DOJ told IRS not to interview Joe Biden's grandchildren in Hunter probe to avoid 'hot water':WBlower
Hunter Biden, Melissa Cohen and their son Beau are seen on an outing in Malibu, California, on July 21, 2022.(Clint Brewer Photography / BACKGRID)
IRS whistleblowers told Congress that a Justice Department official dissuaded investigators from talking to President Biden's grandchildren as part of the federal probe into Hunter Biden to avoid getting into "hot water."
On Thursday, the House Ways and Means Committee released transcripts of interviews with two IRS whistleblowers who claim decisions made during the probe by DOJ, FBI and IRS officials seemed to be "influenced by politics."
Testimony of IRS Criminal Supervisory Special Agent Gary Shapley Jr., who oversaw the investigation, and an unnamed IRS special agent who claims to have opened the initial probe alleges investigators were told not to interview President Biden's grandchildren.
Investigators said interviewing the grandchildren would have been customary under normal circumstances because some of the payments Hunter Biden made that they were investigating involved his children, including a $30,000 tuition payment to Columbia University.
According to the whistleblowers, Hunter Biden was fraudulently claiming such amounts as business write-offs on his tax returns, thus they wanted to speak to the grandchildren involved as part of their probe.
But Assistant U.S. Attorney Lesley Wolf told the investigators in a meeting it would "get us into a lot of hot water if we interview the President's grandchildren."
"I don't remember what ultimately happened with the grandchildren. I know I have never interviewed them, and we have not interviewed them," he said.
The unnamed whistleblower said that his supervisor suggested documenting meetings between IRS and officials in U.S. Attorney David Weiss' office, who were running point on the probe.
"My supervisor felt it necessary when some of the inappropriate comments that were being made — to start documenting them," the whistleblower said.
"There were a lot of times to where they would discuss the election or discuss politics, and I had to say, on multiple occasions, that I felt that it was inappropriate that they were saying it," he said.
The whistleblower described other investigators referencing individuals surrounding the matter as to how they were related to President Biden — for example, Joe Biden's brother, James Biden.
"James Biden, we would call him the uncle. So that's how we referred to him, as the uncle," the whistleblower stated.
At another point, the whistleblower said Venmo transactions were paid to "family and friends" of Hunter Biden that were deducted on his returns.
"So I continually asked, 'Can I go and interview them? And can we understand what these payments were for? If they made other payments?" And those were always met with no. And I think one of them was Valerie Owens that we talked about that I wasn't allowed to go and do that interview. I believe that Valerie is a relative of Joe Biden. It might be his sister. I don’t — all I know is she's a relative of his," the whistleblower said.
During a press conference on Friday, Attorney General Merrick Garland denied the whistleblower allegations of DOJ interference into the Hunter Biden probe.
"As I said at the outset, Mr. Weiss, who was appointed by President Trump as the U.S. attorney in Delaware and assigned this matter during the previous administration, would be permitted to continue his investigation and to make a decision to prosecute any way in which he wanted to and in any district in which he wanted to. Mr. Weiss has since sent a letter to the House Judiciary Committee confirming that he had that authority," Garland told reporters.
The unnamed whistleblower claimed in his testimony that "while the impression was that the U.S. Attorney in Delaware has essentially the powers of special counsel in this case, free rein to do as needed, as is clearly shown, this was not the case."
"The U.S. Attorney in Delaware in our investigation was constantly hamstrung, limited, and marginalized by DOJ officials as well as other U.S. Attorneys. I view that a special counsel for this case would have cut through the toughest problems that continues to make problems for this case," he said.
The whistleblower interview was recorded on June 1, and released publicly on Thursday.
On Tuesday, Weiss announced that the DOJ and Hunter Biden struck a plea deal in which the president's son will plead guilty to two misdemeanor counts of willful failure to pay federal income tax.
Hunter Biden also agreed to enter into a pretrial diversion agreement regarding a separate charge of possession of a firearm by a person who is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance.
Weiss said the investigation remains "ongoing."
Christopher Clark, an attorney for Hunter Biden, claimed in a statement to Fox News Digital on Friday that the whistleblower claims are misleading.
"Biased and politically-motivated, selective leaks have plagued this matter for years. They are not only irresponsible, they are illegal. A close examination of the document released publicly yesterday by a very biased individual raises serious questions over whether it is what he claims it to be. It is dangerously misleading to make any conclusions or inferences based on this document," Clark said. "The DOJ investigation covered a period which was a time of turmoil and addiction for my client."
Clark also said that "[a]ny verifiable words or actions of my client in the midst of a horrible addiction are solely his own and have no connection to anyone in his family."
"An extensive, five-year long investigation conducted by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) concluded this week, which resulted in my client taking responsibility for two instances of misdemeanor failure to file tax payments, as well as a firearm charge, which will be subject to a pretrial diversion agreement. As his attorney through this entire matter, I can say that any suggestion the investigation was not thorough, or cut corners, or cut my client any slack, is preposterous and deeply irresponsible," he added.