The top federal prosecutor in Washington D.C. did not see anything wrong with being involved in the Hunter Biden case, despite donating to Joe Biden.
Matthew Graves, the U.S. attorney appointed by Biden to serve the District of Columbia, was summoned to testify to the House Judiciary Commitee about allegations of political interference in the Justice Department's probe of the first son.
In a closed-door interview, Graves said he decided not to partner with David Weiss, the U.S. attorney from Delaware who is now Special Counsel in the probe, after a brief phone conversation early last year.
Graves also conceded that Weiss would not have been able to bring charges in D.C. on his own. But Graves said he left it up to Weiss to move forward, although he felt it was not necessary to clarify this to Weiss.
“We had already made that clear at the outset, so I didn’t feel like I needed to give the instruction,” Graves said. “And based on what was happening, I knew that there was no reason that I needed to give that instruction again.”
Graves said partnering with a separate U.S. attorney would have been outside the norm, complicating the investigation. Even still, Graves did not think it was necessary to step aside from the probe, despite his ties to Joe Biden.
"We have investigations all the time — the Department [of Justice] does, of individuals who are members of the administration," Graves said. "A family member of the administration? I don't see it as necessarily a conflict of interest or perception of a conflict of interest."
The Biden DOJ has long maintained that Weiss was free and independent to bring charges, but whistleblowers have alleged he was blocked.
In any case, Weiss has faced skepticism from Republicans because of his ties to Hunter's late brother Beau. Weiss has also faced scrutiny for approving a sweetheart plea deal that unraveled in court.
Weiss is now pursuing Hunter Biden on gun charges, but Republicans have dismissed them as a distraction from more serious financial wrongdoing involving the Biden family's business deals.
Republicans have threatened to impeach attorney general Merrick Garland, citing a two-tiered pattern of justice, as they pursue an impeachment inquiry into Biden's role in his family's business deals. The inquiry is on hold as Republicans scramble to elect a new House Speaker.
It does little to inspire confidence in the DOJ that a top prosecutor like Graves cares so little about the appearance of propriety.