President Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden sued the U.S. Internal Revenue Service on Monday, alleging unlawful disclosure of his taxes by whistleblowers who work for the U.S. tax agency.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, focused on statements made by IRS agents Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler in media interviews amid a long-running investigation by House of Representatives Republicans into the younger Biden's taxes and business dealings.
Hunter Biden, 53, is at the center of a political maelstrom, as House Republicans mount an impeachment inquiry against his father focused on alleged ties between his business practices and his father's policies during his father's tenure as vice president from 2009 to 2017. They have so far presented no evidence showing that the elder Biden profited from his son's businesses. The White House has denied any wrongdoing.
Hunter Biden is the first child of a sitting U.S. president to have been criminally indicted. Prosecutors last week charged him with three counts related to the fact that he was lying about using illegal drugs when he bought a firearm. Hunter Biden and prosecutors earlier had reached a plea deal over tax and gun charges, but it collapsed.
Monday's lawsuit refers to "more than 20 nationally televised and non-congressionally sanctioned interviews and numerous public statements" by Shapley, Ziegler and their lawyers about Hunter Biden. Shapley and Ziegler have testified in Congress as whistleblowers about alleged political interference in an IRS investigation into Biden's taxes. The Justice Department has denied any such interference.
"The lawsuit is about the decision by IRS employees, their representatives, and others to disregard their obligations and repeatedly and intentionally publicly disclose and disseminate Mr. Biden's protected tax return information outside the exceptions for making disclosures in the law," the lawsuit reads.
Biden is seeking $1,000 for each unauthorized disclosure of his tax return information, a declaration from the IRS, a data security plan from the agency, production of documents related to Biden's taxes and other relief.
The Republican-led House Judiciary Committee called the lawsuit “intimidation” in a post on social media. The IRS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Hunter Biden last week also filed a lawsuit against a former White House aide during Donald Trump's presidency over the aide's alleged role in the publication of embarrassing images and emails.
Trump, who has cheered on the impeachment inquiry, was the first U.S. president to be impeached twice. The Senate acquitted him both times. Trump also has been charged in four criminal cases this year.
themes: Joe Biden Donald Trump Washington
Biden's son Hunter sues IRS, alleges unlawful release of his taxes
Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, has filed a lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on Monday, accusing the agency of violating his privacy rights. The lawsuit comes in response to the IRS disclosing details about his taxes and the investigation into his conduct to Congress and the public. The suit also follows Hunter Biden's recent indictment on separate charges related to his purchase of a handgun in 2018.
The decision to proceed with the lawsuit demonstrates Hunter Biden's determination to counter inquiries from congressional Republicans, even as he faces potential further prosecution on tax charges by the Justice Department during his father's re-election campaign. The suit, filed in Federal District Court in Washington, argues that the IRS investigators breached taxpayer privacy rules and intentionally sought to embarrass Hunter Biden by disclosing confidential information about his tax matters.
The lawsuit highlights the public testimony and statements made by two IRS investigators, Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler, who have been providing information to House committees investigating President Biden and his family for potential wrongdoing. Ziegler has claimed that the Justice Department's inquiry into Hunter Biden's taxes was influenced by politics, a statement disputed by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and U.S. Attorney for Delaware David C. Weiss, who oversees the case.
The lawsuit asserts that Hunter Biden has the same responsibilities as any other American citizen and that the IRS should ensure that he complies with those responsibilities. It argues that he has the same rights as any other citizen and that no government agency or agent should be allowed to violate those rights based on his identity. The lawsuit challenges the argument made by the IRS agents, their lawyers, and House Republicans that the disclosures were protected as whistleblowing and were authorized by the House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over tax issues.
Hunter Biden's lawsuit disputes the legality of the disclosures made to Congress, claiming that the agents and their lawyers also revealed details about the investigation in more than 20 interviews and public statements to the media. The suit argues that their status as whistleblowers does not shield them from unauthorized public disclosures that violate the whistleblower process.
The lawsuit reveals that the IRS agents disclosed information potentially damaging to Hunter Biden and his father beyond the disclosures made to Congress. It references a search warrant that uncovered evidence of Hunter Biden invoking his father's name while pressuring a Chinese businessman to proceed with an energy deal. Hunter Biden's plea deal with the Justice Department, which would have seen him pleading guilty to misdemeanor tax charges and avoiding a gun charge, fell apart during a court hearing in July. Last week, he was indicted on three counts related to violating gun laws for allegedly lying about his drug use when purchasing a handgun in Delaware five years ago. He may also face tax charges for late filing and disputed deductions.
