House Republicans said the Justice Department deviated from ‘standard processes’ and gave Hunter Biden ‘special treatment’ in its years-long federal investigation into him.
The House GOP’s findings are laid out in an interim staff report released Tuesday by the House Judiciary Committee, House Ways & Means Committee, and the House Oversight Committee.
The chairmen of those panels – Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, Jason Smith R-Mo., and James Comer, R-Ky. – are leading the impeachment inquiry against President Biden. The chairmen are investigating any foreign money received by the Biden family, whether President Biden was involved in his family’s foreign business dealings, and steps allegedly taken by the Biden administration to ‘slow, hamper, or otherwise impede the criminal investigation into the President’s son, Hunter Biden, which involves funds received by the Biden family from foreign sources.’
The investigation began after two IRS whistleblowers, Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler, came forward this spring and told Congress that the Justice Department ‘had impeded, delayed, and obstructed the criminal investigation of the President’s son, Hunter Biden.’
‘The whistleblowers, who came forward only after IRS leadership failed to address their concerns, noted several deviations by Justice Department officials ‘from the normal process that provided preferential treatment, in this case to Hunter Biden,’’ the report states.
The report points to Shapley and Ziegler’s claims that the Justice Department ‘allowed the statute of limitations on certain charges against Hunter Biden to lapse, prohibited line investigators from referring to or asking about President Biden during witness interviews, withheld evidence from line investigators, excluded the investigative team from meetings with defense counsel, and tipped off defense counsel about pending search warrants.’
As part of the investigation, the committees have heard testimony from nearly a dozen DOJ officials, including Special Counsel David Weiss, who is leading the Hunter Biden probe, and have obtained ‘hundreds of pages of documents.’
‘The testimony and documents received by the committees to date corroborates many of the allegations made by IRS whistleblowers,’ the report states.
The committees found that the Justice Department and FBI ‘afforded special treatment’ to Hunter Biden. The report cites witness testimony, which revealed that there was a ‘delicate approach used’ during the Hunter Biden case. Those officials described the probe as ‘sensitive’ or ‘significant.’
‘Evidence shows Department officials slow-walked the investigation, informed defense counsel of future investigative actions, prevented line investigators from taking otherwise ordinary investigative steps, and even allowed the statute of limitations to expire on the most serious potential charges,’ the report states. ‘These unusual – and oftentimes in the view of witnesses, unprecedented – tactics conflicted with standard operating procedures and ultimately had the effect of benefiting Hunter Biden.’
The report also points to testimony which revealed Weiss, when serving as just U.S. attorney for Delaware, ‘did not have ‘ultimate authority’ over the Hunter Biden case.’ Weiss did testify during a transcribed interview that he was initially denied when requesting special prosecutor status, but ‘From my mind, it’s a sequencing event,’ Weiss said. ‘It’s not a denial in any way, shape or form.’
He added: ‘That’s the way I interpreted it.’
Attorney General Merrick Garland, in August 2023, appointed Weiss as special counsel.
The report states that there is ‘no question that without the brave IRS whistleblowers, it is likely that the Biden Justice Department would have never acted on Hunter Biden’s misconduct.’
‘When forced to act, the Biden Justice Department worked closely with Hunter Biden’s counsel to craft an unprecedented plea deal that was so biased in the direction of Hunter Biden it fell apart in open court,’ the report states. ‘When a federal judge rejected the Department’s attempt to push through a sweetheart plea deal and quietly end the five-year investigation of Hunter Biden, Attorney General Garland appointed Weiss as special counsel and refused to answer questions about the case on the basis of the existence of an ‘ongoing investigation.’’
The report adds: ‘Using the ‘ongoing investigation’ as a veil to shield its misconduct, the Biden Justice Department unilaterally limited the scope of witness testimony and document productions to Congress, severely curtailing the Committees’ ability to gather information.’
House Republicans said in their report that even amid these ‘troubling findings,’ there is ‘more information that the Justice Department is keeping from the Committees.’
‘The Justice Department has still not fully complied with requests for relevant documents, and it has impeded the Committees’ investigation by baselessly preventing two Tax Division officials – Senior Litigation Counsel Mark Daly and Trial Attorney Jack Morgan – from testifying, despite subpoenas compelling their testimony,’ the report states. ‘These documents and this testimony are necessary for the Committees to complete our inquiry.’
The report says the Justice Department’s ‘blatant disregard for the Committees’ constitutionally prescribed oversight responsibilities is yet another stain that the Biden Administration has placed on the Justice Department’s once-venerated reputation.’
House Republicans admitted that their investigation is ‘far from complete,’ but vowed to ‘continue to gather evidence to determine whether sufficient grounds exist to draft articles of impeachment against President Biden for consideration by the full House of Representatives.’
The White House has blasted the House impeachment inquiry against the president as baseless.
The Justice Department, and individual DOJ officials, have denied whistleblower allegations that suggest politics played a role in prosecutorial decisions throughout the Hunter Biden probe.
Hunter Biden has been subpoenaed by the House Oversight Committee and is expected to appear for a deposition on Dec. 13. House Republicans have promised to release the transcript of Hunter Biden’s deposition and have vowed to schedule a public hearing so the president’s son can testify publicly before the American people, as his attorney requested.