A top Biden DOJ criminal division official is going to work for the law firm that is defending Hunter Biden amid the Justice Department’s investigation into him.
Nicholas McQuaid was appointed acting chief of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division for the Biden administration. McQuaid had been a partner at Latham & Watkins with Hunter Biden defense lawyer Christopher Clark and worked on cases with him until McQuaid took the job at the Justice Department, according to court filings reviewed by the Washington Examiner.
McQuaid, who worked as acting assistant attorney general and then deputy assistant attorney general for the DOJ’s criminal division, returned to Latham earlier this month. However, the firm says he is not involved in any work involving President Joe Biden’s son.
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“McQuaid did not represent Hunter Biden nor have any involvement in the matter when he was previously at Latham,” a spokesperson for Latham told the Washington Examiner. “He also had no involvement in the Hunter Biden investigation while he was at the Department of Justice and he will not be representing Mr. Biden now that he has returned to Latham.” The DOJ declined to comment when contacted by the Washington Examiner.
The DOJ hinted in February 2021 that McQuaid may have recused himself from the Hunter Biden case but did not say so directly. The DOJ told the Washington Examiner that McQuaid was “screened and recused from matters in which he has a financial interest or a personal business relationship, including matters involving his former law firm.”
In early February 2021, Biden asked all Senate-confirmed U.S. attorneys for their resignations, with Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss as an exception, who was asked to stay on as he investigates Hunter Biden. John Durham was asked to step down as U.S. attorney from Connecticut but was kept on as special counsel.
“Obviously, there is a potential conflict of interest, but it would depend on (a) how much — if any — involvement McQuaid had in L&W’s representation of Hunter, and (b) how much interaction U.S. Attorney Weiss has with the Criminal Division at Main Justice regarding the Biden investigation,” Andrew McCarthy, a contributing editor at National Review and a former prosecutor, told the Washington Examiner.
McCarthy added: “There could be a good explanation why McQuaid would not need to be recused, but I can’t think of any good explanation why Garland and DOJ would not be transparent with members of Congress and the public about how the Biden investigation is being handled and who, if anyone, has been recused. Clearly, providing such an explanation to Congress would not in any way compromise the investigation.”
Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) have sought clarity about McQuaid since early 2021, and they insist they have never been specifically told whether McQuaid recused himself from the inquiry.
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“This association creates a clear conflict of interest yet the Department has failed to provide adequate responses to answer the threshold questions about whether Mr. McQuaid has or had any role in the Hunter Biden criminal case and whether he has been recused from it,” Grassley and Johnson wrote to Weiss in May. “In light of Mr. McQuaid’s clear conflicts in the Hunter Biden investigation, Attorney General Garland’s silence draws serious suspicion and has cast a cloud over the investigation.”
Grassley and Johnson sent a July letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and Weiss asking, “Is Mr. McQuaid recused from the Hunter Biden criminal case? If so, when was he recused? Provide the recusal memorandum.” Grassley said in a July speech on the Senate floor that Garland “has repeatedly failed to answer” questions about the Hunter Biden investigation, including inquiries about McQuaid.