Weiss says he ‘wasn’t granted’ special attorney authority in Hunter Biden probe despite request: transcript
FIRST ON FOX: Special Counsel David Weiss admitted he ‘wasn’t granted’ special attorney authority in his Hunter Biden investigation by the Justice Department despite requesting that status, but he told investigators he did not interpret that decision as a ‘denial in any way, shape or form,’ a transcript of his testimony reviewed by Fox News Digital revealed.
Weiss, who served as the U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware before being appointed as special counsel in August, has been investigating Hunter Biden since 2018. A special attorney has expanded powers — though less investigative and charging power than a special counsel — that would allow a prosecutor to bring charges in jurisdictions beyond their own.
At the time of Weiss’ request, he was serving as the U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware. Weiss was considering bringing possible charges against Hunter Biden in the District of Columbia and in the Central District of California.
Weiss participated in a voluntary transcribed interview before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.
His testimony came after IRS whistleblowers Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler alleged that politics affected prosecutorial decisions throughout the probe with regard to search warrants, decisions about lines of questioning during interviews of specific people, and more.
Shapley also alleged that Weiss did not have ‘ultimate authority’ to pursue charges against President Biden’s son and instead needed approval from the Justice Department — something that DOJ officials confirmed in their voluntary transcribed interviews before the committee.
Fox News Digital reviewed a copy of Weiss’ testimony transcript.
Weiss followed steps requested by the DOJ, asking U.S. attorneys in those districts if they would like to partner with him in the prosecution. Both U.S. Attorney for D.C. Matthew Graves and U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California Martin Estrada testified during their voluntary transcribed interviews before the House Judiciary Committee that they declined to partner with Weiss.
Weiss testified that he ‘raised the idea of 515 authority’ because he ‘had been handling the investigation for some period of time.’
U.S. Code 515 grants authority for special attorneys.
‘They suggested let’s go through the typical process and reach out to D.C. and see if D.C. would be interested in joining or otherwise participating in the investigation,’ Weiss said.
Later in his interview, Weiss was asked directly if he asked for ‘515 Special Attorney authority.’
‘I did ask for 515 Special Attorney authority,’ Weiss said, noting he did so ‘in the spring of 2022.’
When asked if he was granted that authority, Weiss said: ‘I asked for it, and then in—I think I’ve described it in or around February, March of 2022, and at the conclusion of the process in D.C….I was informed by the Principal Deputy Attorney General that if I decided to proceed in the District of Columbia, I had the authority to proceed and the authority to move forward with whatever charges I deemed appropriate.’
Weiss said ‘the first step was just to contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office to see if they wanted to join in the prosecution.’
Weiss testified that he had to follow a number of DOJ steps, including contacting U.S. attorney offices in the districts in question — District of Columbia and Central District of California — to determine if those attorneys wanted to partner with him.
Weiss said he was directed to ‘proceed as we would in the normal process’ and move forward in ‘a typical fashion.’
‘As you know, ultimately, this didn’t happen in this conversation, but down the road, I was given the authority to proceed if I chose to do so,’ Weiss said.
Later in his interview, Weiss was pressed: ‘But [515 authority] wasn’t granted, right?’
‘Yes. We have been over this,’ he said. ‘It wasn’t granted.’
‘They said follow the process,’ he continued. ‘I followed the process.’
Weiss added: ‘I asked for something, and in that conversation, they didn’t give it to me.’
‘When you ask for something and they didn’t give it to you, what is that?’ Weiss was asked.
‘I’m not—you want me to say it’s a denial, but it’s not,’ Weiss said. ‘Not when I know that, weeks later, I was specifically told, ‘You can proceed.’’
Weiss stressed that he was asked to ‘proceed with this process. We’re asking you to go through this process.’
‘From my mind, it’s a sequencing event,’ Weiss said. ‘It’s not a denial in any way, shape or form.’
He added: ‘That’s the way I interpreted it.’
Meanwhile, Weiss was asked about more of Shapley’s allegations, including when he claimed that Weiss himself stated that he was ‘not the deciding person on whether charges are filed.’
When asked for his reaction to Shapley’s recollection, Weiss stated: ‘It’s not what I said, nor is it what I believed, as I’ve told you guys repeatedly today.’
Whistleblowers also alleged Weiss allowed the statute of limitations to expire for tax charges against Hunter Biden from 2014 and 2015 in D.C.
Weiss testified that the statute of limitations did, in fact, expire, but he said he could not comment as it ‘pertains to the ongoing litigation and our outstanding investigation.’
‘I’m just not at liberty to comment at this time, but there will come a time,’ Weiss said, adding that he would explain in his eventual report why the statute of limitations was allowed to lapse.
‘But even though the statute of limitations has lapsed and even though charges won’t be filed, if there were to be an outstanding tax prosecution, there is no reason to believe that evidence pertaining to prior years, or witnesses involved in prior years, wouldn’t be part of that litigation,’ Weiss said.
Weiss was also asked about the FBI’s FD-1023 form, which details allegations of a criminal bribery scheme involving President Biden, Hunter Biden and the head of Burisma Holdings.
‘I’m not going to comment on that. I appreciate your question, but it concerns a matter that is subject to an outstanding investigation,’ Weiss said. ‘It’s something that I absolutely cannot comment on either way.’
Meanwhile, Weiss said he is continuing to ‘work on building the team’ in the special counsel’s office but said he was ‘not going to get into the particulars.’
Weiss’ special counsel team is located in Delaware, but is separate from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Delaware.
As for the status and timeline of his investigation, Weiss told investigators he was ‘not going to put a time frame on it.’
‘We plan to move as efficiently as possible,’ he said.