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Attorney General Merrick B. Garland Delivers a Statement


Washington, DC
United States

Remarks as Delivered

Good afternoon. I am here today to announce the appointment of David Weiss as a Special Counsel, consistent with the Department of Justice regulations governing such matters. In keeping with those regulations, I have today notified the designated members of each House of Congress of the appointment.

In February 2018, after being nominated by the former president and confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Weiss was sworn in as the United States Attorney for the District of Delaware. Mr. Weiss had been a career prosecutor, having served previously in the office for more than a decade.

Beginning in 2019, Mr. Weiss, in his capacity as U.S. Attorney and along with federal law enforcement partners, began investigating allegations of certain criminal conduct by, among others, Robert Hunter Biden. That investigation has been recently referenced in federal criminal proceedings in the District of Delaware. And, as noted in those proceedings and other public statements by Mr. Weiss’ office, that investigation remains ongoing.

In February 2021, U.S. Attorney Weiss was asked to remain as U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware and, in that capacity, to continue to lead the investigation.

As I said before, Mr. Weiss would be permitted to continue his investigation, take any investigative steps he wanted, and make the decision whether to prosecute in any district. 

Mr. Weiss has told Congress that he has been granted ultimate authority over this matter, including the responsibility for deciding where, when, and whether to file charges and for making decisions necessary to preserve the integrity of any prosecution, consistent with federal law, the Principles of Federal Prosecution, and Departmental policies.

In a July 2023 letter to Congress, Mr. Weiss said that he had not to that point requested Special Counsel designation. 

On Tuesday of this week, Mr. Weiss advised me that in his judgment, his investigation has reached a stage at which he should continue his work as a Special Counsel, and he asked to be so appointed. 

Upon considering his request, as well as the extraordinary circumstances relating to this matter, I have concluded that it is in the public interest to appoint him as Special Counsel. 

This appointment confirms my commitment to provide Mr. Weiss all the resources he requests. It also reaffirms that Mr. Weiss has the authority he needs to conduct a thorough investigation and to continue to take the steps he deems appropriate independently, based only on the facts and the law.

Mr. Weiss will also continue to serve as U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware.

As Special Counsel, he will continue to have the authority and responsibility that he has previously exercised to oversee the investigation and decide where, when, and whether to file charges. The Special Counsel will not be subject to the day-to-day supervision of any official of the Department, but he must comply with the regulations, procedures, and policies of the Department.

Consistent with the Special Counsel regulations, at the conclusion of Mr. Weiss’ work, he will provide me with a report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions reached by him. As with each Special Counsel who has served since I have taken office, I am committed to making as much of his report public as possible, consistent with legal requirements and Department policy.

Todays announcement affords the prosecutors, agents, and analysts working on this matter the ability to proceed with their work expeditiously, and to make decisions indisputably guided only by the facts and the law. 

The men and women undertaking this investigation are public servants who have dedicated their careers to protecting the citizens of this country. The appointment of Mr. Weiss reinforces for the American people the Department’s commitment to both independence and accountability in particularly sensitive matters.

I am confident that Mr. Weiss will carry out his responsibility in an even-handed and urgent manner, and in accordance with the highest traditions of this Department.

Thank you.

Updated August 11, 2023