The Justice Department’s five-year investigation into Hunter Biden came to an end this week with the announcement of a plea agreement that would likely allow President Joe Biden’s 53-year-old son to avoid jail. But that hasn’t stopped Republicans in Congress from bringing new corruption allegations against the president and his family.
GOP lawmakers on Thursday released transcripts of two IRS whistleblowers, who jointly complained in April that the Justice Department had undermined investigators’ efforts to impose penalties. harsher against the younger Biden — an allegation that contradicts claims made by the Trump-appointed US attorney who prosecuted Biden. case.
The whistleblower’s latest allegations follow a series of investigative efforts by the House Oversight Committee led by the GOP and its chair, Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., to date. yielded few meaningful results.
The White House has repeatedly downplayed Republican accusations as baseless insinuations aimed at damaging President Biden’s political standing. And the Justice Department on Thursday denied the IRS whistleblower’s claims.
Rather than assuage the Republican Party’s longstanding focus on Hunter Biden, the plea agreement his lawyers brokered with federal prosecutors this week appears to have only thwarted the efforts of the Republicans. Legislation aimed at the Biden family gets more heated. Republican leaders called the deal, which still needs federal judge approval, a “cute” deal that would erode trust in the criminal justice system.
Here are some of the most recent Republican statements, what is known about them and what is not.
‘Sit here with dad’
As part of Thursday’s rollout of allegations that senior Justice Department officials obstructed the Hunter Biden tax investigation, congressional Republicans grasped a piece of news. WhatsApp message in July 2017 in which young Biden deliberately threatened a Chinese business partner by citing his father’s political connections.
“I am sitting here with my father and we want to understand why the promise made was not kept,” Hunter Biden allegedly wrote. “Tell the director I want to get this sorted out now before it gets out of hand, and now means tonight.”
“And, Z, if I get a call or text from anyone involved in this but you, Zhang or the president, I’ll make sure that between the man sitting next to me and everyone he know and my ability forever a grudge that you will regret for not following my direction,” the message continued. “I’m sitting here waiting for a call with my father.”
ABC News was unable to immediately verify WhatsApp messages. But Republicans say it undercuts President Biden’s claim that he has never discussed overseas business endeavors with his son. Ian Sams, a spokesman for the White House, reiterated Friday that “the president does not do business with his son.”
In July 2017, Joe Biden’s term as vice president ended and he held no political office, despite what some Republicans incorrectly suggested on Thursday. At the time, Hunter Biden was, by his own admission, in a crack addiction.
Chris Clark, Hunter Biden’s lead attorney, condemned the GOP’s “biased and politically motivated leaks” in a statement Friday afternoon, and sought to distance himself from the alleged slurs. Hunter Biden with President Biden.
“Any verifiable words or actions by my client, in his terrible addiction, are his own and have no connection to anyone in his family,” Clark said. “.
Clark also cast doubt on the authenticity of the message: “A close examination of the document published yesterday by a highly biased individual has raised serious questions about whether that’s what he said. declare it or not.”
If the message is in fact real and its content is true to its surface value, it will certainly raise political and ethical questions for the White House. Hunter Biden and his uncles, James and Frank, have a long track record of using them to secure business transactions without Joe Biden’s knowledge, which is likely in this case. But if Joe Biden wasn’t in office at the time, that’s not necessarily evidence of a crime.
Other filings released by the committee on Thursday appear to contradict their broader claim that President Biden is actively involved in Hunter Biden’s business endeavors.
For example, in the interview with the committee, one of the IRS whistleblowers recounted an interview with one of Hunter Biden’s business partners, Rob Walker, in which Walker said, “I certainly haven’t. never thought the Vice President was involved at any time. we’re doing.”
Biden bribery allegations unproven
After months of hearings, Republicans in the House and Senate recently focused on a “criminal scheme involving then Vice President Biden and a foreign national involved in exchanging money takes policy decisions,” as a May 3 press release from Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley framed it.
Lawmakers said the FBI received the tip in June 2020, during the term of former President Donald Trump. According to Republicans who reviewed the FBI document in question, known as FD-1023, a foreign national who brokered a $10 million bribe allegedly made 17 audio recordings of discussions. his argument with the Bidens.
On Tuesday, after weeks of contentious negotiations that culminated in the commission’s threat to hold FBI Director Christopher Wray for contempt of Congress, Comer was granted access to FD-1023 that was granted re-edit. He later told reporters that the exercise was “a complete waste of my time”, as more than half of the material, he said, had been redacted.
“All I know is that it refers to Hunter Biden, Burisma, and there have been some ongoing fraud-related investigations,” Comer told reporters, referring to the Ukrainian oil company. that Hunter Biden served on the board of directors. “But there’s so much redactedness that you can’t really say anything.”
As a presidential candidate in September 2019, elder Biden told reporters, “I never spoke to my son about his overseas business dealings.” The White House later reaffirmed that claim.
Rep. ” Raskin said the Trump-era Justice Department investigated the allegations and “in August 2020, the Attorney General [William] Barr and the United States Attorney of his choice signed at the conclusion of the review.”
Sams, Biden’s White House spokesman, called the Republican bribery claims “another unrealistic display orchestrated by President Comer not to conduct legitimate surveillance, but to spread the word transmit insinuations in an attempt to damage the President politically and gain media attention.”
Several senior Republicans reacted with fury this week when details of Hunter Biden’s plea deal became public, channeling their anger toward an unexpected target: the U.S. attorney. Trump appoints, who brokered the deal, David Weiss. Under the plea agreement, which still requires approval from a federal judge, Hunter Biden will plead guilty to certain tax-related misdemeanors and avoid prosecution for gun felony charges as long as he comply with the terms of the pre-trial diversion program.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy called the deal a “sweet deal.” Former President Trump called it “a mere traffic ticket.” Some Republicans said it represented a two-tiered criminal justice system in favor of the Democrats.
In response to the plea agreement, Judiciary Committee Chairman and Representative Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, expressed their interest in calling Weiss to testify before Congress.
Weiss previously denied Republican efforts to learn more about his investigation. In a June 7 letter to Jordan, Weiss said he “must decline the Commission’s request for documents and information at this time to protect confidential law enforcement information.” law from disclosure”, citing his investigative work “ongoing.”
Weiss also explicitly states in the letter that he has been “given supreme authority over this matter, including the responsibility to decide where, when, and whether to press charges.”
Since then, Republicans have seized upon Weiss’ claim – made in his announcement of the plea agreement – that his “ongoing investigation” appears to be contradicting a statement from Hunter Biden’s attorney, who said Tuesday, “I understand that the five-year investigation into Hunter has been resolved.”
arrive tell Axios he will ask Weiss for clarification on “what he means by saying this is an ongoing investigation”, as the ongoing nature of the investigation could complicate the efforts of investigators. Legislature in learning more about the investigative background of the plea agreement.
On Friday, Attorney General Merrick Garland told ABC News he “will assist Mr. Weiss in explaining or testifying on these matters as he sees fit.”
“I certainly understand that some people have chosen to attack the integrity of the Department of Justice and its departments and employees by claiming that we do not treat schools equally,” said Garland. fit”. “This constitutes an attack on an institution essential to American democracy and essential to the safety of the American people. Nothing could be further from the truth.”