The U.S. House is not back in session until September 12th, but that isn’t preventing House Oversight Chair James Comer (R-KY) from proceeding with the committee’s investigation into the Hunter Biden tax probe, including potential interference run by individuals and agencies within the Biden administration.
On Tuesday, Comer directed letters to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and U.S. Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle enclosing subpoenas directing DHS and Secret Service employees to appear for depositions and produce certain documents. Both letters set forth a detailed — and rather tortured — chronology of efforts by the committee to obtain information from the Secret Service in follow-up to testimony from IRS whistleblowers that their investigation into Hunter Biden, and in particular, efforts to interview him, were impeded by FBI and Secret Service.
Specifically, the letter to Mayorkas notes:
In May and June 2023, IRS whistleblowers provided testimony to the Committee on Ways and Means regarding what they identified to be severe and repeated mishandlings by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and others regarding the Hunter Biden criminal investigation that began in 2018. One whistleblower explained that FBI and IRS investigators sought to interview Hunter Biden on December 8, 2020, without giving him notice that the interview would occur. However, on December 7, 2020—the night before the interview—the IRS whistleblower “was informed that FBI headquarters had notified Secret Service headquarters and the transition team about the planned actions the following day…essentially tipp[ing] off a group of people very close to President Biden and Hunter Biden and gave this group an opportunity to obstruct the approach on the witnesses.” This account was confirmed to the Oversight Committee during a transcribed interview with a former FBI Supervisory Special Agent who accompanied the IRS whistleblower during the attempt to interview Hunter Biden.4 Following these actions by FBI and the Secret Service, the interview of Hunter Biden did not occur. This is only one example of a systemic problem throughout the investigation that allowed Hunter Biden to avoid accountability and answering difficult questions about the source of his income, the legality of his actions, and the people who worked with and benefitted from his worldwide efforts to peddle access to his father.
Following the whistleblower testimony, the committee wrote to the Secret Service requesting that Director Cheatle:
make all Secret Service employees who received the December 7, 2020 tip-off from FBI and all Secret Service employees who may have passed this information along to the Biden family or presidential transition team available for transcribed interviews before the [Oversight Committee] promptly.
The letters each go on to outline numerous contacts between the committee and Secret Service staff, with the Secret Service promising a response and then demurring. Ultimately, the Secret Service told the committee it had a response prepared but was awaiting approval from the DHS Office of Legislative Affairs. On August 25, the Secret Service explained on a phone call with committee staff that they had been instructed by the DHS OLA not to transmit their response.
As the letters note:
DHS OLA’s decision to instruct the Secret Service not to provide this response appears to constitute obstruction of a Congressional investigation, and the attached subpoenas require the immediate and full cooperation of DHS.
In total, the committee issued six subpoenas — four to DHS (including one to Mayorkas requesting documents be produced by September 19, and testimonial subpoenas to Director of Oversight for DHS OLA K. Sheik Pal, OLA Assistant Secretary Zephranie Buetow, and DHS Senior Advisor to the General Counsel Stephan Jonas to appear for testimony before the committee later that week and the following week); two to the Secret Service, directing Assistant Director of the Office of Intergovernmental and Legislative Affairs Vincent Tutoni and Acting Special Agent in Charge for the Secret Service Congressional Affairs Program David McKeown to appear and testify before the committee on September 19 and 20.
The Oversight Committee also issued a press release in conjunction with the letters and subpoenas, which includes the following statement from Comer:
The Department of Justice initiated the Biden family coverup and now DHS under the leadership of Secretary Mayorkas is complicit in it. Investigators were never able to interview Hunter Biden during the criminal investigation because Secret Service headquarters and the Biden transition team were tipped off about the planned interview. This is just one of many examples of the misconduct and politicization during the Department of Justice’s investigation. The Oversight Committee – along with the Judiciary and Ways and Means Committees – is seeking interviews with key witnesses, including employees at the Secret Service. The Department of Homeland Security is obstructing our investigation by muzzling the Secret Service from providing a response to Congress. The American people deserve transparency, not obstruction. House Republicans will hold the Biden Administration accountable for running interference for the Biden family’s corruption and criminal activity.
Looks like things will be busy on the Hill the third week of September.
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