Keith Ablow’s Unallocated Space in Hunter Biden’s Memory

In the third part of Gus Dimitrelos’ report* on the laptop attributed to Hunter Biden, he examines what he could find in the unallocated space of the laptop — the place where deleted files go on computers until they eventually get written over. He does it, in laymen’s terms, to prove that there was someone at the keyboard of the laptop, deleting individual files by hand, which he claims (falsely) is proof that, “Robert Hunter Biden is in control of the MacBook Laptop.”

He shows remarkably little interest in what got deleted.

At least two of the files deleted from the laptop pertain to the therapist from whom the President’s son was getting Ketamine treatment during the period his digital life appears to have been taken over, Keith Ablow, and in whose office the DEA discovered different laptop owned by Hunter Biden in 2020.

According to two people familiar with the matter, a different Hunter Biden laptop landed in the custody of the DEA in February when they executed a search warrant on the Massachusetts office of a psychiatrist accused of professional misconduct. The psychiatrist has not been charged with a crime.

Hunter Biden was not a target of the search or the investigation, and his lawyer ultimately got his laptop back. It’s not clear why his computer was left in the doctor’s office.

Who is Keith Ablow?

One enduring mystery about the “Hunter Biden” “laptop” affair is why the son of a top Democrat ended up doing Ketamine therapy with a Fox personality just weeks short of allegations that the shrink had sexually harassed patients, an accusation that would lead to his suspension.

Ablow’s career on Fox extended back years by the time in 2018 when Hunter Biden got involved with him. He made obnoxious comments both about the Obamas and marriage equality and a ludicrous pitch in favor of Newt Gingrich. There’s no reason a Democrat should ever have trusted him.

And then, shortly after the time when Hunter Biden’s digital world appears to have been taken over by his droidhunter Gmail, several lawsuits accusing Ablow of sexual harassment went public.

The women allege that Dr. Keith Ablow, an author who was a contributor to Fox News network until 2017, abused his position while treating them for acute depression, leaving them unable to trust authority figures and plagued with feelings of shame and self-recrimination.

“He began to hit me when we engaged in sexual activities,” wrote one plaintiff, a New York woman, in a sworn affidavit filed with her lawsuit. “He would have me on my knees and begin to beat me with his hands on my breasts,” she wrote, “occasionally saying, ‘I own you,’ or ‘You are my slave.’”

The malpractice lawsuits, two of them filed on Thursday in Essex Superior Court and a third filed last year, paint a picture of a therapist who encouraged women to trust and rely on him, then coaxed them into humiliating sexual activities, often during treatment sessions for which they were charged. When the New York woman had trouble paying her therapy bills, she said, Ablow advised her to work as an escort or stripper because the work was lucrative.

The three lawsuits were settled. But as a result Ablow’s medical license was suspended. As noted above, for some reason the DEA searched his office a year later, where they found yet another Hunter Biden laptop left behind.

Update: Here’s a picture of Ablow speaking at a Trump rally in MA on March 4, 2017.

 

Deleting Ablow

In fact, the accusations against Ablow were one of two things that Dimitrelos found in the unallocated space of what would have been the laptop.

On February 25, 2019, Hunter Biden texted someone else a link to the BoGlo report on the accusations, which had been published four days earlier. “My psychiatrist,” Hunter Biden explained in a follow-up text. “I can’t catch a break,” he said in the third. If authentic, these texts appear to capture Hunter’s immediate response to the abuse allegations, and the four-day delay in his discovery of them.

That someone would delete those is interesting enough.

But I’m far more interested in the other file Dimitrelos found. It was a December 10, 2018 invoice, sent by iChat. It reflected the following psychotherapy sessions with Hunter, which were identified as “New Incident”:

  • November 10, 2018: 90 minutes
  • November 11, 2018: 90 minutes
  • November 12, 2018: 30 minutes
  • November 14, 2018: 60 minutes
  • November 14, 2018: 60 minutes
  • November 15, 2018: 60 minutes
  • November 16, 2018: 60 minutes

It was a three page invoice, but Dimitrelos only shows the first page, so there could be more sessions in the weeks between November 16 and December 10, 2018. All sessions were paid by credit card within days.

But even just that single page shows that Hunter was spending time with Ablow in the period when he obtained new devices — including the laptop believed to be the one that ended up in John Paul Mac Isaac’s shop.

It’s easy to see, then, how and when Ablow might have come into possession of a Hunter Biden laptop and Hunter Biden might have started using the new one that would end up becoming a big political hit job.

[Update: I corrected my timeline here. Hunter Biden started using the laptop believed to be the one brought to Mac Isaac’s shop in October, not November.]

