The prosecutor leading the investigation into Hunter Biden told Congress Tuesday that he’s always been “the decider” in the controversial probe of the troubled presidential son.
Special counsel David Weiss insisted that he has made all key decisions in the Hunter Biden case, rebutting Republican claims that the White House has influenced the probe to go easy on President Biden’s only surviving son.
“I am, and have been, the decision-maker on this case,” Weiss said in the closed-door hearing. “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 added that those normal processes have never “interfered with my decision-making authority.”
“At no time was I blocked, or otherwise prevented from pursuing charges or taking the steps necessary in the investigation by (anyone),” Weiss said.
Weiss, a Delaware federal prosecutor, said he only asked to assume the special counsel role in August, countering claims from GOP-hyped whistleblowers that an earlier request was rejected.
He is the first special counsel to submit to a congressional grilling before his probe is done.
Weiss, an appointee of former President Donald Trump who has led the probe since 2018, is barred by prosecutorial ethics from discussing the case against Hunter Biden.
He warned members of the Republican-led House Judiciary Committee that he would not answer questions about the case or the evidence against Hunter Biden.
Some Republican lawmakers emerged from the hearing to say that Weiss was dodging their questions.
“We think that Mr. Weiss has been pretty evasive,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida). “(It) shows how opaque he’s truly being.”
Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), the committee’s ranking member, said Weiss was a “very credible” witness and described the hearing as a snooze with no major revelations.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland has long insisted that Weiss is fully authorized to oversee the investigation and make all decisions about how and where and if to charge Hunter Biden.
Weiss and defense lawyers agreed to a plea deal several months ago in the controversial case, which covers some of Hunter Biden’s business deals that Republicans say are the grounds for possible impeachment of President Biden.
After that deal collapsed amid fingerpointing, Hunter Biden was charged with lying to obtain a gun permit while he was in the grips of substance abuse issues. A trial could unfold next year as President Biden runs for reelection, although some legal analysts say it’s not a slamdunk case.
Weiss could bring tax evasion charges against Hunter Biden as well, but it’s not clear when or where.