Two IRS whistleblowers were testifying Wednesday before the House Oversight Committee about their claims that the Justice Department mishandled its years-long investigation of Hunter Biden, the President’s son.
It was the first time that whistleblowers Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler have spoken publicly about their allegations, which the Department of Justice as well as the Trump-appointed federal prosecutor who led the government’s case both dispute.
In what was expected to be a six-hour hearing, Shapely told the committee in a prepared statement, “Based on this experience, I am here to tell you that the Delaware USAO [U.S. Attorney’s Office] and Department of Justice handling of the Hunter Biden tax investigation was very different from any other case in my 14 years at the IRS.”
Hunter Biden struck a plea deal with U.S. Attorney David Weiss, a Trump appointee, for two misdemeanors for failure to pay taxes in a timely manner in 2017 and 2018, and for felony gun possession. He’d lied on his gun application about his struggles with drug addiction.
Republicans have blasted the plea agreement as a “sweetheart deal,” and have pointed to Shapley’s allegations as evidence of a criminal justice system that’s weighed unfairly in favor of the President’s son.
Weiss defended his investigation in a two-page letter to House Republicans earlier this month, insisting that the DOJ “did not retaliate” against Shapley after the IRS employee reached out to Congressional investigators about Hunter Biden’s case.
Zeigler, previously known as “Whistleblower X” before he revealed his identity at Wednesday’s hearing, describing himself as a “gay Democrat married to a man,” asserted in his Congressional testimony that Hunter Biden “should have been charged with a tax felony, and not only the tax misdemeanor charge.”
He added that communications and text messages reviewed by investigators “may be a contradiction to what President Biden was saying about not being involved in Hunter’s oversea business dealings.”
President Biden has denied—angrily—that he was ever involved in an alleged shakedown of a Chinese businessman by Hunter.
“No I wasn’t, and I won’t,” the President responded to reporters’ questions about an alleged WhatsApp message of Hunter invoking his father’s name and demanding payment from the Chinese associate.
Federal District Judge Maryellen Noreika, a Trump appointee who received bipartisan backing from the Senate, is assigned to oversee Hunter Biden’s case.