WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said he has never spoken with Attorney General Merrick Garland about cases being considered by the Justice Department — a declaration about Jan. 6 prosecutions that came in the face of Republican criticism that he is trying to influence the federal investigation into his son Hunter Biden's taxes.
"I made a commitment that I would not in any way interfere with the Justice Department, who they prosecuted, if they prosecuted, how they proceeded," Biden said in an interview with MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace. "I've not spoken once — not one single time — with the attorney general on any specific case. Not once."
Biden was responding to a question about whether Police Officers Harry Dunn and Michael Fanone deserve to know why it took the Justice Department a year to open an investigation into "the person who incited the insurrection" on Jan. 6, 2021, saying former President Donald Trump has not been charged while individual rioters have. Dunn and Fanone both defended the Capitol.
Special counsel Jack Smith is investigating the events of Jan. 6 and the events surrounding efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
Biden's remarks also come in the face of Republican criticism that he put on his thumb on the scale of the investigation into his son.
Hunter Biden has agreed to plead guilty to two tax-related misdemeanors related to his previous tax filings, an agreement that sources have said will avoid jail time. Republicans have insisted that the agreement is too lenient and that Hunter Biden avoided harsher charges because of who his father is.
The White House has defended Biden. In a statement, the spokesman for the White House counsel's office, Ian Sams, said this month that the White House did not have a role in making decisions in the Hunter Biden case.
"As we have also said many times before, the Justice Department makes decisions in its criminal investigations independently, and in this case, the White House has not been involved," Sams said this month. "As the President has said, he loves his son and is proud of him accepting responsibility for his actions and is proud of what he is doing to rebuild his life."