..... The lawsuits come amid an impeachment inquiry against President Biden led by House Republicans, who are investigating potential connections between Hunter Biden's business practices and his father's policies during his tenure as vice president.
The IRS has not yet responded to the lawsuit, and the House Judiciary Committee, led by Republicans, has deemed it "intimidation." It remains to be seen how the legal battle will unfold for Hunter Biden, who has become the first child of a sitting U.S. president to face criminal charges.
Hunter Biden sues IRS, alleges agents tried to 'target' and 'embarrass' him
Biden's lawsuit calls out IRS whistleblowers Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler.Hunter Biden's attorneys filed a lawsuit against the IRS on Monday, alleging that agents have "targeted and sought to embarrass" the president's son.
Biden's Monday morning filing cites two major examples in IRS agents Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler, two whistleblowers who claimed the IRS mishandled aspects of its investigation into Biden.
Biden's lawsuit seeks for the court to declare that the IRS "willfully, knowingly, and/or by gross negligence, unlawfully disclosed Mr. Biden's confidential tax information."
In addition, Biden is demanding $1,000 in damages for "each and every unauthorized disclosure of his tax returns," including disclosures that happened after the fact. Fox News Digital reached out to the IRS for comment on the lawsuit, but they did not immediately respond.
"Biden is the son of the President of the United States. ..... Similarly, Mr. Biden has no fewer or lesser rights than any other American citizen, and no government agency or government agent has free rein to violate his rights simply because of who he is."
"Yet," the complaint says, "the IRS and its agents have conducted themselves under a presumption that the rights that apply to every other American citizen do not apply to Mr. Biden."
The lawsuit goes on to allege that IRS agents Shapley and Ziegler "targeted and sought to embarrass" Biden through statements to the media. The suit clarifies that the pair of agents are only the "most recent" example of the alleged activity.
Shapley and Zielger testified before the House Oversight Committee earlier this year, saying they faced various limitations when tasked with investigating the president's son.
Biden's lawsuit argues the pair's status as whistleblowers "cannot and does not shield them from their wrongful conduct in making unauthorized public disclosures that are not permitted by the whistleblower process."
Fox News' David Spunt contributed to this report.
Hunter Biden Sues I.R.S., Saying Disclosures by Agents Violated His Privacy
Hunter Biden sued the Internal Revenue Service on Monday, saying that investigators for the agency violated his privacy rights by disclosing details to Congress and the public about his taxes and the investigation into his conduct.
Mr. Biden, the president's son, filed the suit days after the Justice Department indicted him on separate charges relating to his purchase of a handgun in 2018. The decision to go ahead with the suit shows that he and his legal team are continuing to take an aggressive stance in fending off inquiries from congressional Republicans even as he faces the possibility of further prosecution on tax charges by the Justice Department amid his father's re-election campaign.
The suit, filed in Federal District Court in Washington, asserts that I.R.S. investigators violated the agency's rules on taxpayer privacy and "targeted and sought to embarrass Mr. Biden via public statements to the media in which they and their representatives disclosed confidential information about a private citizen's tax matters."
It points to the public testimony and statements by two I.R.S. investigators, Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler, who have been providing information to House committees seeking evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden and his family. Mr. Shapley and Mr. Ziegler have told House Republicans that they believe the Justice Department inquiry into Hunter Biden's taxes was influenced by politics.
That claim has been disputed by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and David C. Weiss, the U.S. attorney for Delaware who has overseen the case and was recently given special counsel status by Mr. Garland.
Hunter Biden "has all the same responsibilities as any other American citizen, and the I.R.S. can and should make certain that he abides by those responsibilities," the suit says.
..... Yet the I.R. ..... Biden."
The I.R.S. agents, their lawyers and House Republicans have said they followed the law in how the information about Mr. Biden was disclosed to Congress. They have said the disclosures were legally protected because they were covered by whistle-blower protections and were ultimately made public by the House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over tax issues.
The suit, filed by Mr. Biden's lawyer, Abbe Lowell, disputes that argument. .....
