Federal investigators knew in December 2019 that Hunter Biden’s laptop was “not manipulated in any way” and contained “reliable evidence,” but were “obstructed” from seeing all available information, according to an IRS whistleblower involved in the probe—nearly a year before former intelligence officials and Joe Biden himself, declared it was part of a Russian disinformation campaign.
The House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday released testimony from two IRS whistleblowers who said officials at the Justice Department, FBI and IRS interfered with the investigation of the tax evasion case against Hunter Biden. The whistleblowers said decisions in the case seemed to be “influenced by politics.”
One whistleblower, Gary Shapley Jr., who was the supervisor of the investigation at the IRS, said that “at every stage” of the Hunter Biden probe, decisions were made that “had the effect of benefiting the subject of the investigation.”
Shapley testified that the investigation, codenamed “Sportsman,” was opened in November 2018 as an “offshoot” of an IRS investigation into a “foreign-based amateur online pornography platform.” Testimony released by the committee didn’t include any further explanation of how the pornography outlet and Biden were linked.
The investigation had previously been believed to have been predicated, in part, by suspicious foreign transactions.
Nearly a year later, in October 2019, Shapely said the “FBI became aware that a repair shop had a laptop allegedly belonging to Hunter Biden and that the laptop might contain evidence of a crime.”
“The FBI verified its authenticity in November of 2019 by matching the device number against Hunter Biden’s Apple iCloud ID,” Shapely said. “When the FBI took possession of the device in December 2019, they notified the IRS that it likely contained evidence of tax crimes.”
The laptop repair shop owner, John Paul Mac Isaac, was subpoenaed to testify before the U.S. District Court in Delaware in December 2019.
The FBI’s property receipt for the laptop, first obtained by Fox News Digital in 2020, had a “Case ID” section, which was filled in with a handwritten number: 272D-BA-3065729.
The number “272” is the FBI’s classification for money laundering, while “272D” refers to “Money Laundering, Unknown SUA [Specified Unlawful Activity]—White Collar Crime Program,” according to FBI documents. One government official described “272D” as “transnational or blanket.”
Shapely said the FBI verified the authenticity of the laptop, even though many Biden allies said it was Russian disinformation.
It was in October 2020 that Shapley said he emailed Assistant U.S. Attorney Lesley Wolf, saying: “We need to talk about the computer.”
Shapley said the FBI appeared to have been making “certain representations about the device, and the only reason we know what is on the device is because of the IRS CI affiant search warrant that allowed access to the documents.”
“My management has to be looped into whatever the FBI is doing with the laptop,” Shapley said he wrote in an Oct. 19, 2020 email to Wolf. “It is IRS CI’s responsibility to know what is happening. Let me know when I can be briefed on this issue.”
Shapley said his email led to “a special meeting” on Oct. 22, 2020 with the prosecution team and the FBI’s computer analysis team to discuss Hunter Biden’s laptop.
“We once again objected that we still had not been given access to the laptop,” Shapley said, noting that Wolf admitted that she did not see the laptop because “prosecutors decided to keep it from the investigators.”
“This decision is unprecedented in my experience,” Shapley said. “Investigators assigned to this investigation were obstructed from seeing all the available evidence.”
Shapley further testified that it is “unknown if all the evidence in the laptop was reviewed by agents or by prosecutors.”
Shapley had testified that Wolf had worked to “limit” questioning related to Joe Biden—referring to him as “dad” or “the big guy.”
With regard to the laptop, Shapley said that “based on guidance provided by the prosecutors on a recurring basis to not look into anything related to President Biden, there is no way of knowing if evidence of other criminal activity existed concerning Hunter Biden or President Biden.”
As for the contents of the laptop, Shapley said Wolf “acknowledged that there was no reason to believe that any data was manipulated on devices by any third party.”
“She further supported this belief by mentioning that they corroborated the data with other sources of information received,” Shapley testified.
But despite corroboration, just weeks before the 2020 election, 51 former national security officials wrote a public letter claiming the Hunter Biden laptop had “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” It was signed by former President Obama CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former CIA director and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, among others.
Fox News Digital reported last month that former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell worked to write the letter and to get support from ex-intelligence officials. Morell sent a draft of the statement to the CIA’s Prepublication Classification Review Board (PCRB) before making it public.
Morell sent the draft in an email to the PCRB, and wrote on Oct. 19, 2020, “This is a rush job as it needs to get out as soon as possible.”
Morell told the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees that the PCRB “approved” the letter “as written” the same day.
Morell also said it was the Biden campaign that orchestrated the letter to discredit stories about Hunter Biden’s laptop–specifically, now-Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Three days after the letter was made public, then-presidential candidate Joe Biden used it as a talking point in the final 2020 presidential debate to rebut criticisms made by then-President Donald Trump.
“There are 50 former national intelligence folks who said that what this, he’s accusing me of, is a Russian plan,” Biden said during the debate.
At the time, then-Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said Hunter Biden’s laptop was not part of a Russian disinformation campaign. The FBI concurred.
These revelations come just days after the Justice Department announced that Hunter Biden will plead guilty to two misdemeanor counts of willful failure to pay federal income tax as part of a deal that is expected to keep him out of prison. The president’s son also agreed to enter into a pretrial diversion agreement with regard to a separate charge of possession of a firearm by a person who is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance.
In response to the whistleblower allegations, the Justice Department said in a statement: “As both the Attorney General and U.S. Attorney David Weiss have said, U.S. Attorney Weiss has full authority over this matter, including responsibility for deciding where, when, and whether to file charges as he deems appropriate. He needs no further approval to do so. Questions about his investigation should be directed to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Delaware.”