As the 2020 US election entered the home stretch last summer, Delaware US Attorney David Weiss chose to pause his investigation of Hunter Biden at a critical stage which would have publicly exposed the probe, according to Politico.
Weiss, a Trump appointee (on the recommendation of two Democratic senators, Tom Carper and Chris Coons) who climbed the ranks at the US Attorney's Office for the District of Delaware starting in 2007, had received conflicting advice on whether to seek search warrants and a flurry of grand jury subpoenas. Ultimately, Weiss declined to take any action that could alert the public to the existence of the case - potentially causing a repeat of 2016 when the FBI reopened the Hillary Clinton email investigation after the Anthony Weiner laptop scandal forced their hand.
The probe, which is focused on possible tax law violations, has also examined Hunter Biden’s business dealings with foreign interests — a topic that has animated Biden detractors — and its existence first came to light amid a controversy about the leak of Hunter Biden’s laptop files. Since then, the case has become a political football: Some critics have suggested that the Trump administration’s political agenda influenced a parallel federal probe that scrutinized Hunter Biden in Pittsburgh, while some Republicans have called for the appointment of a special prosecutor to shield Weiss’s investigation from the influence of the Biden administration. -Politico
Now, Weiss is weighing whether to bring charges against Hunter - the son of a sitting president who has leveraged his family name into lucrative international dealings - some of which Joe Biden was involved in (which he lied about).
The rest of the Politico piece is essentially a biographical defense of Weiss.
Weiss grew up in a middle-class home in northeast Philadelphia in the 1960s and went on to attend Washington University in St. Louis. He returned to the Philadelphia area to attend Widener University School of Law, where, in his final year, he met with a round of rejections after applying for jobs at several law firms.
Instead, he got a gig clerking for the Delaware Supreme Court in 1984, then went on to take a job with the U.S. Attorney’s office in Wilmington, Del. One former colleague recalled a joke around the office that Weiss — who played third base for Wash U.’s baseball team — was hired to improve the office softball team. While there, he got his first up-close look at the underbelly of the Delaware Way.
Weiss’s big break came when Louis Capano Jr., a member of a family of prominent Delaware developers, brought a complaint to the state’s then-attorney general, Charles Oberly, as the two watched a Little League game. Capano was being forced to pay protection money to a member of the New Castle County Council, the body that oversees the Wilmington area and on which Biden had begun his political career.
Oberly referred Capano to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. With Weiss’s participation the Justice Department set up a sting targeting the councilman, Democrat Ronald Aiello.
In June of 1989, Weiss resigned his post as an assistant U.S. Attorney and was appointed special prosecutor to oversee Aiello’s case. Aiello went on to plead guilty to extortion.
That said, Weiss isn't exactly on team Biden. Far from it, in fact. In 2007, Weiss left private practice to work for a George W. Bush-appointed US Attorney, Colm Connolly - a staunch conservative with a reputation for aggressive prosecution. Connolly clashed with then-Senator Joe Biden - who effectively blocked him from a federal judgeship after Bush nominated him in 2008. Instead, Connolly (now a private judge) entered private practice and Weiss stepped in as acting US Attorney.
Weiss and Connolly remain close.
Meanwhile, Weiss oversaw the prosecution of Biden bundler Christopher Tigani - whose family owns a beer distributorship in Delaware and maintained a longstanding relationship with the Bidens. In 2007, Tigani served as a bundler for Biden's presidential primary campaign - soliciting contributions from his employees and their partners.
Tigani engaged in a "straw donor" scheme - whereby he would reimburse those employees for their contributions in order to evade a cap on how much he was able to personally give.
In 2010, after the FBI assembled enough evidence against Tigani, Weiss got him to cooperate on a wide-ranging probe of corruption within Delaware politics.
As POLITICO first reported last summer, Tigani, under Weiss’s supervision, wore a wire and recorded conversations with Biden’s former finance chief as well as a former Biden Senate staffer and a Delaware businessman close to Biden.
Tigani said that at the beginning of his attempted cooperation, he met with Weiss and several other officials. He said that Weiss laid out the government’s theory that politicians in Delaware were complicit in straw donor schemes.
The investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing by the Bidens, and, in the end, only Tigani was indicted on federal charges, to which he pleaded guilty. Tigani also later pleaded guilty to state charges of making straw-donor contributions to the campaigns of several Delaware politicians, including Beau Biden.
Looking back on his downfall, Tigani holds grudges against just about everybody involved, from the Bidens, to the News Journal, which first brought attention to his political influence, to the federal judge who oversaw his case, to his own father, with whom he remains embroiled in long-running litigation related to the family business. The rare exception is Weiss. “He was a straight shooter,” Tigani said of the man who sent him to prison.
By late 2018, Weiss' office was investigating Hunter Biden in response to a number of leads - including his dealings with Chinese business associates. While pursuing allegations of money laundering and FARA violations, the criminal investigation eventually narrowed to whether Hunter had paid taxes on all of his income, according to a Politico source. By last summer, "the probe had reached a point at which investigators could have issued grand jury subpoenas and sought search warrants that might have revealed its existence at a time when many of then-President Donald Trump’s supporters were seeking to draw attention to Hunter Biden’s actions.' Weiss, however, chose to delay taking any public actions against Hunter.