Many Republicans are wary of U.S. attorney David Weiss overseeing the Hunter Biden probe, and CNN anchor Jake Tapper agreed Friday that some of their concerns “have merit.”
Weiss, the federal prosecutor who faced backlash for a “sweetheart” plea deal for Hunter Biden that fell apart upon scrutiny, will now serve as a special counsel in the ongoing investigation into the president’s son. Weiss was appointed as special counsel by Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday, granting him broader authority when it comes to bringing charges.
In a statement, House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., called Garland’s announcement “part of the Justice Department’s efforts to attempt a Biden family coverup in light of [House Oversight Republicans’] mounting evidence of President Biden’s role in his family’s schemes selling ‘the brand’ for millions of dollars to foreign nationals.”
“I think there are some legitimate questions about this whole situation,” Tapper said on “CNN News Central.” “First of all, I do think it’s fair to question why would U.S. Attorney Weiss be appointed to special counsel. Usually, a special counsel is an outside attorney. Now, it has happened before. Durham came from inside, and the attorney general has the right to do that, but it is odd.”
Tapper went on to ask why they would stick with the person who was responsible for the “colossal failure” of the Hunter plea deal and referenced questions about whether the original deal was “strong enough.”
He also spoke about the mixed messages regarding Weiss’ jurisdiction and whether he already had the necessary power to charge outside of Delaware before he was made a special counsel, recalling that the U.S. attorney had made different claims about his power in private versus in public, according to whistleblowers.
“The Justice Department and Weiss denied what the whistleblowers were saying, but this move makes it seem as though, well, maybe the whistleblowers were right. Maybe what they were alleging is true, and he didn’t have the ability to charge whatever he wanted to charge, and now he does. So I do have a lot of questions about that, and I do think some of the political questions being raised by Republicans have merit,” Tapper said.
This was a sharp shift in Tapper’s tone compared to the previous day when he said House Republicans finding Biden family members had been wired over $20 million from shady foreign entities was “sleazy” but not criminal during an interview with Comer.
“So let’s pause it for the sake of argument that Hunter Biden is sleazy and the president’s relatives tried to profit off the Biden family brand, something CNN has reported on, what’s new in this memo?” Tapper kicked off the interview before repeatedly saying he saw “no evidence” that President Biden did anything wrong.
Comer warned during the interview that multiple agencies appeared to be blocking the progress of the investigation.
“The Biden attorneys are obstructing, they’re intimidating witnesses, the DOJ will not cooperate with us, the FBI will not cooperate with us, the IRS will not cooperate with us,” he told Tapper. “Thank God we had whistleblowers from the IRS testified to our committee that they were told to stand down by the DOJ.”
IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley claimed Weiss alleged to multiple witnesses that he was told by the DOJ he could not bring charges against Hunter in California and Washington D.C. Garland denied there being any interference in the probe.
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Jessica Chasmar and Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.