(WATCH) Biden Investigation – Part 1


For the first time in modern history, the son of a sitting president is facing felony criminal charges. As that case moves forward, a bigger story might be one that federal whistleblowers are telling: how an alleged bribery trail leading to Joe Biden in 2020, as he ran for president, was covered up, allowed to grow cold, then forever buried. It involves Hunter Biden’s laptop and business dealings in Ukraine.

The following is a transcript of a report from “Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson.” Watch the video by clicking the link at the end of the page.

The incredible story told by two federal whistleblowers starts in 2018. That’s when Joe Ziegler, a criminal investigator at the IRS, says he came across documents that prompted him to look into Hunter Biden, son of former Vice President, soon-to-be presidential candidate, Joe Biden.

Sharyl: Did you anticipate there might be some kind of pushback?

Joe Ziegler: So I talked to other agents within my group, and they’re like, “Big cases, big problems.” And I told them, I’m like, “We’ve got to treat everyone the same. Just because their last name is Biden, just because their last name is something, doesn’t mean that we should change the process of how we work that case.”

Gary Shapley oversaw Ziegler’s case as supervisor of the IRS International Tax and Financial Crimes Group.

Sharyl: If someone says, “Well, what did Hunter Biden supposedly do wrong?” what would you say?

Ziegler: So the Biden family and the administration — it was access to those people for foreign, people in foreign countries, to include Romania, Ukraine, and China, in exchange for a significant amount of money. And the reason why we’re involved, or IRS is involved, is that money that was earned, there were tax returns that weren’t filed, and that there were taxes not paid on that income.

Documents and testimony allege that when Joe Biden was vice president, he, Hunter, and others in the Biden circle made tens of millions of dollars selling access and influence through shady business deals in Kazakhstan, Russia, China, and two countries where Joe Biden personally took charge over U.S. relations: Romania and Ukraine.

This video documents one of Biden’s six visits to Ukraine as vice president.

Joe Biden (December 2015): They have two great threats: Russian aggression and endemic corruption. And we’re prepared to help them tackle both.

At the time, Hunter was collecting a million-dollar salary from Burisma, a gas company in Ukraine that was desperately trying to thwart a corruption probe.

The IRS agents say they began finding evidence that gave them strong reason to want to look into Joe Biden.

Ziegler: We not only investigate tax crimes; we investigate financial crimes, wire fraud, bank fraud, money laundering, international money laundering. There’s all sorts of things that we have in our tool belt to investigate cases. So, in this case, we had leads.

Sharyl: The press and many people, actually in both political parties, say things such as, “There’s no evidence tying Joe Biden to Hunter Biden’s businesses or any improper activities.” When you hear that, what do you think?

Ziegler: I think it’s blatantly false. I would wholeheartedly disagree with it.

Confidentiality rules bar them from discussing all of the evidence they’ve seen. But some now-public material helps show why they say they needed to dig into Joe Biden’s role — something they say the Department of Justice told them they couldn’t do.

In 2014, Burisma and its owner in Ukraine were under investigation for corruption. They hired Hunter, in the reported words of one Burisma executive, to “protect us, through his dad, from all kinds of problems.”

In May 2014, the month after Hunter was hired, Burisma executive Vadym Pozharskyi asks Hunter for “advice on how you could use your influence.”

In April 2015, Vadym Pozharskyi emails, “Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together.”

Ziegler: Vadym says, “Thank you for allowing me to meet with your father and spend some time with him.” Okay, so there’s black and white. So the question I’d have as an investigator to Joe Biden: “What did you guys talk about? What were the discussions in that meeting? You’re in charge of Ukraine policy; why are you meeting with someone that’s involved in your son — your son’s a part of this board of directors — why are you meeting with him?

Months after the arranged meeting, on this very trip, Vice President Biden seemingly gave Burisma exactly what it paid Hunter for. He forced Ukraine’s president to fire the prosecutor targeting Burisma by threatening to hold back $1 billion in U.S. aid.

Joe Biden (December 2015, White House video): Ready to go home?

