Whistleblowers from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on July 19 held their ground on claims that U.S. Attorney David Weiss’s authority to prosecute Hunter Biden was limited by others in the Department of Justice (DOJ).
The claims, made by IRS supervisor and investigator Gary Shapley joined by newly-identified whistleblower Joseph Ziegler, contradict earlier claims made by Mr. Weiss and Attorney General Merrick Garland about the felony tax fraud investigation into Hunter Biden.
On June 22, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith, who oversees the committee responsible for publicizing the IRS allegations, revealed the claims that the IRS and DOJ had given “preferential treatment” to President Joe Biden’s son.
They claimed that federal agencies interfered in an IRS investigation into felony tax fraud related to millions of dollars of unreported foreign income to Hunter Biden.
Despite ultimately recommending two felony counts against Hunter Biden, none of these more serious counts were ultimately executed against him. Instead, Hunter Biden made an agreement to plead guilty to two lesser tax charges and a charge relating to the illegal possession of a firearm, an agreement Republicans scoffed at as a “sweetheart deal.”
Whistleblowers said in their original disclosures that this fact is in part due to limitations placed on Mr. Weiss’ authority, which according to the claims has been a focal point of controversy.
Mr. Garland has denied any DOJ interference in the case into the president’s son’s tax records.
But Mr. Shapley insisted that what he claimed about limits on the authority of Mr. Weiss constituted “the absolute truth.”
Mr. Ziegler agreed, suggesting that investigative progress was stymied by DOJ intereference.
“It appeared to me based on what I experienced that the U.S. Attorney in Delaware in our investigation was constantly hamstrung, limited and marginalized by DOJ officials as well as other U.S. attorneys,” Mr. Ziegler told the panel.
Specifically, according to the whistleblowers, Mr. Weiss tried—and was denied from—pressing charges related to the investigation in California and Washington, D.C.
Mr. Shapley relayed reports that Mr. Weiss had allegedly said during an Oct. 7, 2022, meeting that he was “not the deciding official on whether charges are filed.”
Mr. Garland earlier cited a letter Mr. Weiss sent to the House Judiciary Committee saying that he did indeed have full authority over the investigation. However, Mr. Weiss has since walked back those original claims, confessing that his authority was limited to a specific geographical area—the Delaware district he oversees.
Meanwhile, Mr. Weiss has refuted in a letter the whistleblowers’ suggestion that he requested and was denied special counsel status (pdf).
On the other hand, he acknowledged that he had discussed being granted permission to press charges outside of Delaware. While expressing confidence that this would be allowed “if it proved necessary,” Mr. Weiss has not received any special status related to the investigation of Hunter Biden.
Whistleblower Doubles Down
But, going against claims to the contrary, the whistleblowers doubled down on their position, contesting the narrative presented by Mr. Weiss and Mr. Garland.
When asked how the American people could trust that the investigation of Hunter Biden would be fair, Mr. Shapley said in a reference to Mr. Garland’s April 2022 appearance before Congress, “Attorney General Garland responded by saying, ‘Because we put the investigation in the hands of a Trump appointee.’
“He led Congress to believe the case was insulated from improper political influence because all decisions were being made exclusively by Delaware United States Attorney David Weiss. But that was not true. The Justice Department allowed the president’s political appointees to weigh in on whether to charge the president’s son.”
Specifically, he referenced the decision of Matthew Graves, U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, not to bring charges against Hunter Biden. It was at that point, Mr. Shapley insisted, that Mr. Weiss told “a room full of senior FBI and IRS senior leaders … that he was not the deciding person on whether charges were filed.”
“The absolute fact is that this case was presented to presidentially-appointed U.S. attorneys in D.C. and California … that no charges were brought in those districts—that tells you everything that you need to know,” Mr. Shapley said.
The White House, meanwhile, derided the hearings into the matter as a “waste of time.”
“This waste of time reflects the extraordinarily misplaced priorities of House Rs,” Ian Sams, White House spokesman for oversight and investigations, said in a tweet about the hearings.
“Despite years of obsession and countless wasted taxpayer dollars on a wild goose chase, the House GOP hasn’t offered a single credible piece of evidence of wrongdoing by the president,” he said.
Hunter Biden is set to appear in the District Court of Delaware on July 26 for the next steps in his plea deal with the DOJ.
Mr. Weiss has said that the investigation into the matter is “ongoing” but has not indicated specifics of what that will mean for Hunter Biden moving forward.