In a recent development surrounding the tax fraud investigation of Hunter Biden, handwritten notes by IRS supervisory special agent Gary Shapley have been released. These notes, taken during an Oct. 7, 2022 meeting, indicate that Delaware US Attorney David Weiss claimed he was "not the deciding person" in bringing criminal charges. Shapley's lawyers released the notes following a House Judiciary Committee interview of Baltimore FBI Special Agent in Charge Tom Sobocinski, who attended the meeting. Sobocinski, however, stated that he couldn't recall the exchange. The release of these notes comes just one day after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy initiated an impeachment inquiry into President Biden's alleged involvement in his son and brother's foreign business dealings.
According to the notes, Weiss made the comment about lacking independent charging authority during the meeting. Shapley's lawyers, Tristan Leavitt and Mark Lytle, explained that the meeting was documented in an email sent by Shapley to his chain of command on the same day. The email, which has been made public by the House Ways and Means Committee, was based on Shapley's notes and his fresh memory of the meeting.
The House Judiciary Committee has subpoenaed three other participants in the meeting - DC IRS Special Agent in Charge Darrell Waldon, IRS Director of Field Operations Michael Batdorf, and Baltimore Assistant Special Agent in Charge Ryeshia Holley. Waldon, Shapley's superior, allegedly received a copy of Shapley's notes via email days after the meeting and confirmed that he had "covered it all.".
Shapley's claims regarding Weiss' remark and an alleged cover-up in the case have been supported by IRS case agent Joseph Ziegler and an FBI supervisory agent who worked with Shapley on some aspects of the investigation. These whistleblower claims are expected to be a central focus of the impeachment inquiry.
Weiss' alleged remarks regarding his lack of independent charging authority have prompted perjury allegations against Attorney General Merrick Garland, who testified twice under oath to Congress that Weiss had the power to bring charges against Hunter Biden outside of Delaware. Weiss and Garland have publicly denied Shapley's claims, but neither has testified under oath on the matter.
Jason Foster, the founder of pro-whistleblowing group Empower Oversight, which represents Shapley, expressed skepticism about Sobocinski's statement, implying that others may be close to perjury in order to support the positions of Garland and Weiss. Garland elevated Weiss to the rank of special counsel in August, following the collapse of a plea deal in Delaware. This move has been seen by Republicans as confirmation of the accuracy of Shapley's claims.
The release of Shapley's handwritten notes comes after testimony by FBI special agent Thomas Sobocinski, which cast doubt on Shapley's allegations regarding Weiss' authority in the case. Sobocinski stated that he did not remember Weiss saying he lacked the ability to decide on prosecuting Hunter Biden or where charges against him could be filed. He also denied recalling Weiss mentioning being denied special counsel status.
The Justice Department and a spokesperson for Weiss have previously denied Shapley's allegations, including claims of preferential treatment towards Hunter Biden and the prevention of pursuing evidence that could implicate President Biden. The FBI and Justice Department declined to comment on the whistleblower's contemporaneous notes.
Shapley's lawyers have written to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan and Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler, providing an unredacted version of Shapley's notes to assess the truthfulness and reliability of Sobocinski's testimony. In addition to the notes, Shapley wrote an email to his IRS supervisor documenting the meeting. Darrell Waldon, who also attended the meeting, recently underwent a transcribed interview, and the transcripts may be released this week.
Attorney General Merrick Garland is scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Sept. 20. The impeachment inquiry into President Biden's alleged involvement in his son's foreign business dealings is expected to heavily focus on the whistleblower claims.
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