Audacity is Joe Biden’s magic power.
When the walls are closing in, he laughs in your face and dares you to come after him.
He did it last week when he laughed at a question about “damning evidence in an FBI file” that he from a Ukrainian energy company in return for a policy decision when he was vice president.
“Where’s the money?” he quipped, before calling the allegation “a bunch of malarkey.”
Forgive us if we don’t take the president at his word, because he has lied before about his involvement in the international “pay to play” scheme run by his son Hunter and brother Jim during his vice presidency.
But his cockiness in the face of mounting evidence before the House Oversight Committee of shady foreign millions needs to be understood, not only in terms of his personality, but in the context of whistleblower claims about an FBI cover-up.
If you were frustrated that the Delaware investigation into the president’s wayward 53-year-old son has failed to reach a conclusion after five long years, you won’t be surprised to hear about efforts to derail the case.
Most disturbing are claims by two IRS whistleblowers that the Department of Justice has that has been conducted by Delaware US Attorney David Weiss since 2018.
Those claims were compounded last week when James Comer (R-Ky.), the House Oversight chairman, forced the FBI, under threat of contempt charges, to show him an unclassified document, known as an FD-1023, dated June 30, 2020, detailing allegations by a trusted, paid, long-term FBI informant that Joe and Hunter Biden received $5 million apiece as a bribe during his vice presidency.
The same informant had made a similar allegation at least once before, in 2017, which also was buried in the FBI database, says Comer.
Contrary to claims by Comer’s Democratic counterpart Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) that the bribery allegations were “debunked” and the case “closed down” in August 2020, then-Attorney General Bill Barr says the FD-1023 containing the bribery allegation was provided to Weiss to use as part of his ongoing investigation into Hunter.
But key investigators on Weiss’ team were unaware of the specific bribery allegation until they read about it in the media last week, according to legal sources, and at least one is believed to have approached Congress to say so under oath.
There are only two possible explanations: Either someone in the FBI or DOJ blocked the document from being shared, in contravention of Barr’s orders, or Weiss was given the document and did not share it with his IRS team, despite the fact the allegation would fall squarely in the scope of their investigation.
Either way, Comer and whistleblower advocate Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) claim the FBI did not investigate the Biden bribery allegation.
Thanks to two senior IRS whistleblowers, we have insight into the internal conflict that has plagued Weiss’ investigation into Hunter, at least since early 2020, amid claims of interference from “main Justice,” the Justice Department’s headquarters in Washington, DC, where the attorney general and other top political appointees work.
Gary Shapley, a 14-year supervisory IRS agent in the international tax and financial crimes group, who ran the Hunter Biden investigation for Weiss, spent at least seven hours under oath two weeks ago privately testifying to the Republican-led House Ways and Means Committee.
He handed over 23 pages of evidence documenting “egregious” DOJ “deviations from normal process” and “slow-walking” of the investigation over the past three years in ways that seemed always to benefit Hunter.
He first came forward to Congress on April 19, when his attorney Mark Lytle wrote to three House committees offering to make protected whistleblower disclosures. Shapley, at that point unnamed, offered evidence to “contradict sworn testimony to Congress by a senior political appointee”; reveal failures to handle “clear conflicts of interest”; and detail instances of “preferential treatment and politics improperly infecting decisions and protocols.”
He previously has made complaints internally at the IRS, and to the inspector generals at the Treasury Department and DOJ.
Three weeks after his outreach to Congress, Shapley and his entire team of 12 investigators on the Hunter probe in Delaware were removed “at the request of the Department of Justice,” his attorneys alleged on May 15.
Last week, a second IRS whistleblower from Weiss’ team, who had worked on the Hunter case since it was opened in 2018, also testified to Congress, accusing the DOJ of “acting inappropriately” and alleging he was removed from the case for doing the “right thing.”
The FBI continued to stonewall about the FD-1023 last week even when dragged kicking and screaming to Capitol Hill for a curious confidential briefing to Comer and Raskin and staff.
According to Raskin, the four senior FBI executives who brought the FD-1023 to the Capitol last Monday led him to falsely claim in a subsequent press conference that the bribery allegation in the FD-1023 had been “debunked” by DOJ prosecutors and FBI agents under US Attorney Scott Brady in Pittsburg and that Brady and then-AG Barr then “closed down” the probe.
Barr spent most of the week. “The allegations made in that document was not closed down,” Barr told “Fox News Sunday.” The FD-1023 “was provided to the ongoing investigation in Delaware to follow up on and to check out.”
“The Pittsburgh office … developed more information that apparently had been overlooked by the FBI and they developed this 1023 that has a lot of detail and then they took it to Delaware and other offices and briefed them on it for their use and for follow-up,” Barr said.
Again, contrary to claims by Raskin and allied media, the FD-1023 had nothing to do with Rudy Giuliani, other than that it was discovered by Brady’s team when they were assessing separate allegations that Giuliani brought to them in January 2020.
According to a high-placed source familiar with the Brady team’s work, during their assessment, a search of the FBI database had uncovered a “throwaway line” in a previous FD-1023 report from 2017 in which the same trusted confidential informant referred to a Hunter Biden conversation in 2015 or 2016 with Mykola Zlochevsky, the former Ukrainian ecology minister who owned the Ukrainian energy company Burisma. (Burisma installed Hunter as a board member in 2014, paying him $1 million a year until it slashed his pay in half when his father ceased to be VP in 2018.)
So, Brady’s team reinterviewed the informant in June 2020, asking him specifically about his Hunter Biden remark in 2017, and that interview became the FD-1023 that Comer and Raskin were shown by the FBI last week.
According to the Brady source and three congressional sources who viewed the new FD-1023 last week, the document is very detailed, referring to multiple meetings and phone calls with Zlochevsky with other people present.
It details a bribery scheme in which Zlochevsky said he had to pay Hunter and Joe Biden $5 million each to make sure there were “no problems” for Burisma, including in a potential acquisition of an American oil and gas company.
(Burisma had faced “problems” in 2014 when the UK’s Serious Fraud Office froze $23 million in Zlochevsky’s London bank accounts in conjunction with an FBI probe of Ukrainian corruption. In 2016, George Kent, the former deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Ukraine, alleged in an email to the DOJ published by Just The News that Burisma had paid a $7 million cash bribe to Ukrainian prosecutors successfully to sabotage the UK probe by failing to produce evidence to allow Zlochevsky’s bank accounts to remain frozen.)
Need an explanation
The source says the Brady team briefed Weiss’ assistant US attorneys and FBI agents from the Baltimore Field Office in mid-September 2020, and gave them the FD-1023 and the information they had about the Biden bribery allegation.
So what came of the allegation and why wasn’t it shared with the rest of the team?
“There could be an innocent explanation,” said Barr. “Difficult case, maybe they determined there was no problem in this area [or] maybe the case has been sabotaged by the agents or the lawyers or other components in Justice not supporting the US attorney [Weiss].”
Out of fairness to everyone involved, the American people need an explanation. Gone are the days when the American people take the FBI or the DOJ — or the president, for that matter — at their word.