President Donald Trump’s campaign expressed doubt on Friday that newly appointed special counsel David Weiss would be “truly independent” in investigating and prosecuting the criminal case against Hunter Biden.
Mr. Weiss, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware, was appointed to the role of special counsel Friday by Attorney General Merrick Garland.
“Crooked Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, and the entire Biden Crime Family have been protected by the Justice Department for decades even though there is overwhelming evidence and credible testimony detailing their wrongdoing of lying to the American people and selling out the country to foreign enemies for the Biden Cartel’s own financial gain,” said Steven Cheung, Trump campaign spokesperson, in a statement.
“If this special counsel is truly independent—even though he failed to bring proper charges after a four-year investigation and he appears to be trying to move the case to a more Democrat-friendly venue—he will quickly conclude that Joe Biden, his troubled son Hunter, and their enablers, including the media, which colluded with the 51 intelligence officials who knowingly misled the public about Hunter’s laptop, should face the required consequences.”
Mr. Weiss has led the Justice Department’s investigation of the first son since February 2021.
At a press conference on Friday, the attorney general revealed that Mr. Weiss came to him earlier in the week to request special counsel authority in his ongoing probe.
“On Tuesday of this week, Mr. Weiss advised me that in his judgment, his investigation has reached a stage at which he should continue his work as a special counsel, and he asked to be so appointed,” Mr. Garland said. “Upon considering his request, as well as the extraordinary circumstances relating to this matter, I have concluded that it is in the public interest to appoint him as special counsel.
“This appointment confirms my commitment to provide Mr. Weiss all the resources he requests. It also reaffirms that Mr. Weiss has the authority he needs to conduct a thorough investigation and to continue to take the steps he deems appropriate independently, based only on the facts and the law,” he added.
Going to Trial
Mr. Biden stands accused of twice failing to pay taxes on income greater than $1.5 million, and unlawfully possessing a firearm while addicted to a controlled substance.
Initially, he agreed to plead guilty to the misdemeanor tax offenses and enter a pretrial diversion agreement to avoid conviction for the felony firearms offense. But that deal—which likely would have kept him out of prison—collapsed in court on July 26 under the scrutiny of U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika.
The judge, concerned about an immunity clause buried in the pretrial diversion agreement for a gun charge, placed the plea deal on hold while awaiting more information from the parties. Mr. Biden, in the meantime, pleaded not guilty.
But now, it appears that the first son is heading to trial after all.
In a Friday court filing, Mr. Weiss revealed that the plea negotiations had reached an impasse since the court hearing and asked the judge to dismiss the case so he could pursue a verdict in another venue.
“Venue for these offenses does not lie in Delaware,” Mr. Weiss held. “Rather, venue for these offenses and any other related tax offenses lies either in the Central District of California or in the District of Columbia.”
Mr. Biden will have until noon on Aug. 14, to file his response.
Candidates Weigh In
President Trump’s campaign was not the only one to weigh in on Mr. Weiss’ appointment on Friday.
For instance, Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley told Fox News: “I don’t trust it. I don’t think the American people trust it. I don’t think the American people trust the Department of Justice.
“I think that this was meant to be a distraction,” she said. “It’s not a distraction. I think the Bidens are on a sinking ship. And I think this is our opportunity to make sure not only that we get a new president in the White House, but that we go and we clean house in the Department of Justice while we’re at it.”
Meanwhile, former Vice President Mike Pence told the outlet that he thought it was “about time” that a special counsel was appointed.
“To be honest with you, I can’t relate to what [President Joe Biden’s] son was doing when he was vice president. When I was vice president, my son was flying an F-35 in the Marine Corps, defending this country,” Mr. Pence said. “But I think it’s about time that we saw the appointment of a special counsel to get to the bottom of not only what Hunter Biden was doing but what the Biden family was doing. The American people deserve answers, and I welcome it.”
President Biden has not said much about his son’s criminal case other than the occasional assertion that his son “did nothing wrong.” But with the case now heading to trial and election season heating up, the question is unlikely to stop being asked soon.
Reuters and Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.