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IRS Whistleblower Was Removed From Hunter Biden Case After Rift With Top Prosecutor, IRS Officials Testify

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James Lynch Investigative Reporter
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IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley was removed from the Hunter Biden investigation in December 2022 after he feuded with Delaware U.S. Attorney and lead prosecutor on the case David Weiss, two IRS officials testified to the House Ways and Means Committee.

IRS officials Darren Waldon and Michael Batdorf testified separately before the committee in September and laid out how Weiss’ alleged frustration with Shapley resulted in the IRS agent being taken off the Hunter Biden case, according to transcripts obtained by the Daily Caller.

READ THE BATDORF TRANSCRIPT:

“I recall having discussions on December 22nd of 2022 about removing Gary Shapley’s investigative team from the investigation,” Batdorf said, page 73 of the transcript shows. He said Weiss and Waldon were on a phone call about removing Shapley and that he followed up with Waldon afterwards. (RELATED: ‘Fantastic Agent’: IRS Whistleblower Was Premier Investigator Before He Came Forward, IRS Officials Testify)

“I mean, the decision to remove Mr. Shapley was made by Darrell and I in December, when we knew there was an issue — potential issue going forward. We just had not expressed that. It was not official as far as we hadn’t told Gary, because there was no — there’s no investigative steps to be taken,” Batdorf continued.

“In November, the U.S. Attorney stated he’s no longer communicating with investigative agents,” he added. “In my 22.5 years of experience and all the different field offices and leadership positions I’ve been in, that is not a good sign. That is extremely troubling. So, when we talked in December and we talked about removing the investigative team, I mean, again, I’ve stated all along I have agreed with the evidence in this case and pushed it forward.”

The IRS official repeated his assertion that the investigative work on the case was finished and his goal was to get the case prosecuted if that meant removing the IRS agents. He said Shapley was not removed from the case for misconduct, according to the transcript.

Batdorf and Waldon said communication between Shapley and Weiss broke down in October 2022, two months before the alleged decision to remove Shapley.

READ THE WALDON TRANSCRIPT:

“My understanding is that the U.S. attorney stated that he would not be talking with Mr. Shapley henceforth, as they were going through their deliberative process,” Waldon testified, page 74 of his transcript shows. He said Weiss made his statement towards the end of October 2022 and that Shapley was the IRS criminal division’s primary contact with Weiss.

Waldon and Weiss spoke with each other a handful of times after Weiss allegedly decided to stop communicating about the case with Shapley, Waldon testified.

“I would say a handful,” Waldon said. “I honestly cannot recall the specific amount. But I would say about — maybe five seems reasonable.” Waldon left the Hunter Biden case in February 2023 because he took a new job.

“Yeah. So before I left the special agent in charge position, in February, I recommended to Mr. Batdorf that Gary Shapley be removed as the SSA from the Hunter Biden investigation, primarily due to what I perceived to be unsubstantiated allegations about motive, intent, bias. And, again, my goal was to protect the integrity of the investigation and figure out a way forward,” Waldon said.

Shapley testified that Weiss said at an Oct. 7, 2022, meeting that he did not have final charging authority and his special counsel request was denied by the Department of Justice (DOJ) after Biden-appointed D.C. U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves refused to cooperate on potentially charging Hunter Biden in his district. Shapley’s attorneys have shared an email and handwritten notes documenting the meeting.

Waldon, Batdorf and an FBI agent on the Hunter Biden case testified that Graves and Biden-appointed U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California E. Martin Estrada refused to cooperate with Weiss. The New York Times has confirmed Estrada did not cooperate with Weiss.

“He never specifically stated that we had to remove the investigative team,” Batdorf later testified regarding the phone call with Weiss. “He stated that he does not control IRS resources, and he understands that. But part of that concern of moving forward was our investigative team.” The IRS official said he did not believe Weiss had the agents removed as an act of retaliation. He also said he did not make the decision to remove Shapley out of retaliation.

“I mean, I knew there were always concerns. There were investigative differences, prosecutorial differences of what they were having. I mean, I didn’t know it was this bad until October when it was, according to Gary, it was the red line, like this was the moment,” Batdorf said.

“And then by that time it was November, and it was David Weiss’ moment of: I’m not talking to him anymore. He’s harassing me. He didn’t say it, but in his email he basically says: Tell him to leave me alone. I’m not talking to him anymore,” he continued.

“I mean, I don’t want to speak for David Weiss. It was not my impression that he was retaliating. It was my impression that Darrell and I were doing everything we could to move the case forward,” Batdorf emphasized.

Weiss did not make the decision to move forward with charges until May 2023 following Shapley’s decision to come forward with allegations of special treatment by DOJ officials towards Hunter Biden, Batdorf said. Shapley told Batdorf in January that he was planning to blow the whistle, and Batdorf testified that he supported Shapley’s decision.

“Everything changed when he put himself in DOJ’s crosshairs on October 7, 2022 and he was subsequently retaliated against for making protected whistleblower disclosures about the handling of the Hunter Biden case,” Tristan Leavitt, an attorney for Shapley, previously told the Daily Caller.

“Despite these challenges, SSA Shapley is proud to have done the right thing, and continues to receive notes of support from fellow IRS employees thanking him for standing up for the equal treatment of taxpayers.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Weiss special counsel in August after the first son’s guilty plea agreement fell apart in court and the whistleblowers alleged special treatment in the Hunter Biden case during their testimony. (RELATED: DOJ Says It Will Allow Four Key Officials To Testify About The Hunter Biden Case)

Garland testified to the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, where he said Weiss could have requested additional authority under section 515 prior to his special counsel designation if the U.S. attorneys did not cooperate on leveling charges against Hunter Biden. Weiss wrote a letter in July to Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham in which he denied Shapley’s accusations. (RELATED: Here Are The Biggest Takeaways From Merrick Garland’s Testimony About The Hunter Biden Case)

Hunter Biden pleaded not guilty in July to two tax misdemeanors when Delaware U.S. District Court Judge Maryellen Noreika scrutinized an immunity provision tucked into his pretrial diversion agreement for a felony gun charge.

The younger Biden was indicted Sept. 14 for three counts in connection with the purchase of a 2018 Colt Cobra revolver while he was apparently addicted to crack cocaine. Biden’s attorney said in a court filing he will plead not guilty to the gun charges.

Weiss filed a motion in August to withdraw Hunter Biden’s Delaware tax charges to potentially charge Biden in D.C. or the Central District of California. Noreika approved Weiss’ motion and dismissed the tax charges without prejudice.

The House Ways and Means, Judiciary and Oversight Committees are investigating the IRS whistleblower allegations alongside the Oversight Committee’s probe into Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings. The committees will be leading the impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, scheduled to begin with a hearing Sept. 28.

The IRS and the Delaware U.S. Attorney’s Office did not respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment by the time of publication.