House Democrats parroted the same, well-worn talking point during Merrick Garland’s recent testimony before the House Judiciary Committee. The only problem is it’s not true.
Garland spent hours on Wednesday answering questions about the ongoing Hunter Biden investigation and other issues. Lawmakers grilled him on everything from IRS whistleblower testimony, the apparent lack of cooperation from U.S Attorneys Matthew Graves of D.C. and E. Martin Estrada and the charging authority of special counsel David Weiss. Democrats, however, zeroed in on Weiss in an attempt to cast doubt on the entire investigation. (RELATED: Here Are The Biggest Takeaways From Merrick Garland’s Testimony About The Hunter Biden Case)
Throughout the testimony, Democrats repeatedly referred to Weiss as “Trump-appointed.” This has long been a favored talking point of the corporate media. With this line, Democrats mean to undermine GOP allegations that Hunter received special treatment from Weiss. While the claim that former President Donald Trump appointed Weiss as U.S. attorney for Delaware is technically true, it’s highly misleading.
Can you imagine the furor by Republicans if the Attorney General had removed the Trump-appointed prosecutor investigating Hunter Biden? They would have been outraged! They would have incensed! pic.twitter.com/EnvF4zxUDu
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) September 20, 2023
Rep. Steve Cohen responds to House Republicans’ weaponizing government arguments by noting that Republican Donald Trump appointed Hunter Biden’s special counsel David Weiss and that Merrick Garland chose not to prosecute Republican Matt Gaetz for sex trafficking. pic.twitter.com/fsioc33r3F
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) September 20, 2023
Weiss has served as U.S. attorney for the United States District Court for the District of Delaware since 2018, a position he was nominated for by then-President Trump. Weiss was initially tasked with leading the investigation into the president’s son and was appointed special counsel by Garland after IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley alleged that Biden-appointed U.S. attorneys blocked Weiss from charging Hunter. Weiss denies this allegation. (RELATED: CNN Legal Analyst Says Garland ‘Struggled’ At Hearing, Left A Lot Unanswered About Hunter)
For his part, Trump has rejected the idea that he really appointed Weiss at all. “David Weiss was picked by the two Democrat Senators from Delaware under ‘Blue Slip.’ He would not have been picked by me,” he wrote on Truth Social in August. As legal experts explain, there is some truth to this.
According to Factcheck.org, when Trump took office he instructed then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to ask the 46 remaining Obama-appointed U.S. attorneys to submit their resignations. This created a vacancy for the position that Charles Oberly previously held in Delaware. But Trump wasn’t the only one involved in picking Oberly’s replacement.
“There is an old Senate tradition going back to when George Washington was president called ‘senatorial courtesy,’ in which home state senators get a virtual veto over executive appointees with jobs that exist entirely within their home state,” Michigan State University political science professor Ian Ostrander explained to Factcheck.org. “Senatorial courtesy is the tradition that led to the more familiar blue slips process for court appointments in the Senate Judiciary Committee.”
Delaware’s two Democratic Sens. Chris Coons and Tom Carper received the “courtesy” of recommending Weiss, a registered Republican, to Trump. Carper called Weiss “an excellent choice for U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware” at the time.
While it is technically true that Weiss is a “Trump-appointed” U.S. attorney, the label is intentionally misleading. It obfuscates the fact that he was hand-picked by a pair of Democratic senators. Unfortunately, Democrats and the corporate media will continue to repeat this talking point in order to paint Weiss as a close ally of Trump who is therefore incapable of giving Hunter Biden special treatment.