Friday 21 July 2023

The Next Step In The Hunter Biden Investigation Is A Biggie. Will House Oversight Take It?

 Internal Revenue Service (IRS) whistleblower Gary Shapley on Wednesday encouraged the House Oversight Committee to gather the evidence necessary to determine whether Attorney General Merrick Garland deliberately lied under oath, which could require a subpoena from House Oversight.

Shapley suggested in his opening statement that House Oversight should gather more evidence about Garland potentially lying to Congress about political interference in the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Hunter Biden investigation.  

“He led Congress to believe the case was insulated from improper political influence because all decisions were being made exclusively by Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss. But that was not true,” Shapley said in his opening statement.

“The Justice Department allowed the president’s political appointees to weigh in on whether to charge the president’s son. After U.S. Attorney for D.C. Matthew Graves, appointed by President Biden, refused to bring charges in March 2022, I watched U.S. Attorney Weiss tell a room full of senior FBI and IRS senior leaders on October 7, 2022, that he was ‘not the deciding person on whether charges were filed.’ That was my red line,” Shapley continued.

“I had already seen a pattern of preferential treatment and obstruction. Now, U.S. [Attorney] Weiss was admitting that what the American people believed, based on the attorney general’s sworn statement, was false. I can no longer stay silent,” he added.

“Let me be clear. Although these facts contradict Attorney General Garland’s testimony and raise serious questions for you to investigate, I have never claimed to have evidence that Attorney General Garland knowingly lied to Congress. Whether AG Garland knew his testimony was false is for you and the inspector generals to determine, not me.”

It’s unclear if the House Oversight Committee will subpoena Garland and the Justice Department for further evidence to determine whether Garland knowingly lied under oath. The House Judiciary Select Subcommittee on Weaponization subpoenaed the Justice Department in February for internal communications related to Garland’s memo directing law enforcement to monitor school board meetings.

“Comer, Smith, and Jordan have requested transcribed interviews with over a dozen officials. I don’t have anything further at the moment but expect more at some point,” a spokesperson for the House Oversight Committee told the Daily Caller.

House Republicans have requested interviews with at least 13 officials involved in the Hunter Biden investigation including Garland and Weiss.

Testimony from Shapley and whistleblower Joseph Ziegler to the House Ways & Means Committee contradicted Garland’s Congressional testimony where he asserted the Hunter Biden case was free from political interference. Garland has denied the allegations of interference and stood by his Congressional testimony.

“Absolutely not and the president has not done that, and the president has committed not to interfere, not only in that investigation but any other kind of investigation,” Garland said to Republican Tennessee Sen. Bill Hagerty in an April 2022 hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“Because we put the investigation in the hands of a Trump appointee from the previous administration, who’s the U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware. And because you have me as the Attorney General, who is committed to the independence of the Justice Department from any influence from the White House in criminal matters,” he added.

Garland reiterated his claims to Republican Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley in March 2023, a month before Congress received a letter from an IRS whistleblower accusing Garland of lying in his testimony.

Weiss, the lead prosecutor in the Hunter Biden investigation, was appointed by then-President Trump with bipartisan support. Shapley’s attorneys released an email he sent in October 2022 showing Weiss did not have final charging authority in the Hunter Biden case, despite assertions from Garland and Weiss that he had final authority.

Shapley’s email also showed that Weiss requested special counsel authority and got denied following the Biden-appointed D.C. U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves’ refusal to charge Hunter Biden.

Shapley testified to the House Ways & Means Committee that Biden-appointed U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California E. Martin Estrada blocked Weiss from charging Hunter Biden in California. The New York Times independently confirmed Estrada’s decision to prevent Weiss from charging the younger Biden.  

Weiss wrote in a letter to Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham on July 10 that he did not request special counsel authority and only requested special attorneys for the case. He said in the letter that he was never denied the authority to charge Hunter Biden in any jurisdiction.

However, Weiss wrote in a June 30 letter to Republican Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, that his charging authority was limited to his Delaware district.

“As the U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware, my charging authority is geographically limited to my home district. If venue for a case lies elsewhere, common Departmental practice is to contact the United States Attorney’s Office for the district in question and determine whether it wants to partner on the case,” Weiss told Jordan.

Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez asked Shapley at the hearing Wednesday to clarify whether his email was referring to Weiss’ purported request for special counsel status or the special attorneys request Weiss mentioned. The whistleblower told Ocasio-Cortez his email was addressing Weiss’ alleged request for special counsel status.

Shapley and Zielger’s testimony appeared to show obstruction of the Hunter Biden investigation by Delaware Assistant U.S. Attorney Lesley Wolf, who allegedly blocked searches of Hunter Biden’s northern Virginia storage space and Joe Biden’s Delaware residence where Hunter Biden lived.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has raised the possibility of launching an impeachment inquiry into Garland if the whistleblower allegations are true.

Hunter Biden was charged in June with two tax related misdemeanors and a felony gun charge. He pleaded guilty to the charges and will not face jail time. Weiss said the investigation is still ongoing shortly after the charges were made public.

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