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21 Aug, 2023 23:51

FBI, IRS officials to testify in Hunter Biden case

Republicans in the US Congress want to know if President Joe Biden’s son received “special treatment”
FBI, IRS officials to testify in Hunter Biden case

Congressional Republicans on Monday summoned government agents who investigated US President Joe Biden's son Hunter to testify under oath, following whistleblower claims that the probe was slow-walked for the benefit of his father.

“Our subpoenas compelling testimony from Biden administration officials are crucial to understanding how the president’s son received special treatment from federal prosecutors and who was the ultimate decision maker in the case,” House Judiciary Committee chair Jim Jordan and Ways and Means Committee chair Jason Smith said in a joint statement. 

The Ways and Means Committee wants to hear from Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Director of Field Operations Michael Batdorf, IRS special agent Darrell Waldon, and FBI agents Thomas Sobocinski and Ryeshia Holley, at hearings scheduled starting September 7. The Judiciary Committee has requested to speak with 11 officials at the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ).

David Weiss, the US attorney for Joe Biden’s home state of Delaware, who had investigated tax and firearm charges against the president’s son, was recently named special counsel in the case. The DOJ appointment followed the public implosion of a plea deal with the government, which would have guaranteed Hunter Biden a symbolic punishment and blanket immunity going forward.

The two House Republicans have focused on the account of IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley that Weiss was not the one to decide whether charges against Hunter Biden would be filed. Weiss himself and Attorney General Merrick Garland have denied Shapley’s sworn testimony.

Over the weekend, Politico revealed that Hunter Biden’s lawyer, Chris Clark, had called people at the highest levels of the Justice Department between October 2022 and April 2023, telling them he would call President Biden as a defense witness in a case brought by the DOJ against his son, thereby damaging the department’s reputation. Clark also argued that any charges against Hunter Biden amounted to giving in to political pressure from Republicans and former president Donald Trump.

Eventually, Politico noted, Clark got in touch with Associate Deputy Attorney General Bradley Weinsheimer and presented his case for a plea deal, insisting on the strongest possible guarantees of immunity.

The two tax fraud charges and a firearm offense are both related to revelations from the laptop Hunter Biden abandoned in a Delaware repair shop. Though the FBI was provided with the computer’s contents in 2019, the laptop’s existence was only made public in October 2020, ahead of the US presidential election. Biden’s campaign arranged for 50 former US spies to denounce it as “Russian misinformation” and the story was quickly censored – along with its publisher, the New York Post. 

Joe Biden has denied any wrongdoing, while Hunter eventually admitted the laptop was his but that he was too high on crack cocaine to remember much of his life at the time.