Who is Lying? Merrick Garland or the Whistleblowers?

Below is my column in the Hill on the growing controversy surrounding the investigation of Hunter Biden. I previously wrote on the failure of Attorney General Merrick Garland to restore public trust in his department. This is far more serious. Someone is lying. The allegations raised against the Department now have potentially criminal and impeachable elements. As such, the authority of Congress to investigate is at its apex.  If U.S. Attorney General David Weiss was denied the ability to bring charges in two other jurisdictions and was denied a request for special counsel status, Garland’s past statements to Congress stand contradicted. Alternatively, these whistleblowers (who offered detailed accounts, including the names of other witnesses) have lied to Congress. Even if past statements are untrue or misleading, Garland may not be aware of contradictions given his seemingly shrinking presence at Justice.  Despite the unanimous vote opposition of Democratic members on the Committee, the House must move forward and demand answers from Garland, Weiss, and others. It should also finally call in Hunter Biden, if necessary under compulsion, to end the obfuscation over these messages. The solution to what I have called the “seven-percent solution” is a congressional subpoena.

Here is the column:

“I’m not the deciding official.”

Those five words, allegedly from Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss, shocked IRS and FBI investigators in a meeting on October 22, 2022. This is because, in refusing to appoint a special counsel, Attorney Garland Merrick Garland had repeatedly assured the public and Congress that Weiss had total authority over his investigation.

IRS supervisory agent Gary A. Shapley Jr. told Congress he was so dismayed by Weiss’s statement and other admissions that he memorialized them in a communication to other team members.

Shapley and another whistleblower detail what they describe as a pattern of interference with their investigation of Hunter Biden, including the denial of searches, lines of questioning, and even attempted indictments.

The only thing abundantly clear is that someone is lying. Either these whistleblowers are lying to Congress, or these Justice Department officials (including Garland) are lying.

The response from both Hunter Biden’s counsel and the attorney general himself only deepened the concerns.

Christopher Clark, an attorney for Hunter Biden, responded to a shocking Whatsapp message that the president’s son had allegedly sent to a Chinese official with foreign intelligence contacts who was funneling millions to him.

“I am sitting here with my father,” the younger Biden wrote, “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.”

President Biden has repeatedly told the public that he had no knowledge or involvement in his son’s dealings. He maintained the denial despite audiotapes of him referring to business dealings, photos and meetings with his son’s business associates, as well as an eyewitness account of an in-person meeting.

Clark did not deny that the above-quoted message had been sent. He only said that it was “illegal” to release the text (he did not explain why) and then added that “[a]ny verifiable words or actions of my client in the midst of a horrible addiction are solely his own and have no connection to anyone in his family.”

Most of us expected a simple denial. Yet, after five years, Hunter has never even denied that the laptop was his. His team has continued with the same non-denial denials.

The transcript also details how investigators wanted to confirm the authenticity of the Whatsapp message through the company. The Justice Department reportedly shut down that effort.

If Hunter Biden was evasive, Garland was irate. He denounced the allegations as “an attack on an institution that is essential to American democracy, and essential to the safety of the American people.”

The statement bordered on delusion. Polls show that a majority of the public now views the Justice Department as politically compromised and even engaged in election interference. The level of trust in the department under Garland is now lower than it was under his predecessor, Bill Barr.

These questions are not an attack on the institution, but on what some are doing with it. Garland’s reaction is akin to doctors responding to malpractice lawsuits as attacks on medicine itself.

As in the past, Garland continued to insist that the public must trust him and his department, because “You’ve all heard me say many times that we make our cases based on the facts and the law.”  Once again, he reminded citizens that “these are not just words. These are what we live by.”

For those us who once supported Garland’s nomination as Attorney General, it was another maddening moment. Garland has done little to change the view of his department or to address  the political bias that has plagued it and the FBI for years. That record has resulted in blistering reports from the Inspector General and most recently Special Counsel John Durham.

Garland does have a motto. Yet, as these allegations pile up it is becoming more and more of a meaningless mantra.

The attorney general has a growing problem. For years, many of us have criticized him for his inexplicable refusal to appoint a Special Counsel on the Biden influence peddling scandal. Indeed, I have written over a dozen columns on why such an appointment seemed unavoidable, given the references to the president under various code names as a possible recipient of money and other benefits from foreign deals.

Even after a respected FBI source detailed allegations of a bribery scheme involving Ukrainian figures, Garland still refused to make the appointment. Such an appointment would not only expose Joe Biden to high-risk interviews, but would also allow the Special Counsel to issue a report on influence peddling by his family.

