Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed US Attorney David Weiss as a special counsel to further investigate Hunter Biden, signaling that the Justice Department is intensifying its scrutiny of the president's son. This announcement comes as a plea deal for tax crimes and a gun charge against Hunter Biden has collapsed after a judge appointed by former President Donald Trump refused to accept it. The rejection of the plea deal increases the likelihood of Hunter Biden facing a trial.
Garland emphasized that Weiss, who was appointed by Trump, will have the authority and resources necessary to conduct a thorough and independent investigation. Weiss will join two other special counsels: Jack Smith, who is investigating Trump's handling of classified documents and his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, and Robert Hur, who is examining Biden's handling of classified documents after leaving the Obama White House.
Garland stated that Weiss will provide a final report upon the conclusion of his investigation, which will outline whether charges should or should not be brought against Hunter Biden. The attorney general expressed his intention to make as much of Weiss' report public as possible. This commitment mirrors a similar vow made by former Attorney General Bill Barr when special counsel Robert Mueller released his report, although Barr faced criticism for his handling of the release.
Republicans, many of whom have long called for a special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden, were quick to dismiss Weiss' appointment. They are particularly displeased with Weiss' role in the collapse of the plea deal, which would have allowed Hunter Biden to plead guilty to tax crimes and potentially avoid jail time.
Federal prosecutors have stated that they are now at an "impasse" regarding the future of the plea deal. Judge Maryellen Noreika refused to accept the agreement last month, expressing concerns about its scope and whether it would effectively halt all ongoing investigations into Hunter Biden.
As President Joe Biden campaigns for his reelection, the increased scrutiny on his family, particularly the potential trial of his son, could become a significant factor in the political landscape. The appointment of Weiss as a special counsel suggests that the investigation into Hunter Biden will continue to be a prominent issue in the coming months.