IRS whistleblower claims favoritism in Hunter Biden case – Times of India

Washington: House Republicans on Wednesday made baseless allegations against the President Joe Biden on his family’s finances, as he called irs informant In testifying publicly for the first time about claims the Justice Department improperly interfered with the tax investigation of Biden’s son Hunter.
Lawmakers Hear From Two Assigned IRS Agents hunter biden The case, which focused on his failure to pay taxes, lasted six hours of what was often exhausting back-and-forth testimony. The hearing comes after the president’s son pleaded guilty last month to wrongdoing tax charges, which Republicans derided as a “sweetheart” deal.
Still, House Republicans are deepening their own investigation, making sweeping claims of corruption and wrongdoing by Biden, which they acknowledge have not been proven to be true.
“We will continue to follow the money trail,” said Representative James Comer, chairman of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, opening the session. The Justice Department has denied the whistleblowers’ allegations. And the White House, in a statement, called the investigation and subsequent hearings part of a “politically motivated assault on the Trump-appointed US attorney, the rule of law and the independence of our justice system.”
The committee’s top Democrat, Maryland Representative Jamie Raskin, said the hearing was a “theater of the absurd”.
irs supervisory special agent Greg ShapleyAnd a second agent, Joe Ziegler, claimed in testimony that Shapley called a pattern of “slow-moving investigative moves” into Hunter Biden during the Trump administration in the months leading up to the 2020 election. .
One of Shapley’s most detailed claims was that the federal prosecutor leading the investigation, US Attorney David Weiss in Delaware, had hired special counsel to bring tax cases against Hunter Biden in jurisdictions outside Delaware, including the District of Columbia and California. Status was sought, but was denied.
Weiss and the Justice Department have denied this, saying they had “absolute authority” and never sought to bring charges to other states.
Shapley testified during a conversation with Representative Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, that he wrote an email later that day to memorialize the October 2022 meeting with Weiss and five others. Shapley himself insisted on recalling what had been said on Wednesday.
The second IRS whistleblower, Ziegler, described his frustration at the way the case was handled, concerning the Trump administration under Attorney General William Barr. The tax agency employee said they began investigating Hunter Biden in 2015 and have now launched an in-depth investigation into the 53-year-old’s life and finances.
Ziegler, whose name was hidden in tapes of closed-door interviews released by Republicans last month, said Wednesday that he has decided to come forward publicly “not as a hero or a victim” but as a married, gay Democrat who is “compelled to reveal the truth.”
Democrats on the committee rejected whistleblower claims that Hunter Biden received special treatment because his father was a candidate for president in the upcoming 2020 election. Representative Raja Krishnamurthy, D-Ill., pointed out that it was Donald Trump who was president during the 2020 deadline when the whistleblower alleged interference.
Trump’s Justice Department, he said, issued a memo in February 2020 asking prosecutors to “exercise special caution with respect to sensitive investigations and prosecutions involving political candidates, campaigns, and other politically sensitive individuals and organizations.” Year!”
Democrats also pointed out that Weiss was appointed by Trump and that the federal investigation of Hunter Biden was launched under Trump. After winning the election, Biden put Weiss on the case. But the hearing took many turns as dozens of members from both sides of the dais tried to make the most of their time with the two witnesses.
In a shocking moment, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., displayed graphic sexual images of Hunter Biden with women, suggesting he paid them to travel to Washington, D.C., possibly for sex, in possible violation of the law. Democrats, led by Raskin, objected to the graphic material being shown by Green at the public hearing, saying it was inappropriate.
Representative Shontel Brown, D-Ohio, questioned whether this was an investigation of the President or “his son, who never worked in the White House nor has he ever.”
As Republicans denounced the justice system favoring the politically connected, Representative Maxwell Frost, D-Fla., pointed to the murder of Emmett Till and the treatment of other black Americans in American history and said, “This is a two-tier justice system.”
Republicans on their part have sought testimony from other agents involved in the case and this week conducted a written interview with an FBI agent, now retired, whom they said was involved. But other witnesses have refused to appear before the panel.
Before the hearing, Comer, R-Ky., acknowledged that it has been difficult for Republicans to succinctly outline Hunter Biden’s tangled financial affairs or provide concrete evidence of any specific wrongdoing by the president or his family.
“It’s very hard to explain,” Comer told reporters. “Hopefully these IRS agents can do a better job of explaining than I can.”
In previous closed-door interviews, Shapley described efforts by IRS agents to execute a search warrant of a Virginia storage facility where the young Biden’s documents were being stored. He said the assistant US attorney involved in the case reached out to Hunter Biden’s lawyers, a move seen as customary in cases involving high-profile individuals, but that “ruined our chance to get to the evidence before it was destroyed, manipulated or concealed.”
A similar incident occurred when FBI officers informed their Secret Service details before attempting to interview Hunter Biden and several of his business associates in order to avoid a possible shootout between the two law enforcement bodies.
Justice Department officials have denied these claims, pointing to the extraordinary circumstances surrounding a criminal case involving the son of a prominent presidential candidate at the time. Department policy has long warned prosecutors to be careful in charging cases with potential political ramifications at the time of the election, to avoid any potential influence on the outcome.
During hours-long testimony, Democrats sought to outline all of the whistleblowers’ claims as a disagreement between prosecutors and investigators over how to proceed with charges against Hunter Biden.
Representative Ro Khanna, D-Calif., said, “My view here is that we are spending hours disagreeing on whether or not someone should be charged and we have a whole Democratic process that decides that.” “You don’t get to decide that.”
Republicans pushed back, saying that beyond alleging decisions, it was clear prosecutors didn’t want to touch anything involving Hunter Biden’s father. In one instance, Shapley testified that in a meeting with Weiss and Assistant US Attorney Leslie Wolf after the 2020 election, he and other agents wanted to discuss an email between Hunter Biden aides where one person referred to “big guy ” was referred to. Shapley said that Wolf refused to do so, saying that she did not want to ask questions about “Dad”.
Republicans have gone further, issuing a series of requests for voluntary testimony from senior Justice officials, including Weiss.
Weiss said in a letter to Jordan earlier this month that he would be happy to testify before the committee when he is legally able to share information with Congress without violating longstanding department policy of discussing ongoing investigations.
Testimony from Justice Department officials could come after Hunter Biden appears for his plea hearing next week.