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Hunter Biden’s lawyer says IRS whistleblowers are ‘disgruntled agents’ with ‘an axe to grind’

<i>Patrick Semansky/AP/FILE</i><br/>Hunter Biden
Patrick Semansky/AP/FILE
Hunter Biden

By Marshall Cohen, CNN

(CNN) — Hunter Biden’s lawyer lashed out Friday against the IRS whistleblowers who testified to Congress that the president’s son received preferential treatment from the Justice Department during his criminal investigation.

The lawyer was publicly pushing back against claims from two IRS agents that the Justice Department officials slow-walked the criminal probe into Hunter Biden’s tax issues, stymied their efforts to obtain subpoenas and search warrants, and repeatedly blocked prosecutors from filing felony charges.

The IRS whistleblowers are “disgruntled agents who believed they knew better than the federal prosecutors who had all the evidence as they conducted their five-year investigation of Mr. Biden,” Hunter Biden’s lawyer Abbe Lowell wrote in a letter to Rep. Jason Smith, the GOP chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, who released the whistleblowers’ deposition transcripts last week.

Republican lawmakers “choreographed the dissemination of incomplete half-truths, distortions, and totally unnecessary details about Mr. Biden” from IRS agents “with a bias and an axe to grind,” Lowell said, arguing that the move was “an obvious ploy to feed the misinformation campaign to harm our client, Hunter Biden, as a vehicle to attack his father.”

The whistleblowers’ claims of political interference in the criminal probe have been met with adamant denials from the Justice Department. Attorney General Merrick Garland and David Weiss, the Trump-appointed US attorney who oversaw the five-year investigation, have said that Weiss had full authority to run the investigation, and to bring charges whenever and wherever he wanted, free of meddling.

The investigation culminated in a plea deal for Hunter Biden, who will admit to two tax misdemeanors, and will avoid prosecution on a felony gun charge if he follows court-imposed rules for a set period of time. The president’s son is slated to plead guilty in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware, on July 26.

Hunter Biden’s lawyer claimed the IRS whistleblowers – career agent Gary Shapley, and one of his deputies who hasn’t gone public – and the committee may have inappropriately disclosed tax information or grand jury material. He also accused GOP lawmakers of trying to interfere with the ongoing legal case. Shapley did not immediately respond to CNN request for comment on Lowell’s remarks.

“Your actions were intended to improperly undermine the judicial proceedings that have been scheduled in the case,” Lowell wrote in the letter, which was sent Friday. “Your release of this selective set of false allegations was an attempt to score a headline in a news cycle – full facts be damned.”

Hunter Biden lawyer rebuts GOP theories on foreign deals

Lowell also pushed back Friday against two of the most prominent right-wing theories about President Joe Biden’s potential involvement in his son’s lucrative overseas business deals.

While his father was vice president, Hunter Biden made millions of dollars from business opportunities in Ukraine, China, Romania and elsewhere. His overseas dealings raised ethics concerns within the Obama administration at the time – and he was blatantly trading on his well-connected last name to make money. But there’s no evidence the elder Biden abused his office to enrich his family.

Last week, House Republicans released a WhatsApp text message that Hunter Biden allegedly sent to a Chinese businessman in July 2017, invoking his father’s name in a ham-handed attempt to get paid. The message said: “I am sitting here with my father and we would like to understand why the commitment made has not been fulfilled,” according to information provided to Congress by Shapley.

The White House rebuffed days of questions about the text, but the president said on Wednesday that he wasn’t with his son when the message was sent. (“No, I wasn’t,” President Biden told reporters.)

In the letter to House Republicans, Lowell said, “President Biden and our client were not together that day.” He also said, “no transaction actually occurred” and accused GOP lawmakers of peddling “a false narrative about the Bidens’ involvement” in a Chinese company.

Lowell also rebutted GOP claims about an email related to the same proposed business agreement, which Republicans argue shows that President Biden amassed millions from Chinese energy interests.

The email in question is from May 2017 and involves Hunter Biden and some of his business partners, where they discuss the proposed equity stakes for the upcoming deal. The email says, “10 held by H for the big guy,” suggesting that Hunter Biden would hold onto 10% ownership stake on behalf of his father.

The email was “unsolicited” and the percentages weren’t proposed by Hunter Biden, Lowell said.

“Such a breakdown was never included in any agreement,” Lowell said in the letter to House Republicans, adding that “our client never responded or acknowledged that communication, ever.”

One of Hunter Biden’s business associates who was involved in the email told the FBI that it was probably just “wishful thinking” by his colleague who wrote the email, “or maybe he was just projecting” that Joe Biden would get involved in the business deals if he didn’t run for president in 2016. This undercuts GOP claims that Joe Biden was directly involved in his son’s multimillion-dollar foreign deals.

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