Along with making claims that Mr. Biden received preferential treatment from the Justice Department, the I.R.S. agents have disclosed details from the investigation that were potentially damaging to Mr. Biden and his father. A search warrant uncovered evidence that Hunter Biden had invoked his father - who was out of office at the time - while pressing a Chinese businessman to move ahead with a proposed energy deal.
"Tell the director that I would like to resolve this now before it gets out of hand, and now means tonight," Mr. Biden wrote, referring to other participants in the proposed deal. "And, Z, if I get a call or text from anyone involved in this other than you, Zhang, or the chairman, I will make certain that between the man sitting next to me and every person he knows and my ability to forever hold a grudge that you will regret not following my direction."
House Republicans have maintained that the investigators' disclosures to Congress were legal because they were revealing government corruption.
While the suit involves the I.R.S., it is not directly related to the Justice Department's investigation into Mr. Biden's conduct.
In June, Mr. Biden and Mr. Weiss's office announced they had reached a deal in which Mr. Biden would plead guilty to misdemeanor tax charges and a separate agreement to head off a gun charge.
Mr. Biden's side believed the deal marked the end of the long-running investigation, which Republicans and former President Donald J. Trump hoped would inflict political damage on the president.
But the plea deal came apart at the last minute, during a court hearing in July. Mr. Weiss's office indicted Mr. .....
Mr. Biden could also still be indicted on tax charges related to the late filing of his returns for a number of years and disputes over deductions he took.
Seamus Hughes contributed reporting.
Hunter Biden sues IRS, alleges agents tried to 'target' and 'embarrass' him
In a dramatic turn of events, Hunter Biden, the disgraced first son of President Biden, has filed a lawsuit against two Internal Revenue Service (IRS) whistleblowers, accusing them of violating his privacy and attempting to embarrass him. The legal action comes just days after Hunter was indicted on federal firearms charges for allegedly lying about his drug use in order to purchase a gun. The lawsuit seeks to enforce federal tax and privacy laws and prevent the spread of unsubstantiated allegations and unlawful disclosure of Hunter's tax information. While the two agents, Greg Shapley and Joe Ziegler, were not named in the lawsuit, the filing focuses on their statements and congressional testimony, in which they raised concerns about a cover-up in the Department of Justice's tax fraud investigation into Hunter Biden.
According to Hunter Biden's attorney, Abbe Lowell, the agents disclosed private tax information in nearly two dozen interviews and statements. The lawsuit seeks $1,000 in damages for each unauthorized disclosure of Hunter's tax returns, along with attorney fees and related documents. Lowell argues that the sharing of Biden's personal tax information was not permitted under whistleblower protections. He also claims that the agents' statements were politically motivated and aimed at protecting investigators from probing into finances linked to President Biden.
Mark Lytle, an attorney for Gary Shapley, one of the whistleblowers, dismisses the lawsuit as a frivolous smear intended to intimidate potential whistleblowers. Lytle highlights how Shapley's testimony, as well as that of Joseph Ziegler, uncovered Hunter Biden's “sweetheart” plea deal, which was eventually rejected by Judge Maryellen Noreika. Attorney General Merrick Garland then appointed David Weiss as the special counsel in the case, allowing for the litigation of all charges, except for the federal firearms charges, to take place beyond Delaware.
Former journalist Matt Taibbi, known for his coverage of the Hunter Biden laptop saga, comments on the irony of the lawsuit. Taibbi argues that it is difficult to understand how Hunter Biden can claim a violation of personal privacy when the tax information is relevant to a major legal probe. He suggests that the lawsuit is a reaction to the fact that information, which was previously hidden, is now coming to light.
The lawsuit, filed in a DC federal court, comes three months after Hunter Biden struck a plea deal with federal prosecutors, pleading guilty to two misdemeanors related to his failure to pay taxes. The deal, which was heavily criticized by Republicans, was scuttled after additional charges were revealed during a court hearing. US Attorney David Weiss, who oversaw the case, was granted special counsel status by Attorney General Merrick Garland.
Hunter Biden's legal troubles have been a subject of controversy and speculation, with allegations of impropriety and involvement in international lobbying activities. President Biden has consistently denied any wrongdoing or involvement in his son's affairs. The lawsuit against the IRS whistleblowers is seen by some as an attempt to divert attention from Hunter's legal problems and intimidate potential whistleblowers. The case will undoubtedly continue to attract significant attention and scrutiny, particularly as the 2024 presidential election draws nearer.
