Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Accountability Committee repeatedly invoked former President Donald Trump and his aides during a hearing addressing alleged Justice Department misconduct in its investigations of Hunter Biden.
House Republicans called the hearing to hear from Internal Revenue Service whistleblowers Gary Shapley and Joe Ziegler, who allege that DOJ political appointees stonewalled their investigation into the president’s son. Several Democrats on the committee, however, repeatedly pivoted to Trump’s alleged political interference at the DOJ. They mentioned his pardoning of former advisers Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and Michael Flynn.
“President Biden’s traditional unscrupulous respect for the independence of the Justice Department stands in sharp contrast to Trump’s spectacular disrespect for the rule of law and his serial efforts, both in office and outside office, to get prosecutors to go after and lock up his political rivals and to suspend accountability in specific criminal cases when it comes to his friends,” ranking member Jamie Raskin of Maryland said.
“When Michael Flynn was investigated for lying to the FBI and later convicted for it about communicating with the Russians, or when Paul Manafort was investigated and later convicted for bank and tax fraud or when Roger Stone was investigated and later convicted for lying to Congress and witness tampering, an outraged President Trump repeatedly denounced the Department of Justice for prosecuting his cronies and reportedly got Attorney General William Barr to pressure prosecutors to recommend more leniency in their cases,” he continued.
Shapley and Ziegler alleged in their testimony that investigators and prosecutors broadly agreed that Hunter Biden should have been charged with felonies related to his failure to pay taxes on income he received from his overseas business deals. However, U.S. attorneys appointed by Joe Biden allegedly refused to charge him in Washington, D.C., and California, leading the statute of limitations to expire.
Hunter Biden is expected to plead guilty to two tax misdemeanors. Republicans have blasted his plea agreement as a “sweetheart deal.” (RELATED: Meet The US Attorney Who Allegedly Covered For Hunter Biden)
Massachusetts Rep. Stephen Lynch asserted that Flynn’s plea agreement was a sweetheart deal, and that Hunter Biden is paying a fair price for his alleged crimes.
“I think most of the members who have served a long time here know full well what political interference and what sweetheart deals look like. I think context is very important. In 2017, we had a situation where a former national security adviser and Trump campaign surrogate Michael Flynn was indicted,” Lynch said.
“But, my colleagues on the other side of the had no interest, zero, zero interest in looking into that case and in response the president that the time, President Trump, repeatedly and publicly attacked the case and the agents who brought it, including by claiming that Mr. Flynn was the victim of ‘dirty filthy cops at the top of the FBI.’ He also described the prosecution as a disgrace and claim that those who investigated Mr. Flynn were guilty of treason. Those are public statements made by a sitting president attacking the FBI.”
Virginia Rep. Gerry Connolly pivoted to the Mueller Report, suggesting that Trump could still be indicted and that Special Counsel Robert Mueller did not do so only due to DOJ regulations. He also alleged wrongdoing from former AG William Barr.
Barr “pressured officials to reduce their sentencing for Roger Stone and glossed over Robert Mueller’s, 2016 presidential election report saying it exonerated the president when, in fact, Robert Mueller explicitly said, no it did not, and listed ten specific items of obstruction of justice he recommended be pursued and pointed out, lest we don’t misunderstand the pursuit part, he couldn’t indicted a sitting president, according to DOJ guidelines. But he said in every report an enterprising district attorney wants that president left office might want to pursue it,” Connolly said.