Written by Hudson Crozier
What’s happening: The Department of Justice has appointed federal prosecutor David Weiss as special counsel in its Hunter Biden investigation. Weiss has been investigating President Joe Biden's son since 2019 and is currently prosecuting him for tax and gun crimes.
Why it matters: Biden’s DOJ assigned Weiss this new, supposedly neutral position amid evidence that the department has obstructed investigations into the president’s son. Republicans call the appointment “a joke.” Let’s take a look at why.
- Soft: Weiss was behind the controversial plea deal that would have allowed Hunter to avoid jail time and a felony charge for an illegal gun purchase. IRS whistleblowers also say the DOJ could have charged him with other tax felonies but didn’t. The deal was rejected.
- Part of the club: The DOJ’s own rules say that special counsels have to be “selected from outside” the government to ensure they are independent and impartial. Weiss is already a DOJ official as a U.S. state attorney; critics argue he is a special counsel in name only.
- Subservient: Weiss said he was in control of his investigations, though he allegedly wasn’t. Whistleblowers said he was consistently blocked by higher-ups in the DOJ from investigating freely. He ultimately played by the DOJ’s rules, they said.
Zoom out: Some see Hunter Biden’s alleged gun and tax crimes as trivial compared to the mounting evidence of the Biden family’s influence peddling across the globe, which the DOJ also allegedly obstructed investigations into.