The three House committees probing potential Biden family corruption on Dec. 5 released a 77-page Interim Staff Report that torches the Department of Justice (DOJ) for its handling – or perhaps mishandling – of the now almost five-year-old joint IRS-DOJ investigation of Hunter Biden. In summary, the report accuses DOJ and FBI bureaucrats of affording Joe Biden’s son “special treatment” and then attempting to “cover up” – per the report – the younger Biden’s ‘wrongdoing’ as well as their own efforts to hamper the investigation.
Though it’s widely known that GOP investigators have received testimony from two Internal Revenue Service whistleblowers — Special Agent Joseph Ziegler and Supervisory Special Agent Gary Shapley — the report is based on so much more than what these two respected IRS agents told lawmakers. The investigating committees conducted transcribed interviews with ten other current or former DOJ, FBI, and IRS officials – several of whom corroborated the claims of DOJ obstruction made by Shapley and Ziegler. They also obtained hundreds of documents relating to the Hunter Biden affair.
Is Hunter Biden Getting a Pass?
The specific allegations made in the report are many. The DOJ “slow-walked” the Hunter Biden investigation, allowing the statute of limitations on some of the most serious tax violations to expire. Justice Department and FBI officials prevented their own and IRS investigators from obtaining and/or examining certain crucial pieces of evidence. Unreasonable demands were placed upon those investigators – demands they told Congress were extremely unusual, if not unheard of, during the course of any other investigation.
Additionally, the FBI tipped off the Biden presidential transition team that investigators planned to intercept and interview Hunter Biden in Delaware. In the end, the agents conducting the investigation, from both the FBI and the IRS, were forbidden from approaching Hunter Biden’s place of residence.
In summary, the report describes how the Justice Department deviated from normal investigative processes in a multitude of ways, all of which benefited Hunter Biden.
The list of ways in which various Biden administration officials hampered the probe goes on and on. Even during the Trump presidency, when the investigation was first opened by the IRS, FBI bureaucrats obstructed the probe. Particularly, the FBI – or at least certain Bureau officials – were unwilling to allow scrutiny of potential corruption in Ukraine that may have been tied to Hunter Biden.
Burisma Scandal Revisited
The report also recounts a conversation from late 2015 or early 2016 between Mykola Zlochevsky, the founder and owner of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, and an FBI “confidential human source,” or CHS. The Ukrainian oligarch told the CHS that he hired Hunter Biden to the Burisma board of directors to “protect us, through his dad, from all kinds of problems.” Zlochevsky also told the source “it cost 5 (million) to pay one Biden, and 5 (million) to [pay] another Biden.” In 2015, then Vice President Joe Biden went to Ukraine and demanded the firing of Viktor Shokin, that country’s top prosecutor, or else the US government would withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees. Shokin had been investigating Burisma and Zlochevsky for suspected corruption. It is speculated that the alleged $5 million payments facilitated that action by Joe Biden.
Did the two whistleblowers – one of whom, the GOP’s interim staff report notes, is “a self-described Democrat” – jeopardize their careers and professional reputations to concoct a false story about DOJ impropriety? Did the other officials interviewed by lawmakers risk their own positions by knowingly corroborating a false narrative? Was a longtime, trusted, and credible CHS spinning the FBI a tall tale about what Zlochevsky told him or her? At this point, one will have to believe the answer to all of those questions is yes if one wants to defend Hunter Biden and Joe Biden and claim they are innocent of any wrongdoing. Still, despite all the evidence, no crimes have yet been proven – shady and unethical conduct, perhaps, but no specific crimes. Then again, if Republican lawmakers have the facts straight in this latest report, no crimes have been proven, perhaps because certain DOJ prosecutors ensured that they could not be proven.