By Joseph Lord
Whistleblower Joseph Ziegler, IRS Criminal Investigator, testifies before the Full Committee on Oversight and Accountability at a hearing about the Biden Criminal Investigation at the U.S. Congress in Washington on July 19, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)
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During a July 19 hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, IRS whistleblower Joseph Ziegler said that there were WhatsApp messages from Hunter Biden not included in their original disclosure to Congress, and offered to provide additional content.
Last month, on June 22, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-Mo.) revealed allegations from IRS supervisor and investigator Gary Shapley and Mr. Ziegler, who was anonymous until now, that the IRS and Department of Justice (DOJ) had interfered with an IRS investigation into President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden, allegedly protecting the family both before and after the 2020 election.
On July 19, both Mr. Shapley and Mr. Ziegler appeared before the House panel to discuss their allegations against the DOJ and IRS, including the contents of a 2017 WhatsApp message in which Hunter Biden allegedly demanded payment from Chinese officials. In the text, he highlighted, by way of a threat, that his father [Joe Biden] was in the room with him.
“I am sitting here with my father, and we would like to understand why the commitment made has not been fulfilled,” the younger Mr. Biden wrote, expressing the wish to “resolve this before it got out of hand.”
“Now means tonight,” he wrote, warning that if anyone but the Chinese official he was in communication with tried to reach out about the payment disagreement, “I will make certain that between the man sitting next to me and every person he knows and my ability to forever hold a grudge that you will regret not following my direction. I am sitting here waiting for the call with my father.”
Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, attend the annual Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, on April 10, 2023. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
An attorney for Hunter Biden has denied the authenticity of the messages, which have become a cornerstone of the probe into the IRS and DOJ’s handling of the tax investigation. Calling them “not real,” the attorney said the alleged screenshots “contain myriad of issues.”
Likewise, President Joe Biden, who has long insisted that he was not involved in his son’s business dealings, has denied having been in the room when the message was sent.
But Mr. Ziegler appeared to double down on the authenticity of the texts.
During early questioning by Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.), who has led broader investigations into the Bidens’ business dealings, Mr. Ziegler said that “there was a long WhatsApp message contained and … that was only a portion of it.”
He offered to return to the House Ways and Means Committee—which,”under law, must authorize the release of all whistleblower disclosures relating to the IRS”—with the expanded messaging.
Mr. Shapley also suggested that the president’s claim to non-involvement with his family’s business dealings was broadly untrue during the hearing, citing “multiple instances in this investigation where there are references to the subject, President Biden.”
Mr. Shapley commented that the WhatsApp messages should have been investigated further. That they were not, he said, “was really one of the major deviations from in this case.”
The whistleblowers cited other instances of the federal government appearing to protect the Bidens both before and after the 2020 election during their testimony as well.
During the hearing, Mr. Ziegler reported that during the course of the investigation, he saw more obstruction from the DOJ than ever before in his nearly 14-year career.
Likewise, Mr. Shapley testified earlier that obstruction of investigatory efforts became especially pronounced after Joe Biden “became the presumptive Democratic nominee.”
In one case, IRS investigators determined that they needed to search a guest home used by the younger Biden and owned by Joe Biden prior to the 2020 election. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lesley Wolf reportedly told them that “there is no way” that such a warrant would be approved, despite stating that there was probable cause.
In another case, the whistleblowers claimed that Hunter Biden’s attorneys were tipped off about investigators’ interest in a storage unit owned by Mr. Biden, allowing attorneys ample time to clear the unit of condemnatory materials.
Also at issue were allegations that U.S. Attorney David Weiss, who helped oversee the case, was stymied by Attorney General Merrick Garland’s DOJ in pursuing a case against the younger Biden.
Initially, Mr. Garland and Mr. Weiss alike claimed that Mr. Weiss had general authority comparable to that of a special counsel. Since then, Mr. Weiss has walked back the claim, first saying that his authority was limited to a specific geographic area and later stating he would have required authority from higher-ups at the Biden DOJ.