On Thursday, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith released five new documents revealing evidence from two IRS whistleblowers who alleged that the Justice Department had interfered with the probe into Hunter Biden’s taxes.
In a press conference, Smith said "whistleblowers claim the Biden Department of Justice is intervening and overstepping when it comes to the investigation of the president’s son."
"Despite what whistleblowers described as a clear-cut case for tax liability on these payments, IRS investigators say they found themselves hamstrung, internally.
"The testimony we have just released details a lack of US attorney independence, recurring unjustified delays, unusual actions outside the normal course of any investigation, a lack of transparency across the investigation and prosecution teams, and bullying and threats from the defense counsel."
Smith said this was a "campaign of delay, divulge, and deny."
The whistleblowers said that reoccurring delays pervaded the investigation, "including authenticating a WhatsApp message in which Hunter Biden demands payment from Chinese officials, during which he noted that his father was in the room.
In an interview with the Ways and Means Committee on May 26, 2023, Gary Shapley, a supervisory special agent with the IRS Criminal Investigation, said that "Since October 2022, IRS CI has taken every opportunity to retaliate against me and my team."
"Even after IRS CI senior leadership has been made aware on a recurring basis that the Delaware US Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice was acting improperly, they acquiesced to a DOJ request to remove the entire team from the Hunter Biden investigation, a team that had been investigating it for over 5 years."
Shapley said he was "blowing the whistle" because the "Delaware US Attorney's Office, Department of Justice Tax, and Department of Justice provided preferential treatment and unchecked conflicts of interest in an important and high-profile investigation of the President's son, Hunter Biden."
Shapley said the mission of the IRS CI to investigate potential criminal violations "can only be met by treating every taxpayer we encounter the same."
He said that the investigation, which had been launched in November of 2018, had been running smoothly until Biden because the "presumptive Democratic nominee for President in early April 2020," leading to "career DOJ officials dragg[ing] their feet on the IRS taking these investigative steps" which included approving a search warrant and 15 interviews.
In a June 16, 2020 call between himself, another special agent, and the chain of command up to the Director of Field Operations, Shapley said he "pointed out that if normal procedures had been followed we already would have executed search warrants, conducted interviews, and served document requests. Nevertheless, my IRS chain of command decided we would defer to DOJ."
"From around October 2020 through October 2022, I was the IRS CI manager who interacted directly with the United States Attorney, David Weiss, and individuals at DOJ Tax Division the most," Shapley said.
"Even after investigative steps were denied, enforcement operations were rejected by DOJ, leading to the election in November 2020, we continued to obtain further leads in the Sportsman's case and prepared for when we could go overt," he added.
Shapley said that in August 2020, they got the results back from an iCloud search warrant that included a set of messages that needed to be followed up on.
"Nevertheless, prosecutors denied investigators' requests to develop a strategy to look into the messages and denied investigators' suggestion to obtain location information to see where the texts were sent from."
Shapley said they obtained a July 30, 2017 WhatsApp message from Hunter Biden to Henry Zhao, chairman and founder of Harvest Fund Management, where Biden wrote: "I am sitting here with my father and we would like to understand why the commitment made has not been fulfilled. Tell the director that I would like to resolve this now before it gets out of hand, and now means tonight. And, Z, if I get a call or text from anyone involved in this other than you, Zhang, or the chairman, 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."
Shapley said this communication and others "made it clear we needed to search the guest house at the Bidens’ Delaware residence where Hunter Biden stayed for at a time."
In a September 3, 2020 meeting with Lesley Wolf, Assistant US Attorney, she said that there was probable cause to execute a physical search warrant at the guest house, but questioned whether "the juice was worth the squeeze."
"She continued that optics were a driving factor in the decision on whether to execute a search warrant. She said a lot of evidence in our investigation would be found in the guest house of former Vice President Biden, but said there is no way we will get that approved."
"On September 4th, 2020, Deputy Attorney General Donoghue issued a cease and desist of all overt investigative activities due to the coming election," said Shapley.
In a June 16, 2020 meeting with the Director of Field Operations, Shapley stated, ""DOJ Tax has made a concerted effort to drag their feet concerning conducting search warrants and interviewing key witnesses in an effort to push those actions to a timeframe where they can invoke the Department of Justice rule of thumb concerning affecting elections."
Shapley stated that because the election was contested, "our original plan to go overt on or around November 17th was delayed."
They prepared for a "day of action" on December 8th, 2020, which included document requests and around 12 interviews.
The night before, Shapley was informed that the FBI had informed secret service headquarters and Biden’s transition team about the planned action. "This essentially tipped off a group of people very close to President Biden and Hunter Biden and gave this group an opportunity to obstruct the approach on the witnesses.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.
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