The attorneys for an Internal Revenue Service whistleblower wrote a letter to Congress claiming that their client has been removed from an investigation on Hunter Biden.
The investigation surrounding President Joe Biden’s son focuses on crimes related to taxes and his false statement in connection to a gun purchase.
“Today the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Supervisory Special Agent we represent was informed that he and his entire investigative team are being removed from the ongoing and sensitive investigation of the high-profile, controversial subject about which our client sought to make whistleblower disclosures to Congress,” the attorneys wrote in a letter to Congress, obtained by Fox News.
The Department of Justice informed the whistleblower of the change on Monday, the attorneys — Tristan Leavitt, president of Empower Oversight, and Mark Lytle of Nixon Peabody — wrote.
Whistleblower’s attorneys: DOJ’s move is ‘clearly retaliatory’
According to CBS News, Lytle met with the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees earlier this month to discuss what the whistleblower can tell members of Congress.
Lytle previously said in a letter that his client claimed the investigation has been slowed down by “preferential treatment and politics.”
The attorneys claimed that this move was “clearly retaliatory and may also constitute obstruction of a congressional inquiry” in the latest letter.
The letter cited IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel’s testimony from April 27, where he pledged to uphold the whistleblower’s protections.
“I can say without hesitation there will be no retaliation for anyone making an allegation or a call to a whistleblower hotline,” he said.
Lawmakers, White House personnel react to whistleblower’s removal
Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith, R-Mo., also pointed to the inconsistency, saying that the “concerning allegations of retaliatory actions against a whistleblower, appears to contradict the sworn testimony by Commissioner Werfel,” in a statement.
“Congress’s duty to hold government agencies accountable relies on the availability and willingness of individuals to speak out about wrongdoing,” said Smith. “Not only does retaliation like this discourage whistleblowers, it can also rise to the level of an illegal violation of statutory protections for whistleblowers.”
He called on Werfel to respond to the allegations made by the whistleblower’s attorneys.
The DOJ told The Hill the federal agency could not comment on the matter and referred questions to U.S. attorney David Weiss, who is leading the investigation. Weiss has not commented on the letter.
Rep. Richard Neal, a Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, also joined Smith’s calls for Werfel to provide more context.
Meanwhile, the White House spokesperson for oversight and investigation, Ian Sams, tweeted out a response.
“For going on 5 years now, Republicans in Congress have been lobbing unfounded politically-motivated attacks against @POTUS without offering evidence for their claims. Or evidence of decisions influenced by anything other than U.S. interests.”
For going on 5 years now, Republicans in Congress have been lobbing unfounded politically-motivated attacks against @POTUS without offering evidence for their claims. Or evidence of decisions influenced by anything other than U.S. interests.— Ian Sams (@IanSams46) May 3, 2023
They prefer trafficking in innuendo. https://t.co/ZjV46xvjit
Hunter Biden announced he was under investigation in December 2020, according to USA Today.
“I take this matter very seriously but I am confident that a professional and objective review of these matters will demonstrate that I handled my affairs legally and appropriately, including with the benefit of professional tax advisors,” he said at the time.
Biden’s attorney, Chris Clark, criticized the FBI for leaking information from the grand jury proceedings, according to a statement published by CBS News.
“As is proper and legally required, we believe the prosecutors in this case are diligently and thoroughly weighing not just evidence provided by agents, but also all the other witnesses in this case, including witnesses for the defense,” Clark said.
The whistleblower’s attorneys argued that their client has a right to make statements to Congress.
“Any attempt by any government official to prevent a federal employee from furnishing information to Congress is also a direct violation of longstanding appropriations restriction,” the letter stated.
CNN reported that the investigation is nearly finished and a decision about charges is pending.