In a bid to demonstrate the independence and accountability of the US Department of Justice (DOJ), Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed a special counsel to handle the criminal investigation of Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden. This move comes as the allegations against Hunter Biden, including tax evasion, illegal gun purchases, and involvement in an influence-peddling operation, have become increasingly politically sensitive due to their potential connections to the Commander-in-Chief himself. President Biden has vehemently denied any knowledge or involvement in his son’s activities.
The appointment of a special counsel is seen as an attempt by Garland to address concerns of preferential treatment and political interference in the investigation. However, critics argue that the appointment of David Weiss, who has been leading the Hunter Biden investigation since 2019, as special counsel changes very little. Garland himself has repeatedly stated that Weiss already had full authority to make prosecutorial decisions without interference. Weiss’s new role simply adds an extra layer of insulation from day-to-day supervision and requires Garland to inform Congress if the investigation is impeded.
The response to Garland’s appointment of a special counsel has been mixed. Pro-Biden media outlets have praised the move for insulating the investigation from accusations of interference, while Republicans remain skeptical. The fact that Weiss was appointed as a US attorney by former President Donald Trump has not quelled concerns among Republicans that he may be biased or inclined to protect the Biden family. They point to the length of the investigation and the DOJ’s failure to address false claims about the laptop scandal being a Russian disinformation operation as evidence of potential bias.
Furthermore, the initial plea deal reached between Weiss and Hunter Biden’s defense lawyers has been called into question by US District Court Judge Maryellen Noreika. The deal, which involved dropping a felony gun charge and allowing Hunter Biden to avoid jail time on misdemeanor tax charges, seemed to grant immunity for potential other crimes. Noreika refused to accept the deal and sent lawyers back to renegotiate, potentially leading to a trial.
However, it remains unlikely that a public trial will take place, as it could create a public spectacle that may harm President Biden’s re-election campaign. Overall, it is doubtful that any member of the Biden family will face serious legal consequences unless it is for show. Garland’s appointment of a special counsel may be an attempt to address concerns of political interference, but it does little to change the underlying perceptions of the investigation’s credibility and impartiality.
In conclusion, the appointment of a special counsel in the investigation of Hunter Biden is a response to concerns of political interference and a desire to demonstrate the DOJ’s commitment to independence and accountability. However, critics argue that the appointment changes little and that the investigation may still be influenced by political factors. The ultimate outcome of the investigation and any potential legal consequences for the Biden family remain uncertain.