Two top Republican senators want answers from the U.S. attorney handling the Hunter Biden criminal case, asking about potential conflicts of interest within the Justice Department and raising concerns about the president’s son’s claims of judicial influence in Delaware.
Sens. Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson sent a letter to U.S. Attorney David Weiss this week. Weiss, the federal prosecutor for Delaware since he was appointed by then-President Donald Trump in 2018, is running the criminal investigation.
In February 2021, President Joe Biden asked all Senate-confirmed U.S. attorneys appointed by Trump for their resignations, with Weiss the exception. John Durham was asked to step down as the U.S. attorney for Connecticut but was kept on as special counsel for his criminal review of the Trump-Russia investigation.
Hunter Biden revealed he was under federal investigation for his taxes shortly after the 2020 election and is reportedly being scrutinized for potential money laundering, as well as possible foreign lobbying violations under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
Nicholas McQuaid, a former federal prosecutor, was appointed acting chief of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division at the start of the Biden administration. McQuaid had been a partner at Latham & Watkins with Biden defense lawyer Christopher Clark and worked on cases with him right until McQuaid took the job at the Justice Department. McQuaid is now listed as principal deputy assistant attorney general for the division.
The senators pointed out to Weiss that they had sent letters to Garland about McQuaid in February, March, and November 2021 asking about his “conflicts of interest in the Hunter Biden case.”
Grassley and Johnson argued, “Garland’s silence draws serious suspicion and has cast a cloud over the investigation — a cloud that could easily be removed if the Justice Department showed a modicum of transparency.”
The Justice Department hinted in February 2021 that McQuaid may have recused himself from the Hunter Biden case, but did not say so directly, when DOJ told the Washington Examiner that McQuaid “is screened and recused from matters in which he has a financial interest or a personal business relationship, including matters involving his former law firm.”
The senators asked Weiss a number of questions on the controversy: “Is Mr. McQuaid recused from the Hunter Biden criminal case? … Have any employees in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware been recused from the Hunter Biden criminal case? … Have you or any employee in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware exchanged any communications with Mr. McQuaid?”
“To be clear, we are unaware of any information that would call into question your ability to lead this investigation,” Grassley and Johnson also told Weiss. “Yet, Delaware is the Bidens’ home state and Hunter Biden has acknowledged his connections with state officials in the past.”
The senators pointed to a March 2018 email from Hunter Biden to his Chinese business partners in which he said, “I will bring suit in the Chancery Court in Delaware — which as you know is my home state and I am privileged to have worked with and know every judge in the chancery court.”
Grassley and Johnson argued, “This statement raises questions about the Bidens’ possible undue influence over judicial officers in the Delaware Court of Chancery and raises concerns that his asserted influence extends beyond.”
The two senators revived their arguments about the Biden family’s financial links to “Communist China” in a series of floor speeches beginning in March.
Garland was asked about the investigation last month and told the Senate, “The president is committed not to interfere, not only in that investigation, but any other kind of investigation.”
Then-Attorney General William Barr publicly rejected the idea of appointing a special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden when asked about it in December 2020.
Grassley and Johnson asked whether Weiss’s office has “received sufficient resources and support from the Justice Department to properly execute the Hunter Biden criminal case” and whether Weiss has “discussed the need for a special counsel or independent counsel to properly investigate.”
Dozens of House Republicans have called upon Garland to appoint a special counsel.