Garland was willing to appoint a Special Counsel to look into classified records found in Biden’s various offices, yet he continues to bar an appointment on major corruption allegations implicating the president.

It was impossible to investigate these matters without tripping over the president and other family members. The whistleblowers detailed repeated occasions in which they were told to back off.

Even the narrow tax issues addressed in Hunter’s recent plea bargain relate to those broader issues, given the source of these funds. Influence peddling may be lawful, but it is also corrupt. Indeed, it is the favorite form of corruption in Washington and a virtual family legacy of the Bidens.

It is the concealment of the corruption that often results in crimes, from false statements to tax evasion to unlawful financial transactions to unlawful work as an unregistered foreign agent.

The whistleblowers allege that the Justice Department consistently cut them off in seeking searches or answers related to President Biden. However, the line that stood out the most was this: “U.S. Attorney Weiss stated that he subsequently asked for special counsel authority from Main DOJ at that time and was denied that authority.”

If true, that means that Garland was not just hearing from experts and members of Congress calling for an appointment, but that Weiss himself also saw the need for such an appointment. Moreover, the report indicates that others in the investigation believed that there was a need to create such separation from the Justice Department in light of what they viewed as the special treatment given the president’s son.

These accounts could explain why the Justice Department took five years to secure a guilty plea to two misdemeanors that could have been established in the first month of the investigation.

It would explain why there is no evidence of serious investigation into the influence peddling or a charge under FARA. It would explain why Hunter’s lawyer cannot recall ever being asked about the laptop.

It would explain why the problem is not the Justice Department’s motto, but the man who is tasked with fulfilling it.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law for George Washington University.

213 thoughts on “Who is Lying? Merrick Garland or the Whistleblowers?”

  1. because a person has been a lawyer and a judge, he or she may STILL NOT BE QUALIFIED to lead an organization, inspire a vision, ensure fidelity to the constitution. Even Biden can’t do it. We need leaders not former lawyers, judges and politicians. Garland’s organization is compromised/weaponized and cannot be trusted any longer. He should resign if he had any gonads. Fall on your sword Merrick. And get a first name that doesn’t sound like a big Pharma company.

  2. Other possibilities.

    1. Weiss lied to the group, when he said that he had power to charge wherever he wanted.

    2. He didn’t have that power, but got it later. (In which case, his letter was still duplicitous as there was a time, he lacked the authority and that impacted what was done).

    3. The whistleblowers are mistaken.

    4. Weiss did not have the power, but Garland didn’t understand that.

    5. Etc.

  3. Turley is, as always, dishonest. The “whistleblower” doesn’t even allege wrongdoing. Those pushing the “laptop” never bother to produce any evidence of wrongdoing found on it. The “charge” the DOJ was engaged in prosecutorial decisions is absurd.

    Turley, moreover, was apoplectic over a special counsel getting appointed after Trump admitted attempting to obstruct justice on national television. Now, he’s demanding one getting appointed to investigate Biden without any predicate at all. He’s a lying hack and has always been a lying hack.

    1. Special Agent Shapley (1 of multiple “Whistleblowers”) specifically said there were additional charges to be filed, but that US Attorney Weiss stated in a meeting that:

      1) The US attorneys in CA & DE declined to allow Weiss to file charges in their districts

      2) That he (US Attorney Weiss) was not the final authority on which charges would be allowed to be filed.

      Shapley contemporaneously documented these statements in an email to his colleagues that was corroborated in a written response to that email.

      Both corroborated statements made by US Attorney Weiss flatly contradict things that AG Garland has publicly stated both to the citizenry via press conference & under oath in Congressional testimony.

  4. Garland is a raving sick lying POS who is doing the bidding of the Deep State-Shadow Government. I’ve watched him being grilled by the likes of Ted Cruz proving that Garland is just as described. He is only the first of a few that need to be impeached or imprisoned for being TRAITORS TO OUR COUNTRY !!!

  5. Merrick Garland is a JEW. It has a prayer called the KOL NIDRE, which is carte blanche to lie whenever it feels the need. Especially to non-Jews.

    1. The most lying people in the world, in alphabetical order, are Agnostics, Atheists, Baptists, Buddhists, Catholics, Episcopalians, Hindus, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jews, Lutherans, Methodists, Mormons, Muslims, Orthodox Christians, Presbyterians, Quakers, Scientologists, Seventh-Day Adventists, and Unitarians. Whenever you are around any of these people, don’t believe a word they say.

