US attorney David Weiss, who has led the Hunter Biden criminal probe, has offered to testify at a public congressional hearing this fall, according to a letter sent to lawmakers on Monday.
House Republicans have demanded that Weiss – a Donald Trump appointee – answer questions about allegations from two IRS whistleblowers that the tax investigation was tainted by political interference.
The new letter from the Justice Department proposes several dates in September and October when Weiss would be willing to testify to the House Judiciary Committee, which is led by GOP Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio.
Notably, those dates are all long after Hunter Biden’s scheduled guilty plea, which is set to take place Wednesday. He has agreed to plead guilty to two federal tax misdemeanors as part of a plea deal.
The new letter, signed by Assistant Attorney General Carlos Uriarte, states that the Justice Department has reservations about public testimony while investigations and judicial proceedings are “ongoing.” But there are “misrepresentations” that need to be addressed, and it “is strongly in the public interest for the American people and for Congress to hear directly” from Weiss.
“We are deeply concerned by any misrepresentations about our work – whether deliberate or arising from misunderstandings – that could unduly harm public confidence in the evenhanded administration of justice, to which we are dedicated,” Uriarte wrote.
The IRS whistleblowers claim Justice Department officials slow-walked the criminal probe into Hunter Biden’s tax issues, stymied their efforts to obtain subpoenas and search warrants, rebuffed their attempts to further scrutinize Biden family members, and repeatedly blocked Weiss from filing the felony charges that they had recommended.
Their allegations of political interference in the probe have been met with adamant denials from Weiss, Attorney General Merrick Garland and other top Justice Department officials who were involved. In previous letters to Congress, Weiss has maintained that he was “granted ultimate authority over this matter, including responsibility for deciding where, when and whether to file charges.”
A sentencing date hasn’t yet been scheduled for Hunter Biden. Even if that happens before Weiss testifies, Hunter Biden would still be under the supervision of the court until he completes his sentence, including potential years of probation. Therefore, the letter states, there will be some restrictions on what Weiss can publicly reveal, due to the ongoing nature of the criminal case.
“To be clear, the most appropriate time for any testimony on these subjects is after the matter is closed … testimony at this early juncture must be appropriately limited to protect the ongoing matter and important confidentiality interests,” the letter states.
The new Justice Department letter also disclosed that the GOP-run House Judiciary Committee has authorized subpoenas for several DOJ officials who were involved in the Hunter Biden investigation. The Justice Department said this happened prematurely, while there was still time to negotiate voluntary depositions, and “before the stated deadline” that Jordan set in a previous letter.