(CBrief) – Republicans on Friday lambasted President Joe Biden and his Justice Department over the DOJ’s attempt to move Hunter Biden’s case out of a federal court in Delaware to another venue after his sweetheart plea deal fell apart before a Trump-appointed federal judge.
Earlier in the day, the DOJ announced its intention to voluntarily dismiss two tax charges against Hunter Biden without prejudice in order to refile the charges in either the Central District of California or in Washington, D.C., instead of Delaware.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) suggested that the move by the DOJ is simply an attempt to have the charges against Joe Biden’s son reconsidered by a more sympathetic judge, leading to a better legal outcome.
The DOJ’s move comes after Trump-appointed U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika rejected a plea deal in a Delaware court in July after critics ripped the deal as a “joke” and a “sweetheart” arrangement.
“Biden’s DOJ wants to dismiss the charges against Hunter, supposedly to refile them elsewhere, no doubt before some liberal judge who will rubber-stamp a sweetheart deal,” Cotton tweeted. “Remember, when Biden’s DOJ and Hunter’s lawyers meet, they’re not negotiating. They’re conspiring.”
🚨Biden's DOJ wants to dismiss the charges against Hunter, *supposedly* to refile them elsewhere, no doubt before some liberal judge who will rubber-stamp a sweetheart deal.
Remember, when Biden's DOJ and Hunter's lawyers meet, they're not negotiating. They're conspiring. pic.twitter.com/TjGEG8QOrJ
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) August 11, 2023
The Daily Caller noted:
Hunter Biden stands accused of significantly underreporting his income in the 2010s to avoid paying at least $1.2 million in income taxes. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) whistleblowers Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler have testified to the House Ways & Means and Oversight committees regarding alleged obstruction in the DOJ’s Hunter Biden probe.
The Biden-appointed U.S. attorney for the Central District of California, E. Martin Estrada, allegedly declined to take up charges against Hunter Biden in 2022. Estrada has previously donated to the campaigns of Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, and also formerly served on the board of the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, a left-wing legal organization.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Merrick Garland’s choice of a special counsel to continue investigating Hunter Biden was likely a violation of the Justice Department’s own rules in the selection of such counsels, legal experts said on Friday following the announcement.
Garland appointed U.S. Attorney David Weiss of Delaware, the federal prosecutor who had been at the forefront of the Hunter Biden probes for years. Garland, at a press conference, explained that Weiss would “continue to have the authority and the responsibility that he has previously exercised” and said he requested the appointment earlier in the week.
The Justice Department regulation, which outlines the authority and prerequisites of a special counsel, was similarly employed to critique the 2020 designation of John Durham as a special counsel. His appointment by then-U.S. Attorney General William Barr involved an investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe, a move that took place during his tenure as U.S. attorney for the District of Connecticut.
Fox’s News’ legal analyst, Andrew McCarthy, himself a former U.S. attorney, sharply criticized the decision and questioned the appointment based on established department guidelines.
During his on-air remarks, McCarthy called the appointment a “sham” and highlighted the fundamental aspect of appointing a special counsel, stressing the importance of selecting an individual who is external not only to the DOJ but also to the entire governmental framework.
“This is a sham. There is no special counsel investigation. There is no Biden investigation,” he began.
“What makes a special counsel special is that you’re a lawyer who’s brought in from outside the United States government,” McCarthy continued. Contrary to that foundational idea, he pointed out that Weiss, despite his new title, is still very much a part of the Biden administration, being “a top official in the Biden Justice Department.”
“This is the Biden Justice Department’s vehicle for maintaining control of an investigation that they are not pursuing,” he continued. “They’ve had the case for five years. They’ve never indicted it. They’re strategically allowing the statute of limitations to run to the point that the 2014 and 2015 conduct, which covers most of the $21 million that the congressional investigation report showed this week, that’s already time-barred.”