House Republicans subpoena 4 people involved in Hunter Biden criminal probe
(CNN) — House Republicans issued four subpoenas to personnel from the Department of Justice and the IRS involved in the ongoing criminal investigation into Hunter Biden on Monday, as they continue to probe alleged mishandling and political interference of the case into President Joe Biden’s son.
The subpoenas from House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan and House Ways and Means Chair Jason Smith target people involved in a key October 2022 meeting that IRS whistleblowers say exposed previously unknown roadblocks U.S. Attorney David Weiss, who recently was appointed special counsel over the case, faced when trying to bring charges against Hunter Biden.
The subpoenas to two people from the IRS and two people from the DOJ underscore how House Republicans seek to move forward with securing testimony in their investigations related to Hunter Biden even though Weiss’ appointment as special counsel could complicate congressional efforts to force compliance from prosecutors and investigators involved in the ongoing criminal probe.
“Our duty is to follow the facts wherever they may lead, and our subpoenas compelling testimony from Biden Administration officials are crucial to understanding how the President’s son received special treatment from federal prosecutors and who was the ultimate decision maker in the case,” Jordan, of Ohio, and Smith, of Missouri, said in a joint statement with the release of the subpoenas.
House Republicans first sought voluntary cooperation with more than a dozen figures involved in the Hunter Biden probe on June 29, including the four individuals subpoenaed Monday. In their subpoena letters, Republicans argue that the IRS and DOJ have not cooperated in making the individuals they requested available for voluntary transcribed interviews.
The subpoenas to IRS Director of Field Operations Michael Batdorf, IRS Special Agent in Charge Darrell Waldon, FBI Special Agent in Charge Thomas Sobocinski, and FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Ryeshia Holley come as Republicans seek to learn more about what IRS whistleblowers revealed to Congress about a key Oct. 7, 2022, meeting with Weiss.
IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley has testified to Congress that in the meeting Weiss said he was not the deciding person on whether charges were filed against Hunter Biden. According to Shapley’s notes on the meeting provided to Congress, Sobocinski and Holley were in the October meeting while Batdorf and Waldon were among individuals to receive emails summarizing the meeting. Shapley’s allegations undermine what Weiss and Attorney General Merrick Garland have publicly said about the US attorney’s independence on the matter.
In response to claims of political interference in the Hunter Biden criminal probe, Weiss has told House Republicans that Garland granted him “ultimate authority over this matter, including responsibility for deciding where, when, and whether to file charges.”
Shapley also testified to committee investigators that it was during this October 2022 meeting that he first learned that Weiss had requested to be named as a special counsel but was denied. In testimony to Congress in March, Garland said Weiss was advised “he is not to be denied anything he needs.”
Following the collapse of plea talks between the Justice Department and Hunter Biden to resolve tax and gun charges, Weiss requested the authority once again, with Garland granting the special counsel status earlier this month.
In their subpoena letters, House Republicans also raised questions about the decision.
“The timing of this decision to appoint U.S. Attorney Weiss as a special counsel also comes after whistleblowers have raised serious and unchallenged allegations of impropriety in the investigation of Hunter Biden,” the letters say.
Before he was appointed special counsel, Weiss had offered to testify on Capitol Hill after lawmakers returned from August recess. However, past practice suggests Weiss’ newfound status could insulate him from doing so until the investigation is complete and he has finished the report he’s expected to deliver.