Two years later, he’d recount details to a Washington, D.C. audience.

Joe Biden (January 2018): I looked at him and said: “I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.” Well, son of a bitch. He got fired.

Joe Biden insists the firing was because the prosecutor was corrupt.

Meantime, months into the investigation by the IRS team, a trove of evidence fell into the FBI’s lap in the form of a computer. Hunter had abandoned it at a repair shop in 2019 two weeks before his dad announced he was running for president.

Joe Biden (April 2019, Biden for President campaign video): We have to remember who we are. This is America.

The validity of Hunter’s laptop was hidden from the public. But the IRS team got a search warrant that pushed the FBI to verify it and access the data. Yet Ziegler and Shapley say the Department of Justice blocked them from examining all the relevant contents.

Ziegler: So we were never allowed to follow those leads that could lead to potential evidence that could move the ball down the hill.

By May of 2020, Biden was steeped in his presidential run against Trump, while Trump’s own Justice Department was allegedly throwing up roadblocks to the IRS investigation into the Bidens.

Shapley: No one in IRS leadership disagreed that there were discrepancies, but they just completely avoided their duties to act autonomously for the IRS. And they just allowed the Department of Justice to do really whatever they wanted. And that really exacerbated this entire issue.

In December of 2020, Ziegler and Shapley say the Justice Department stopped them from executing a search warrant at Hunter’s storage unit and went behind their back to tip off Hunter’s attorneys.

Sharyl: If someone had committed a crime, they would probably go clean out that unit if they thought you were looking at it?

Ziegler: Yes. That would be what, as an investigator, what I would expect someone to potentially do.

The FBI quietly sat on Hunter’s laptop throughout the 2020 presidential campaign.

Then, a month before the election, the New York Post broke the news. Twitter and other social media censored it and more than 50 ex-intelligence officials signed a letter implying the story was Russian disinformation. Signers included Trump nemesis ex-CIA Director John Brennan. Another signer, former CIA director Mike Morell, later testified the pre-election effort to discredit the true story was organized by Antony Blinken, Senator Joe Biden’s foreign policy advisor for the 2020 campaign — who went on to become secretary of state.

Two weeks later, with the laptop story effectively censored, Biden manages a come-from-behind victory over President Trump.

Meantime, the IRS team quietly continues navigating roadblocks and pursing its investigation. By early 2022, they’ve built their case for multiple criminal charges against Hunter, with the possibility of bigger charges and more people getting in the dragnet.

Ziegler: We ended up recommending the felony and misdemeanor tax charges in February of 2022. February of 2022. It now goes from IRS to DOJ as a recommended prosecution.

But they say they fought more obstruction: the Department of Justice would only allow charges if federal prosecutors located in Washington, D.C. and California, where the alleged crimes occurred, agreed to go along.

Ziegler: So I came to find out that the D.C. U.S. attorney’s office not only said “no” to partnering, or “no” to bringing, or helping us in bringing the charges, but they had also said that “We don’t think you have a case to bring it here in D.C.” California had also said “no” to bringing charges in their district. So now we have D.C. saying, “No,” California saying, “No.”

Sharyl: It’s relatively unusual to be told “no,” once you bring a case and write a report for charges?

Ziegler: Correct. So we find out that California says “no,” and then May 15, 2023 happens, and both Gary and I are removed from the investigation.

Sharyl: Who told you guys you were off the case?

Shapley: The special agent in charge of the Washington, D.C. field office told us.

Ziegler: I wrote a heartfelt email up to the commissioner of the IRS, through my leadership chain. I’m like, “We need to meet to talk about this — is a huge risk for the IRS.” And it was met with one of my leaders in my field office saying that I may have broken the law, and that I should cease and desist from sending any communication outside the management chain. That’s when I knew I had to come forward because they were essentially trying to silence me. They didn’t care what happened in this case. They just were trying to silence me.

Sharyl (on-camera): When we come back, the IRS agents blow the whistle — and blow up the sweetheart deal offered to Hunter Biden. But even bigger questions surface.

Watch Part I here.

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