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FACT SHEET: Asked & Answered: MAGA Republicans Recycle Debunked Claims Yet Again With David Weiss Testimony

Nov 6, 2023

Tomorrow morning, Special Counsel David Weiss is slated to sit for a closed-door, transcribed interview with the MAGA House Judiciary Committee. We’ve already been through this before – after months of investigations into the so-called weaponization of the federal government by the Biden administration have turned up nothing, House Republicans have no credibility whatsoever. 

In September, Judiciary Republicans called on Attorney General Merrick Garland to testify in a hearing over the Justice Department’s Hunter Biden probe. When the hearing turned up no new facts to support Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan’s baseless claims, he hypocritically issued subpoenas to IRS officials and FBI special agents months ago in an effort to attack Weiss’ investigation – even though Jordan is a well-known subpoena dodger. But even that backfired when at least six other witnesses brought in for questioning debunked their allegations once again. These questions have already been asked and answered, to no avail. MAGA Republicans are just desperate to distract from their utter failure to govern. This testimony is only the latest House GOP distraction, further proving that Republicans would rather push baseless attacks against President Biden than address the real issues Americans are facing.

FACT CHECK: David Weiss Is A Trump-Appointed Special Counsel Operating Independently of Attorney General Merrick Garland and President Biden. David Weiss was originally appointed to serve as US Attorney for Delaware by Donald Trump. Until recently, Republicans supported the Trump-appointed Delaware prosecutor-turned-special counsel who investigated and brought charges against Hunter Biden. Oversight Chair James Comer was vocal in his support for Weiss remaining US Attorney after the 2020 election.

  • December 2017: Donald Trump Appointed Delaware Prosecutor David Weiss As A U.S. Attorney. In December 2017, President Donald Trump appointed David Weiss as US attorney in Delaware, saying that Weiss shared his vision for “Making America Safe Again.” The Republican-led Senate confirmed Weiss’ nomination by voice vote in February 2018.
  • June 2018: Trump’s Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions Worked Directly with David Weiss. In June 2018, Sessions called for a new initiative involving large staffing increases, asking David Weiss to focus on violent crime: “Under President Trump’s strong leadership, the Department of Justice is going on offense against violent crime, illegal immigration, and the opioid crisis—and today we are sending in reinforcements. I have personally worked to repurpose existing funds to support this critical mission, and as a former federal prosecutor myself, my expectations could not be higher.”
  • Late 2018: David Weiss’ Five-Year Hunter Biden Investigation Began During The Trump Administration. “It’s the first time the Justice Department — part of the executive branch, headed by the president — has brought charges against a child of a sitting president. The decision by U.S. Attorney David Weiss, who was nominated by President Donald Trump in 2018, indicates an end to the sweeping, five-year investigation by federal prosecutors, FBI agents and IRS officials into Hunter Biden’s conduct.” [NBC News, 6/20/23]
  • 2020 – 2022: David Weiss Continued Investigating Hunter Biden After The 2020 Election and Escalated The Investigation During the Biden Administration. In March 2022, ABC News reported that a federal investigation into Hunter Biden had intensified. NBC News reported that “the Biden administration has kept Weiss in place in order to avoid having a U.S. attorney appointed by the president oversee his son’s criminal case.” 
  • August 2023: The Department of Justice Appointed David Weiss Special Counsel To Ensure The Investigation Into President Biden’s Son Remained Free From Political Influence. Attorney General Garland has worked to ensure investigations into Hunter Biden have remained free from political influence by deferring to David Weiss at every step of the way. In March 2023, Garland said he told Weiss he had “full authority” over decisions about pressing charges related to his investigation into Hunter Biden. In July 2023, when House Republicans asked Trump-appointed FBI Director Chris Wray under oath if the Biden administration was protecting Hunter Biden, he responded, “absolutely not.” In August 2023, Garland appointed Weiss to be special counsel – even as the very Republicans who called for a special counsel criticized the move once it was made. 

FACT CHECK: Republicans Have Claimed That The Biden Administration Slow-Walked Investigating Hunter Biden – But The Delays In Question Occurred During The Trump Administration, In Accordance With Trump-Era DOJ Policy. Republicans have claimed Weiss slow-walked the investigation to protect Hunter Biden, but his office’s investigation into Hunter Biden began in 2018, during the Trump administration, and any decisions about delays leading up to the 2020 election were made by Trump administration officials who were aligned with the widely reported priorities of Trump’s Attorney General at the time.

  • Republicans’ Own Star Witnesses Admitted That Any Delays in the Investigation Were Done By the Trump Administration. During a July House Oversight Committee hearing, “Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi used his line of questioning to establish a basic point. Many of the complaints about alleged investigation interference should actually be addressed to Trump appointees […] Krishnamoorthi had addressed his questions toward Joseph Ziegler and Gary Shapley, two IRS whistleblowers who allege the Justice Department slow-walked its investigation into Hunter Biden. The witnesses are part of Republican efforts to charge the Bidens with corruption, though they’ve been scant of any smoking guns. ‘You had a concern about … Attorney General Bill Barr consolidating the series of cases into the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Delaware,’ Krishnamoorthi started. ‘Now, of course, Bill Barr was appointed by Donald Trump, correct?’ he continued, prompting an affirmative response from Ziegler.” [The New Republic, 7/20/23]

FACT CHECK: House Republicans Falsely Claimed That IRS Whistleblowers Provided Bombshell Evidence of Tampering with the Hunter Biden Investigation, But Their Own Informants Have Debunked Their False Claims and Ended Up Exonerating the President. Republicans spent months hyping up IRS whistleblowers that they claimed had damning evidence about the IRS’s investigation into Hunter Biden. Republicans set the stage in April for their testimony by getting called out for misrepresenting their own witnesses and keeping information from committee Democrats. In July, House Republicans held a hearing during which their own witnesses testified, under oath, that neither President Biden nor Attorney General Garland interfered in the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Justice’s investigation into Hunter Biden. 

House Republicans’ key IRS whistleblower allegations have been debunked by at least six other witnesses brought in for questioning by Oversight Republicans – including whistleblower Gary Shapley’s supervisor at the IRS’ Criminal Investigation division and the division’s director of field operations, three current and former FBI officials, and a longtime bookkeeper for the Biden family. These officials have testified that Shapley’s claims are “false and misleading” and that they “don’t remember” hearing US Attorney David Weiss ever say that he lacked the authority to decide whether to bring charges against the president’s son, or that Weiss said he had been denied a request for special counsel status. Shapley’s supervisor also testified he recommended removing him from the Hunter Biden probe “to protect the integrity of the investigation” because he made “unsubstantiated allegations.”

October 2023: House Republicans’ Latest Witnesses Debunked Jim Jordan and James Comer’s Lies About Special Counsel David Weiss. In late October 2023, the House Judiciary Committee called on two U.S. attorneys – Scott Brady, who served as President Donald Trump’s U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, and Martin Estrada, the current U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California – to testify on the ongoing criminal proceedings against Hunter Biden. But instead of validating Republicans’ bogus claims about Special Counsel David Weiss, both witnesses debunked them. As Brady explained, he has no reason to doubt that Mr. Weiss is “fairly and honestly prosecuting the case.”