Baystate or Bluewater

Dimitrelos says the invoice, “correlates [with] email communications with Keith Ablow and the Practice Manager.”

But the invoice doesn’t. It differs with the emails we see with Ablow and his practice manager, a woman named Tiffany Bartholemew, as they appear in the BidenLaptopEmails dot com collection, in at least one key respect. The bill is from “Bluestate Psychiatry.” But Bartholomew writes from “Bluewater Wellness.”

The discrepancy may arise from a difference in treatment: and therefore also payment schemes. Of the emails related to Ablow sent by Hunter, about a dozen had to do with accommodations, including:

  • Emails Bartholomew sent on December 4, 2018 (and so before the invoice) about payment for “this week” at Plum Island Rental
  • The confirmation for that reservation, sent the same date as the invoice, to the rhbdcicloud and cc’ed to Bartholomew, followed by one sent on January 3, not cc’ed to Bartholomew, providing instructions for getting in
  • An email sent on January 26 from the “manager of Dr. Ablow’s cottage”
  • Seven emails from a guy who seems to have made himself Hunter’s Chief of Staff at a meeting on January 24, all of which pertain in part or in whole to finding a new place in Newburyport, MA

Those were all sent to the rhbdcicloud. Another email from Bartholomew, sent to the same email, alerted Hunter to a rescheduled Yoga session while in Massachusetts.

There were several other more curious emails involving Bartholomew:

  • An email sent on January 5, 2019 to rhbdc at me.com, seemingly asking Hunter for advice about how to deal with an insane temp leaving adverse reviews on Google
  • An MP4, dated January 8, 2019, titled Neverending story, sent first via Google Drive from a Gmail account, then forwarded the next day from her Ablew email account, both times to the rhbdcicloud

In this same period, Hunter paid someone with the last name Bartholomew but a different first name, via Venmo, for purchases at CVS, using his rhbrspdc account.

Guys are you getting my emails?

But several of the emails demonstrate Hunter’s communication woes during this period.

The very first email from Hunter Biden to Ablow in the Marco Polo set, sent on January 3, 2019, was misaddressed, and bounced. It was sent again, with the subject line “yyyy.”

While no body of that text appears in the Marco Polo set, Ablow responded to it, adding a third person, Rock, and asking for help getting a doctor to review Hunter’s daughter’s x-rays from a bad skiing accident.

Hunter responds, saying he is attaching the x-rays (and reply emails show jpg attachments):

I am attaching the X-rays and would so much appreciate your helopmputting [sic] them in the right hands.

Hunter and Ablow exchange two emails among themselves.

Then Ablow responds to his own email, which this time is marked [External], noting that “His [apparently meaning Hunter’s] email is screwed up,” and then saying he had texted Rock.

From: Keith Ablow <kablow[redacted]>
Sent: Thursday, January 3, 2019 11:40 AM
To: Positano [redacted]; rhbdcicloud
Subject: [EXTERNAL]Re: From Keith

CAUTION: External Email.

Rock
His email is screwed up

I texted you

The doctor responds — happy to help — and provides his contact. Ablow thanks him. Hunter responds to that, plaintively,

Guys are you getting my emails?

And though neither of the external interlocutors ever said a thing directly to Hunter, Ablow says, yes, suggesting they had gotten his emails, then instructs Hunter to contact the doctor and “send him the x-rays,” even though in the original email Hunter already sent 2 jpgs.

Hunter then tried to email the doctor directly, using the same email included in Ablow’s email (possibly even using the link from the doctor’s own email), and it bounces, “RecipientNotFound; Recipient not found by SMTP address lookup.”

At least based on the Marco Polo set, Hunter Biden didn’t send much between then and January 15 (though I may return to what he did send; he had important exchanges with his lawyer George Mesires).

Then he had another communication failure with Ablow’s team, though apparently of a different type.

On January 15, 2019 at 11:13AM, Hunter sent Ablow’s practice manager, Bartholomew. an email from his droidhunter account, asking “Schedule?” The email itself appears in the MarcoPolo collection, but any other body of the email is not preserved.

Bartholomew responded, on January 15 at 11:19PM, to the droidhunter account, describing his schedule for both “today” (seemingly meaning January 15) and “tomorrow,” his Ketamine treatment on January 16.

Then, just under 3.5 hours later, she sent that same email again, to both the droidhunter and rhbdcicloud with the message:

Below is the response I sent within minutes of receiving your email.