Hunter Biden sues IRS, alleges agents tried to Сtarget' and Сembarrass' him
Disgraced first son Hunter Biden's legal team filed a lawsuit Monday against two Internal Revenue Service whistleblowers Monday, saying that they violated his right to privacy and tried to “embarrass” him when they publicized his tax information.
The legal action against IRS supervisory special agent Greg Shapley, and a second agent, Joe Ziegler came just four days after Hunter, 53, was indicted on federal firearms charges for allegedly lying about his drug use to buy a gun in 2018, a case that could go to trial as his father President Biden's bid for re-election heats up.
Shapley and Ziegler were not named in the lawsuit, but the filing centers on statements and congressional testimony made by the agents, as they sounded the alarm on what they called a wide-ranging coverup in the Department of Justice's tax fraud investigation into the first son.
"IRS agents have targeted and sought to embarrass Mr. .....
Biden's suit sought $1,000 for each unauthorized tax disclosure and attorney fees, and all related documents.
The agents told the House Oversight Committee in July that political appointees interfered in the case and shielded investigators from probing finances of Hunter's that were linked to his father.
They also claimed federal prosecutors also blocked investigations into the president's possible role in multi-million dollar payments from a Chinese government-linked energy conglomerate that were made to Hunter, and from looking into emails found in his abandoned laptop that purported he was splitting revenue from his overseas business interests with his father.
"Any time we potentially wanted to go down the road of asking questions related to the president, it was, 'That's going to take too much approvals, we can't ask those questions,'" Ziegler had said in an interview with CBS News.
Monday's lawsuit, filed in DC federal court, claimed that the sharing of Biden's personal tax information was not permitted under whistleblower protections.
The legal action came almost exactly three months after Hunter struck a plea deal with the feds to plead guilty to two misdemeanors in connection with his failure to pay more than $100,000 in taxes in both 2017 and 2018. The agreement would have also seen his felony charge of possessing a firearm while addicted to crack cocaine dismissed.
But the probation-only agreement, which followed a five-year investigation and was dubbed a "sweetheart deal" by Republicans, was scuttled at a July 26 hearing after Hunter's lawyers learned that prosecutors were keeping additional charges on the table in connection with an ongoing investigation into his overseas business deals and financial records, and the judge expressed concern over its structure.
After Biden pleaded not guilty, US Attorney David Weiss withdrew the charges in Delaware and was granted special counsel status by Attorney General Merrick Garland Aug. 11.
"This suit against the IRS is just another frivolous smear by Biden family attorneys trying to turn people's attention away from Hunter Biden's own legal problems and intimidate any current and future whistleblowers," Shapley's legal team said in a statement Monday.
"The federal judge in Delaware who oversaw the aborted plea deal shot down similar claims against the whistleblowers after they exposed the secret backroom deal between Hunter Biden and the Department of Justice.
"Neither IRS SSA Gary Shapley nor his attorneys have ever released any confidential taxpayer information except through whistleblower disclosures authorized by statute. Once Congress released that testimony, like every American citizen, he has a right to discuss that public information."
President Biden has denied any impropriety or involvement in his son's international lobbying activities, which were first detailed by The Post in a bombshell 2020 expose.
Hunter Biden sues IRS for 'assault' to confidentiality after tax affairs disclosure
US president's son alleges that two whistleblower agents targeted him and agency failed to protect his private records.Hunter Biden is suing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) after allegations that its agents illegally released his tax affairs.
The US president's son, 53, said that his tax details were shared by two IRS agents in congressional hearings and media interviews in an “assault” on his right to confidentiality.
Mr Biden is seeking $1,000 (?800) for each unauthorised disclosure and associated legal fees.
The case centres on disclosures by two agents who were involved in an investigation of Mr Biden's taxes and alleged that his case was being mismanaged by the US Department of Justice.
The agents, Greg Shapley and Joe Ziegler, said that they were acting as whistleblowers and accused the department of “slow-walking” the investigation in testimony before Congress.
Mr Biden's lawsuit argues the agents "targeted and sought to embarrass" him and the tax agency failed to protect his private records.
Whistleblowers are "supposed to uncover government misconduct", it stated, not give their "opinion about the alleged wrongdoing of a private person".
