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IRS whistleblowers challenge AG Garland's claim Biden probe free of political interference

Garland told Congress he would "ensure" Weiss could carry out "his investigation and that he'd be able to run it"

Published: June 22, 2023 11:39pm

In painstaking detail, Internal Revenue Service whistleblowers are directly challenging Attorney General Merrick Garland's claim that David Weiss, the U.S. attorney in Delaware, was allowed to run his Hunter Biden tax probe free of political interference.

During a recent Senate hearing, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) asked Garland to describe what would happen if Weiss wanted to pursue charges against President Biden's son outside of his Delaware jurisdiction, considering Garland hadn't made him a Justice Department special counsel. 

"If it's in another district, he would have to bring the case in another district," Garland responded. "But as I said, I promise to ensure that he's able to carry out his investigation and that he'd be able to run it. And if he needs to bring it in another jurisdiction, he will have full authority to do that."

According to a transcript released Thursday by the House Ways and Means Committee of an interview with an anonymous IRS whistleblower, a "contentious meeting" involving Weiss, IRS investigators and FBI agents took place in October 2022.

"And they had asked [Garland] about this, about bringing the case in D.C., and he explained that [Weiss] was essentially told no," the whistleblower said. "And then he went back and asked for special counsel authority, and they told him no. I don't think they said who he went back to, but they told him no."

The IRS whistleblower said DOJ's tax division had stopped communicating with his team, which was investigating Hunter Biden and had gathered enough evidence for an indictment. 

"At the end of the day, I worked on a complex criminal tax investigation over the last five years. And the investigative process is 99.9% done, and we were in the process of bringing the case to indictment. And I have emails and stuff that I can reference that show that," he said, according to the interview transcript, made public Thursday.

"Since October of 2022, the Delaware U.S. Attorney's Office and DOJ Tax have pretty much stopped communicating with me and my team, and we have ultimately been removed and replaced from the investigative team. I want to make that clear. We were removed, and they replaced us with a new agent and a new supervisor," he also said.

The IRS whistleblower also said Weiss tried to bring the case to the U.S. Attorney's Office in D.C. and to the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Central District of California but he was denied.

He argued that "there was gross mismanagement present throughout this investigation, that there was gross waste of funds relating to the tax dollars spent on investigating this case, and that there was an abuse of authority by [the] DOJ tax [division] and the Delaware U.S. Attorney's Office."

Gary Shapley, who led the IRS investigative team, wanted to conduct a "walk-by" to visually confirm the location of Hunter Biden's residence prior to attempting to interview him but it never happened because it was vetoed by DOJ.

"Tax does not approve. This will be on hold until further notice," reads the DOJ email he referenced that apparently blocked the plan, according to the anonymous whistleblower.

Shapley later attempted to interview Hunter Biden at his residence on a so-called "day of action," but he declined.

It is unclear whether Hunter was ever interviewed as part of the investigation. 

In April 2022, Garland told Congress that Weiss would be able to operate independent of political interference. 

The Justice Department said Tuesday in court filings, after a five-year investigation, that Hunter Biden will plead guilty to two tax misdemeanors and that he also struck a deal with federal prosecutors to resolve a felony gun charge.

"Hunter Biden received taxable income in excess of $1,500,000 annually in calendar years 2017 and 2018," Weiss's office said in a statement. "Despite owing in excess of $100,000 in federal income taxes each year, he did not pay the income tax due for either year." 

Shapley said he had been under the impression Weiss was still deciding whether to charge Hunter's 2014 and 2015 tax violations.

"I would later be told by United States Attorney Weiss that the D.C. U.S Attorney would not allow U.S. Attorney Weiss to charge those years in his district," he said. "This resulted in United States Attorney Weiss requesting special counsel authority from Main DOJ to charge in the District of Columbia.

"I don't know if he asked before or after the attorney general's April 26, 2022, statement. But Weiss said his request for that authority was denied and that he was told to follow DOJ's process. That process meant no charges would ever be brought in the District of Columbia, where the statute of limitations on the 2014 and '15 charges would eventually expire," he also said.

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