claims of wrongdoing by Republicans.
“U.S. Attorney Weiss is the appropriate person to speak to these issues, as he is both the senior Department official responsible for the investigation as well as the person with direct knowledge of the facts necessary to respond to the assertions in which you have expressed interest,” Uriarte wrote.
The openness to make Weiss available comes as Hunter Biden is expected to appear before a judge Wednesday to officially plead guilty to the federal tax offenses, opening the prosecutor up to providing some testimony in the case.
It is unclear if Jordan will accept the offer for a public hearing.