I called you this morning
Both Keith and I texted – I, multiple times, both on the group text and solo
I tried calling
I had Jodi text and call and you did not answer until 2pm

I texted you after sending the below email and mentioned adding yoga on for tomorrow – I did not receive a response and I will not waste people’s time booking them if you do not stay in touch

Bartholomew appears to have attributed this to Hunter’s mental struggles, and it may well have been (though it is notable since it is the sole exchange with her involving the droidhunter email).

The reason people love my Dad Chris iOS because he’s the son they hope to raise

The questions about whether Hunter was communicating externally — to say nothing of the effect of the Ketamine treatment, which by context would have been January 16 — makes me really uncomfortable with what happened with a statement Hunter Biden shared for this Vanity Fair story on whether Hunter’s problems were leading Joe to hesitate about running.

The exchange starts with Hunter forwarding an email he sent to Doug Brinkley on his rosemontseneca email to Ablow, using his rhbdcicloud email, with his long and very rough draft of a statement.

Ablow asks if he wants edits.

I could also make a few other edits, with humility. Would you like me to?

Hunter responds by saying it needs both edits and to be more concise. So Ablow promises to do it overnight.

I can make it all happen by 8 am.

Not to worry.

This is my thing.

Stay tuned.

As that exchange was happening, Hunter sent the statement to his lawyer, George Mesires, via his rhbdcme address. Mesires responded saying, “I can’t stop crying,” but providing no edits.

Hunter sends two snide comments to the journalist to his attorney George Mesires, from the rosemontseneca email, ccing Ablow.

Then ultimately he sends the statement as rewritten by Ablow to Mesires.

“FIXED A FEW OF MY TYPOS . . .” Hunter said of the statement substantially written by Ablow. Mesires would have no way of knowing that Ablow had made all the changes.

Vanity Fair removed one paragraph about Hunter’s own background as well as this significantly edited snide comment to him:

I hope that answers your question, Chris. I would ask this one of you: Are your talents best used as a tabloid journalist? If you were willing to endure more pain to make a more powerful contribution to our shared world, what would you do? What has stood in your way? My father would tell you this: Don’t let it. Reach deep down and deliver the gifts you were meant to give to others. And that’s the message Americans will see come to life in 2020.

At a time when Hunter Biden was in a communications vacuum, just days off a Ketamine treatment, and probably getting his life hacked irreparably, to become the non-stop political hit job of those trying to take down his father, Keith Ablow replaced Hunter’s statement with his own.

In the process Ablow replaced this fairly amazing paragraph about Joe Biden … [I’ve left all typos, including the charming, “iOS” instead of “is.”]

The reason people love my Dad Chris iOS because he’s the son they hope to raise he’s the parent they hope to be he’s the brother and friend we all look up to. They love him Chris because he is as real an American as they are and they all want to be. He’s not perfect’ he’s got a horrible temper, he spoils his grandkids, he loves my Mom almost too much and he still thinks he can still make me angrier than anyone on earth sometimes. There’s nobody I want to make more proud of me than my Dad and there’s no-one that I know can ever be more proud of me and my whole family. May Dad never has asked anyone of us to be less human he’s just taught us all what it means to be a good man in hard world. He taught me what his mom and dad taught him “Always remember no man is better than you and you are no better than you.”if er to break I m certain they would all say —no one will ever know you better than your brothers and your sisters you always take their side no matter how badly they screwed up. Every Biden kid knows there’s nothing that they could do to make anyone in this family to stop loving you. And finally always be kind to the people in pain (unless they hurt your grandmother your mom your aunt or your sister- then you’re free to beat the shit out of them if your sister hasn’t beat you to it.)

With this one:

I believe that my father has become an ongoing symbol of what it means to keep on fighting for what is good in oneself, in others and in our country. I can tell you that I wouldn’t be alive today, if my dad hadn’t kept fighting for me, too, through my darkest days. So the idea that tragedy or tough times or any number of trials would dissuade a Biden from serving his fellow man—whether a friend or a fellow citizen—could not be more misguided. My dad has proven, ag ain and again, that he is (as Teddy Roosevelt once said of himself) “as strong as a bull moose” and that America “can use [him] to the limit.”

There’s no sign Brinkley ever responded to Hunter’s email. Instead, Hunter sent him three emails — one, responding to an email Brinkley sent him in July 2018, saying,

Obviously I didn’t send that stream of conscience rant with personal attacks and 7000 grammatical spelling and plain unintelligible errors made tons of edits and cutout 80%.

A minute later he sent two more responding to the email he had actually sent Brinkley, quoting just the bolded part of this last line of his own second paragraph.

And its made us understand that the one thing that binds us all not just my family everyone you will ever meet is what it is to feel pain and how the even the smallest gesture of genuine kindness and love can make you hope for a better day.

That line about small gestures of kindness, like much else from Hunter’s own statement, had been removed.

