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Impeachment probe dramatically pivots to questions of CIA, DOJ coverup in Hunter Biden case

The lawsuit came the day after House Republicans wrapped up their first public impeachment hearing Wednesday, which Democrats pronounced was the end of the probe.

Published: March 21, 2024 10:40pm

After a bombastic hearing with Hunter Biden's business partners, House impeachment investigators are dramatically pivoting to allegations of a possible coverup in the first son's criminal tax case as the inquiry transitions to a new phase.

On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee sued the Justice Department seeking to force two attorneys there to comply with subpoenas and testify about whether there was any political interference in Hunter Biden's tax prosecution.

A few hours later, that committee joined with the House Oversight Committee to release a letter to CIA Director William Burns that revealed impeachment investigators have a whistleblower who alleges the spy agency tried to interfere with a witness interview in the case.

"Recently, the Committees received information from a whistleblower alleging that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) intervened in the investigation of Hunter Biden to prevent the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigators from interviewing a witness," Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan and Oversight Chairman James Comer wrote. "We therefore write to request relevant material from the CIA.

"According to the whistleblower, in August 2021, when IRS investigators were preparing to interview Patrick Kevin Morris, an associate of Hunter Biden, the CIA intervened to stop the interview," they continued. "Two DOJ officials were allegedly summoned to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia for a briefing regarding Mr. Morris. At that meeting, it was communicated that Mr. Morris could not be a witness during the investigation."

You can read the letter here.

Morris, a Hollywood attorney who befriended Hunter Biden, has acknowledged to Congress during an impeachment inquiry interview that he has provided millions of dollars in the form of loans to help the first son pay expenses and legal bills. 

The pair requested that Burns provide to them materials related to the investigation of Hunter Biden as well as documents and communications related to Morris and his relevance to the agency.

The double-barreled development signaled a shift in the probe. After releasing evidence they said shows  the Biden family and their partners made millions from China, Russia, Ukraine and other countries in a influence peddling scheme, lawmakers are looking at whether government actors tried to impede the discovery or prosecution of crimes, such as the gun and tax charges Hunter Biden now faces in federal court. 

Comer hinted at the shift in an interview with Just the News a few days ago.

"We also want to hold people accountable for wrongdoing, not just the Bidens, but people in the government, the deep state actors who have been part of the cover up," Comer said. "You know, you've got the Biden financial crimes, and you've got the cover up from the government because there are too many government agencies that were investigating the Biden's for too long."

In its new lawsuit, the House Judiciary Committee laid out in detail why it believes there is still an ongoing coverup in the the agency’s Hunter Biden tax crimes investigation as it faces continued obstruction into its probe of favorable treatment towards the first son alleged by the IRS whistleblowers.

According to the suit, DOJ lawyers Mark Daly and Jack Morgan have first-hand knowledge of the case. The complaint alleges that "DOJ has directed Daly and Morgan to defy the Committee’s Subpoenas" and that the DOJ contends that subpoenas compelling testimony about an "agency employee’s official duties, without agency counsel present, are unconstitutional and thus unenforceable."

The House Committee's suit points out that since the 1980's "more than 175 Executive Branch witnesses have appeared for depositions without agency counsel." The case has been assigned to Judge Ana C. Reyes, an Uruguayan-born American lawyer appointed to the bench by President Biden in 2023. Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the DOJ has 60 days in which to respond to the suit.

Democrats on the House Oversight Committee widely criticized the Republican impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden at its first public hearing on the matter Wednesday. One Democratic committee member said “Biden impeachment’s dead.” Yet, several unanswered questions remain about the evidence and testimony uncovered by the probe.

The 59-page lawsuit filed in federal court Thursday highlights another aspect of the investigation being pursued by the Judiciary Committee that has garnered less media coverage yet remains ongoing: allegations that Biden’s Justice Department improperly treated the first son favorably and thwarted efforts by IRS investigators to carry out their probe.

“The Department is committed to working with Congress in good faith. We took the extraordinary step of making six supervisory employees available to testify on appropriate topics last year. It is unfortunate that despite this extraordinary cooperation from senior DOJ officials, the Committee has decided, after waiting for months, to continue seeking to depose line prosecutors about sensitive information from ongoing criminal investigations and prosecutions. We will continue to protect our line personnel and the integrity of their work. We will review the filings and respond in court," a Justice Department spokeswoman told Just the News on Thursday.

You can read the lawsuit below:

The allegations against the DOJ first came to light last year when two IRS whistleblowers, Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler, brought the claims to the House Ways and Means Committee along with evidence in the form of emails, memos, and witness interview notes backing them.

Both whistleblowers testified to a pattern of preferential treatment in the investigation into the first son, including Justice Department efforts to block search warrants and to limit the investigators’ pursuit of information related then-candidate Joe Biden, citing political sensitivities.

Shapley and Ziegler also testified to significant delays in their investigation imposed by agency officials and confusion sowed by the Delaware U.S. Attorney’s office about authorities to charge the alleged crimes they had uncovered.

Ultimately, U.S. Attorney David Weiss allowed the statute of limitations to expire on the 2014 and 2015 tax years during which Hunter Biden allegedly failed to pay federal taxes and made false statements regarding his income from Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company where he served as a board member. Hunter Biden was ultimately charged with three tax felonies and six misdemeanors in California for the 2016 to 2019 tax years. Biden's lawyer Abbe Lowell said at the time that his client was a victim of politics and if the president's son's "last name was anything other than Biden, the charges in Delaware, and now California, would not have been brought." 

