DOJ Contemplated No Charges for Hunter Biden before IRS Whistleblowers Reported Obstruction: NYT
The Biden DOJ’s reputation for evenhanded justice just suffered another mortal blow from an unexpected assailant: The New York Times. The legacy outlet obtained “over 200 pages of confidential correspondence” between Hunter Biden’s legal team and the Office of U.S. Attorney General for Delaware David Weiss (R), and the contents, published Saturday, were highly unflattering to the prosecutor.
“Mr. Weiss appeared willing to forgo any prosecution of Mr. Biden at all, and his office came close to agreeing to end the investigation without requiring a guilty plea on any charges,” reported The Times. But “his position … changed in the spring, around the time a pair of I.R.S. officials on the case accused the Justice Department of hamstringing the investigation. Mr. Weiss suddenly demanded that Mr. Biden plead guilty to committing tax offenses.”
Those IRS whistleblowers, who had been working on the case along with the DOJ, eventually testified before Congress, providing evidence that the DOJ had the evidence to charge the younger Biden with tax felonies and did not do so. They complained that the DOJ had prevented them from investigating all leads, particularly those that would lead back to Joe Biden. And they said they faced retaliation from their agency for blowing the whistle — a legally protected activity.
“It appears that if it weren’t for the courageous actions of these whistle-blowers, who had nothing to gain and everything to lose, Hunter Biden would never have been charged at all,” lawyers for one whistleblower said.
“As the testimony from the I.R.S. agents took hold, Mr. Biden’s legal team felt the ground shift beneath them. The U.S. attorney’s office suddenly went quiet,” The Times narrated. As they told the story, Biden’s lawyers and Weiss had a series of confrontations in which Biden’s lawyers convinced Weiss he couldn’t win a case if he brought an indictment. Weiss in 2022 “determined that he did not have sufficient grounds to indict Mr. Biden for major felonies” and “told an associate that he preferred not to bring any charges, even misdemeanors, against Mr. Biden because the average American would not be prosecuted for similar offenses,” they wrote.
But clear-eyed observers have reached a different conclusion. “Weiss has done everything in his power to make the DOJ’s investigation of Biden family corruption disappear,” wrote former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy. “Weiss and the Biden DOJ … acted as Hunter’s second set of defense lawyers.”
McCarthy detailed how Weiss sat on evidence of crimes Hunter Biden committed, neglecting to file charges until the statute of limitations had passed. For instance, House investigators recently made the bombshell discovery that Hunter had intimidated a Chinese business partner in a WhatsApp message by stating, “I am sitting here with my father …” That message was sent on July 30, 2017. The business partner subsequently sent Hunter $100,000 on August 4, 2017 and $5 million on August 8, 2017, which he failed to report as taxable income. The statute of limitations (five years for most federal crimes and six years for tax crimes) for any tax crimes from these proceedings expired only days or weeks ago.
“Weiss has known about this evidence for years, but he never filed charges because charges would have stopped the clock and preserved the case. So day by day, the [Biden foreign corruption] case has been vanishing,” said McCarthy. “To reiterate, Weiss has never indicted the case because he’s intentionally disappearing the case.”
McCarthy argued that Weiss deliberately constructed the now-abandoned plea agreement for Hunter Biden to push off prosecution as long as possible, while still publicly claiming that the DOJ was “investigating” Hunter, now that extensive evidence of his crimes has been made public. Weiss was “trying to hide it [the “dodgy” nature of the plea agreement] from the judge, hoping she’d be a rubber stamp,” he explained. But the plea agreement fell apart under a few simple questions, such as what immunity the agreement granted to Hunter. “The breadth of immunity Weiss was trying to give Hunter was outrageous. Any sentient judge would have questioned it,” McCarthy insisted.
After the plea deal fell apart, Garland appointed Weiss as a special counsel over the investigation he was already studiously not pursuing. McCarthy has called his appointment a “joke” and a “sham” because “the point of the exercise is to bring in a scrupulous, experienced former prosecutor who does not work for the incumbent administration” (emphasis in original). He argued the Garland should have appointed a special counsel to the case long ago, given the obvious conflict of interest but failed to do so in dereliction of his duty.
Garland has now given the title of special counsel to an ineligible person, who was already conducting the investigation in a highly questionable manner. Garland “is pretending to follow regulations while not following them, hoping you don’t notice but aware that even if you do notice there’s nothing you can do about it,” observed McCarthy.
Many political scandals since Watergate have drilled home the notion that the cover-up is often worse than the crime. That maxim is coming true regarding the Hunter Biden investigation. According to an ABC News-Ipsos poll, only 32% of Americans express confidence in the DOJ’s investigation, while 48% “are not confident” the DOJ is handling the investigation “in a fair and nonpartisan manner.” For perspective, Trump only received about 46% of the vote in both the 2016 and 2020 elections, and only 36% said in an August AP-NORC poll they would “definitely” or “probably” support him in 2024. In other words, it’s not just “MAGA Republicans” who believe the DOJ has a partisan bias. Additionally, only 20% of poll respondents didn’t have an opinion on the DOJ’s investigation of Hunter Biden, indicating that the news has largely saturated the public, despite attempts to suppress it.
That poll was conducted before the latest revelation — published in The New York Times, no less! — which only further tarnishes the image of the DOJ. Without a courageous whistleblower, the DOJ’s delay-until-doomsday tactic may have gone unnoticed under the supposedly magic phrase, “ongoing investigation.”
Joshua Arnold is a staff writer at The Washington Stand.