U.S. Attorney David Weiss speaks during a press conference on May 3, 2018, at his district office in Wilmington, Del.
Suchat Pederson | The News Journal | AP
The Department of Justice said that David Weiss — the special counsel prosecuting Hunter Biden — in the “near term” will be able to testify to the House Judiciary Committee as part of its own probe of the son of President Joe Biden.
But the DOJ in a letter Friday to the House panel did not commit to making Weiss available by mid-October, as committee chairman Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, has asked.
And it is not clear when Weiss will be allowed to appear by the DOJ.
“The volume and requested pace of the Committee’s proposed scheduled far exceeds the Department’s resources, especially in light of the Committee’s other pending requests and subpoenas to the Department on other topics,” among them an impeachment inquiry into President Biden, wrote Assistant Attorney General Carlos Uriarte.
“We remain committed to providing information voluntarily, without unnecessary escalation,” Uriarte wrote.
“However, any additional testimony and documents shared at this early juncture must continue to be appropriately limited to protect the ongoing matter and important confidentiality interests.”
Weiss in July was approved to speak to the Republican-led panel, which has been critical of how the criminal investigation of Hunter Biden has been handled.
But in late July, the DOJ’s planned plea agreement with Hunter Biden collapsed in U.S. District Court in Delaware, leaving Weiss’ appearance before the committee in question.
Biden had been expected that month to plead guilty to two misdemeanor charges of failure to pay income taxes and avoid being charged with a separate firearms-related count.
But that deal fell apart after its terms were questioned by a judge, and Weiss and Biden’s lawyers were unable to agree to new conditions.
Biden ended up pleading not guilty to the tax charges.
He was indicted earlier this month on three criminal counts related to his possession of a firearm while being a drug user.
Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, departs federal court after a plea hearing on two misdemeanor charges of willfully failing to pay income taxes in Wilmington, Delaware, July 26, 2023.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
In its new letter to the Judiciary Committee, the DOJ said it “reaffirms its commitment” to making Weiss available “in the near term to address the subject of his authority” in the Biden probe.
The department also offered to make available to the House panel testimony from U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves of Washington, D.C., U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada of Los Angeles, and Stuart Goldberg, an acting deputy assistant attorney general.
The letter said the two U.S. attorneys would be able to address the committee’s questions about Weiss’ ability to bring charges outside of Delaware, where he is the U.S. Attorney.
An FBI agent involved in the Biden probe reportedly told investigators that Estrada declined to help prosecute Biden, who lives in California.
Uriarte in the same letter reiterated that Weiss will eventually write a report for Attorney General Merrick Garland explaining why he decided to prosecute Biden for some criminal charges, and why he declined to do so for others.
The letter, which NBC News reported Monday, responded to a request last week from Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, asking for a raft of records and witness testimony.
Jordan specifically asked DOJ for records related to two IRS employees who have alleged wrongdoing in the Biden probe, and for interviews with seven DOJ officials — including Weiss on Oct. 11.
Among the other DOJ officials the panel asked to question were Graves and Estrada.
The IRS whistleblowers’ allegations have been disputed.
Hunter Biden sued the agents last week, accusing them of disclosing his private tax information.
The committee in a public hearing last week grilled Garland about the DOJ about its handling of the Biden probe.
Garland defended the department’s conduct.