Hunter Biden sues US tax agency over disclosures of personal information
US President Joe Biden's son Hunter has sued the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), accusing two agents of wrongly sharing his personal tax information.
The lawsuit on Monday says the agents of the United States tax agency "targeted and sought to embarrass Mr Biden".
Hunter also says federal whistleblower protections sought by the agents do not include the sharing of confidential information in press interviews and testimony before Congress.
The legal filing comes as a long-running investigation into Hunter continues to unfold against a sharply political backdrop, including an impeachment inquiry aimed at his father.
Hunter was indicted last week on federal firearms charges, with prosecutors accusing him of making false statements related to drug use in order to acquire a firearm in 2018.
His defence attorneys have indicated they plan to fight the charges, but the case could be on track towards a possible high-stakes trial as the 2024 election looms.
Hunter Biden files lawsuit against IRS alleging privacy violations
Hunter Biden filed suit against the IRS on Monday, claiming the agency is behind "unlawful disclosure of Mr. Biden's confidential tax return information " to the media.
..... The IRS has not commented on the lawsuit.
The lawsuit cites "more than 20 nationally televised interviews" by Shapley and another whistleblower, Joseph Ziegler, who was the tax agency's lead case agent in the federal investigation into Hunter Biden, President Biden's son.
There are strict laws governing the need for confidentiality in how IRS employees treat taxpayer information. At the time of his first CBS News interview in May, both Shapley and his attorneys told CBS News he was taking great care in how he navigated his decision to speak publicly.
Shapley told CBS News he made the decision to speak publicly because he was so concerned about prosecutors' handling of "a high profile, controversial" investigation that he felt duty-bound to sound alarms.
Shapley said he "saw deviations from the normal process" while supervising the investigation, but declined to publicly "confirm or deny the subject of this investigation."
In the lawsuit, Biden alleges he is "the victim" of an effort by Shapley, Ziegler, and their legal teams, who "sought to embarrass Mr. Biden via public statements to the media in which they...disclosed confidential information about a private citizen's tax matters."
Some of the attorneys for the agents have past ties to GOP politics and have helped the whistleblowers navigate their efforts to raise objections. Shapley was asked during the interview about allegations made by Hunter Biden's legal team that he had broken the law in disclosing information about the Biden case - even to his own lawyer.
"Yeah, I can't speak to that," Shapley replied.
Attorneys for Shapley called the lawsuit “frivolous” in a statement to CBS News.
Shapley and Ziegler brought their concerns to the House Ways and Means Committee this spring. They testified about what they said was the slow pace of the yearslong investigation and claimed that Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss, who leads the investigation, had said he would not be the one to decide on whether charges were brought.
The New York Times first reported on Sept. 15 that in three other closed door interviews this month, witnesses from the FBI and IRS raised doubts about those claims. They reportedly put forward a description of events in which they alleged the pace of investigation was slowed by bureaucratic processes, as opposed to politics. And they said they could not recall Weiss saying he lacked the authority to move the case forward on his own.
The back-and-forth allegations between Hunter Biden and the IRS agents have played out even after the investigation seemingly came to a head this summer, when Hunter Biden and Weiss's office reached a plea agreement involving misdemeanor tax offenses and a felony firearm offense. But the deal fell apart during a July court hearing, when a federal judge questioned provisions that would have allowed Hunter Biden to avoid prison time and further charges related to the investigation. He pleaded not guilty to three charges.
On Sept. 14, a federal grand jury indicted Hunter Biden on charges related to his purchase of a firearm in October 2018, while he was a drug user, according to court filings.
Abbe Lowell, an attorney for Hunter Biden, said Weiss - who is now special counsel overseeing the probe - was "bending to political pressure." Lowell said he believed the charges were barred by the terms of the original plea agreement.
Jason Foster, one of the attorneys with the whistleblower advocacy group Empower Oversight went on social media after the lawsuit was filed to deride the decision.
"Hunter Biden suing the IRS because its career law enforcement officers felt compelled to blow the whistle on the kid-glove treatment his very expensive lawyers managed to get for him is peak White House privilege in action," Foster wrote.
Last week, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, claiming “credible” allegations that Mr. Biden profited off his son's business dealings.
