By Jack Phillips
A retired Harvard law professor warned that the U.S. attorney leading a special counsel investigation into Hunter Biden’s business dealings is in “clear violation” of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) rules.
“It’s illegal,” attorney Alan Dershowitz told Fox Business on Monday. “The regulation provides clearly that special counsel have to come from outside the government for good reason. What’s so special about a special counsel is that he doesn’t have to answer to the present administration, he’s independent.”
On Friday, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that David Weiss, the U.S. attorney from Delaware, would head up the special counsel investigation. Because Mr. Weiss is currently serving as a U.S. attorney under the DOJ’s jurisdiction, he’s still working from within the government.
“If you have somebody who serves at the pleasure of the attorney general, and obviously as the U.S. attorney serves his pleasures as part of the administration, that person shouldn’t be serving,” Mr. Dershowitz continued. “It’s in clear violation of the regulation itself.”
According to the Code of Federal Regulations, “it would be in the public interest to appoint an outside Special Counsel to assume responsibility for the matter.”
The DOJ and Mr. Garland have not addressed the controversy.
Over the weekend, a number of congressional Republicans said that Mr. Weiss should recuse himself. Russell Dye, a spokesperson for House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), told news outlets that Mr. Weiss “can’t be trusted” and that him being named as a special counsel is “just a new way to whitewash the Biden family’s corruption.”
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), meanwhile, wrote on X that Mr. Weiss’ appointment “cannot be used to obstruct congressional investigations” and added that House Republicans “will continue to pursue the facts for the American people.”
Weiss’ Previous Work
Mr. Dershowitz on Monday appeared to agree with Republican critics of the move, saying that Mr. Weiss allegedly didn’t investigate key Hunter Biden allegations in his capacity as U.S. attorney for Delaware.
“What I would have liked to find out is what David Weiss actually did, not what he was authorized to do. What did he actually investigate? Did he look into Burisma? Did he look into Ukraine, China, or did he merely satisfy himself by looking at the gun charge, which is a minor misdemeanor, and looking at the two tax charges?” he asked, referring to reports that the younger Biden was involved in shady business deals overseas.
“I think it was the wrong person to pick for this job.”
Over the past several years, Republicans have alleged that President Joe Biden’s family was involved in improper business deals and that the president knew about them. President Biden has denied any wrongdoing and has said he had no knowledge of his son’s deals.
“I think there’s, right now, enough cause from these whistleblowers and these other allegations to have somebody outside the government look to see whether or not President Biden had any connections to his son’s shenanigans,” Mr. Dershowitz said.
Mr. Weiss has been overseeing the Hunter Biden case since the end of the Trump administration. The U.S. attorney was nominated by former President Donald Trump in 2017 and confirmed by the Senate in 2018, although the former president recently said he would not have named him to head the special counsel.
“David Weiss was picked by the two Democrat Senators from Delaware under ‘Blue Slip,’” President Trump wrote in a post on Truth Social on Aug. 12, referring to an opinion written by a senator from a state where a federal judicial nominee resides. “He would not have been picked by me.”
Appointed on Request
In announcing the appointment, Mr. Garland said he named Mr. Weiss as special counsel in response to a request from him. A special counsel designation will also allow Mr. Weiss to charge the younger Biden with crimes outside of Delaware.
“On Tuesday of this week, Mr. Weiss advised me that in his judgment, his investigation had reached a stage at which he should continue his work as a special counsel, and he asked to be so appointed,” Mr. Garland said at a press conference, adding that Mr. Weiss will still be able to serve as the U.S. attorney for Delaware. “Upon considering his request, as well as the extraordinary circumstances relating to this matter, I have concluded that it is in the public interest to appoint him as special counsel.”
In July, Hunter Biden pleaded not guilty to federal tax charges after an original plea agreement between his lawyers and prosecutors suddenly fell through. He was expected to plead guilty to several misdemeanor charges.
Other than Mr. Weiss’ appointment, the attorney general named Jack Smith as a special counsel to carry out multiple investigations into President Trump. Mr. Garland also named Robert Hur to probe classified documents that were discovered in President Biden’s office and residence several months ago.
The DOJ was contacted for comment on Monday.