David Weiss and his staff discussed a congressional request for information about a Justice Department official with a potential conflict of interest in the Hunter Biden case, according to newly released emails.
The heavily redacted emails also reveal that the Justice Department, not Weiss' office, took the lead in responding to Congress regarding queries directed at Weiss, despite Attorney General Merrick Garland's assurances that Weiss was conducting the Hunter Biden investigation independently, as the Washington Examiner reported.
Before providing the emails to the Heritage Foundation as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, the Justice Department redacted all but the subject line of the emails discussing congressional requests concerning then-Assistant Attorney General Nicholas McQuaid, a Justice Department official with a potential conflict of interest.
However, some of the emails reveal that the Justice Department's Office of Legislative Affairs worked on a response to Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) but did not allow Weiss to draft his own letter.
The request from Grassley and Johnson to Weiss, which was taken over by the Justice Department on May 9, 2022, centered on McQuaid.
In their letter, Grassley and Johnson noted that Garland had disregarded three requests for information about the DOJ official.
McQuaid served as one of the highest-ranking officials in the DOJ's Criminal Division until the autumn of 2022, placing him in a position to influence Hunter Biden's case during a crucial time in the investigation.
Prior to joining the Justice Department under President Joe Biden, McQuaid was a partner at the law firm managing Hunter Biden's defense, and he worked closely with Christopher Clark, who was Hunter Biden's primary defense attorney until recently.
Grassley and Johnson questioned whether McQuaid had recused himself from supervising an investigation to which he was so intimately connected from his time in private practice.
In May of 2012, they grew frustrated enough to ask Weiss about McQuaid, including whether anyone from the Delaware U.S. attorney's office had contacted him during their Hunter Biden investigation.
In a letter to Grassley and Johnson in February 2021, the Justice Department indicated that McQuaid may have recused himself from the Hunter Biden case, but did not confirm this nor provide a recusal memo.
“[T]he Acting Assistant Attorney General is screened and recused from matters in which he has a financial interest or a personal business relationship, including matters involving his former law firm,” the DOJ had written in its letter.
McQuaid left the Justice Department less than a month before Weiss met with Hunter Biden investigation investigators and notified them that the Justice Department had denied his request for special counsel status.
He also claimed that two other U.S. attorneys appointed by Joe Biden prevented him from charging Hunter Biden outside of Delaware, according to two IRS whistleblowers who approached Congress this spring.
McQuaid is once again an attorney at Latham & Watkins, the firm defending Hunter Biden against the pending criminal charges.
“McQuaid did not represent Hunter Biden nor have any involvement in the matter when he was a partner at Latham prior to joining the Department of Justice in 2021," a Latham & Watkins spokesperson told the Examiner. "He also had no involvement in the Hunter Biden investigation while he was at the DOJ, and he has not represented Mr. Biden since returning to Latham."
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