    2. Anti-religious bigotry is very popular these days among self-anointed leftist elites.

    3. Let’s stop Jew hatred right here and right now. This is not the Democrat party and the Squad. Boy, do I hate losers like Letmepicyou, Tlaib, Pressley, AOC and Omar.

    4. This guy is an idiot, but we already know that. He proved it repeatedly under different names.

    5. OH. MY. GOD!!!! It’s the Jooz behind EVERYTHING. If only Hitler hadn’t pissed off the rest of the world and had been able to settle the Jooz problem, everything today would be okay! They’re not like devout Catholics like Biden, Pelosi, and Schumer!

      And Republicans wonder why the Soviet Democrats claim they’re all neo-Nazis.

  6. They need to BOOT Merrick Garland. Theres no place in our government for lying corruption like him.

    1. Garland is a liar working towards an advanced degree in lying. He is taking a course from the expert, the liar and king of corruption, Joe Biden.

  7. Who is lying? Merrick Garland, although he’s not very good about it in spite of all his practice.

  8. At this point even if they had an entire home movie of Biden and Hunter meeting with these people with guns, drugs and hookers, counting stacks of cash and discussing it, mainstream media would ignore it and the few who talk about it would bring up Trump. Biden knows with his pet chihuahua at the DOJ nothing will happen to them and Joe can pardon himself and his family and every criminal in prison if he wants. The day they lied and said Biden ‘won’ the election was the day it all ended. I don’t think we can come back from this unless Jesus comes back

    1. Or as someone once said, “Even if the home movie showed this happening in the middle of Fifth Avenue…

  9. According to Forbes Magazine, the Biden plea bargain is unusual only in that he got charged at all:

    “Legal experts have said it’s rare for the Justice Department to prosecute people for the charges Hunter Biden faces, especially given his status as a first-time offender, willingness to admit guilt and the fact he has paid back the taxes he owed the IRS.”

    1. I would agree with that SteveJ. How many times have I heard an ad for ‘Settling Your Back Taxes’ or news about a ‘Felon in Possession of a Gun’.
      Its like an every day thing. Yes Hunter is the Presidents Son but “You Don’t Make a FEDERAL CASE out of it!”. Particularly when there is a mountain of serious violations involved. And how is it Hunter Pleads to a Lessor Charge when not one Higher Charge have been made ?
      (He’s presumably yet to be charged).

      Bottom line – it doesn’t make sense or add up, and its wrong. On the bright side, the petty-stuff is over and can not be re-tried, which means the heavy-stuff is now front and center (Burisma and Other Violations). SO “Line-Em-Up” bring on the next set of Charges !

      1. Felon in possession of a gun is a different crime, and outside of the peoples republics felon in possession of gun charges are prosecuted and result in jail time.

        Hunter is guilty of lying under oath on a sworn form required to pass a background check to obtain a firearm.
        Even Joe Biden has REPEATEDLY said those who do so should go to jail.

        Regardless, this is a “Federal case” – the laws being violated were federal laws.

        But this deal is likely to prove an albatros for Joe Biden. Hunter Biden can be forced to testify, because he has plead guilty he can not take the fifth.

        Further as is always the case – the coverup usually is worse than the crime.

        Large portions of the IRS/DOJ/FBI are implicated in this coverup – house republicans are in a target rich environment.

        Let the Hunt Begin.

      2. Biden wasn’t a “felon in possession of a gun.” The charge he’s pled guilty to is answering a question falsely on Form 4473. The specific question has to do with drug use. There are very few prosecutions for lying on that form, and I’ve been unable to find another for lying about that specific question.

        The tax charges are usually dealt with civilly.

        When you say “Burisma and Other Violations,” what specific crimes are you talking about, and what evidence supports the allegations?

        1. “The tax charges are usually dealt with civilly.”

          That is false: “Nearly two-thirds of tax fraud offenders were sentenced to imprisonment (63.9%).”

          P.S. Your mask is slipping.

    2. Forbes is incorrect and should know better.

      First it is already well documented that Hunter has NOT paid all the taxes that we KNOW that he owes.

      Next the norm is for the IRS to leverage criminal charges to get userous interest and penalties – also NOT true in this case.

      Further the investigation was thwarted from exploring additional taxes that Hunter – as well as the rest of the Biden family likely have not paid.

      The house thinks they have only found a portion of the income that the Biden’s collected and laundered.
      The IRS WB testimony states that the IRS beleived there was MORE hidden income and was not allowed to chase it down.

      Next, the IRS always prosecutes those engaged in money laundering – and that it what it was when the Biden’s took foreign income and ran it through multiple shell companies to hide it – including from the IRS.