Investigations mounted by House Republicans have yet to uncover direct evidence of wrongdoing by the president. Mr. Biden has denied any involvement in his son's foreign work.Graham Kates
Graham Kates is an investigative reporter covering criminal justice, privacy issues and information security for CBS News Digital. Contact Graham at KatesG@cbsnews.com or email@example.com
Hunter Biden tries to avoid in-person arraignment in federal gun charges case
Biden's lawyers battle federal prosecutors over in-person arraignment.Hunter Biden is battling federal prosecutors in trying to have his initial court appearance on federal firearm charges held via video conference, according to an order filed by a federal judge on Monday.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Christopher J. Burke issued the order asking Hunter's lawyers to explain no later than Tuesday why they want his arraignment held via video conference - a request prosecutors have opposed, Burke wrote.
The judge gave prosecutors until Wednesday to provide a reason why the arraignment should happen in person.
Hunter could face up to 25 years in prison for federal firearm charges announced last week, including making a false statement in the purchase of a firearm, which carries a maximum of up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.
The second count, a false statement related to information required to be kept by a federal firearms licensed dealer, can garner up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.
The third count, possession of a firearm by a person who is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance, can land up to a maximum of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release, according to the documents.
The counts combine to carry a maximum of 25 years in prison and a $750,000 fine. Special counsel David Weiss, a Donald Trump appointee, has overlooked the investigation.
Shapley's legal team responded to Hunter's lawsuit in a statement Monday morning, dismissing the move as a stalling tactic.
Hunter's lawyer did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital's requests for comment. The Justice Department declined to comment.
Fox News' Joe Schoffstall, David Spunt, Anders Hagstrom and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.
Hunter Biden lawsuit against IRS a 'frivolous smear' to discourage more whistleblowers, attorney says
Journalist Matt Taibbi called the lawsuit 'ironic;.An attorney for one of the Internal Revenue Service whistleblowers who cried foul on the Justice Department's handling of Hunter Biden's influence peddling and tax investigation called the first son's new lawsuit against the agency a "frivolous smear."
Hunter Biden's attorneys alleged Monday that IRS agents have targeted their client and "sought to embarrass" him. They demand $1,000 in damages for each "unauthorized disclosure" of the first son's tax returns.
Mark Lytle, an attorney for whistleblower Gary Shapley - the investigator who testified to Congress that the Wilmington U.S. Attorney's office was "different from any other case in" his 14 years of public service - told FOX News the suit is an attempt to frighten others from providing information to the legislature.
"This lawsuit is just a frivolous smear to try to block the whistleblowers or any potential whistleblowers from coming forward. There were no violations. The whistleblowers followed the [whistleblower] statute," he said Monday on "The Story."
Lytle cited how Shapley's testimony and that of fellow agent Joseph Ziegler essentially led to Hunter Biden's “sweetheart” plea deal being exposed.
In the end, Judge Maryellen Noreika rejected the plea deal, and Attorney General Merrick Garland ultimately appointed the lead Delaware federal prosecutor, David Weiss, the special counsel in the case.
Weiss' special counsel status allowed all but Hunter's federal firearms charges to be litigated beyond Delaware.
In response to these developments, Lytle claimed, Hunter Biden and his team are deciding to "com[e] after the whistleblowers."
Anchor Martha MacCallum noted, however, that the suit is not against Shapley and Ziegler, but the agency itself.
Lytle argued the tax disclosures were each "legitimate and protected" by law, adding that Shapley and Ziegler encountered numerous steps wherein the investigation was “slow-walked” or blocked at junctures that could potentially lead to President Biden himself.
Former Twitter Files journalist Matt Taibbi - whose dissemination of information pertaining to the Hunter Biden laptop saga and alleged federal interference therein created shockwave last year - called the lawsuit itself ironic in a separate interview on "The Story."
"It's certainly ironic, isn't it? It seems like the government bent over backwards to keep a lot of information that was clearly newsworthy out of the public domain as a result of a variety of things, including the censorship of this story," he said.
"We didn't learn for a very long time through these whistleblowers that there was this whole galaxy of shell companies that Hunter Biden was tied to."
"As soon as [federal agencies] start behaving like independent entities, of course they become enemies of. Hunter Biden," he added. "That's certainly ironic. I mean, again, the evidence shows that they bent over backwards to try to accommodate him, even when he said ridiculous things like trying to claim that income was a loan when clearly it's a taxable event as soon as he gets it."
"They hid the stuff and now it's coming out and he's upset about it. And that's what this lawsuit is," he added.