It’s not yet clear what happened between Ablow and Hunter — or whether Ablow’s awareness of Hunter’s technical communication problems went further than that single email.

What is clear is that, in the process, Ablow managed to replace Hunter’s own, heartfelt words about his father and his own struggles.


* At least the first of Dimitrelos’ reports is on Scribe. He sent me copies, but would only permit me to repost them (which would take far more redactions) with some kind of indemnity for ongoing privacy violations. I instead reached out to Hunter Biden’s attorneys for permission to share it privately with some experts but have heard nothing.

Hunter Biden’s Matryoshka Cell Phone: How the IRS and Frothers Got Hunter’s Encrypted iPhone Content

Believe it or not, what sent me down the rabbit hole of Hunter Biden’s “laptop” was not the laptop itself.

It was a cell phone.

Or, more specifically, it was two details in purported IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley’s testimony. First, after introducing summaries from some Hunter Biden WhatsApp chats — summaries that, Abbe Lowell claimed, got the most basic details wrong — Shapley explained that the chats didn’t come from the laptop itself, they came from a warrant served on Apple for the iCloud backup to which they were saved.

Q Could you tell us about this document, what is it, and how was it obtained —

A Sure. So there was an electronic search warrant for iCloud backup, and these messages were in that backup and provided —

Q Okay.

A — from a third party, from iCloud.

This appears to be the search warrant return obtained — again, per Shapley’s testimony — in August 2020.

For example, in August 2020, we got the results back from an iCloud search warrant. Unlike the laptop, these came to the investigative team from a third-party record keeper and included a set of messages. The messages included material we clearly needed to follow up on.

Shapley’s disclosure that there were WhatsApp texts saved to iCloud stunned me. That’s because, for all the material produced from the laptop itself — which even frothers have treated as all the content in Hunter Biden’s iCloud account — I had never seen WhatsApp texts.

Plus, there’s a technical issue. WhatsApp texts, like Signal texts, don’t automatically back up to iCloud. If one really wants to use their end-to-end encryption to best advantage, one doesn’t store them in the cloud, because then the only easy way to get the texts would be directly from someone’s phone. These texts purported to involve a Chinese national (though, as noted, Lowell says that’s false) whose phone would presumably be inaccessible overseas. And at the time the IRS obtained these texts, Hunter Biden didn’t know about the investigation into himself. They hadn’t seized his phone.

For Shapley’s description to be true, then, Hunter Biden would have had to back up the texts to his iCloud. But if he had, they should have shown up on the laptop itself, right along with every other scrap of the President’s son’s private life.

There were crumbs of an explanation for this in Shapley’s notes from the October 22, 2020 meeting on the government’s treatment of the laptop attributed to Hunter Biden.

In the meeting, Whistleblower X — who by his own description saw things online that he hadn’t obtained via the laptop directly, even though DOJ warned the agents not to do that — kept prodding about whether the investigative team had been provided all the messages on the laptop.

29. SA [Whistblower X] asked if all information on the hard drive had been reviewed…the answer is that they did not look at all of that SA [Whistleblower X] questions if Dillon reviewed all iMessage’s that wore relevant and not privileged. They would find the answer.

As Shapley recorded, on February 27, 2020, the forensics people provided all messages from the hard drive of material John Paul Mac Isaac restored from the laptop.

30. 2/27/2020 DE3 with all messages from the hard drive were provided by computer forensics— via USB Drive

That production included iPad and MacBook messages, but no iPhone messages.

32. 227 Productions

DE3 USB containing exported messages (ipad and macbook messages) No iphone messages

They didn’t get messages off any iPhone until they found a password, conveniently written on a business card, and with that password, were able to get into encrypted iPhone content on the laptop.

Laptop — iphone messages were on the hard drive but encrypted they didn’t get those messages until they looked at laptop and found a business card with the password on it so they were able to get into the iphone messages [my emphasis]

This still didn’t answer my question — how was the IRS able to get WhatsApp texts from iCloud when they weren’t on the iCloud content that appears on the Hunter Biden laptop.

But a detail on the fourth of Guy Dimitrelos’ reports on Hunter Biden’s laptop may explain it.

In his first report, Dimitrelos explained that the 5 million artifacts found on the hard drive were connected to Hunter Biden’s iCloud account, which he says was tied to the email [email protected].

  1. The hard drive contained approximately 5,791,819 files and system artifacts and was connected to and authenticated on an Apple iCloud account of [email protected] which is owned by Robert Hunter Biden (RHB).

[snip]

  1. Since this Apple MacBook Pro model was not released until 2017, all data prior to 2017 was stored (backed-up) to the [email protected] account and then downloaded to the MacBook Pro hard drive Downloads folder as illustrated in paragraph 30.