Multiple witnesses interviewed by the three House committees leading the impeachment probe have since confirmed key pieces of the Shapley’s and Ziegler’s accounts, including an unnamed FBI agent, the former head of the DOJ’s Tax Division, Stuart Goldberg, and U.S. Attorney David Weiss himself.

Hunter Biden’s legal team, for its part, has attempted discredit the IRS whistleblowers. Biden's lawyer Lowell attacked the agents in a letter to the House committee labeling them “disgruntled agents.” Eventually, Hunter Biden sued the IRS over the whistleblowers' disclosures, claiming they had unlawfully disclosed his private tax returns. That case is ongoing, and the IRS has filed a motion to dismiss the claims of invasion of privacy, to which Biden's lawyers are scheduled to respond by April 12, 2024.

In a recent court filing in Hunter Biden’s tax case in California, Lowell once again argued in a footnote the whistleblowers had violated the law by bringing their concerns to Congress and compared their conduct to an IRS employee sentenced to five years in prison for leaking President Donald Trump’s taxpayer information.

“Nevertheless, two IRS agents on the prosecution’s team investigating Mr. Biden blatantly and publicly did the same thing, on television no less, and yet they have not been prosecuted or even fired by the IRS,” Lowell wrote in the court document. Yet, the congressional Republicans argue the whistleblowers are protected under federal law, specifically 26 U.S.C. § 6103(f)(5) which outlines requirements for proper disclosure to Congress.

As the Judiciary Committee seeks answers to the concerns raised by the whistleblowers, it has faced efforts to obstruct the investigation by the Justice Department, according to its lawsuit. The most recent example is the Department’s decision to prevent two attorneys from the DOJ Tax Division from testifying to the committee. The committee believes these attorneys have first hand knowledge of the handling of the Hunter Biden probe.

When the Judiciary Committee first wrote to the agency requesting interviews with U.S. Attorney Weiss and nine other DOJ employees, the Department permitted only Weiss to appear.

“While DOJ’s letter did not directly explain why it ignored the Committee’s request to speak with the other DOJ employees, it did state that DOJ’s policy is to ensure ‘that appropriate supervisory personnel, rather than line attorneys and agents, answer Congressional questions’,” the lawsuit reads.

After the DOJ refused to make Daly and Morgan available, the committee subpoenaed the tax division attorneys in September 2023. After tentative dates were established and several weeks of cooperation between the committee and the Department of Justice took place, the DOJ ultimately directed Daly not to comply with the Congressional subpoena, according to the lawsuit. The DOJ would later give the same direction to Morgan.

In the lawsuit, the Judiciary Committee outlines why it believes Daly and Morgan have information critical to the scope of the impeachment inquiry, at the same time combating claims by House Democrats that the GOP has exhausted all avenues of investigation.

Specifically, Daly and Morgan were present for an October 2021 meeting where the DOJ prosecutors approved crafting a prosecution memorandum to recommend charges against Hunter Biden for tax crimes from 2014 to 2019. IRS whistleblower Shapley testified that Daly agreed with the report’s recommendation.

Yet, less than six months later in June 2022, Daly and Morgan gave a presentation arguing that Hunter Biden should don’t be charged for the 2014 and 2015 tax years. These were also the same years for which the DOJ permitted the statute of limitations expire.

The committee says it wants to get to the bottom of why these tax attorneys abruptly changed their conclusions.

“The Committee intends to ask Daly and Morgan about these decisions, including why they initially agreed with bringing charges for the 2014 and 2015 tax years, why they then reversed their opinion just a few months later, what additional (if any) information they received that changed their minds, and whether they were in any way pressured to change their views by other people inside or outside of DOJ, and if so, by whom,” the lawsuit reads.

Both Daly and Morgan also gave indications of special treatment for Hunter Biden, according to Shapley’s and Ziegler’s interviews.

“Morgan told one IRS whistleblower that the investigation was ‘not a typical case’ due to it involving Hunter Biden, raising the specter that Morgan gave Hunter Biden preferential treatment,” the lawsuit claims. This coincides with testimony from Stuart Goldberg—head of the DOJ tax division at the time—who told investigators Hunter Biden’s case was “sensitive” and “significant” and that those cases generally “have closer supervision that other, more run of the mill cases.”

The committee also wants to question Daly about his decision to tip off Hunter Biden’s defense counsel about a planned search of his storage unit, which may have compromised the investigative team’s efforts to obtain further evidence.

Daly also played a role in the key meetings where the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia ultimately decided not to bring charges against Biden his jurisdiction after Daly reassured one of the whistleblowers he was optimistic about moving forward, the lawsuit details.

“The Committee’s investigation raises serious questions about how DOJ conducted, and continues to conduct, its investigation of the President’s son. Daly and Morgan have firsthand knowledge of many of the potential improprieties that occurred during DOJ’s investigation of Hunter Biden because they engaged in and/or directly observed those alleged improprieties,” the committee concludes.

“They are therefore uniquely positioned to aid the Committee’s investigation, and the Committee must obtain their testimony,” it added.

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