Bidens, business associates took in $17 million from foreign sources, whistleblowers allege
Supervisory Special Agent Gary Shapley and Special Agent Joseph Ziegler have contended that the Department of Justice interfered with the case and inhibited the bringing of serious felony charges against first son Hunter Biden, who received a plea deal for misdemeanor tax violations earlier this year.
IRS whistleblower Special Agent Joseph Ziegler on Wednesday detailed numerous foreign payments made to the Biden family and their business partners amounting to more than $17 million between 2014-2019 during a congressional hearing on Wednesday.
Among those payments were $3.1 million from a Romanian company, $3 million sent to a Robinson Walker LLC from state energy company HK limited, $3.7 million from Hudson West 3, and $7.3 million paid by Ukrainian energy firm Burisma to the Bidens and their associated groups.
Republican and Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday queried Ziegler and Supervisory Special Agent Gary Shapley, who worked on the Hunter Biden case, during a hearing of the House Oversight Committee.
Shapley and Ziegler have contended that the Department of Justice interfered with the case and inhibited the bringing of serious felony charges against first son Hunter Biden, who received a plea deal for misdemeanor tax violations earlier this year.
Prior to the hearing, Ziegler's identity had remained undisclosed, though his closed door testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee served to corroborate the accounts of his supervisory agent, who came forward earlier.
Republicans zero in on foreign transactions
After opening statements, Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., questioned the pair on the investigative process and the steps they took to pursue evidence against the first son. Ziegler outlined the discovery of numerous foreign transactions involving China, Romania, Ukraine, the Biden family, and their business associates.
Comer, for his part, had outlined his committee's investigations into the Biden family and their discovery that the first family used myriad shell corporations to conduct business. The Oversight Committee has, in particular, reviewed a form FD-1023 in possession of the FBI that contained confidential human source information involving an alleged bribery scheme involving then Bidens and Ukrainian energy company Burisma.
The document contends that a senior Burisma executive hired Hunter Biden to serve on the board and paid him and another Biden millions to shut down an investigation by then-Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin into the firm. Allegedly, then-Vice President Biden threatened then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko that he would withhold funds to the country unless he removed Shokin.
Neither Shapley nor Ziegler ever reviewed the FD-1023, though they admitted its information would have been helpful. Notably, both noted that charges related to the 2014 tax year had passed the statute of limitations. Part of their claims contend that the Biden-appointed U.S. Attorney in Washington, D.C., declined to partner with the federal prosecutors and stopped those charges from being brought.
Other Republicans repeatedly referenced the alleged Burisma deal and contextualized the whistleblower allegations within Republican investigators' broader claims related to the Biden family business.
Democrats frame whistleblower claims as a disagreement over charging decisions
Democrats, meanwhile, took a decidedly different approach to the whistleblower testimonies, attempting to paint their grievances as the product of typical disagreement between investigators and prosecutors over what charges to bring.
Committee Ranking Member Jamie Raskin touted "prosecutorial discretion," noting that investigators often seek to pursue tougher charges than prosecutors believe they can prove in court. He pointed to prior statements from Weiss suggesting he enjoyed the authority to decide what charges to bring against the younger Biden and when.
Shapley, however, disputed Raskin's characterization of events, pointing to a charging memorandum that Ziegler drafted with which he said the prosecutors had agreed. He reiterated that Weiss had not been able to secure special authority to pursue those charges.
Democratic California Rep. Ro Khanna followed Raskin's approach, questioning Shapley as to the frequency with which IRS lawyers disagreed about his charging recommendations. While Shapley acknowledged that prosecutors often disagreed with his recommendations, he disputed the characterization of his claim as a disagreement over charging decisions.
"You can say it multiple times, it doesn’t make it true," he told Khanna. "To say this is a disagreement would be a misrepresentation."
Other Democrats largely used their time to rail against alleged Republican hypocrisy on supposedly preferential treatment for former President Donald Trump. Some pointed to his public criticisms of federal investigators looking into him while others noted his issuance of pardons to his political allies.
Democrats dismiss political bias claims
Raskin, during the hearing, repeatedly referenced Weiss as former President Donald Trump's "hand-picked" prosecutor. He made much of the facts that Trump had appointed Weiss and that Biden had not removed him.
The Delaware U.S. Attorney did receive Trump's appointment, but did so with the approval of the two Democratic Senators from the state, in accordance with Senate practice.
Democratic Illinois Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi followed that line of reasoning, asking Ziegler as to who was president when the investigation started, which was Trump. He further highlighted specific concerns from 2020 in which the whistleblowers took issue with prosecutors' unwillingness to take certain investigative steps amid the presidential election, to which he again reiterated Trump's status as the sitting president at the time.
D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton also highlighted the interagency cooperation, investigative timeframe, and abundance of resources allocated to the case as evidence that the investigation into Hunter Biden had been "thorough and rigorous."
Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.