House panel subpoenas senior IRS officials over Hunter Biden tax case

House panel subpoenas senior IRS officials over Hunter Biden tax case

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Two senior IRS officials have been subpoenaed by the GOP-led House Ways and Means Committee, according to documents obtained by CBS News, for testimony about an October 2022 meeting in which an IRS whistleblower alleged that David Weiss, who was then the U.S. attorney investigating President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, said he did not have the ultimate authority to bring charges against the president’s son. 

Earlier this month, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Weiss as special counsel in the case, two weeks after a plea agreement between Hunter Biden and the government collapsed. 

The GOP chairman of the committee, Rep. Jason Smith, sent letters to Michael Batdorf, identified as an IRS director of field operations and Darrell Waldon, an IRS Special Agent in Charge, for transcribed interviews in early September.

“The Committees requested the interview with you because you have been identified as someone who has direct knowledge of a key meeting on October 7, 2022, in which updates about the Hunter Biden investigation were discussed,” Smith wrote. “To date, the IRS has refused to voluntarily cooperate with the pending request for a transcribed interview with you. Therefore, please find attached a subpoena compelling you to sit for a deposition before the Committee on Ways and Means.”

According to a transcript of his May interview before the House Ways and Means Committee, IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley testified that the Oct. 7, 2022, session was his “red-line” meeting.

Shapley said Weiss, “senior-level managers” from the IRS, FBI and the Delaware U.S. attorney’s office participated, among others. At the meeting Shapley alleged that Weiss “surprised us by telling us on the (Hunter Biden) charges, quote: ‘I’m not the deciding official on whether charges are filed,’ unquote. He then shocked us with the earth-shattering news that the Biden-appointed D.C. U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves would not allow him to charge in Washington, D.C., where Hunter Biden lived during some of the years under investigation. To add to the surprise, U.S. Attorney Weiss stated that he subsequently asked for special counsel authority from Main DOJ at that time and was denied that authority.”

Shapley then alleged that bringing tax charges in California, where Hunter Biden now lives, was also in doubt. 

“This was troubling, because he stated that, if California does not support charging, he has no authority to charge in California,” the transcript reads. “Because it had been denied, he informed us the government would not be bringing charges against Hunter Biden for the 2014-2015 tax years, for which the statute of limitations were set to expire in one month. All of our years of effort getting to the bottom of the massive amounts of foreign money Hunter Biden received from Burisma and others during that period would be for nothing.”

Shapley’s testimony included internal IRS communications. “Exhibit 10” is an email sent to Waldon and Batdorf by Shapley on Oct. 11, 2022. Asked if Shapley’s summary of the Oct. 7, 2022 meeting was accurate — including allegations that Weiss said he didn’t have the authority to charge Hunter Biden — Waldon responded, “You covered it all.”

 The IRS did not immediately respond to CBS News’ request for comment. A spokesperson for Weiss in Delaware and the Justice Department declined to comment.   

But Weiss told Congress in a letter on June 30 that he had been given the authority to bring charges with the matter in any district “where charges could be brought,” including Washington, D.C., or California.

Days earlier, on June 23, Attorney General Merrick Garland told reporters, “The only person with authority to make somebody a special counsel or refuse to make somebody a special counsel is the attorney general. Mr. Weiss never made that request to me. Garland also said at the time that Weiss would be permitted “to make a decision to prosecute any way in which he wanted to and in any district in which he wanted to.”

The IRS subpoenas are the latest development in the GOP’s investigations into Hunter Biden as Republicans seek to tie his controversial business dealings to the president. 

Hunter Biden’s former business partner, Devon Archer, recently talked about his dealings with the Bidens in congressional testimony. He told the House Oversight and Accountability Committee that the younger Biden was selling “the brand” during Mr. Biden’s vice presidency, and it was Joe Biden who “brought the most value to the brand,” according to the transcript of Archer’s interview.

The White House has repeatedly denied that the president had any involvement in his son’s business ventures.

Democrats, noting that the GOP chairman of the committee has subpoena power without Democrats, accused the majority of “cherry-picking to build a politically-expedient narrative,” a spokesperson for the Democrats on the House Ways & Means Committee said. “The Committee has a duty to seek the whole truth related to these allegations, and when more than 59 individuals have relevant information, sending two subpoenas is premature.”

The spokesperson also noted that Ranking Member Richard Neal last month sent Chairman Smith a letter accusing committee Republicans “of rushing to release unsubstantiated allegations about the Hunter Biden probe to the public, and only interviewing 2 people out of dozens of potential witnesses.”

Ellis Kim contributed to this report.

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