By Debra Heine at amgreatness.com
On Monday, the Department of Justice informed the House Judiciary Committee that it would allow Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss to testify about the Hunter Biden case after the August recess.
In a letter to committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Assistant Attorney General Carlos Felipe Uriarte said Weiss is available to appear at a public congressional hearing on September 27, September 28, October 18, and October 19, but ten other line-level Justice Department employees whose testimonies are sought by the Committee, are not ready to testify.
The Justice Department’s concession came in response to a letter Jordan and the chairmen of the House Oversight and Ways and Means Committees sent on July 21, 2023, demanding that Attorney General Merrick Garland make eleven Department of Justice officials available for transcribed interviews before the Judiciary Committee.
Rep. Jordan, along with House Oversight Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) and Ways and Means Chairman Jason Smith (R-Mo.) pointed out in their letter that Weiss’s representations about his authority, “have shifted over time.”
“In his first letter, Weiss represented to the Judiciary Committee that he had been granted ultimate authority with respect to the filing of charges,” the lawmakers wrote.
“But in his second letter, Weiss told the Committee that he had been assured by unnamed officials that he would be granted that authority in the future if necessary after going through a specified process, and he notably provided no explanation of who would make the determination of necessity. These are inconsistent representations, and it is not possible for both of them to be true. Weiss’s shifting statements about his authority to bring charges against Hunter Biden, especially his authority to bring charges outside of Delaware, suggest that improper political considerations factored into the Department’s investigative and prosecutorial function. In addition, at least some of Weiss’s statements to the Judiciary Committee contradict his own statement to line-level investigators in October 2022, in which he indicated that he was not the “deciding official” on bringing charges against Hunter Biden. This statement was memorialized contemporaneously in an email sent by IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley; and none of the other participants in the meeting at which Weiss made this assertion have contradicted Shapley’s account.
The chairmen noted that the Department had confirmed that Weiss would appear before the Committee in a recent teleconference with Judiciary Committee staff.
“While we look forward to Weiss appearing at a hearing at the appropriate time, we must first conduct our investigative work, including conducting the transcribed interview of witnesses identified in our June 29 letter,” the chairmen insisted. “As we explained in that letter, the Department has made available non-Senate-confirmed and line-level employees for testimony to Congress in the past, and we expect no deviation from this precedent in this matter.”
Republicans are keen to interview Weiss’ deputy Leslie Wolf, who allegedly blocked an IRS investigator’s plan to search Hunter Biden’s storage unit in Northern Virginia. In testimony before the House Oversight Committee, last week, Special Agent Joseph Ziegler said Wolf objected to issuing a search warrant, arguing “it might create more issues.” Wolf and DOJ Tax Attorney Mark Daly “ultimately reached out to Hunter Biden’s defense counsel and told them about the storage unit,” Ziegler testified, adding that the Biden appointee and tax attorney’s actions potentially led to the destruction or further concealment of evidence.
The lawmakers asked that the DOJ respond to their request no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday to schedule the transcribed interviews.
In their response, the Department said Weiss was the right person to address the allegations of the two IRS whistleblowers and the committees’ questions about the scope of his authority.
“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,” the letter to Jordan said. “To address these issues, U.S. Attorney Weiss is available to appear at a public hearing before the Committee, consistent with the law and Department policy, after the House returns from its August district work period.”
But Uriarte added the Department was “deeply concerned” by the chairmen’s notification on Monday that the Committee had authorized deposition subpoenas for the other individuals identified in their June 29 letter.
“Any attempts at compulsory process are unjustified and premature,” he wrote. “The Committee authorized subpoenas less than a business day after your July 21 letter and before the stated deadline in that letter. It has been less than a month since the Committee’s original requests, and little more than a week since the Department responded to that letter on the date requested by the Committee.”
Uriarte said the Department would continue to discuss the matter with the Committee.read more