Politics

Here Are All The Questions Congress Must Ask Merrick Garland About The Hunter Biden Case

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James Lynch Investigative Reporter
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Attorney General Merrick Garland is set to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday as the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) handling of the Hunter Biden case remains contested.

Garland will appear before the House Judiciary Committee for an oversight hearing on the alleged politicization of the DOJ, and lawmakers will have an opportunity to ask questions about the disputed aspects of the Hunter Biden investigation. (RELATED: Here’s All The Evidence Connecting Joe Biden To Hunter Biden’s Foreign Business Dealings)

IRS whistleblowers Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler testified to the House Ways and Means Committee in May and June and accused DOJ investigators of giving Hunter Biden special treatment. The House Ways and Means, Oversight and Judiciary Committees are investigating the whistleblower allegations, and Garland will have a chance to answer questions over the unresolved aspects of the IRS whistleblower testimony.

Below are all the questions the House Judiciary Committee should ask Garland on the Hunter Biden situation during Wednesday’s hearing.

Did you lie under oath when you testified that the case would be free from political interference?

Garland testified before the Senate Appropriations Committee in April 2022 and Republican Tennessee Sen. Bill Hagerty asked him about the Hunter Biden investigation.

“The Hunter Biden investigation, as I said, even in my own confirmation hearing, is being run by and supervised by the United States Attorney for the District of Delaware,” Garland said.

“He is in charge of that investigation, there will not be interference of any political or improper kind,” he added. Garland refused to say whether a special counsel should be appointed to oversee the case in response to a question from Hagerty.

He made similar remarks to Republican Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley in March 2023, before Shapley first came forward with allegations of misconduct.

Shapley and IRS whistleblower Joseph Ziegler’s testimony appeared to contradict Garland’s assertion that the Hunter Biden case would be free of political influence. The whistleblowers specifically testified that Delaware Assistant U.S. Attorney Lesley Wolf allegedly tipped off Hunter Biden’s defense counsel to their plans to search his northern Virginia locker. Wolf also allegedly shut down investigators’ attempts to search a guesthouse at Joe Biden’s Delaware property where Hunter Biden lived off and on.

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 19: (L-R) Supervisory IRS Special Agent Gary Shapley and IRS Criminal Investigator Joseph Ziegler testify during a House Oversight Committee hearing related to the Justice Department's investigation of Hunter Biden, on Capitol Hill July 19, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 19: (L-R) Supervisory IRS Special Agent Gary Shapley and IRS Criminal Investigator Joseph Ziegler testify during a House Oversight Committee hearing related to the Justice Department’s investigation of Hunter Biden, on Capitol Hill July 19, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

In addition, Shapley testified that DOJ officials did not follow up on a threatening text message Hunter Biden apparently sent to a Chinese business associate where he referenced Joe Biden’s presence.

“I am sitting here with my father and we would like to understand why the commitment made has not been fulfilled. Tell the director that I would like to resolve this now before it gets out of hand, and now means tonight,” Biden said in the alleged text message, according to Shapley’s testimony.

“I will make certain that between the man sitting next to me and every person he knows and my ability to forever hold a grudge that you will regret not following my direction. I am sitting here waiting for the call with my father, ” he added, according to Shapley. Images from Hunter Biden’s laptop show he was present with Joe Biden on the day he sent the alleged text message, according to The Washington Free Beacon.

Did David Weiss request special counsel authority before his appointment?

Another central aspect of Shapley’s testimony is his allegation that Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss requested special counsel authority and got rejected by the DOJ before being appointed special counsel in August. Shapley testified that Weiss said at an Oct. 7, 2022, meeting that he asked the DOJ for special counsel authority and got denied.

The IRS whistleblower’s attorney in July released an email Shapley sent documenting the meeting after Weiss denied he requested special counsel authority. Shapley’s attorneys released handwritten notes Sept. 13 showing the DOJ told Weiss “no” when he asked for special counsel status. Shapley’s notes were released after Thomas Sobocinski, an FBI agent on the Hunter Biden case, disputed parts of Shapley’s testimony while testifying before the House Judiciary Committee in September.

Garland appointed Weiss special counsel in August after Hunter Biden’s plea deal collapsed and the two IRS whistleblowers accused Biden of receiving special treatment under Weiss’ watch. House Republicans led by Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer came out against Weiss’ special counsel designation because of the whistleblower allegations.

Did the U.S. attorneys for Washington, D.C., and the Central District of California refuse to cooperate?

Shapley testified that Biden-appointed U.S. Attorney for D.C. Matthew Graves and Biden appointed U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California refused to charge Hunter Biden for alleged tax offenses in their districts. An FBI agent currently working on the Hunter Biden investigation testified to the House Judiciary Committee in September that neither U.S. attorney cooperated with Weiss when he sought charges for Hunter Biden. The New York Times in June independently confirmed Weiss was blocked from charging Hunter Biden in California.

When he became special counsel, Weiss moved to withdraw Hunter Biden’s two tax misdemeanors in Delaware to potentially charge Biden in D.C. or California. Delaware U.S. District Court Judge Maryellen Noreika approved Weiss’ motion and the tax charges against Biden were dismissed without prejudice.

Did David Weiss have final charging authority before he became special counsel?

Both of the FBI agents on the Hunter Biden case disputed Shapley’s testimony that Weiss did not have final charging authority before he was appointed special counsel. Shapley’s email and notes from the Oct. 7, 2022, meeting indicate Weiss said he did not have final charging authority after the D.C. U.S. attorney refused to cooperate.

In a June letter to Republican Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, Weiss said his charging authority was limited to his district and that it was DOJ procedure to seek cooperation from U.S. attorneys if charges are set to be filed in their district.

Weiss told a different story in July when he wrote a letter to Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham saying he had final charging authority and did not request special counsel status.

Was the Biden transition team tipped off to the plan to interview Hunter Biden?

A retired FBI agent involved with the Hunter Biden case and Shapley have testified that Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential transition team was tipped off to plans to interview Hunter Biden. The plan was to interview Biden in California on Dec. 8, 2020, and the former FBI agent said he found out Dec. 7 that the Biden transition team had been notified of the interview. He told the House Judiciary Committee that his supervisors shut down the Hunter Biden interview on the day it was planned.

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04: (L-R) President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden, Finnegan Biden holding Beau Biden, Hunter Biden, Melissa Cohen and Peter Neal watch fireworks on the South Lawn of the White House on July 04, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 04: (L-R) President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden, Finnegan Biden holding Beau Biden, Hunter Biden, Melissa Cohen and Peter Neal watch fireworks on the South Lawn of the White House on July 04, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

“And as we got together or while we got together on that morning, I was notified by my assistant special agent in charge that we would not even be allowed to approach the house; that the plan, as told to us, was that my information would be given to the Secret Service, to whom I don’t know exactly, and, you know, my name, my contact, you know, my cell phone, for example, with the notification that we would like to talk to Hunter Biden; and that I was not to go near the house and to stand by,” the retired agent testified.

No interview with Biden ever took place on the day it was scheduled. The House Ways and Means, Oversight and Judiciary Committees continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding the apparently failed Hunter Biden interview.

Is the FBI FD-1023 form currently being investigated? Can you provide an update on the investigation?

Sen. Grassley released an FBI FD-1023 form in July with intelligence from a confidential human source (CHS) who said Ukrainian energy firm Burisma’s founder Mykola Zlochevsky bragged that he sent $5 million each to Hunter Biden and Joe Biden to get former Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin fired. Zlochevsky said he had 17 recordings involving the Bidens, according to the form, including two featuring Joe Biden.

The CHS also alleged Zlochevsky told him Hunter Biden was hired to Burisma’s board to “protect us, through his dad, from all kinds of problems,” while Joe Biden was serving as vice president. Burisma paid Hunter Biden more than $80,000 per month as a board member despite his lack of experience in both the energy sector and Ukraine, according to bank records released by House Oversight.

House Oversight Chairman James Comer in June said the form’s contents are currently being investigated by the FBI, but no updates have been given on the status of the investigation at the time of writing. Shapley and Ziegler both testified in July that they had never seen the FBI form during their investigative work on the Hunter Biden case.

“There’s things that are contained on that document that could further corroborate other information that we might be having an issue corroborating because it could be regarding a foreign official. So if we have information regarding that in a document or a witness, we can further corroborate later evidence,” Ziegler testified.

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 19: IRS Criminal Investigator Joseph Ziegler testifies during a House Oversight Committee hearing related to the Justice Department's investigation of Hunter Biden, on Capitol Hill July 19, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 19: IRS Criminal Investigator Joseph Ziegler testifies during a House Oversight Committee hearing related to the Justice Department’s investigation of Hunter Biden, on Capitol Hill July 19, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Shapley in June sent a supplemental affidavit to the House Ways and Means Committee saying prosecutors never shared the FD-1023 allegations with the IRS. Former Attorney General Bill Barr said in June that the Delaware U.S. Attorneys office knew about the FBI form in fall 2020. Likewise, Grassley wrote a letter to Weiss in July saying Wolf and two Baltimore FBI agents were briefed on the FD-1023 allegations in October 2020, ahead of the presidential election.

Was Devon Archer’s prosecution politically motivated? 

Hunter Biden’s former business associate, Devon Archer, testified to House Oversight in July about how Joe Biden met with his son’s business partners on more than 20 occasions. Archer specifically recalled a spring 2014 dinner Joe Biden attended with Russian oligarch Elena Baturina and a spring 2015 dinner with Burisma executive Vadim Pozharskyi. Archer said the Biden family “brand” represented by Joe Biden protected Burisma from scrutiny and kept the firm in business.

Archer also testified about a Beijing meeting Joe Biden had with a Chinese business associate and a Naval Observatory meeting Joe Biden conducted with Hunter Biden, Devon Archer and a lobbyist for a Kazakhstani government official tied to business associate Kenez Rakishev, the New York Post reported.

Furthermore, Archer told House Oversight that Hunter Biden “called D.C.” in December 2015 because of pressure from Zlochevsky and Pozharskyi. Archer was unable to confirm whether Joe Biden was the recipient of his son’s phone call.

In the days leading up to his testimony, the DOJ wrote a letter that appeared to ask a New York judge to set Archer’s surrender date for his one-year prison sentence. The DOJ on July 30 clarified that it requested Archer’s surrender date to come after his testimony before House Oversight.

Archer was sentenced to a year and a day in prison in February 2022 for his involvement with a bond scheme that defrauded a native tribe and other investors. Investigators subpoenaed Hunter Biden’s investment firm, Rosemont Seneca, as part of the case against Archer, emails on Hunter’s laptop archive indicate. A federal judge ruled in August that Archer can remain free on bail as he attempts to appeal his prison sentence, the New York Post reported.

If Hunter Biden’s case goes to trial, should Joe Biden testify in his son’s defense?

Hunter Biden was indicted Thursday on three gun charges related to his October 2018 purchase of a Colt Cobra revolver while battling a crack addiction. In October 2022, Hunter Biden’s legal team threatened to have Joe Biden on the witness stand if their client was charged for the firearms purchase, Politico reported. Biden’s defense counsel Christopher J. Clark reportedly wrote a 32-page letter to Weiss, suggesting a “Constitutional crisis” would result from Joe Biden testifying in his son’s defense.

The DOJ suggested in an August legal filing that Hunter Biden’s case is likely go to trial because negotiations with his legal team collapsed after his guilty plea deal fell apart in court. The younger Biden’s legal team has argued the pretrial diversion agreement the DOJ agreed to is legally valid, a notion the DOJ disputes.

Is there any precedent to adding prosecutorial immunity to a pre trial diversion agreement?

Hunter Biden’s guilty plea agreement for two tax misdemeanors collapsed after Judge Noreika scrutinized an immunity provision hidden inside Biden’s diversion agreement. Noreika’s questioning sparked a dispute between Biden’s defense counsel Christopher J. Clark and DOJ special attorney Leo Wise surrounding the scope of Biden’s potential immunity.

Wise told Noreika that Hunter Biden could still be charged under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) for his foreign business dealings. Clark disagreed with Wise, and Hunter Biden ended up pleading not guilty to the tax offenses. Clark withdrew from the case in August because of his role in the failed guilty plea negotiations.

Wise admitted to Noreika there was no precedent for the immunity clause inside Hunter Biden’s diversion agreement for a felony gun charge, according to a court transcript. Biden himself told the judge he would not plead guilty to the charges if the diversion agreement was not tied to the guilty plea.

Should Hunter Biden be prosecuted for allegedly violating FARA? 

The Biden family and its associates received more than $20 million worth of payments from Ukrainian, Russian, Chinese, Romanian and Kazakh business associates, according to bank records released by House Oversight.

Hunter Biden’s business associates visited the White House on roughly 80 separate occasions when his father was vice president, Fox News reported. Hunter Biden also took an estimated 15 flights with then-VP Joe Biden on Air Force Two, according to the outlet.

Shapley disclosed to the House Ways and Means Committee an interview former Hunter Biden business associate Rob Walker conducted with the FBI, where Walker said Joe Biden met with representatives for CEFC China Energy in May 2017, a Chinese energy firm that paid Hunter Biden more than $600,000 that same year, according to his failed guilty plea. Shapley confirmed the CEFC meeting when he testified publicly in July.

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 31: Devon Archer, a former business associate of Hunter Biden, arrives for closed-door testimony with the House Oversight Committee at the O'Neill House Office Building July 31, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 31: Devon Archer, a former business associate of Hunter Biden, arrives for closed-door testimony with the House Oversight Committee at the O’Neill House Office Building July 31, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

At the same time, Biden made nearly $1 million in 2017 from Hudson West III, a business entity he set up with his uncle James Biden and a CEFC associate, his guilty plea states.

Hunter Biden received a $100,000 payment from CEFC the day after he allegedly texted CEFC associate Gongwen Dong bragging about how the “Biden’s [sic] are the best” at doing what his boss wants, House Oversight revealed in June. Dong’s boss at CEFC was Ye Jianming, a Chinese Communist Party-linked businessman whom Chinese authorities reportedly later arrested on bribery charges.

