IRS whistleblower says tensions flared in meeting between prosecutors and investigators over Hunter Biden

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An attorney for an unnamed IRS whistleblower is shedding light on key meetings that exposed divisions between prosecutors and investigators on how to proceed with a criminal investigation into President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden, according to a letter to a federal watchdog agency obtained by CNN.

In a letter to the US Office of Special Counsel, Tristan Leavitt – one of the whistleblower’s attorneys – described a series of meetings in October 2022 in which tensions flared between federal prosecutors and some investigators working on the Hunter Biden case.

On October 7, 2022, a US attorney’s office – which is not identified in the letter but which CNN has learned is the office of Delaware US Attorney David Weiss – “became aware that both the IRS and the FBI had longstanding concerns about the handling of the case,” and those concerns had been communicated to others up the chain of command, Leavitt wrote.

The IRS whistleblower has claimed, through his attorneys, that there has been political interference in the ongoing probe into the president’s son. The whistleblower is set to share his concerns with the Republican-led House Ways and Means Committee on Friday, according to a separate letter from the attorneys. In that letter, the whistleblower’s attorneys also expressed frustration that House and Senate committees have been unable to agree on a date to jointly interview the whistleblower.

CNN has previously reported that there was internal disagreement at the Justice Department about the strength of a potential case against Hunter Biden, but the letter offers new details on internal battles over how to proceed with the investigation. Prosecutors have been eying possible charges related to alleged tax crimes and a false statement but have not yet made a charging decision. Hunter Biden has denied any wrongdoing.

The whistleblower’s attorneys have said their client was involved in an investigation into a “high-profile, controversial subject.” Multiple sources previously confirmed to CNN the person is Hunter Biden.

By the time the tense meetings took place in October 2022, the whistleblower had already begun making what his attorney described as “protected disclosures” about alleged “irregularities” in how the Justice Department’s tax division and the US attorney’s office were handling the case, according to the letter. The letter does not provide additional details on the alleged irregularities.

The whistleblower reiterated his concerns on an October 17, 2022, call with the prosecutorial team, according to the letter. After that, “he and his IRS team were no longer invited to any further prosecutorial team calls and meetings on the case, effectively excluding them from the case,” according to this letter.

Earlier this month, the whistleblower’s entire IRS investigative team was formally notified of their removal from the case. The whistleblower has claimed his team was removed at the request of the Department of Justice. The IRS said it defers to the Justice Department on any matters involving federal judicial proceedings.

People familiar with the matter previously told CNN that efforts to sideline the whistleblower and his team came, in part, because of alleged leaks about the case.

A spokesperson for the US attorney’s office in Delaware, overseeing the Hunter Biden case, declined to comment.

The whistleblower has alleged that Weiss’s ability to bring charges in the case was being thwarted by political appointees, CNN previously reported. The Justice Department has maintained that Weiss has the ability to bring a case if he so chooses.

The White House has previously said that the case will be “free from any political interference by the White House” and led by Weiss, who was a Donald Trump appointee.

In the latest round of letters, the whistleblower claims he was passed over for a promotion and removed from the Hunter Biden case as retaliation for raising concerns about the probe. A second IRS agent, who is also unnamed, emailed the IRS Commissioner expressing concerns about his removal from the case. A copy of that email was included in a letter to the IRS Commissioner, from the original whistleblower’s attorneys, raising concerns about retaliation.

In a statement, the IRS said it takes whistleblower concerns seriously.

“We take any issue involving whistleblowers seriously,” the agency said, adding that it could not comment on specific taxpayer issues. “Commissioner (Daniel) Werfel took immediate action by contacting the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration when allegations were raised in media reports.”

“When an IRS employee raises allegations, the Commissioner’s office does not directly run an investigation, seek the identity of the whistleblower or similarly intervene; instead, the IRS supports the Inspector General,” the statement added. “The Inspector General serves as a critical guardian of the whistleblower process and conducts relevant inquiries into the matter. If TIGTA makes a finding and a recommendation on a case, IRS leadership will take prompt action.”

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