In a letter to both the majority and minority on the House Ways & Means Committee --- which has jurisdiction over the IRS --- IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel denied intervening with whistleblowers who had come forward with complaints about how the Hunter Biden case was handled.
He said the interference came from the ‘Justice’ Department.
And that’s in line with what the attorneys for the whistleblower, Mark Lytle and Tristan Leavitt, had said in a May 16 letter to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. Their letter is here...
“I want to state unequivocally that I have not intervened --- and will not intervene --- in any way that would impact the status of any whistleblower,” Werfel writes. “...As a general matter and not in reference to any specific case, I believe it is important to emphasize that in any matter involving federal judicial proceedings, the IRS follows the direction of the Justice Department.”
He says in the letter that when he heard on May 16 about the whistleblower’s allegations of retaliation, he contacted the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), but that he can’t say more. “In light of laws and policies designed to protect the integrity of pending proceedings,” he says, “I am unable to provide details on this matter.”
You know, when it comes to the DOJ, I’m not too sure there’s much integrity left to protect.
He does say in the letter that TIGTA confirmed to him that his role as commissioner did not include investigating whistleblower claims. He’s supposed to serve as “a critical guardian of the whistleblower process” and conduct “relevant inquiries,” which do not involve seeking the identity of the yet-unidentified whistleblower, the criminal supervisory special agent heading the whole investigative team (who were also taken off the case).
Bob Hoge adds more in an excellent opinion piece for REDSTATE, noting Werfel’s euphemistic phrase “change in his work assignment” to describe the intervention --- we’ll add that the word “retaliation” wasn’t used --- against the whistleblower. But his attorneys in their letter had said the move was “clearly retaliatory.” Retaliation against a whistleblower is against federal law.
About a month ago, Werfel appeared before Ways & Means and testified, “I can say without any hesitation that there will be no retaliation for anyone making an allegation or a call to a whistleblower hotline.” He might well have added, “...unless the DOJ decides to.”
Recall that a second IRS whistleblower involved in the Hunter case, another member of that investigative team, has come forward with similar allegations. He says he’s been threatened with criminal prosecution. Much more detail, including the nature of the threat of prosecution received by Whistleblower #2 from the Criminal Division of the IRS Washington Field Office, here...
Werfel might claim that the interference is coming from the DOJ, but Lytle and Leavitt specifically point to “IRS leadership” for the intimidation tactics. That will have to be sorted out; whoever did it broke the law. The attorneys say other members of the team have been warned, too, “in an apparent attempt to intimidate into silence anyone who might raise similar concerns.”
Whistleblower #1 will testify in private before Ways & Means this Friday and has also invited members of the Senate Finance Committee to attend as well.
It would be so gratifying to see the entire team of investigators come forward as a group and testify about the interference with the Hunter case. They’re already off the case; what would Merrick Garland do if all the case agents came forward and said, “Here’s what went down...”
But even if we just have these two, “It’s astonishing that the DOJ and IRS continue to act this way toward the whistleblowers knowing their retaliation attempts will be made public,” Hoge writes. “...It’s pretty clear that no one within the Biden administration and the executive agencies it controls has any actual fear of being held accountable.” And he could not have expressed it better when he said that “any Republican who wins in 2024 must make it a priority to rip these agencies to shreds. There is no saving them in their current form.”
RELATED: Right now, President Trump’s attorneys are busy dealing with the ‘Justice’ Department, too, and have requested a meeting with AG Garland over the “unfair,” “baseless,” and “outrageous” investigation by Special Counsel Jack Smith. (If all these investigations have you losing track, this is the one looking into whether Trump “fomented rebellion” on January 6 and also his alleged possession of classified documents at Mar-A-Lago and possible obstruction of the DOJ’s investigation.)
Also, Trump himself had to appear again on Tuesday --- this time on video --- in the Manhattan courtroom of Judge Juan Merchan, where he’s being tried on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records and conspiracy related to making “hush” payments to porn star Stormy Daniels. The judge stopped just short of issuing him a gag order but said in a protective order that he can’t disclose evidence in the case.
Trump pleaded not guilty on all counts in April. Now, as he runs for President, he has to prepare for a trial that’s been set for March 25, 2024 --- months before the 2024 presidential election. He’s supposed to clear his calendar around that time. Golly gee, the Democrats couldn’t have planned this better if they tried. Chalk it up to more election interference by the Democrat Party, right in plain sight once more.
According to FOX NEWS, “Trump can speak publicly about the case but can be held in contempt if he uses evidence turned over by prosecutors to target witnesses and anyone else involved in the case.” So when he’s out on the campaign trail and hears some outrageous lie about him relative to the case (cue Adam Schiff!), and he has evidence that would dispel the lie, he can’t use it or he’ll be held in contempt. Potentially more election interference.
Speaking of liars, California Rep. Eric Swalwell emitted some more gas Tuesday on MSNBC by saying that the GOP House probe into the Biden family’s finances was “lies,” “all nonsense and unwarranted.” Nicolle Wallace chimed in with there was “not a single piece of evidence” against the Biden family. (Really??) It’s all politics to Swalwell; if you have a strong stomach, read his three-step strategy for staying on top of it.
Finally, in light of these stories today about corruption within the ‘Justice’ Department, we’d like to take a look back and salute Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul for being the ONLY REPUBLICAN SENATOR, in 2017, to vote against the confirmation of Christopher Wray as FBI Director.
He was the ONLY SENATOR (of either party), in 2013, to vote against the confirmation of James Comey as FBI Director.
In 2021, he also voted against confirming Merrick Garland as attorney general. This time, at least the vote was 70-30. But we applaud him for batting 1000 and wish every other Republican would follow his lead regarding EVERY confirmation.
“America can breathe a sigh of relief that we are finally going to have someone like Merrick Garland leading the Justice Department,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer upon his confirmation. He called Garland “someone with integrity, independence, respect for the rule of law and credibility on both sides of the aisle.”