Following the sensational whistleblower testimony that dropped Thursday, revealing how the Department of Justice systematically blocked an IRS investigation into Joe Biden’s son Hunter and diverted agents from examining the incriminating evidence against his presidential father, House Republicans are threatening the overdue impeachment of Attorney General Merrick Garland — except most of the pro-Biden interference in the DOJ happened before Garland was installed, while President Donald Trump was still in office.
Does Garland still deserve impeachment for his assortment of abuses, such as sitting on his hands to avoid real accountability for the younger Biden (and his pop), while weaponizing the country’s top law enforcement agency to try to send Biden’s top presidential challenger to federal prison? Absolutely. Is it smart politically for Kevin McCarthy to use the current momentum to hold Garland to account? Probably. Is the alleged involvement in a foreign bribery scheme enough to merit Biden’s own impeachment? Most definitely.
But if the blame — and punishment — for the DOJ corruption revealed by whistleblowers stops with Merrick Garland or even Joe Biden, it will happen again.
That’s because the Justice Department’s pattern of shielding the Biden family from the law wasn’t masterminded by either man. It happened because of career officials and bureaucrats, whose names most Americans don’t know, and whom Americans will never have the chance to vote out. They didn’t have to be told what to do.
According to whistleblower Gary Shapley, it was in late 2019, a year before Joe Biden was elected, that the FBI acquired and authenticated the infamous laptop Hunter Biden left at a Delaware computer repair shop. The IRS began an investigation into likely tax crimes almost immediately.
Between April and June 2020, when IRS agents were preparing to execute interviews and search warrants, it was “career DOJ officials,” Shapley said, who “purposely slow-walk[ed] investigative actions.”
After IRS agents discovered a WhatsApp message in which Hunter Biden purportedly threatened a Chinese business associate that “I am sitting here with my father” and that the Bidens could “hold a grudge” if a “commitment made” to them was not “fulfilled,” federal prosecutors rejected IRS efforts to look into the messages. That was around August 2020, when Trump had nearly half a year left in the White House.
In October 2020, Assistant U.S. Attorney Lesley Wolf acknowledged “probable cause had been achieved” for executing a search warrant on Hunter Biden but still refused to allow a search. In the meantime, the DOJ continued to block IRS investigators from accessing the laptop and openly cited the investigation’s potential to hurt Biden’s electoral chances as their reason for slow-walking it.
Wolf would also order IRS investigators not to ask about “dad” or about an email stating there would be “Ten held by H for the big guy.” That happened in December, more than a month before Biden’s inauguration.
That same month, IRS and FBI investigators planned to seek a consent search of Hunter Biden’s residence and interviews with Hunter and his associates, since the search warrant had been rejected. “FBI headquarters,” Shapley said, apparently notified the transition team of the plan, a move which “tipped off” the Bidens’ inner circle. Of the 12 interviews investigators sought, they got one.
All of that happened under Trump and his attorney general, William Barr. That’s not to make the absurd suggestion that it happened at Trump or Barr’s direction. Rather, it shows how monstrous the triple-letter leviathan and its grip on our political process are. The regime, the deep state, the bureaucracy, whatever you want to call it: Shapley’s testimony shows their ability to manipulate political outcomes is so entrenched that their own elected overseers are powerless to stop it.
Unsurprisingly, as Shapley noted, “This same sort of unprecedented behavior continued through” Joe Biden’s first year in the White House. When IRS agents finally sent their recommended charges against Hunter Biden to the DOJ, the agency — by then under Attorney General Merrick Garland — opposed the recommendation. Based on the deal offered to Hunter Biden last week, we know the DOJ dropped most of the charges. Shapley also testified that he has been subject to retaliation from the DOJ since speaking out.
Before the investigation into Hunter Biden was even opened, the Russia-collusion hoax orchestrated against then-candidate Trump in 2016 offered more evidence of rank-and-file DOJ corruption, such as Peter Strzok and Lisa Page‘s conversation about their plan to “stop” Trump from becoming president. While that op occurred under a Democrat president, it relied on individual hacks in Justice Department cubicles, not just on Obama-appointed political operatives like then-FBI Director James Comey.
The problem of a bureaucracy so bloated that the people’s elected servants in Congress and the White House can’t keep track of, let alone shut down, its mischief is not unique to the DOJ. But the Justice Department’s role as arbiter of how — or to whom — the law applies makes its rule-by-pencil-pusher especially dangerous.
Electing the right president or appointing the right attorney general will only help with that insofar as he can root out the career rot in the 115,000-employee DOJ. As the Gary Shapleys get pushed out, the integrity they bring to agencies like the DOJ and IRS will go with them.
And while corruption in the vastly left-leaning bureaucracy almost always benefits Democrats, the problem goes beyond partisan politics. If government agencies are so powerful that their work to protect political allies and topple their challengers continues unabated by the electoral process, then elections are no real transfer of power and we are not a functioning republic.
That’s not just having a bad apple for an attorney general. That is a crisis of governance.