Hunter Biden was back in Washington last night for a formal dinner at the White House with the Indian Prime Minister. With his plea deal and settlement in Arkansas, Hunter is apparently back in circulation. However, the House Oversight Committee has released a disturbing report on allegations from two whistleblowers on irregularities and interference in the investigation. The Justice Department is pushing back on these allegations and there should not be a rush to judgment. However, there should be answers.
I have previously stated that I was not surprised by the use of misdemeanors in the tax matters. These whistleblowers are alleging a basis for more serious charges, which may be based on undisclosed evidence. For my part, I have never thought that the tax or gun charges were the most serious matters raised by Hunter’s business dealings. Rather I continue to believe that there was a basis for charges as an unregistered foreign agent under FARA in light of past cases brought by the Justice Department. I also believe that a special counsel should have been appointed on the allegations involving influence peddling by the Biden family.
Yet, the report says that there was an effort to charge the tax matters as felonies and U.S. Attorney David Weiss was rebuffed in his attempt to bring charges in two jurisdictions. I would be frankly surprised that Weiss was prevented in bringing cases before grand juries. Whistleblowers in the IRS may not know the full story on such decisions being made by the U.S. Attorney’s office. However, that should be easily addressed by the Committee in its investigation.
The report also says that efforts to conduct key searches were rebuffed. That is something that these whistleblowers would potentially have direct knowledge of actions. Many of these allegations focus on the role of Assistant US Attorney Lesley Wolf, who is also accused of running interference with IRS agents. Again, in fairness to Wolf, allegations are not proof. She may have had legitimate reasons for her actions or may deny the allegations entirely. At this point, the House needs to call in Wolf to address the allegations.
There is also a very specific (but unverified) account of a message sent by Hunter to a Chinese businessman. Whistleblower Gary Shapley told the Committee:
“[W]e obtained a July 30th, 2017, WhatsApp message from Hunter Biden to Henry Zhao, where Hunter 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.’”
That would be shattering, if true. However, we need to see if it can be authenticated. If this is faked, it would itself be worthy of congressional action for those responsible.
It is also concerning that the whistleblowers recounted active interference with their efforts to steer them away from the influence peddling areas, including questioning a key Biden family associate, Rob Walker. If proven, that would be the first confirmation of an active effort to avoid gathering evidence on influence peddling by the family.
Again, those are areas where these whistleblowers would have direct knowledge and their statements to Congress are made under threat of prosecution if they are found to be untrue. That includes their allegations that key searches were denied or compromised.
Shapley testified that Wolf told them not to “ask about the big guy and stated she did not want to ask questions about ‘dad’.” He recounted how multiple people from the IRS and FBI objected to the limitations. Shapley also said that there was confirmation of meetings being set up with Joe Biden, which would directly contradict the President in his long denials of such knowledge or involvement.
The report is full of very specific accounts of meetings and decisions that warrant investigation. More importantly, there is ample basis for Congress to use its oversight and subpoena authority in light of these sworn statements. If even half of these allegations are proven, the Hunter Biden investigation itself could prove a serious scandal in the making.