There’s simply no rational or legal explanation for Attorney General Merrick Garland naming David Weiss a special counsel in the Hunter Biden investigation. Other than the most obvious one, of course.
Garland contends that he’s “confident” the Delaware federal prosecutor “will carry out his responsibility in an evenhanded and urgent manner and in accordance with the highest traditions of this department,” evidence strongly suggests something corrupt. But would anyone genuinely seeking an “evenhanded” inquiry hand the job to a prosecutor who’s already attempted to shower the target of the investigation with an extraordinarily favorable immunity deal? It defies credulity.
And not only was Weiss ready to bequeath Biden with a hall pass on the felony gun and tax charges but also blanket immunity on a slew of serious potential offenses, including failure to register as a foreign agent, evasion, bribery and corruption — and any other entanglements of the Biden family.
That reason alone should be disqualifying.
On more than one occasion during the plea agreement hearing, the incredulous judge, Maryellen Noreika, asked the government if they could provide a single precedent in which immunity was offered for “crimes in a different case.” They could not. One imagines that the prosecutor who signed off an unprecedented sweetheart deal rejected out of hand by a court isn’t in an ideal position to lead a case, much less uphold “the highest traditions” of justice.
Biden’s immunity deal, one Justice Department lawyer explained at the time, was “crafted to suit the facts and circumstances.” Indeed, those circumstances are “Joe” and “Biden.” Any investigation leads to the president answering awkward queries about his role in influence peddling to disreputable players in corrupt regimes. There is no Hunter Biden case without Joe.
Now, on top of this, we learn that the sweetheart plea deal was actually Weiss getting tough on Hunter Biden.
In emails obtained by The New York Times between the (alleged) prosecutors and the Hunter Biden camp, we learn that Weiss was “willing to forgo any prosecution of Mr. Biden at all, and his office came close to agreeing to end the investigation without requiring a guilty plea on any charges.”
It was only the congressional testimony of Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler that changed his mind. Only then did Weiss demand Hunter Biden plead guilty to two piddling misdemeanor counts. Now, whether Weiss changed course to mitigate the damage to the Bidens or himself, or both, it speaks to a decision-making process tainted by political considerations. Even in the best light, that should be disqualifying.
Then again, what kind of “evenhanded” investigation is led by a prosecutor who’s been credibly accused of dragging his feet on a case and then lying to Congress? Is there no one else in the entire United States better positioned to investigate Hunter Biden?
Clearly, not from Garland’s perspective. In the past, the attorney general claimed that Weiss was free to prosecute Hunter Biden in “any way in which he wanted to” and anywhere in the country. Weiss also told Congress that he had “never been denied the authority to bring charges in any jurisdiction.” If he chose to, he could have finished the job long ago. It’s been five years. The “special counsel” designation is meant to give him a veneer of independence.
Democrats like to point out that Weiss is a Donald Trump appointee and thus unlikely to participate in the Joe Biden protection racket (a rather stark projection on how they view political power). First off, so what? That fact doesn’t make him any more competent or any less susceptible to engage in actions that please those in power. Second, there is no way Weiss, who’s been around a long time, gets through any confirmation process without support from the Delaware power brokers — who are Democrats. Biden Democrats.
We don’t need to bore into his soul, however. We only need to look at his actions and his history. Now, the fact that Weiss worked closely with the late Beau Biden doesn’t mean he’s unethical, but it does mean he’s ill-suited to lead an independent inquiry into the Biden family. The fact that, according to the Washington Examiner, seven prosecutors working under Weiss during the Hunter Biden investigation were Democratic donors doesn’t make them corrupt. It makes Weiss a terrible choice to investigate the president’s family.
It’s worth remembering that the special counsel exists to allow the government the ability to avoid conflicts of interest that occasionally hamper federal investigations. Weiss, though, is a walking conflict of interest. And the only plausible reason Garland gave him the job is so he would continue protecting the president.
David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist.