IRS Director of Field Operations Michael Batdorf testified to the House Ways and Means Committee about his disappointment when Biden-appointed U.S. attorneys refused to cooperate with Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss in the Hunter Biden case.
Batdorf testified before the committee Sept. 12. He recalled he was “frustrated” upon learning Biden-appointed U.S. Attorney for D.C. Matthew Graves and Biden-appointed U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California E. Martin Estrada would not cooperate with Weiss in order to charge Biden for alleged tax offenses in their jurisdictions, according to a transcript of his testimony obtained by the Daily Caller on Wednesday. (RELATED: ‘Not True’: Garland Disputes FBI Agent Testimony That Top Hunter Biden Prosecutor Had ‘Cumbersome’ Charging Process)
READ THE TRANSCRIPT:
“I don’t know if he was frustrated or if he — I mean, I was frustrated. So was it me just feeling the — he was probably a little frustrated. I would assume he had — because he now had to make some decisions on what he was going to do. And that’s what we talked about in that phone call,” Batdorf said, the transcript reads.
The IRS official said he called Weiss in December to outline potential next steps in California after Estrada’s decision not to cooperate.
“It was — investigative-wise, it was, looking at everything that he knows, can he and his team prosecute in Central California without the help of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, without knowing judges out there? Could he and his team do that?” Batdorf continued.
Batdorf said he did not discuss D.C. with Weiss on the phone call about prosecuting in California. But he did admit to being “surprised” when he found out Graves was not going to charge Biden for alleged tax offenses in 2014 and 2015.
“Based on my supporting of the case all the way through, yes, I was surprised,” the IRS official said. “Of course there was some level of frustration, yes.”
An FBI agent on the Hunter Biden case testified to the House Judiciary Committee that Graves and Estrada did not cooperate with Weiss on potentially charging Hunter Biden for alleged tax offenses. The New York Times independently confirmed Shapley’s testimony about Estrada.
Attorney General Merrick Garland testified before House Judiciary on Wednesday and said Weiss would need authorization from him to charge outside of his jurisdiction without cooperation with the U.S. attorneys in their districts. Garland repeatedly asserted he would have allowed Weiss to charge outside of his jurisdiction by signing an order under section 515 of the U.S. Code.
Garland appointed Weiss special counsel in August to continue the Hunter Biden investigation after the first son’s guilty plea agreement fell apart in a July court hearing because of scrutiny from Delaware U.S. District Court Judge Maryellen Noreika.
Biden’s plea agreement collapsed when Noreika questioned an immunity provision tucked into the pretrial diversion agreement for a felony gun charge, resulting in a dispute between Biden’s defense counsel and the DOJ over the scope of his potential immunity. Hunter Biden ended up pleading not guilty to two tax misdemeanors in Delaware.
“I believed in our investigation. I believed in the evidence. I recommended that prosecution be taken after CT counsel nonconcurred. I met with prosecutors in DOJ Tax in June. There is always some level of frustration,” Batdorf said in response to a question detailing the failed plea deal and the apparent lack of tax charges, according to the transcript.
Batdorf also testified that Weiss needed authority from the DOJ Tax Division in order to move forward with tax charges against Hunter Biden. (RELATED: ‘But You Must, Sir’: Garland Refuses To Discuss Meetings With Top Hunter Biden Prosecutor)
“I mean, my understanding would be that DOJ Tax has to authorize it first. So, I mean, my understanding is that, I mean, he can’t make that decision without DOJ Tax authorization,” he testified.
Weiss filed a motion to withdraw Biden’s Delaware tax charges shortly after his special counsel appointment in order to potentially charge Biden in D.C. or California. Noreika approved Weiss’ motion and dismissed Biden’s tax charges without prejudice.
Hunter Biden was indicted Sept. 14 for three counts related to his October 2018 purchase of a Colt Cobra while he was allegedly addicted to crack cocaine. Biden’s attorney said he would plead not guilty to the charges in a Tuesday court filing.
“Michael Batdorf described…how federal prosecutors in California and Washington, D.C., declined to assist U.S. Attorney David Weiss of Delaware in charging the president’s son. The lack of cooperation caused Weiss…to fret about how to move forward.” https://t.co/JaG6h47ORh
— Tristan Leavitt (@tristanleavitt) September 20, 2023
“Mr. Batdorf claimed the IRS removed Gary from the case in the interest of seeing the Justice Department bring the felony and misdemeanor tax charges, but the evidence is clear that the Biden-appointed U.S. attorneys in California and D.C. blocked those charges, contrary to the attorney general’s public testimony that only Weiss would decide — which is why Gary had to blow the whistle to Congress as well,” Shapley’s attorney Tristan Leavitt told Politico.
Shapley testified to the House Ways and Means Committee in May and described an Oct. 7, 2022, meeting in which Weiss allegedly said he did not have final charging authority in the Hunter Biden case after Graves refused to cooperate.
The whistleblower’s lawyers have shared an email from Shapley and handwritten notes he took documenting the Oct. 7, 2022, meeting. Weiss denied Shapley’s allegations in a July letter to Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. Batdorf told House Ways and Means he did not doubt what Shapley described in his email.