Attorney General Merrick Garland tried to blame the Trump administration Wednesday for allowing the statute of limitations to lapse on potential tax charges against first son Hunter Biden.
But when Garland said so during testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, was having none of it.
At several points during the hearing, committee Republicans pressed the nation’s top law enforcement officer on why the investigation of Hunter Biden, which began in 2018, has moved so slowly.
Garland told Jordan: “Much of what you are describing occurred during the Trump administration, during a Justice Department appointed by [President Donald] Trump.”
Jordan pressed Garland about why the Justice Department investigation, run by U.S. Attorney for Delaware David Weiss, allowed the statute of limitations to expire for prosecuting the president’s son on tax charges that would have stretched back to his time on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company, while current President Joe Biden was vice president.
As vice president to President Barack Obama, Biden oversaw the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy.
“They made an intentional decision to say we’re going to let the statute of limitations lapse,” Jordan asked Garland during the hearing. “I want to know who decided that and why they did it.”
Garland punted the answer to Weiss, whom he later appointed as special counsel to pursue the Hunter Biden case.
“Mr. Weiss was the supervisor of the investigation at that time and at all times,” Garland said. “He made the appropriate decisions. You’ll be able to ask him that question.”
Jordan responded that everyone knows the answer.
“Those tax years involved the president. It’s one thing to have a gun charge in Delaware. That doesn’t involve the president of the United States,” Jordan said. “But Burisma, oh my, that goes right to the White House. We can’t have that.”
Jordan quoted two IRS whistleblowers and an FBI whistleblower who said the Justice Department had slow-walked the investigation of the president’s son and his overseas business dealings, including in China and Ukraine.
“Every witness we’ve talked to says this thing was slow-walked. And we know why,” Jordan said. “You slow-walked it long enough to let the statute of limitations run, so [prosecutors] wouldn’t have to get into Burisma. Tell me where I’m wrong.”
In response, Garland again noted that the investigation began during the Trump administration. Weiss was appointed U.S. attorney for Delaware by Trump on the recommendation of the state’s two Democratic U.S. senators. Weiss’ investigation of Hunter Biden began in 2018.
“I don’t know the specifics of the investigation,” Garland said. “Much of what you are describing occurred during the Trump administration, during a Justice Department appointed by Trump.”
Jordan corrected him.
“No, it didn’t. We aren’t talking four and a half years of this investigation, we are talking the last few years,” Jordan said. The Ohio Republican added: “The statute of limitations is six years. That lapsed during the Biden administration.”
Garland replied, “The explanation for why the statute of limitations lapsed—if it was—has to come from Mr. Weiss.”
A plea agreement between the Justice Department and Hunter Biden fell apart in July. Last week, a grand jury indicted the younger Biden on three drug-related gun charges.