The Justice Department sent an “initial response” Monday to top House Republicans investigating the failed “sweetheart” plea deal Hunter Biden was offered, while declining to provide any information about the “ongoing investigation and prosecution” or any of the “ongoing negotiations” with counsel for President Biden’s son.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, and House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith are leading a joint-congressional investigation into the alleged politicization impacting the years-long federal investigation into Hunter Biden.
As part of that probe, on July 31, Jordan, Comer and Smith launched a line of investigation into the DOJ’s decision to sign off on Hunter Biden’s “sweetheart” plea deal, that was rejected by a federal judge.
The GOP lawmakers demanded the Justice Department provide answers on the agency’s approval of that deal and any similar deals in the last decade by Aug. 14 at 5:00 p.m.
Fox News obtained the Justice Department’s response Monday.
“This is an initial response to your letter dated July 31, 2023, to the Department of Justice (Department) requesting a range of information about plea and pretrial diversion agreements between the Department and criminal defendants over a ten-year period,” Assistant Attorney General Carlos Uriarte wrote. “Your letter seeks a response by today. We are writing to share that the Department is actively working to identify and evaluate what information may exist and be available. We commit to supplementing this response.”
“Your letter also seeks information about an ongoing investigation and prosecution, including ongoing negotiations with defense counsel, previously led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware and now assigned to the Office of Special Counsel,” Uriarte continued. “As the Department noted in its July responses to your earlier inquiries about this matter, it is longstanding Department policy to protect the confidentiality of nonpublic information about our law enforcement work.”
Uriarte stressed that the DOJ’s “mission to independently and impartially uphold the rule of law requires us to maintain the integrity of our investigations and prosecutions and to avoid even a perception that our efforts are influenced by anything other than the law and the facts.”
“These and related concerns are heightened when a matter is ongoing, and our duty to ensure the integrity of an investigation applies regardless of whether it is led by a United States Attorney or Special Counsel,” Uriarte said.
Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday appointed U.S. attorney for Delaware David Weiss to serve as special counsel with jurisdiction over the Hunter Biden investigation and any other issues that have come up, or may come up, related to that probe.
Weiss has been leading the Hunter Biden investigation since its onset. His appointment as special counsel has left Republicans and critics of Garland outraged and with questions as to how the same prosecutor who has been leading the investigation for more than four years – and accused of allowing politics to influence decisions – could now lead the probe with a newfound perception of independence from the Biden Justice Department.
Meanwhile, Uriarte said the Justice Department has “discussed some information relating to the negotiations between the United States and defense counsel in public transcripts and filings.”
“We hope this information is helpful,” Uriarte wrote, urging lawmakers to “contact this office if we may provide additional assistance regarding this or any other matter.”
Hunter Biden was expected to plead guilty to two misdemeanor tax counts of willful failure to pay federal income tax, as part of plea deal to avoid jail time on a felony gun charge.
But Judge Maryellen Noreika of the United States District Court for the District of Delaware declined to accept the plea and pretrial diversion agreements with Hunter Biden during his first court appearance related to federal tax and gun charges he faces. She described the DOJ’s deal as unconstitutional, “not standard” and “different from what I normally see.”
Hunter Biden was forced to plead not guilty to two misdemeanor tax charges and one felony gun charge.