More IRS Agents Corroborate Report That Justice Department Discouraged Weiss From Charging Hunter Biden, as Poll Shows Majority of Americans Believe His Father Broke the Law
Two IRS officials say David Weiss did not have authority to charge Hunter Biden, something Weiss and Attorney General Garland have denied.
In the latest development in the drama surrounding the investigation and looming criminal prosecution of Hunter Biden, two officials from the Internal Revenue Service have come forward to corroborate the allegations from earlier this year made by two other IRS whistleblowers who claimed that Special Counsel David Weiss was “not the deciding person” for critical issues at hand during the investigation.
The IRS director of field operations, Michael Batdorf, and a special agent, Darrell Waldon, told the House Ways and Means Committee that Mr. Weiss, who is also the United States attorney for Delaware, had to get sign-off from Department of Justice officials in the tax division if he wanted to bring charges against Mr. Biden, according to a transcript reviewed by the New York Post.
“My understanding would be that DOJ Tax has to authorize it first,” Mr. Batdorf told lawmakers on September 12. “So, I mean, my understanding is that, I mean, he can’t make that decision without DOJ Tax authorization.”
Mr. Weiss, in carefully worded statements, has insisted he had full authority to charge as he saw fit and was not subject to meddling by the DOJ prior to his elevation to special counsel. His protestations have been echoed forcefully by Attorney General Garland.
Yet Mr. Batdorf said he had been party to at least two — but possibly as many as four — meetings between Mr. Weiss and officials from the tax division where DOJ officials tried to dissuade the special counsel from bringing charges. When asked if having that number of meetings to discuss charges was typical, Mr. Batdorf said it was not.
Mr. Batdorf also echoed previous allegations that the United States Attorney for the Central District of California, E. Martin Estrada, declined to partner with Mr. Weiss in bringing charges in his district.
Messrs. Batdorf and Waldon are the first IRS officials to come forward and corroborate the accusations made by two whistleblowers earlier this year. In July, the IRS agents, Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler, sat before the House Oversight Committee to detail what they said was “preferential treatment” given to the first son during the course of the investigation into his foreign business dealings, tax evasion, and illegal gun purchase. Mr. Biden is now facing three felony charges tied to the purchase of that handgun in 2018 when he was in the throes of a drug and alcohol addiction.
Messrs. Ziegler and Shapley said they had never seen such lenience given to a suspected criminal before and that the evidence they saw earlier on would merit charges had the suspect’s last name not been Biden. They also claimed that Mr. Weiss had requested special counsel status from the DOJ but was denied, as were his attempts to charge the first son at the District of Columbia and in California.
Mr. Ziegler said during that hearing that he and Mr. Shapley made “multiple attempts” to bring the alleged interference to the attention of their superiors at the IRS. The alarms he raised were repeatedly rebuffed, he said, leaving him no other option than to bring his concerns to Congress earlier this year.
Mr. Shapley detailed an October 7, 2022, meeting during his Oversight Committee testimony where Mr. Weiss allegedly told IRS and FBI agents that he was being rebuffed by DOJ superiors. Mr. Waldon, in his testimony before the Ways and Means Committee on September 12, told investigators that he had also participated in that October 7 meeting.
Mr. Shapley had taken notes about what Mr. Weiss had said and emailed the memo to Mr. Waldon just four days later, who said Mr. Shapley had “covered it all” in those notes.
This comes as Americans overwhelmingly believe the president was involved with his son’s foreign business dealings. According to a CNN poll released in early September, 61 percent of Americans now believe President Biden had “some involvement” with his son’s affairs, compared to 38 percent who said he was not involved in any way.
Of those 61 percent who believe he was involved, 69 percent believe the president broke the law, compared to 29 percent who said the conduct was “unethical, but not illegal.”
The same poll shows that the elder Mr. Biden is believed to have been somewhat involved in the “sweetheart plea deal” or the preferential treatment allegedly given to his son during the court of the criminal investigation conducted by Mr. Weiss. According to the poll, 55 percent believe he has acted “inappropriately” during the investigation, compared to 44 percent who said he has done nothing wrong.