In his fourth report — basically 133 pages into his sequential reporting — Dimitrelos noted that Hunter Biden had another iCloud account, one tied to one of the emails he identified on page 4 of his report: [email protected].

In fact, at least according to the unreliable emails released at BidenLaptopEmails dot com (AKA MarcoPolo), that’s the account to which the laptop believed to be the one that ended up at Mac Isaac’s shop was registered to, not the [email protected] account.

At the Marco Polo site, there are 453 pages of emails from the [email protected] account (so around 22650). They include some of the most interesting in the collection, the ones directly with the Biden family and others indicating sensitive travel. There are 269 from the [email protected] account (so around 13,450) — but it’s the latter that seems to have been taken over in early 2019. I’ve described that the droidhunter88 gmail account effectively took over control of the iCloud account in that period (though I need to go back to the timeline and distinguish which events happened on one iCloud account and which on the other), and I think that’s right. But importantly, at times, the RosemontSeneca email is linked into it. That is, a RosemontSeneca email was used on both iCloud accounts.

As to the phone, Dimitrelos describes that he found a phone registered to the [email protected] account in an encrypted container in an iTunes backup.

I identified an encrypted container located within Apple’s MobileSync iTunes default backup folder.

[snip]

I identified the iOS backup to be an iPhone with the phone number below and Apple id of

[email protected] which is one of Robert Hunter Biden’s iCloud accounts.

Part two of Dimitrelos’ report described finding passwords for the iTunes account in two places. First, a picture of a partly rumpled lined piece of paper stored in a Hidden Album. This picture included Amazon, WiFi, iTunes, GMail, and Apple ID passwords, all registered to a different Gmail account. And then, associated with an iPad registered to still a third iCloud account, registered to a Gmail account.

The latter shows that Hunter Biden’s iTunes password was changed on January 30, 2019, solidly in the middle of the period I’ve argued that his account was taken over by the DroidHunter gmail account.

And screencaps in parts two and four of Dimitrelos’ report show that both the iPad and the iPhone were backed up during this same period, on February 6, 2019. Someone changed the iTunes password, and backed up these two devices, where they were found on the laptop. All in this same period where Hunter Biden seems to have lost control over his laptop.

In part four of Dimitrelos’ report, he describes that there were, indeed, WhatsApp messages on the iPhone, registered to that entirely different iCloud account, seemingly backed up to iTunes on the [email protected] account.

I can’t be sure about this, because I’m not a forensics expert, both Shapley and Dimitrelos are deliberately unreliable narrators, and even they don’t have all the data to understand what went on here. But it appears that the reason why there were no WhatsApp texts on the laptop itself, which had all the content in the [email protected] iCloud account, is that they weren’t used by a device registered to the [email protected] iCloud account. They were used by a device registered to the [email protected] account, which was (as Shapley’s notes reflect) stored in encrypted fashion on the laptop.

There’s one more very important point about this.

The government had a warrant. If they really did find a business card (one not described anywhere I’ve seen in Dimitrelos’ report) with a password, they were able to get the encrypted content (though oftentimes prosecutors will recommend you go back and get a second warrant for that). From there, it seems, the IRS got another warrant for the other iCloud account, the [email protected] one. That’s how they got a legally sound copy of the WhatsApp texts in August 2020.

But for people like Rudy Giuliani or Garrett Ziegler or John Paul Mac Isaac, taking a laptop they purport to have been abandoned, and then using a password found on that laptop to access an encrypted container — especially one of a different iCloud account — is legally another level of conduct.

Update: I screwed up the number of emails; I’ve corrected that now.

Andrew DeFilippis Had a Role in the Prosecution of Gal Luft’s Co-Conspirator-1

James Comer plans to rely on Gal Luft’s testimony in his efforts to gin up conspiracy theories against Joe Biden, even in spite of the indictment against Luft DOJ obtained before James Comer started pursuing his conspiracy theories.

Andrew DeFilippis handled the classified evidence in the Patrick Ho case

Because of that, I want to flag a detail about the Patrick Ho case, the case out of which this one arose.

Ho is the person described as Co-Conspirator-1 in the Luft indictment.

Ho was sentenced on March 25, 2019 for bribing Chadian and Ugandan officials; the former scheme started in a suite in Trump Tower in 2014.

Through a connection, HO was introduced to Cheikh Gadio, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Senegal, who had a personal relationship with President Déby. HO and Gadio met at CEFC China’s suite at Trump World Tower in midtown Manhattan, where HO enlisted Gadio to assist CEFC China in obtaining access to President Déby.

