Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee were left unsatisfied with Attorney General Merrick Garland’s testimony on Wednesday regarding the Justice Department’s investigation of Hunter Biden. Garland faced tough questioning from GOP lawmakers about special counsel David Weiss’s investigation, the withdrawn plea deal offered to Hunter Biden, and the department’s handling of Jan. 6 defendants.
One of the main issues Republicans had with Garland’s testimony was his contradictory answers concerning Weiss’s authority and whether he had full authority to advance the Hunter Biden investigation before his appointment as special counsel. Garland claimed that Weiss could have overcome roadblocks by seeking a special designation from the Justice Department, but this contradicted his previous statements that Weiss always had the authority to charge Hunter Biden.
Garland also claimed to know very little about the Hunter Biden investigation, despite asserting that Weiss never faced any roadblocks. This raised eyebrows among Republicans who questioned how Garland could definitively make that claim while also claiming ignorance about other aspects of the investigation.
Garland repeatedly stated that Weiss alone could answer lawmakers’ questions about the investigation, signaling that Weiss’s testimony would be crucial. However, there is uncertainty about whether Weiss will appear before Congress, as the Justice Department initially offered to make him available for a public hearing but later suggested he would not testify until after filing his final report.
Garland frequently cited letters from Weiss to Congress as proof of the special counsel’s independence in the investigation, but recently released emails raise doubts about whether Weiss actually wrote those letters himself. This further calls into question the credibility of Weiss’s claims and the overall transparency of the investigation.
Republicans also wanted answers about why the Hunter Biden investigation has taken so long and why the statute of limitations was allowed to expire for certain alleged offenses. Garland provided no clear explanations and invoked the policy of protecting internal deliberations as a reason for not providing more information.
Interestingly, discussions of impeachment were largely absent from the hearing, with most of the focus being on Weiss and Hunter Biden rather than President Joe Biden. Despite this, the House Oversight Committee announced that it plans to hold its first impeachment hearing next week, indicating that the issue is still a topic of interest for some Democrats.