The top lawyers in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Delaware, one of them a Democratic donor, appeared to work in tandem to thwart an investigation into claims President Biden and his son Hunter collected a $10 million bribe while Mr. Biden was serving as vice president.
House Lawmakers will soon have an opportunity to interview U.S. Attorney David Weiss, who was in charge of an investigation into Hunter Biden over unpaid taxes and lying on a firearm background check form. Mr. Weiss has agreed to testify at a public hearing about the case later this year amid criticism and new evidence that he concealed from IRS investigators critical information corroborating the Biden bribery claims.
House investigators also want to interview Mr. Weiss’s sidekick, Assistant U.S. Attorney Lesley Wolf, who IRS whistleblowers say stood in the way and even worked to undermine their efforts to fully investigate the Bidens for influence peddling and public corruption.
As more questions arise about the integrity of the case, it’s about to be settled in federal court in a deal that has attracted accusations of favoritism.
Hunter Biden is scheduled to appear before U.S. District Judge Maryellen Noreika on Wednesday to face sentencing in what critics are calling a sweetheart deal offered by Mr. Weiss and Mrs. Wolf.
The president’s son will plead guilty to two federal misdemeanor charges of failing to pay taxes and will agree to a diversion plan to avoid being charged for falsifying a firearm background check form.
Unlike others who have faced similar charges, Hunter Biden is not expected to be sentenced to any jail time.
The favorable plea agreement has raised concerns about the handling of the investigation and two IRS whistleblowers who worked on the case testified earlier this month that Mrs. Wolf worked to suppress efforts to more closely scrutinize the Bidens, including the president.
Mrs. Wolf has donated to Democratic candidates, including Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro in 2022. Her husband, Daniel Wolf, a researcher and teacher at the University of Pennsylvania, made 14 donations to President Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns, records show.
IRS whistleblowers testified earlier this month that Mrs. Wolf blocked them from investigating WhatsApp messages Hunter Biden sent to a Chinese investor and Communist Party official in August 2017. In the messages, Hunter Biden demanded money from the investor, warning that his father was sitting in the car with him.
Days later, the investor’s associates wired one of Hunter Biden’s shell companies two payments totaling more than $5 million.
Ms. Wolf also thwarted efforts by IRS agents to search President Biden’s guest house, or seek documents from Hunter Biden’s law firm, whistleblowers said.
She tipped off his lawyers when the agents proposed conducting a search of one of his storage units and banned agents from asking questions about President Biden’s alleged involvement in his son’s business schemes, which were hinted at in an email from a business associate that suggested reserving 10% of profits for “The Big Guy.”
Mr. Weiss’s specific role in directing the IRS and FBI agents is less clear, but new reporting in the Federalist cited an unidentified source who said Mr. Weiss, appointed in 2018 by President Donald Trump, appears to have failed to act on an FBI informant’s bribery claim even after FBI agents from Pittsburg told him they had independently corroborated some of the details.
Federalist senior legal correspondent Margot Cleveland said the information from the source shows Pittsburg FBI agents were able to corroborate basic facts provided by the FBI informant, including travel records and confirmation of meetings.
The limited information confirmed by the agents led them to determine they should further investigate the FBI informant’s claim that Mykola Zlochevsky, CEO of the Ukrainian energy firm Burisma, told the informant he paid a $10 million bribe split between then-Vice President Biden and his son, Hunter.
The money was paid in 2015 and 2016, the informant said Mr. Zlochevsky told him, in exchange for then-Vice President Biden working to oust Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin, who was pursuing corruption allegations involving Burisma.
The Pittsburgh agents were able to confirm several details about the claim, including the informant’s presence in various European cities and a visit to Kyiv that lined up with his reported timeline of events. But the Pittsburgh office was not authorized to investigate the claim any further. That job, and accompanying subpoena power, fell to Mr. Weiss.
The Pittsburg agents briefed Mr. Weiss in October 2020 that the FBI informant’s claim included credible information, but nearly three years later, Mr. Weiss has not commented on whether his office is investigating the matter.
Mr. Weiss never provided the FBI informant’s memo to the IRS agents, even though it lined up with some of the agents’ discoveries as they investigated Hunter Biden for tax fraud.
“It highlights the fact that Pittsburgh lacked subpoena power, which is why it went to Delaware, and thus it was imperative for Delaware to do something about it,” Ms. Cleveland told The Washington Times.
Jason Foster, an attorney for IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley, told The Times his client and fellow IRS whistleblower Joseph Ziegler were kept in the dark by Mr. Weiss about the FBI informant’s bribery claim and its corroboration by the FBI’s Pittsburgh office.
The move prevented the IRS agents, who have vast experience and success in tracking down the kind of complex payments described in the bribery claim, from following the money.
“That’s precisely their expertise,” Mr. Foster said. “That’s what they do. They’ve been very successful bringing in lots of money for the U.S. taxpayer by tracking money flows through foreign LLCs by very rich and sophisticated people who are trying to avoid U.S. taxes.”
Justice Department officials did not respond to a request for comment.
In a letter sent Monday to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, Assistant Attorney General Carlos Uriarte said Mr. Weiss would be available to testify at a public hearing in September or October.
Mr. Shapley, in his testimony to Congress, said Mr. Weiss had been blocked by the Justice Department from filing additional charges against Hunter Biden in the District of Columbia and California. Mr. Weiss has denied Mr. Shapley’s claim. He also denied retaliating against Mr. Shapley, who continues to work for the IRS.
House lawmakers are seeking depositions from Mrs. Wolf and other officials from the Justice Department and the IRS who were involved in the Hunter Biden investigation. House committees could issue subpoenas to compel testimony.
Mr. Uriarte told Mr. Jordan that Mr. Weiss “is the appropriate person” to answer questions about the Hunter Biden investigation.
The Justice Department, Mr. Uriarte said, is “deeply concerned by any misrepresentations about our work — whether deliberate or arising from misunderstandings, that could unduly harm public confidence in the evenhanded administration of justice to which we are dedicated.”