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House Republicans object to Senate GOP push for Garland special counsel to lead Biden family probe

IRS whistleblower Joe Ziegler has called for a special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden and an attorney for IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley repeated the call after Biden's plea deal was rejected

Published: July 28, 2023 5:09am

Top House Republicans investigating Hunter Biden's business dealings are raising concerns about Senate Republicans' call for Attorney General Merrick Garland to appoint a special counsel, including potential partiality and impeding their own probes.

House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, who is investigating President Biden's possible role in his son Hunter's business deals, maintains that Garland wouldn't appoint an impartial special counsel.

Comer made the assertion before Hunter Biden's plea deal on federal tax and gun-registration charges fell apart Wednesday, and a Comer spokesperson confirmed Thursday that the lawmaker continues to stand by that position.

"I have no confidence that Attorney General Merrick Garland would appoint an impartial special counsel," Comer said. "The Oversight Committee will continue our investigation into the Biden family’s influence peddling schemes to inform legislative solutions to prevent public officials and their families from abusing public office for private gain."

Comer also said his committee, along with the fellow House GOP-led Judiciary and Ways and Means committees, will continue to investigate the "politicization and misconduct at the Department of Justice and hold bad actors accountable."

Just the News was unable to reach the offices of Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan or Ways and Means Chairman Jason Smith before this story was published.

However, a Republican source close to the Judiciary Committee said GOP leaders are wary of Garland appointing a special counsel because it would likely lock down their oversight efforts into the Biden family’s business dealings.

Republicans on the Democrat-led Senate Judiciary Committee, including Indiana Sen. Mike Braun and Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn, have called for a special counsel.

They made the request in a letter to Garland earlier this month, following the IRS whistleblower allegations that raised concerns about the federal investigation into Hunter Biden.

"Given these concerning allegations that continue to come to light with each passing day, we urge you to appoint a special counsel to investigate any wrongdoing by President Biden and his family in their business dealings," the senators wrote.

IRS whistleblower Joe Ziegler has called for a special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden and an attorney for IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley repeated the call shortly after a judge rejected Biden's plea deal after a hearing Wednesday.

"I think it had to be an important part of it," attorney Mark Lytle said. "I mean, the two whistleblowers stood just a week ago in front of Congress and they were cross-examined for more than six hours. They had behind-the-scenes interviews for more than 14 hours combined. These guys, Joe Ziegler, Gary Shapley, my client, they exude credibility."

In September 2022, a large group of Senate Republicans had called on Garland to give U.S. Attorney David Weiss "special counsel protections and authorities" to conduct the Hunter Biden investigation.

However, those protections were not granted. Garland has made Weiss available to testify before the House Judiciary Committee after Congress's August recess.

Two Justice Department special counsels – Robert Mueller and John Durham – were appointed, respectively, to investigate possible collusion between the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and the FBI's handling of the probe. 

Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie, also a former New Jersey governor and federal prosecutor, said Wednesday that he supports a special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden's business dealings.

"I’ve seen enough," he tweeted. "We need a special counsel who has jurisdiction over any and all Biden family investigations. This is a charade. Get rid of US Attorney Weiss & appoint a special counsel who will investigate with competence and independence."

Christie previously told Just the News that the IRS whistleblower allegations were evidence that there should be a new attorney general to replace Garland. 

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