Days after Ho was sentenced, the two lead prosecutors on that case, Catherine Ghosh and Daniel Richenthal, flew to Brussels to meet with Luft. As alleged in the indictment, Luft lied to those prosecutors and four FBI agents about both the arms deals and Chinese influence peddling for which he has since been charged.

64. On or about March 28, 2019, in the Southern District of New York, Belgium, and elsewhere outside of the jurisdiction of any particular State or district of the United States, GAL LUFT, the defendant, who is expected to be first brought to and arrested in the Southern District of New York, a matter within the jurisdiction of the executive branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully made a materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statement and representation, to wit, LUFT falsely stated during an interview at the United States Embassy in Brussels, Belgium with federal law enforcement officers and prosecutors, in connection with an investigation being conducted in the Southern District of New York, that LUFT had not sought to engage in or profit from arms deals, and instead merely had been asked by an Israeli friend who dealt in arms to check arms prices so that the friend could use this information in bidding on deals, a request that LUFT said he fulfilled by having CC-1 check prices with CC-2 and then relay this information to LUFT–when in fact LUFT had actively worked to broker numerous illegal arms deals for profit involving multiple different countries, both in concert with CC-1 and directly himself, including as described in paragraphs Forty-Four through Fifty-Three above.

[snip]

84. On or about March 29, 2019, in the Southern District of New York, Belgium, and elsewhere outside of the jurisdiction of any particular State or district of the United States, GAL LUFT, defendant, who is expected to be first brought to and arrested in the Southern District of New York, in a matter within the jurisdiction of the executive branch the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully made a materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statement and representation, to wit, LUFT falsely stated during an interview at the United States Embassy in Brussels, Belgium with federal law enforcement officers and prosecutors, in connection with an investigation being conducted in the Southern District of New York, that LUFT had tried to prevent CEFC China from doing an oil deal with Iran, that LUFT had been excluded from CEFC China meetings with Iranians, and that LUFT did not know of any CEFC China dealings with Iran while he was affiliated with the company–when in fact, including as described above in paragraphs Sixty-Six through Eighty, LUFT personally attended at least one meeting between CEFC China and Iranians and assisted in setting up additional such meetings for the purpose of arranging deals for Iranian oil, and also worked to find a buyer of Iranian oil while concealing its origin.

Starting in early 2018, DeFilippis handled the classified evidence on the Ho case — both CIPA and a FISA order. He would have spent a great deal of time reviewing what the spooks had obtained on Ho and his associates, undoubtedly including Luft.

Andrew DeFilippis investigated John Kerry for a year

DeFilippis’ efforts on the Ho case took place in parallel with his efforts to gin up a criminal investigation against John Kerry. Here’s how Geoffrey Berman described being ordered to do that by Main Justice.

On May 9, the day after the second Trump tweet, the co-chiefs of SDNY’s national security unit, Ferrara and Graff, had a meeting at Main Justice with the head of the unit that oversees counterintelligence cases at DOJ, which is under the National Security Division.

He said that Main Justice was referring an investigation to us that concerned Kerry’s Iran-related conduct. The conduct that had annoyed the president was now a priority of the Department of Justice. The focus was to be on potential violations of the Logan Act.

[snip]

From the outset, I was skeptical that there was a case to be made. I knew enough about the Logan Act to have strong doubts. Politicians from both sides of the aisle have talked about it from time to time, suggesting that some opponent is in violation of it. It never goes anywhere.

But I figured if they bring us a possible case, we’ll do our best. We’ll look into it. We brought a prosecutor from the national security unit, Andrew DeFilippis, into the investigation.

Trump, meanwhile, kept on tweeting. “John Kerry had illegal meetings with the very hostile Iranian Regime, which can only serve to undercut our great work to the detriment of the American people,” he wrote that September. “He told them to wait out the Trump Administration! Was he registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act? BAD!”

DeFilippis’ efforts extended into 2019, overlapping with the trial of Ho and the interview with Luft. National Security prosecutors at Main Justice kept pressuring SDNY to advance the investigation into Kerry, but first, Berman had DeFilippis research whether the Logan Act would be chargeable even if Kerry had committed it.

The next step would have been to conduct an inquiry into Kerry’s electronic communications, what’s known as a 2703(d) order. That would have produced the header information—the to, from, date, and subject fields—but not the contents. I decided that before moving forward, it made sense to evaluate whether we would ever have a viable, appropriate charge that matched up with Kerry’s alleged conduct.

At the risk of stating the obvious, under our system of law, pissing off the president is not a chargeable offense. I asked DeFilippis to conduct additional legal research into the Logan Act and other potentially applicable theories. “Look, we’re talking about going to the next step here,” I said.

