Attorney General Merrick Garland fiercely defended the independence of the tax and finances investigation into President Joe Biden’s son Hunter.
In testimony Tuesday before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Mr. Garland assured senators there will be no political or improper interference in the probe. He noted that U.S. Attorney for Delaware David Weiss was appointed by former President Donald Trump, and is overseeing the investigation.
When pressed by Sen. Bill Hagerty, Tennessee Republican, on how the American people could have confidence the Justice Department is running a “serious investigation” into Hunter Biden, Mr. Garland gave a heated response.
“Because we put the investigation into the hands of a Trump appointee from the previous administration who is the United States attorney for the District of Delaware and because you have me as the attorney general who is committed to the independence of the Justice Department from any influence from the White House on criminal matters,” Mr. Garland said.
He said the president has not tried to influence the probe and any effort by Mr. Biden to do so would “absolutely” be inappropriate.
Hunter Biden’s taxes and international business dealings have been under investigation since 2018, but discussion about his conduct has heated up in recent weeks.
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The New York Times and The Washington Post both confirmed that a laptop dropped off at a repair shop in Delaware belonged to Hunter Biden.
Information on the laptop has raised questions about whether he exploited his family name and connections to make shady or illegal business deals and whether his father was aware of what he was doing.
President Biden has repeatedly pledged to uphold the Justice Department’s independence and not interfere in its work. But several top White House officials have defended Hunter Biden’s innocence in recent public remarks.
White House chief of staff Ron Klain said earlier this month that the president is “confident” his son didn’t break the law, while White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Mr. Biden never spoke with his son about foreign business deals.
Mr. Garland declined to offer any details of the probe, refusing to say if he or senior Justice Department officials had been briefed on the matter.
“The Hunter Biden investigation … is being run by and being supervised by the United States attorney for the District of Delaware. He is supervising the investigation. I’m not at liberty to talk about internal Justice Department deliberations, but he is in charge of that investigation. There will not be any interference of political or improper kind,” Mr. Garland said.
The attorney general also dodged questions about whether a special counsel should be appointed to investigate Hunter Biden‘s business dealings. He said such decisions depend on the Justice Department‘s internal policies, which he declined to discuss.
However, Mr. Garland added that he is “quite comfortable” with how Mr. Weiss has handled the probe.
Correction: A previous version of his article incorrectly reported the state that Sen. Bill Hagerty represents.