By Sara Murray, Evan Perez and Alayna Treene, CNN
Attorneys for an IRS whistleblower who allege there is political interference at the Justice Department in the Hunter Biden criminal investigation met with congressional investigators Friday to lay the groundwork for what their client hopes to share with Congress, according to sources familiar with the matter.
The attorneys privately offered investigators from the Democratic-led Senate Finance Committee and Republican-led House Ways and Means Committee a glimpse into the information their client could share with Congress, the sources said. Such a disclosure is a typical early step in whistleblower cases involving sensitive tax information.
A Republican aide with the Ways and Means Committee said they anticipate an in-person interview with the whistleblower in the near future.
The whistleblower alleges that Delaware US Attorney David Weiss’ ability to bring charges in the case is being thwarted by political appointees. That would contradict promises by Attorney General Merrick Garland in congressional testimony that Weiss, a Donald Trump appointee, has full authority to make final decisions on whether to prosecute President Joe Biden’s son.
“The process is proceeding on a bipartisan basis with ranking member [Mike] Crapo’s staff,” said Ryan Carey, a spokesman for Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat.
Last month, Mark Lytle, an attorney for the whistleblower, wrote to a handful of House and Senate committee leaders expressing his client’s interest in making “protected whistleblower disclosures to Congress.”
Lytle said his client, an unnamed IRS criminal supervisory special agent, “has been overseeing the ongoing and sensitive investigation of a high-profile, controversial subject,” which a source has confirmed was Hunter Biden.
Federal prosecutors have spent years, spanning three attorneys general, investigating Hunter Biden and have weighed bringing charges against him for alleged tax crimes and a false statement, CNN has previously reported. So far, no charges have been filed. Hunter Biden has denied wrongdoing.
The president affirmed his support for his son in an interview that aired Friday on MSNBC, adding that the Justice Department’s investigation would not affect his presidency.
“First of all, my son has done nothing wrong. I trust him. I have faith in him,” Joe Biden told Stephanie Ruhle. “It impacts my presidency by making me feel proud of him.”
In an April statement, the White House said the president was committed to an investigation “free from any political interference.”
“President Biden has made clear that this matter would be handled independently by the Justice Department, under the leadership of a U.S. Attorney appointed by President Trump, free from any political interference by the White House. He has upheld that commitment,” White House spokesman Ian Sams said.
The IRS whistleblower claimed to have information that “contradicts sworn testimony to Congress by a senior political appointee,” according to the letter from his attorney. That senior political appointee was Garland, people familiar with the matter previously told CNN.
Appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in March, Garland said: “I have pledged not to interfere with that investigation, and I have carried through on my pledge.”
At the March hearing, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley asked Garland whether Weiss has had to seek the cooperation of US attorneys in the District of Columbia or California to bring the Hunter Biden case. The question was based on information Grassley’s investigators have received on possible obstacles Weiss may face to bring the tax charges, a person briefed on the matter said. That’s because Hunter Biden lives in southern California and the tax documents at issue were prepared in Washington, DC, making those the two jurisdictions where a prosecution could be brought.
Garland responded to the question by saying he hasn’t heard of Weiss having any obstacles in bringing a case.
“The US attorney in Delaware has been advised that he has full authority to make those kinds of referrals that you’re talking about or to bring cases in other jurisdictions if he feels that it’s necessary, and I will assure that if he does that he will be able to do that,” Garland said. “If he needs to bring a case in another jurisdiction, he will have my full authority to do that.”
Justice Department regulations provide for Weiss to get permission from the attorney general to seek to bring a case in a jurisdiction outside of Delaware. A person briefed on the matter said Garland has ensured Weiss has the authority to do so.
Spokespersons for the Justice Department and the US attorneys in Delaware, California’s Central District, and Washington, DC, declined to comment.
This story has been updated with additional information.
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