“But before we do any further investigation, I want to know what the law is on the Logan Act. Let’s say we gather additional documents—I want to know, how is that helping us?”

I wanted to answer the question, even if these things happened, was it a crime? Let’s cut to the chase and find that out, because we’ve got plenty of other work to do and I don’t want us to just be spinning our wheels on this.

For the next several months, DeFilippis conducted extensive research into the Logan Act as well as statutes relating to possible criminal ethics violations by former senior government employees.

On April 22, 2019, Trump tweeted, “Iran is being given VERY BAD advice by @JohnKerry and people who helped him lead the U.S. into the very bad Iran Nuclear Deal. Big violation of Logan Act?”

The tweet was in the morning. That afternoon, Ferrara got a call from Main Justice. He was told that David Burns, the principal deputy assistant attorney general for national security, wanted to know why we were delaying. Why had we not proceeded with a 2703(d) order—the look into Kerry’s electronic communications?

The next day, Burns spoke to Ferrara, Graff, and DeFilippis and repeatedly pressed them about why they had not submitted the 2703(d) order. The team responded that additional analysis needed to be done before pursuing the order.

SDNY decided not to pursue the case against Kerry in fall of 2019.

We spent roughly a year exploring whether there was any basis to further investigate Kerry. Memos were written, revised, and thoroughly discussed.

Our deep dive into the Logan Act confirmed why no one has ever been successfully prosecuted under it in the more than 220 years it has been on the books: the law is not useful. It definitely does not prohibit a former US secretary of state from talking to a foreign official. We did not find that Kerry violated any ethics statutes or any laws having to do with the improper handling of classified material.

In September 2019, DeFilippis advised the National Security Division at Main Justice that we would not be pursuing the case further. He had earlier attempted to tell the specific NSD attorney assigned to the case of our decision, but he couldn’t connect because that attorney was engaged in another matter: the Craig trial.

Sometime after that, DeFilippis became the lead prosecutor on the Durham team, leading the prosecution of Michael Sussmann.

Andrew DeFilippis oversaw the most abusive parts of the John Durham prosecution

Over the course of the Michael Sussmann prosecution, DeFilippis and his prosecution team:

As noted above, Geoffrey Berman boasted that the investigation into Kerry didn’t leak. Even ignoring the inexplicably perfect concert between Alfa Bank’s efforts and Durham’s, it’s not clear the same can be said about the Durham investigation.

And it’s not just that DeFilippis routinely tried to introduce evidence that served his narrative rather than matched the facts. It’s that DeFilippis repeatedly — most notably in the alleged complaint that researchers working on a DARPA project would attempt to identify which Russians were interfering in the US election — proved more sympathetic of Russian efforts to help get Trump elected than to conduct an ethical prosecution.

Last August, shortly before Durham confessed the utter humiliation of his team at the hand of Sergei Millian, DeFilippis withdrew from the Durham team with almost no notice, left DOJ, and returned — in a Special Counsel role, not as Partner — to Sullivan & Cromwell.

These are just data points. There is no reason, yet, to believe that DeFilippis continues to unethically gin up conspiracy theories against Democrats.

But they are data points I thought worth collecting in one place.

The Blind Squirrel’s Nut: Chuck Grassley Unwittingly Debunks Bill Barr

Last month, Bill Barr got Federalist Faceplant Margot Cleveland to claim that Jamie Raskin was lying when he said that the lead from an informant claiming that Joe Biden had been bribed was assessed by Pittsburgh US Attorney Scott Brady and then shut down.

It’s not true. It wasn’t closed down,” William Barr told The Federalist on Tuesday in response to Democrat Rep. Jamie Raskin’s claim that the former attorney general and his “handpicked prosecutor” had ended an investigation into a confidential human source’s allegation that Joe Biden had agreed to a $5 million bribe. “On the contrary,” Barr stressed, “it was sent to Delaware for further investigation.”

Then James Comer relied on that to claim that Raskin was wrong when he said that it was shut down as an assessment.

Bill Barr to Margot Cleveland to James Comer: At each new level, this Matryoshka doll of disinformation gets less and less credible.

So incredible, in fact, that even Chuck Grassley debunked them.

Unwittingly.

Like the proverbial blind squirrel finding a nut.

You see, Chuck is outraged that the IRS agents conducting the investigation into Hunter Biden’s alleged tax crimes were not included in a meeting at which Pittsburgh FBI agents briefed the Delaware US Attorney’s office about the informant report. He has written Delaware US Attorney David Weiss a letter demanding an explanation of why.

