DOJ Excluded IRS Investigative Team from Briefing on Biden Bribery Allegations: Sen. Grassley

DOJ Excluded IRS Investigative Team from Briefing on Biden Bribery Allegations: Sen. Grassley
Ranking Member Chuck Grassley, (R-Iowa), speaks as FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the Jan. 6 breach of the Capitol, in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 2, 2021. (Mandel Ngan/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Joseph Lord
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Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) says the Department of Justice (DOJ) briefed federal prosecutors and FBI investigators on the contents of a scheme alleging that then-Vice President Joe Biden took a criminal bribe from a foreign national but left IRS investigators out of the loop on the allegations.

In an Oct. 23, 2020, meeting, Grassley alleged in a July 10 letter to U.S. Attorney David Weiss, FBI investigators and Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) Leslie Wolf were made aware of criminal bribery allegations levied against Mr. Biden in an FD-1023 form, a form used by the FBI to record allegations of potential criminal activity (pdf).

House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) has led the investigation in the lower chamber into allegations laid out in the form that Joe Biden, through his son Hunter Biden, received at least $5 million from foreign nationals. However, since launching his probe, Mr. Comer claims to have uncovered additional evidence that the amount received by the elder Biden was at least $10 million.

Flanked by House Republicans, U.S. Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, on Nov. 17, 2022. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Flanked by House Republicans, U.S. Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, on Nov. 17, 2022. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Despite a contemporaneous IRS investigation into Hunter Biden, IRS investigators were excluded, Mr. Grassley said, citing “information provided to my office from individuals aware of the meeting.”

“What steps have the Justice Department and FBI taken to investigate the allegations?” the Iowa senator wrote, noting that “potentially hundreds” of DOJ and FBI agents had access to the FD-1023 form, which has only been shown to Congress in redacted form. “You, Attorney General [Merrick] Garland, and [FBI] Director [Christopher] Wray have failed to answer.”

Mr. Weiss, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, has led the investigation into allegations against Hunter Biden.

Recently, Mr. Weiss made a plea deal with the younger Biden, who agreed to plead guilty to illegal possession of a firearm and minor tax charges that are likely to see him avoid jail time—a deal that frustrated Republicans, who dismissed it as a “sweetheart deal.”
Hunter Biden arrives for a toast during a State Dinner in honor of India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at the White House on June 22, 2023. (Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)
Hunter Biden arrives for a toast during a State Dinner in honor of India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at the White House on June 22, 2023. (Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)
In a letter announcing the plea deal, Mr. Weiss said the investigation was “ongoing” (pdf).

“Does the scope of your alleged ‘ongoing investigation’ include criminal bribery with respect to the alleged criminal scheme between a foreign national and then-Vice President Biden and Hunter Biden?” Mr.  Grassley asked Mr. Weiss. “If not, why not?”

He also asked Mr. Weiss if he had made any move to investigate the allegations disclosed by Mr. Comer.

On June 22, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-Mo.) further revealed allegations from IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley that the DOJ and higher-ups at the IRS had interfered with and stalled an investigation into Hunter Biden, who was being probed for felony tax violations.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-Mo.) states at a June 22 hearing in Washington that Hunter Biden may have received "preferential treatment" from the IRS and DOJ over his tax fraud allegations. (Joseph Lord/The Epoch Times)
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-Mo.) states at a June 22 hearing in Washington that Hunter Biden may have received "preferential treatment" from the IRS and DOJ over his tax fraud allegations. (Joseph Lord/The Epoch Times)

The IRS ultimately recommended three charges against Hunter Biden: a felony attempt to defeat or evade tax charge, making felony fraudulent or false statements, and willful failure to file returns, supply information, or pay tax. In total, Smith said these tax crimes involved around $2.2 million in income that went unreported to the IRS.

In total, Mr. Smith reported, Hunter Biden received around $17.3 million in total from foreign sources based in Romania, China, and Ukraine.

That included $663,000 to the president’s son from the Chinese company State Energy HK, a large diamond valued at $80,000, and a new Porsche worth $142,000.

“These payments are just a fraction of the total, but they provide insight into a world of wealth and influence that no ordinary American would recognize,” Mr. Smith said.“And what plea deal did Mr. [Hunter] Biden just receive? A slap on the wrist for these charges that have put other Americans behind bars.”

Though the crimes were serious enough and involved enough money that they easily could have ended in jail time, officials at the DOJ allegedly prevented legal movement on these charges.

Alleged Misconduct by Assistant US Attorney

In his letter to Mr. Weiss, Mr. Grassley cited specific allegations made against Ms. Wolf, calling her conduct “questionable and obstructive.”

“As you are aware, IRS whistleblowers have affirmed that AUSA Wolf prevented investigators from seeking information about Joe Biden’s involvement in Hunter Biden’s criminal business arrangements,” Mr. Grassley said.

U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware David Weiss in a file image. (Department of Justice via The Epoch Times)
U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware David Weiss in a file image. (Department of Justice via The Epoch Times)

In his testimony to the Ways and Means Committee, Mr. Shapley said IRS investigators were told by Ms. Wolf that, because evidence needed for the investigation would be found in a guest house owned by Joe Biden, “there is no way” that a search warrant for evidence would ever get approved. Despite her refusal to allow a search warrant to be executed against the residence, Ms. Wolf said “more than enough probable cause” had been achieved. She boiled down her refusal to allow a search warrant simply to “optics.”Mr. Shapley alleged that political motives led him and his fellow investigators at the IRS to be constantly unable to follow through on legal action against the president’s son.

“After former Vice President Joe Biden became the presumptive Democratic nominee for President in early April 2020, career DOJ officials dragged their feet on the IRS taking these investigative steps,” Mr. Shapley said.

In another instance, he said Ms. Wolf blocked a search of a storage unit owned by Hunter Biden, allegedly tipping off Biden’s legal team about interest in the unit.

“Did AUSA Wolf take similar proactive measures to frustrate any investigation into the FD-1023?” Mr. Grassley asked Mr. Weiss.

There are also suggestions in Mr. Shapley’s testimony that Mr. Weiss himself was blocked by higher-ups at the DOJ from pursuing substantive criminal action against Hunter Biden.

However, Mr. Weiss has denied these claims, as has Mr. Garland.

Hunter Biden is set to go to federal court over the plea agreement on July 26.

The DOJ did not return a request for comment.