The prosecutor leading the investigation of Hunter Biden is pushing back against claims that he was blocked from pursuing criminal charges in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., and denies retaliating against an IRS official who disclosed details about the case, the Associated Press reports. In a letter to House Republicans, Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss defended the investigation into Hunter Biden’s financial dealings that ended last month with a plea that likely spares Biden from prison time. Weiss, who was appointed by President Trump and kept on by the Biden administration, said the Justice Department “did not retaliate” against Gary Shapley, an IRS agent who said the prosecutor helped block Shapley’s job promotion after Shapley reached out to congressional investigators about the Biden case.
Testimony from Shapley and another agent detailed what they called a pattern of “slow-walking investigative steps” and delaying enforcement actions before the 2020 presidential election. It is unclear whether the conflict amounts to internal disagreement about how to pursue the investigation or a pattern of interference and preferential treatment. Justice Department policy warns prosecutors to take care in charging cases with potential political overtones around the time of an election. Shapley claimed that Weiss asked DOJ in March 2020 to be provided special counsel status in order to bring the tax cases in jurisdictions outside Delaware, but was denied. DOJ said Weiss has “full authority over this matter, including responsibility for deciding where, when, and whether to file charges as he deems appropriate. He needs no further approval to do so.” Leaders of the Republican-controlled House Judiciary, Oversight and Accountability, and Ways and Means committees asked Attorney General Merrick Garland for nine officials from the main Justice Department and two from the FBI to address the IRS employees’ claims.