As this week began, things took a serious turn when House Speaker Kevin McCarthy raised the stakes by mentioning the potential impeachment of Attorney General Merrick Garland. McCarthy said Republicans would initiate an impeachment inquiry into Garland by July 6, adding a sense of urgency.
The push is consistent with Republicans' longstanding complaints about Garland's Justice Department operating a two-tier system, wherein individuals affiliated with the Democratic Party often receive lenient treatment while Republicans find themselves targeted for prosecution. Also, the Justice Department and FBI find themselves deeply entangled and face accusations of election interference as we approach 2024.
Allegations And Whistleblower Testimony
Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss, appointed by former President Trump, has investigated Hunter Biden's finances since 2018. Weiss's investigation recently concluded with a plea deal in which Hunter Biden pleaded guilty to two tax misdemeanors for failing to pay income taxes. Hunter would also participate in a pretrial diversion program for unlawful weapon possession, thus resolving a felony gun charge.
Last week, the House Ways and Means Committee released the testimony of two IRS whistleblowers. They claimed Hunter Biden received special treatment from the IRS and the Justice Department that would not have been granted to ordinary Americans.
The committee cited a 2014 case involving a Miami attorney who received a 13-month prison sentence and a year of supervised release for failing to file tax returns in order to highlight the double standard.
The whistleblowers also claimed that the Justice Department interfered in the Hunter Biden probe, using "Delay, Divulge, and Deny" tactics to protect the president's son.
The testimony showed the investigation faced repeated delays without justification, including during the authentication of the message between Hunter Biden and Chinese officials.
Critical information was divulged to Hunter Biden's attorneys beforehand regarding actions related to the investigation. For instance, even when investigators had valid reasons to search a storage unit in Northern Virginia where Hunter Biden had stored files, his attorneys were tipped off in advance.
According to the whistleblowers, Weiss attempted to bring charges in the District of Columbia in March 2022 but was denied. In the spring of 2022, Weiss requested special counsel status from the DOJ but was denied. Similarly, in the fall of 2022, Weiss sought to bring charges in the Central District of California, but that request was rejected in January 2023.
Witnesses, including FBI and IRS agents, corroborated the whistleblowers’ statements. Further, Committee members from the Democratic and Republican parties were present during the whistleblower depositions.
On a related matter of high importance, the whistleblowers have also revealed that the FBI authenticated the Hunter Biden laptop in November 2019 by matching the device number to Hunter Biden's Apple iCloud ID. Despite being aware of its authenticity, the FBI actively urged social media companies to suppress the news in October 2020. Fifty-one senior intelligence officials wrongly claimed that the laptop was Russian disinformation days before a crucial presidential debate, a point President Biden repeatedly leveled against Trump. These two events by themselves could have changed the outcome of the 2020 election.
AG Garland denied that Hunter Biden received special treatment and defended the integrity of the Justice Department. He claimed that David Weiss followed the law when making decisions. In a press conference on Friday, Garland asserted that the unfounded claims constituted an attack on an essential institution of American democracy.
Additionally, Garland mentioned that Weiss would testify about the allegations raised by the whistleblowers when he deemed it appropriate.
In early June, Weiss wrote to Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) that the DOJ had given him “ultimate authority” over the Hunter Biden investigation, “including responsibility for deciding where, when, and whether to file charges and for making decisions necessary to preserve the integrity of the prosecution.”
The whistleblowers' account contradicts Garland’s assertions driving McCarthy’s impeachment push. McCarthy wants Weiss to appear before the House Judiciary Committee by July 6 and answer questions about the IRS whistleblowers' claims.
What is in question is who is telling the truth: the Whistleblowers or the DOJ? If the whistleblowers' allegations are true, impeachment inquiries against the attorney general will begin.
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