Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss, special counsel in the ongoing Hunter Biden case, appeared to violate Department of Justice (DOJ) policy by writing letters to Congress on behalf of Attorney General Merrick Garland, internal emails show.
The DOJ instructed Weiss in May 2022 that he was not allowed to respond to Congressional inquiries about the Hunter Biden case and must defer to the DOJ Office of Legislative Affairs (OLA), internal DOJ emails obtained by the Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project demonstrate. The emails were first reported Tuesday by The Federalist.
“Consistent with my conversation with [redacted] last night, we are supposed to forward this and any other correspondence to OLA. Per DOJ policy, only OLA can respond on behalf of the Department to a request from the legislative branch,” Shannon Hanson, an official in the Delaware U.S. Attorney’s office, emailed Weiss on May 25, 2022.
“David: I would like to forward this to [redacted]. If you would also want us to respond as an office, letting the Senators know that we have forwarded the information to OLA, I recommend we do so through [redacted] cced here. Please let me know how you wish to proceed,” she added.
“Please forward to [redacted]. I would like to respond to the Senators and say something to the effect that [redacted],” Weiss responded.
The internal discussions were related to a letter sent to Weiss on May 9, 2022, by Republican Sens. Grassley of Iowa and Johnson of Wisconsin sounding the alarm on Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division Nicholas McQuaid’s apparent conflict of interest in the Hunter Biden investigation. OLA responded to Grassley and Johnson on June 9, 2022, with a letter saying the DOJ would not provide further information.
Grassley and Johnson followed up with a July 7, 2022, letter to the DOJ about a story in the Washington Examiner detailing payments Hunter Biden made to escorts linked to Russia.
“OLA will take the lead on drafting a response for the Department. If/when I see a draft, I will share it with you,” an official from the Executive Office for United States Attorneys wrote on July 8, 2022, to the Delaware U.S. Attorneys office.
Heritage’s Oversight Project obtained the emails through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and their contents are partially redacted.
“Everything about this case, starting from the FBI turning a blind eye to obvious criminal leads all the way to Garland’s misleading of Congress and the sweetheart plea deal points to complete politicization,” Heritage Oversight Project Director Mike Howell said in a statement to the Daily Caller.
“I agree with Americans who have historic levels of distrust in these institutions, they don’t deserve our trust,” Howell added. The Delaware U.S. Attorney’s office and the DOJ did not respond to requests for comment by the time of publication.
The Daily Caller previously reported on an email obtained by Heritage Oversight showing Weiss circulated a column criticizing Garland’s April 2022 Congressional testimony. The Federalist also reported on the first batch of emails obtained by Heritage Oversight.
Weiss wrote multiple letters to Congress after the House Ways and Means Committee released in late June the testimony from IRS whistleblowers Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler. In a July letter to Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, Weiss rebuked Shapley’s allegation that Weiss’ charging authority was limited prior to his special attorney appointment. His letter to Graham appeared to contradict a late June letter Weiss sent to Republican Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan where he said his charging authority was geographically limited.
Shapley testified to the Ways and Means Committee in May that Weiss stated at an Oct. 7, 2022, meeting that he did not have final charging authority after Biden-appointed U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Matthew Graves refused to cooperate with Weiss.
In addition, Shapley asserted that Weiss stated he was denied special counsel authority by the DOJ following Graves’ decision. Graves testified before the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday about his role in the Hunter Biden case.
Shapley’s attorneys have shared handwritten notes and an email documenting his account of the Oct. 7, 2022, meeting with Weiss. The IRS whistleblower also testified that Biden-appointed U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California E. Martin Estrada refused to cooperate with Weiss.
An FBI agent on the Hunter Biden case and another IRS official have corroborated Shapley’s testimony on Graves and Estrada’s refusal to cooperate. The New York Times has independently confirmed Estrada’s decision. The House Ways and Means Committee released a trove of documents Wednesday substantiating Shapley and Ziegler’s testimony.
Garland testified before the House Judiciary Committee on Sept. 20 and said the prosecutors could “refuse to partner” with Weiss on charging Hunter Biden. Garland followed up by asserting that Weiss could request additional authority under section 515 in order to charge Hunter Biden outside of his district. The DOJ told the House Judiciary Committee on Sept. 22 it will allow Weiss to testify.
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