      Next the IRS always prosecutes those who evade taxes on this scale – I am not talking about those who owe large tax bills because they have gargantuan incomes. I am talking about those who hid almost the entirety of their income from the IRS.

      Elon Musk could make minor errors on his taxes and owe millions. With more difficulty Trump could make honest errors and owe millions.

      Hunter Biden did not hide 0.1% of his income from the IRS, he hid 90% of his income.
      That is ALWAYS prosecuted.

      Many people are prosecuted – and go to jail for the gun charges that Hunter is facing.

      Finally the Drug Addict defense is NO DEFENSE AT ALL.

      I will be perfectly happy to fully legalize heroin. That will not change the FACT that if you commit crimes while addicted to drugs – you go to jail.
      In fact I am MORE likely to send you to jail if your claim is “the drugs made me do it”.
      Because if you can not control your own life sufficiently to avoid crimes, then you are not safe and belong in prison.

    3. That is your take away ?

      Turley points out that we face a serious problem – that is only Tangentially about Hunter Biden, and you instantly fixate on whether Hunter Biden’s deal is typical or not ?

      The credible claims here – with a building body of evidence is that MANY people in the executive branch of government – under Both Trump and Biden,
      have engaged in a criminal coverup, election rigging, and obstruction of justice by those tasked with enforcing justice.

      There are THREE major areas of concern here.

      The FIRST and LEAST consequential is that Hunter Biden’s crimes go far beyond what he is pleading to.

      The 2nd is that dozens of ranking members if the executive branch are engaged in obstruction of justice and a criminal coverup of actual crimes.
      That coverup MIGHT lead all the way to Joe Biden. But it does not need to.
      The odds of these WB’s having lied under oath about EVERYTHING are slim to none. And take note – If they are correct about even ONE claim the Biden executive is criminally politically corrupt.

      It is highly likely – and in fact, several of the claims of the WB’;s are either already proven true or easily proveable. And nearly all of the claims of the WB’s can be proven or refuted by records DOJ/FBI/IRS posses and will be FORCED to turn over to congress.

      The 3rd Major issue is that this all confirms that VP Biden was criminally politically corrupt.

    4. “Legal experts have said it’s rare for the Justice Department to prosecute people for …”

      Generally, in a court of law, there are two sets of lawyers, one for and one against, so the statement is factually correct. However, that statement tells us the author is not worth reading if this is the quality of her work.

    5. The DOJ, he explained, is run by attorney-general memos. The Holder memo says federal prosecutors “should ordinarily” charge the most serious readily provable offense though decisions “must always be made in the context of ‘an individualized assessment of the extent to which particular charges fit the specific circumstances of the case, are consistent with the purpose of the Federal criminal code and maximize the impact of Federal resources on crime.’” And, “in all cases, the charges should fairly represent the defendant’s criminal conduct, and due consideration should be given to the defendant’s substantial assistance in an investigation or prosecution.”


  10. Garland had such an impeccable reputation previous to this appointment that even President Trump considered him for a role in his administration, maybe even as AG, I can’t remember now. So the question in my mind is, why is he doing this? I really don’t believe that someone who has spent a lifetime building a reputation would throw it away just to keep a job on a sinking ship. So why does he stay and voluntarily chain himself to the aforesaid sinking ship? I have to figure they have some very significant leverage on the guy. The other side of the influence peddling coin is blackmail and threats. Biden has shown that he has zero scruples, zero ethics, if anything, he’s in the negative numbers in terms of morals. So I have to wonder what kind of pressure is being exerted on Garland to destroy his reputation.

    1. I doubt these people are being blackmailed.

      Further while I have ZERO doubt that we are seeing a criminal political coverup and obstruction of justice, I would be surprised if Joe Biden’s fingers -= much less his fingerprints are involved.

      What we have learned is that whether it is because of hatred of Donald Trump or just to preserve their own power, many many people – including some republicans will act immorally, unethically, illegally and unconstitutionally – if they can delude themselves into beleiving it is for a greater good.

      When you run around ranting that your political opponents are Nazi’s fascists, Budding Hitler’s. it is all too easy to sacrifice morality and legality for your warped perception of a “greater good”.

      nothing will change until these people look in the mirror and recognize who they are.
      And that is not happening soon.

  11. Merrick Garland had a chance to directly address the discrepancy but instead used his time to dismiss all criticism of him as an attack against justice. As if he represents Justice and government is beyond reproach. Reminds me of other Leftist members of the permanent government: Fauci – I am Science. Mayorkas – I am Moses.

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