Who is Nicholas McQuaid? Ex-colleague of Hunter Biden's lawyer named acting head of DOJ’s Criminal Division
Nicholas McQuaid, a formal federal prosecutor in Manhattan, has been named the acting leader of the U.S. Justice Department’s criminal division. McQuaid’s appointment has come under the radar over his connections with President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden's current lawyer. In December 2020, Hunter hired former federal prosecutor Chris Clark to assist with his federal criminal defense, who has worked alongside McQuaid at Latham & Watkins.
If McQuaid’s position becomes permanent by the president, then the former White House deputy counsel will be tasked with oversight of an anticipated surge in white-collar enforcement by Biden’s administration. President Biden has promised several new enforcement priorities at the DOJ and has named Dana Remus as White House Counsel.
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Who is Nicholas McQuaid?
McQuaid completed his Bachelor of Arts from Wesleyan University in 1996. Following this, he got his Doctor of Law degree from Columbia Law School. After graduating in 2005, he worked as a Law Clerk to Judge Denise Cote for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. He started working for Judge Robert Katzmann in October 2006 for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. For over five years, McQuaid worked as Assistant United States Attorney. In April 2013, McQuaid worked as a White House lawyer during Barack Obama’s presidency.
McQuaid has served as a partner at Latham & Watkins, where he worked closely with Clark on multiple cases. As of now, there is no indication if McQuaid did any work on Hunter Biden’s case.
McQuaid is tapped to serve as principal deputy assistant attorney general in the criminal division. He was also made the acting assistant attorney general to replace a Donald Trump appointee. McQuaid was recently in the news after a social media influencer was charged with election interference. Douglass Mackey, from West Palm Beach, Florida, was arrested on January 27, 2021, on charges of conspiring with others in advance of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election.
“According to the allegations in the complaint, the defendant exploited a social media platform to infringe one the of most basic and sacred rights guaranteed by the Constitution: the right to vote,” said McQuaid, “This complaint underscores the department’s commitment to investigating and prosecuting those who would undermine citizens’ voting rights.”
Hunter Biden’s Criminal Investigation:
Federal prosecutors in Delaware, working with the IRS Criminal Investigation agency and the FBI, have reopened investigations into Hunter Biden’s tax affairs. CNN, citing sources familiar with the investigation, described the case began in late 2018, and it is related to potential violations of taxes and money laundering laws and Hunter’s business dealings in foreign countries, mainly China. It was further alleged that FBI investigators had been unable to establish sufficient evidence to prosecute potential money laundering crimes.
As per Federal ethics laws and the regulations imposed by the DOJ, McQuaid would probably not be able to work on matters related to Hunter’s ongoing investigation without getting a proper sign-off from the Justice ethics officials.
“Potential conflicts between lawyers entering government and their former clients or firms are quite common,” said Kedric Payne, the senior director for ethics at the Campaign Legal Center, via Axios. “This situation is one of the many initial tests of Biden's ethics pledge, which looks great on paper, but time will tell if it is effective in practice. Enforcement is essential.”