Top NewsA second IRS whistleblower asks about the Hunter Biden...

A second IRS whistleblower asks about the Hunter Biden probe at House Oversite

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CNN

House Oversight Committee Hears From Two IRS Whistleblowers whose testimony Allegations of mishandling of the Hunter Biden criminal investigation have sparked a firestorm among House Republicans.

One of the two whistleblowers is speaking publicly for the first time: Joseph Ziegler, a 13-year IRS special agent in the Criminal Investigation Division.

In his testimony to the oversight committee, Ziegler outlined what he described as examples of prosecutors not following the normal investigative process, and echoed claims by fellow whistleblower Gary Shapley that IRS investigators recommended charging the president’s son, Hunter Biden. President’s son.

“It appears to me, based on what I’ve experienced, that the U.S. attorney in Delaware has been consistently obstructed, limited, and sidelined by DOJ officials and other U.S. attorneys in our investigation,” Ziegler said.

Whistleblowers told lawmakers Wednesday that Justice Department officials have stopped their investigators from examining President Joe Biden and his grandchildren after finding evidence related to Hunter Biden’s troubled finances. Shapley told the committee that Joe Biden’s name came up in an investigation into Hunter Biden’s finances and that his team was prevented from running those lines. (Some of these references to Joe Biden occurred when he was neither president nor vice president, including the much-discussed, alleged WhatsApp message from 2017.)

“In the normal course of any investigation, when the subject’s father is somehow involved with the subject’s finances, we need to get that information, properly trace the financial flows of the money, and determine what we charge,” Shapley said.

The Justice Department and the White House have previously denied claims by whistleblowers that there was no political interference in the Hunter Biden criminal investigation. The allegations are consistent with their previous closed-door testimony made public last month. Biden has said he is not involved in his son’s business deals.

Ziegler, who is Shapley’s deputy, said in his written testimony that he wanted to interview Hunter Biden’s grown children. But a Justice Department lawyer said that would “get us into hot water,” and that didn’t happen, Ziegler wrote.

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“This, again, is unusual and a departure from normal practice,” Ziegler wrote, though he later acknowledged to lawmakers that it would be appropriate for prosecutors to object to pursuing an interview with a key player.

House Republicans have seized on the indictments of Shapley, a 14-year IRS veteran who oversaw parts of the Hunter Biden criminal investigation, and Ziegler, whose earlier testimony was anonymous — to support their claims that the Justice Department is becoming increasingly politicized to protect Democrats and target conservatives.

There is also testimony from IRS whistleblowers It sparked a new drive House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is facing growing pressure from an increasingly pacifist right wing eager to target President Joe Biden and his cabinet for possible impeachment proceedings against Attorney General Merrick Garland. McCarthy stoked the momentum by saying he was open to an impeachment inquiry if the whistleblowers’ claims were upheld.

Shapley and his deputy told the House Ways and Means Committee in June that they had slowed the criminal investigation into Hunter Biden’s tax problems, blocked their efforts to obtain subpoenas and search warrants, and repeatedly blocked prosecutors from filing criminal charges.

Whistleblowers also demanded a US attorney David WeissThe person appointed by former President Donald Trump to oversee the Hunter Biden investigation said at an October 2022 meeting that he could not bring final charges against the president’s son and was denied special counsel status when he asked for it.

Republicans echo these views Garland wasn’t real When he told Congress that Weiss had full authority over the investigation. But Garland and Weiss reject most, if not all, of the GOP lawmakers’ assertions. And internal disagreements among investigators are common, as described by IRS agents, Democrats said in memos ahead of the investigation, according to a copy of the memo obtained by CNN.

Shapley accused Weiss and the DOJ of responding to her allegations by “carefully wording denials and creating half-truths.”

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True Anchorer/Getty Images

Supervising IRS Special Agent Gary Shapley and IRS Criminal Investigator Joseph Ziegler arrive at a House Oversight Committee hearing on the Justice Department’s investigation into Hunter Biden on July 19, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

In his closed-door testimony last month, Ziegler told lawmakers he was gay and pushed back against the notion that his sexual orientation affected his politics or his work.

“People have said that because I’m gay and I work as a case agent on this investigation, I must be a far-left liberal and fit some agenda. It was stuff that was on social media about me,” Ziegler told the panel, according to a transcript of his deposition. “I can say that I am none of those things. I am a civil servant and I have always strived not to let politics enter my mind while working on cases.

It’s unclear which social media posts Ziegler was referring to. But still 644 page report on Hunter Biden — which was compiled by a former Trump White House aide, posted online and circulated widely in right-wing circles — highlighted Ziegler’s sexual orientation and used it to accuse him of “bias” in the Hunter Biden criminal investigation.

In his personal testimony, Ziegler said he grew up in a conservative family and “held conservative beliefs,” but now identifies as a Democrat with “moderate” views.

Citing specific examples from the late 2020s, Democrats also noted that there have been several investigative findings during the Trump administration where the two whistleblowers disagreed.

In his opening statement, Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the oversight committee, called out his Republican colleagues for not following through on their task of connecting their investigation directly to President Joe Biden.

“Like the efforts of colleagues to create a scandal about President Biden, this is a complete and utter bust,” Raskin said.

The White House repeatedly pointed out that Weiss was appointed by Trump ahead of Wednesday’s hearing and urged Republicans to “focus on the issues that matter most to the American people.”

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“There are real issues on which Americans want to spend our time, and President Biden believes that if House Republicans continue to work together to make real progress, instead of Republicans continuing their efforts to damage him politically,” White House spokesman Ian Sams said in response to the Republican-led congressional hearings.

Weiss denied claims about his title overseeing the investigation, saying in a separate letter to Congress that he never sought special counsel status, but instead explored becoming a “special prosecutor” under a different statute.

House Republican caucus chairmen Weiss and Hunter Biden have requested interviews from several people involved in the criminal investigation. The Justice Department told House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio, last week that it would make Weiss available “at an appropriate time” once the criminal investigation into Hunter Biden is officially closed.

Asked if Wednesday’s hearing with IRS whistleblowers was a step toward impeaching Garland, House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer told CNN, “There’s a lot of interest in getting the facts out, and we’re moving as quickly as we can.” However, he said he was “responsible for uncovering the facts” and that questions about the impeachment would come later.

Comer, a Kentucky Republican, said, “We have two brave and credible IRS whistleblowers who risked their lives to come forward and provide important testimony. Their testimony about Hunter Biden’s investigation by the DOJ, FBI and IRS corroborates the panel’s findings. There is nothing ordinary about the business operations of the Biden family.

Garland, a top target of the House GOP, is scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee for a routine oversight hearing in September.

Hunter Biden A guilty plea is scheduled A court hearing in Delaware next week for two tax offenses.

This story and headline have been updated to reflect additional developments.

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