As the government careens toward a shutdown thanks to MAGA, Kevin McCarthy, Jim Jordan, and James Comer are using an investigation into Hunter Biden to push their baseless, evidence-free impeachment inquiry into President Biden. Now, Judiciary Republicans are holding a hearing calling on Attorney General Merrick Garland to testify after months of investigations into the so-called weaponization of the federal government by the Biden administration have turned up nothing.
This hearing is just the latest distraction by House Republicans. By moving ever closer to a costly shutdown that would punish millions of Americans for the House GOP’s extremism, Republicans are only further proving that they would rather push baseless attacks against President Biden than do their constitutional duty to fund the government.
FACT CHECK: David Weiss Is A Trump-Appointed Special Counsel, Operating Independently Of Attorney General Garland and President Biden. Until recently, Republicans supported the Trump-appointed Delaware prosecutor-turned-special counsel who investigated and brought charges against Hunter Biden. David Weiss was originally appointed to serve as US Attorney for Delaware by Donald Trump and Oversight Chair James Comer was vocal in his support for Weiss remaining US Attorney after the 2020 election.
- December 2017: Trump Himself Appointed Delaware Prosecutor David Weiss. 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 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.”
- The Department of Justice Proceeded To Appoint Weiss Special Counsel at His Request. 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 Admit 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 Informants 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. Though their top whistleblower has claimed that Weiss said he was not the “deciding person” in the investigation during an October 2022 meeting, others present at the meeting have contradicted this claim, and did not remember Weiss saying his authority was constrained during that meeting. According to CNN, numerous FBI and IRS officials brought in for interviews by House Republicans have testified that they “don’t remember US Attorney David Weiss saying 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.”
Republicans Have Spent the Past Nine Months Investigating the So-Called Weaponization of the Federal Government, Turning Up No Evidence. Under chair Jim Jordan, the GOP-led House Judiciary committee has spent the past nine months investigating so-called weaponization of the federal government, primarily accusing federal law enforcement agencies like the DOJ and FBI of bias against conservatives.
- FACT CHECK: Contrary to Republican Claims, Garland Did Not Order the Federal Government To Label Conservative Parents At School Board Meetings “Domestic Terrorists.” Jordan’s first hearing as chair of the select subcommittee on the GOP weaponization of the federal government accused the FBI of targeting conservative parents who spoke up at school board meetings. Yet the entire premise of the hearing was always based on a falsehood – as early as April 2022, fact checkers flagged that the Attorney General never labeled school board attendees “domestic terrorists.” Other fact checkers also noted that there was no evidence that a 2021 Justice Department memo directing federal law enforcement to hold meetings about criminal threats against school officials mentioned parents at all, pointing out that the memo merely created a “threat tag” to track threats of violence, labeling Republican claims “false.”
- FACT CHECK: Jordan Accused The FBI Of Bias Against Conservative Agents – But The Agents In Question Faced Disciplinary Action Only After Issues Investigating Jan. 6. Contrary to Jordan’s accusations of systemic, weaponized bias against conservatives, two of Jordan’s star witnesses in the MAGA investigation into the weaponization of the federal government had their security clearances revoked for involvement in, or sympathizing with those involved in, the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol complex. Jordan misrepresented one of these witnesses, claiming he was suspended from the FBI for performing his job, including conducting case related research. But according to the FBI, Jordan’s so-called whistleblower refused to actually do his job and refused to conduct open-source research into a Jan. 6 suspect’s potential engagement with criminal activity or terrorism.