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Attorney General Merrick Garland on Tuesday refused to provide an update on the federal tax and finance investigation into Hunter Biden as he defended the probe and dismissed the need to appoint a special counsel.
In a hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Garland told senators there would be no political or improper interference into the Hunter Biden investigation.
Hunter Biden, Attorney General Merrick Garland (Drew Angerer/Getty Images | Greg Nash/Pool/AFP/Getty Images)
Under questioning from Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., who expressed concern over the fairness of the investigation that has caused Americans to question their “confidence” in the Justice Department, Garland did not say whether he has been briefed on the Hunter Biden investigation, which is being overseen by David Weiss, the U.S. attorney for the District of Delaware.
“He is supervising the investigation,” Garland said of Weiss. “I’m not at liberty to talk about internal Justice Department deliberations, but he is in charge of that investigation. There will not be interference of any political or improper kind.”
Pressed further on the matter and asked whether any senior officials in the Justice Department were being briefed on the investigation, Garland said, “Again, he is the supervisor of this investigation and, you know, the normal processes of the department occur. But he is the supervisor of this investigation.”
Highlighting public statements made in defense of the Biden family by top members of the administration, Hagerty asked Garland how Americans could have confidence that the department would conduct a “serious investigation.”
Sen. Bill Hagerty questions Attorney General Merrick Garland regarding the investigation of Hunter Biden’s laptop during a Senate hearing at the Capitol on April 26, 2022. (Greg Nash – Pool/Getty Images)
“Because we put the investigation in the hands of a Trump appointee from the previous administration, who is the United States attorney for the district of Delaware,” Garland responded. “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 and criminal matters.”
Hagerty, pointing to an “obvious conflict of interest,” then asked Garland under what circumstances he would appoint a special counsel to investigate the matter.
“I think this is a fact and law question in each case, determining it and depending upon how cases go forward and the question of whether the Justice Department, with its normal processes, should continue,” Garland said. “I think our internal deliberations have to stay within the department.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing in Washington on Tuesday, April 26, 2022. (Greg Nash/The Hill/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
While President Biden has vowed not to interfere with investigations being conducted by the Justice Department, comments from several key officials from the White House, including White House chief of staff Ron Klain and White House press secretary Jen Psaki, have raised concern.
Earlier this month, Klain said the president is “confident that his son didn’t break the law” as he insisted that “no one at the White House has involvement in” the investigation.
White House chief of staff Ron Klain attends an event with governors of western states and members of the Biden administration June 30, 2021 in Washington. (Getty Images)
Both Psaki and Biden have maintained that the president has not spoken with his son about his business dealings.
Hunter Biden first revealed in December 2020 that his “tax affairs” were under federal investigation.
The Senate Homeland Security Committee and Senate Finance Committee conducted an investigation in 2020 into Hunter’s foreign business dealings during his father’s tenure as vice president and discovered that there were at least four large transactions that banks flagged as “potential criminal activity” to the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.
One of the suspicious transactions was a $100,000 payment from a subsidiary of CEFC China Energy – which was at the time owned by Chinese billionaire Ye Jianming – to Hunter’s law firm, Owasco, in 2017. To date, Hunter has not been criminally charged.
Fox News’ Houston Keene and Jake Gibson contributed to this article.