In Washington, D.C., the Associated Press (AP) reports that… The Republican chairpersons of three significant House committees are collaborating to investigate the Justice Department’s management of charges against Hunter Biden following their extensive allegations of misconduct within the agency.
A joint investigation was initiated by the leaders of the House Judiciary, Oversight and Accountability, and Ways and Means Committees into the federal case involving President Joe Biden’s youngest son. This investigation was launched shortly after the announcement was made last month that he intends to plead guilty to misdemeanor tax offenses as part of an agreement reached with the Justice Department.
Representatives Jim Jordan of Ohio, James Comer of Kentucky, and Jason Smith of Missouri have subsequently issued a series of formal requests for voluntary testimony from senior officials at the Justice Department, FBI, and Internal Revenue Service. These requests are part of their ongoing investigation into alleged improper interference.
The Republican party has formally requested a particular counsel review to investigate alleged acts of retaliation against the whistleblowers who courageously disclosed their claims.
The congressional inquiry was initiated after the House Ways and Means Committee’s decision, led by Smith, to publicly reveal numerous pages of testimony provided by IRS employees involved in the Hunter Biden case.
The transcripts of Greg Shapley and an unidentified agent document a series of actions referred to as “slow-walking investigative steps” and the deliberate postponement of enforcement actions in the months leading up to the 2020 election, which resulted in Joe Biden’s victory.
The Justice Department denied the whistleblower claims, which has consistently stated that U.S. Attorney David Weiss in Delaware, the federal prosecutor overseeing the investigation, possessed complete authority over the case.
The following information provides an overview of the ongoing investigation.
A Study on IRS Whistleblower Claims
In April, the initial IRS whistleblower, Shapley, disclosed their identity when their legal representative contacted GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa. The purpose was to inform Senator Grassley that their client possessed information regarding a “failure to adequately address evident conflicts of interest in the final resolution” of an ongoing criminal investigation concerning Hunter Biden at that time.
In late May, Shapley was interviewed by Smith, the Ways and Means Committee chair, who holds jurisdiction over the IRS. During the extensive interview, Shapley detailed various obstacles faced by both himself and other IRS agents involved in the case. These challenges primarily revolved around difficulties encountered while attempting to interview individuals pertinent to the investigation or when seeking to issue search warrants.
The whistleblowers maintain that their testimony demonstrates a consistent occurrence of drawing conclusions and showing favoritism in the Hunter Biden case rather than simply a difference of opinion with their higher-ranking officials regarding the appropriate investigative measures to pursue.
The policy of the Justice Department has consistently advised prosecutors to exercise caution when bringing charges in cases that may have political implications during the period leading up to an election. This approach prevents any potential impact on the election’s outcome.
One of the most contentious allegations by the whistleblowers pertains to Weiss, initially appointed by former President Donald Trump and subsequently retained by the Biden administration. According to the whistleblowers, Weiss requested the Justice Department in March 2022, seeking special counsel status, to pursue tax cases against Hunter Biden in jurisdictions beyond Delaware, such as Washington, D.C., and California. However, this request was ultimately denied.
A second individual, acting as an IRS whistleblower, has requested the committee to maintain confidentiality regarding their identity. This individual has expressed ongoing dissatisfaction with handling the Hunter Biden case, tracing back to the Trump administration during the tenure of Attorney General William Barr. According to the individual, they initiated the investigation of Biden in 2015, thoroughly examining both personal life and financial matters.
Investigation into Allegations of Retaliation
Both individuals have testified that they experienced retaliatory actions within the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) after raising concerns regarding managing the Hunter Biden case.
During the committee hearing, Shapley, a supervisory agent with an extensive professional background, stated that Weiss impeded his career advancement after the tax agency employee’s communication with congressional investigators regarding the Biden case.
The second anonymous whistleblower reported that they were removed from the Hunter Biden investigation at a similar time as their supervisor, Shapley. The second whistleblower was notified of the decision by officials at the IRS. However, he believes that officials within the Justice Department instructed his removal. Both individuals failed to present lawmakers with substantiating evidence to support their claims. Instead, they relied on their observations and experiences to advocate for different investigative measures.
The three chairpersons representing the Republican party and Senators Grassley and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin have collectively composed a letter addressed to the Justice Department. The purpose of this letter is to request an expeditious evaluation of the allegations of retaliation formally.
The importance of safeguarding whistleblowers from illegal reprisals and providing them with information regarding their legal rights. The lawmakers expressed that it is the law.
Pushback from the Justice Department
The Justice Department has refuted the allegations made by the whistleblowers, asserting that Weiss possesses complete authority over this issue, including the responsibility to determine the timing, location, and necessity of filing charges as he deems suitable. No additional approval is required for him to proceed.
The notion that Weiss, an experienced prosecutor, requested to be appointed as a special counsel was also dismissed by Attorney General Merrick Garland.
According to Garland’s statement to reporters last month, the attorney general is the sole individual with the power to appoint or reject someone as a special counsel. The statement was, “Mr. Weiss did not make the request.”
In a letter dated June 30, Weiss reiterated his denial of the claims by stating to House Republicans that the Justice Department did not retaliate against Shapley. Additionally, the individual stated that they received confirmation from the department regarding the possibility of pursuing charges against Hunter Biden in a jurisdiction other than Delaware. They were informed they would be given special status to proceed with such actions. In the context of criminal charges, U.S. attorneys typically operate within the confines of their respective jurisdictions.
The three Republican chairmen have set a deadline of Thursday for the department to initiate the process of scheduling approximately twelve individuals for transcribed interviews. It has been communicated that they will employ the issuance of congressional subpoenas to compel cooperation if they fail to meet the deadline.
In his recent correspondence, Weiss expressed his willingness to discuss the subjects above with congressional officials. However, he emphasized his inability to disclose any details about the Hunter Biden case due to its ongoing status as an active criminal investigation.
Publicly, Garland has expressed his commitment to not impede Weiss from providing testimony before Congress. The attorney general expressed their willingness to endorse Mr. Weiss providing explanations or giving testimony on these subjects at his discretion.