Three leading House Republican committee chairs have joined forces to challenge the Department of Justice’s handling of Hunter Biden’s plea deal after the unusual court proceedings last month and new evidence showing the DOJ may have interfered with the investigation for political reasons.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio; House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky.; and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith, R-Mo., lead the effort, sending a letter to the DOJ giving a deadline of Aug. 14 to provide information for the inquiry.
“The Department’s unusual plea and pretrial diversion agreements with Mr. Biden raise serious concerns—especially when combined with recent whistleblower allegations—that the Department has provided preferential treatment toward Mr. Biden in the course of its investigation and proposed resolution of his alleged criminal conduct,” the letter said.
Biden’s plea deal, which was expected to be finalized last week, fell apart in court after last-minute disagreements over whether Biden can face further charges in the future for other alleged crimes still under investigation.
After some unusual confusion in court, Judge Maryellen Noreika ruled she would not accept the plea deal. Hunter Biden pleaded not guilty, though his legal team will likely try to salvage the deal before his next court date.
That confusion was a major focus of the lawmakers’ letter.
“[I]t was notable that Mr. Biden’s counsel stated at the hearing that it was his understanding that the immunity provision in the pretrial diversion agreement would preclude the Department from bringing charges against Mr. Biden under the Foreign Agents Registration Act,” the letter said.
“While the Department did not agree with that position, it is difficult to understand how the parties would not have a meeting of the minds regarding a clause of the agreement as fundamental as the scope of the immunity provision, and it raises questions about what discussions have taken place between the Department and Mr. Biden’s counsel regarding the status of those investigations.”
The lawmakers also raised concerns that the DOJ could be saying an investigation into Hunter Biden is ongoing to shield the president’s son.
Federal law enforcement often uses the fact that an investigation is ongoing to withhold information from Congress and the press, arguing it could interfere with the investigation.
They also pointed to the unusual details of the agreement, which Noreika questioned last month.
“In short, the Department shifted a broad immunity provision, which benefits Mr. Biden, from the plea agreement to the pretrial diversion agreement apparently to prevent the District Court from being able to scrutinize and reject that immunity provision,” the letter said.
“And then, the Department has benefitted Mr. Biden by giving up its unilateral ability to bring charges against him if it concludes that he has breached the pretrial diversion agreement. Instead, it has placed upon itself the burden of getting the District Court’s permission to bring charges even though the District Court normally has no role in policing a pretrial diversion agreement in that manner.”
“So, the District Court is apparently removed from the equation when it helps Mr. Biden and inserted into the equation when it helps Mr. Biden,” the letter added.
Casey Harper is a senior reporter for the Washington, D.C., bureau of The Center Square, where this first appeared.