US Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday denied allegations that the Justice Department interfered with an investigation of President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter.
Prosecutors announced earlier this week that Hunter Biden had reached a plea deal on minor tax and gun charges with the US Attorney in his home state of Delaware.
Hunter Biden is due to appear in court on July 26 after agreeing to plead guilty to two federal tax charges and admitting to illegally possessing a gun despite having a history of drug use.
A whistleblower from the Internal Revenue Service alleged in testimony before the Republican-led House Ways and Means Committee released this week that the Justice Department headed by Garland had slowed the probe into Hunter Biden.
Garland, in remarks to reporters on Friday, noted that the US Attorney in Delaware, David Weiss, had been appointed by former president Donald Trump, a Republican.
Garland said he personally had given Weiss the authority to continue his investigation into Hunter Biden and “prosecute any way in which he wanted to.”
“I don’t know how it would be possible for anybody to block him from bringing a prosecution given that he has this authority,” the attorney general said.
“He was given complete authority to make all decisions on his own.”
Hunter Biden, 53, is the only surviving child of Joe Biden’s first marriage, which ended tragically in 1972 when his wife and baby daughter were killed in a car accident.
Hunter Biden’s business dealings, especially during the time his father was vice president, has been a major target of Joe Biden’s political opponents, and continues to be probed by congressional Republicans.
Hunter Biden became a regular focus of Trump’s attacks ahead of the November 2020 presidential election for his work in Ukraine and China.
In his memoir, “Beautiful Things,” Hunter Biden insisted he had never done anything unethical and dismissed allegations that he displayed a lack of judgment by accepting a lucrative position on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma while his father was Barack Obama’s vice president.
– State dinner –
Under the plea agreement, Hunter Biden is unlikely to face prison time but will be sentenced to probation.
According to the charges, Hunter Biden, a Yale-trained lawyer and lobbyist, failed to file his tax returns on time on earnings of more than $1.5 million for 2017 and 2018.
In both years he owed more than $100,000 in taxes on those earnings.
Hunter Biden is also facing one count of “possession of a firearm by a person who is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance.”
Hunter Biden has admitted having drug problems in the past and detailed his struggles with crack cocaine in his 2021 memoir, released months after his father took office.
Hunter Biden and his wife attended a state dinner at the White House on Thursday for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Asked about his attendance at the event, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said “it is not uncommon for family members to attend events at the White House.”
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