In March, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), spent seven minutes grilling Attorney General Merrick Garland about the Hunter Biden investigation. Did David Weiss, the Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney in Delaware kept on under Garland to oversee the inquiry, have full authority to bring charges against President Biden’s son in California and Washington, D.C., if he wanted to? Had Weiss asked to be made a special counsel? Was the investigation truly insulated from political considerations? That encounter has taken on new significance after House Republicans released testimony from a senior Internal Revenue Service investigator that appeared to contradict Garland’s assurances to Grassley that Weiss had all the freedom and authority he needed to pursue the case as he saw fit, reports the New York Times.
Gary Shapley, oversaw the IRS role in the investigation of Biden’s taxes and says his criticism of the Justice Department led to him being denied a promotion. He told the House Ways and Means Committee that Weiss had been rebuffed by top federal prosecutors in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., when he had raised the prospect of pursuing charges against the president’s son in those jurisdictions. Shapley, testifying under what Republicans say are whistle-blower protections, said that he had witnessed Weiss saying that he would not be the “deciding official” regarding whether to prosecute Biden, and that Weiss had been turned down when he sought special counsel status, which would have allowed him greater flexibility in handling the case. Shapley gave Republicans a new opening to cast doubt on the Justice Department’s repeated statements that Weiss had complete control of the investigation with no political interference. It remains unclear how much of the difference in the accounts reflects factors like miscommunication, clashing judgments among agencies over how best to pursue a prosecution, or personal enmity among officials working on a high-profile case., Republican leaders see Garland as a potentially vulnerable figure as they look for ways to undercut the president heading into the 2024 campaign.