American-Israeli scholar Gal Luft was indicted in July for allegedly “willfully” failing to register under FARA for taking roughly $700,000 from CEFC, among other charges leveled by the DOJ. The indictment accuses Luft of trying to influence U.S. foreign policy in China’s favor by posing as an independently minded international relations expert.

In May 2017, Hunter Biden suggested to former business associate Tony Bobulinski that they set up a shell company to avoid registering as a foreign agent under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

“No matter what it will need to be a U.S. company at some level in order for us to make bids on federal and state funded projects,” Biden texted Bobulinski. “We don’t want to have to register as foreign agents under the FCPA which is much more expansive than people who should know choose not to know.”

Hunter Biden warned Devon Archer in April 2014 about potentially violating FARA when they became board members with Burisma, according to an email from Hunter’s laptop archive. Blue Star Strategies, a lobbying firm Hunter Biden recommended to Burisma, registered under FARA in May 2022 for the firm’s work on behalf of Zlochevsky, a disclosure form shows. Zlochevsky paid the firm $60,000 for setting up two meetings with State Department officials, Blue Star disclosed.

Did Lesley Wolf get removed from the Hunter Biden case?

Delaware Assistant U.S. Attorney Lesley Wolf’s name does not appear on any of the court filings by David Weiss since the charges against Hunter Biden were first announced in late June.

Instead, special attorneys such as Leo Wise have signed the documents alongside Weiss, despite Wolf’s extensive work on the case and her history working under David Weiss. Earlier in June, Clark had emailed Wolf telling her protection from prosecution was vital to the plea deal, according to Politico. Wolf on June 7 emailed Clark a finalized version of the plea deal with the immunity provision included.

Why did DOJ official Bradley Weinsheimer’s attitude towards Shapley change from April to May 2023?

Associate Deputy Attorney General Bradley Weinsheimer contacted Shapley in April 2020 and expressed interest in the whistleblower’s allegations of wrongdoing in the Hunter Biden probe, according to Shapley’s attorneys. When Weinsheimer called Shapley’s attorneys for a second time May 16, he was no longer interested in Shapley’s testimony, his lawyers told Daily Mail.

“I would say Weinsheimer wanted intel from Gary before his Hill testimony,” said Tristan Leavitt, an attorney for Shapley and president of whistleblower protection group Empower Oversight. “His lack of interest after he met with Weiss and Clark suggests the cake was baked at that time.”

Do you believe the IRS whistleblowers should be prosecuted?

Hunter Biden’s attorney Abbe Lowell suggested to DOJ officials on multiple occasions that Shapley and Ziegler illegally leaked his client’s tax information in their congressional testimony and cable news interviews, according to communications between Lowell and the DOJ released by Politico.

“But what is occurring here is the illegal disclosure of grand jury, tax return, and other confidential investigatory information under the guise of legitimate whistleblower activity, and it is unprecedented,” Lowell wrote to Weiss shortly after his special counsel appointment. Clark wrote letters to Wolf, Weinsheimer and DOJ tax attorney Mark Daly when Shapley first came forward with allegations Biden got special treatment, additional communications released by Politico show.

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 22: U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland addresses the second annual Chiefs of Police Executive Forum on Crime Guns at the headquarters of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) on June 22, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 22: U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland addresses the second annual Chiefs of Police Executive Forum on Crime Guns at the headquarters of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) on June 22, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Shapley’s attorneys filed a FOIA request with the DOJ attempting to obtain a letter Lowell allegedly wrote to the DOJ in June calling for an investigation into Shapley. The whistleblower’s attorneys also alerted the DOJ’s inspector general to Lowell’s letter when a New York Times reporter contacted them about it in June, according to an email included in the FOIA request.

How would you characterize your relationship with President Biden?

The relationship between Garland and Biden has deteriorated because of the Hunter Biden case and special counsel Robert Hur’s ongoing investigation into whether Joe Biden mishandled classified documents, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported Sept. 16, citing people familiar with the matter. Some White House aides believe Garland mismanaged the Hunter Biden inquiry because of the collapse of his plea deal and Weiss’ subsequent special counsel appointment.

Some of Biden’s allies also think Garland should have taken a stronger posture after Shapley and Ziegler came forward, the outlet reported. Joe Biden was deferential to the Justice Department in August when a reporter asked for his thoughts on Weiss’ special counsel designation. Garland has denied Shapley’s accusations of wrongdoing in the case.

The House Ways and Means, Oversight and Judiciary Committees are leading the impeachment inquiry into President Biden, Speaker McCarthy announced Tuesday. House Oversight is simultaneously investigating Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings and the alleged role Joe Biden played in them.

The DOJ did not respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment by the time of publication.