The answer is clear from the timing of the briefing, which Senator Grassley reveals in his letter: October 23, 2020.

Based on information provided to my office from individuals aware of the meeting, on October 23, 2020, Justice Department and FBI Special Agents from the Pittsburgh Field Office briefed Assistant U.S. Attorney Lesley Wolf, one of your top prosecutors, and FBI Special Agents from the Baltimore Field Office with respect to the contents of the FBI-generated FD1023 alleging a criminal bribery scheme involving then-Vice President Biden and Hunter Biden; however, the meeting did not include any IRS agents. In addition, based on information provided to my office, potentially hundreds of Justice Department and FBI officials have had access to the FD-1023 at issue, which begs the question that I’ve been asking since the start of my oversight in this matter: what steps have the Justice Department and FBI taken to investigate the allegations?

This briefing was nine days after a NYPost story would have made clear that Rudy Giuliani had ties to the “Hunter Biden” “laptop” that the IRS agents had been relying on for investigative materials for the better part of a year.

It was one day after an October 22, 2020 meeting that the IRS agents did attend. As Gary Shapley confessed to the House Ways and Means Committee, the meeting was largely an effort to make sure that the government had used proper legal process before acquiring two devices that — it had only recently became clear — had become and may always have been part of a political hit job.

A Yes. So there are a couple significant parts of this. One was that, at this time, the laptop was a very big story, so we were just making sure that everything was being handled appropriately.

So we wanted to go through the timeline of what happened with the laptop and devices. I thought one of the most important first parts was that on November 6 of 2019, the FBI case agent, Josh Wilson, called up the computer shop owner, John Paul, and basically got the device numbers from him.

If Shapley’s notes are at all reliable, prosecutors at the meeting instead discovered that the FBI broke the most basic rules of forensics when exploiting the laptop purportedly owned by the former Vice President’s dissolute son, and in the process may have destroyed evidence about who was really behind it. I’m still not convinced his notes are reliable, but if they are, then the meeting should have raised all sorts of alarms within DOJ.

As I laid out here, Shapley has instead pitched the meeting as one that served the primary purpose of giving Whistleblower X opportunity to complain that the US Attorney’s office had prevented the IRS agents from being tainted by dodgy materials on the laptop. Whistleblower X did complain, mind you, but those complaints mostly raise questions about the extent to which he had already been accessing materials from the laptop that Rudy Giuliani had been tampering with, thereby tainting the investigation.

Shapley’s propaganda has worked, because that’s what our blind squirrel from Iowa focuses his letter on.

But as Shapley described in his prepared statement, even before that meeting he had written to AUSA Lesley Wolf complaining about how the laptop was being referred to in the news.

On October 19th, 2020, I emailed Assistant United States Attorney Wolf: “We
need to talk about the computer. It appears the FBI is 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. If Durham also
executed a search warrant on a device, we need to know so that my leadership is
informed. My management has to be looped into whatever the FBI is doing with the
laptop. It is IRS CI’s responsibility to know what is happening. Let me know when I can
be briefed on this issue.”

Shapley appears to have been concerned, in the weeks before the Presidential election, that people believed the laptop was being investigated by the FBI as an information operation targeting Joe Biden, when in his view, it remained the cornerstone of his investigation into Hunter Biden.

But if DOJ was not already investigating both topics by October 23, 2020 — both Hunter Biden’s tax crimes and a potential information operation targeting Joe Biden — if it has not spent years doing so, then the FBI has become even more captured than I already suspected.

Indeed, if the FBI hasn’t already significantly substantiated that Hunter Biden was hacked in early 2019, then I may renounce my citizenship. I know FBI’s cyber agents can be incompetent, but they can’t be that incompetent, can they?

Can they?

Chuck Grassley may not realize it because he is very old and he is staffed by a bunch of partisan cranks. But he’s basically complaining that DOJ might have learned their lesson after the Steele dossier — the lesson that Chuck Grassley spent years demanding they learn! — and decided, upon the revelation that a key piece of evidence they had been relying on for months had ties to a political hit job, they should figure out precisely what tie that key piece of evidence had to the political hit job.

Chuck Grassley may also not realize that the political cranks who staff him got him to sign a letter effectively complaining that the FBI thought it worthwhile to figure out if the information operation Russian spies had been bragging about for over a year at that point had actually succeeded. Chuck is bitching that the FBI decided to protect a presidential candidate.

Chuck Grassley also likely doesn’t realize his staffers got him to sign a letter bitching that David Weiss attempted to maintain the integrity of the tax investigation even while DOJ assessed whether they had been caught in another information operation. That’s why you don’t include the IRS agents in a meeting where Pittsburgh FBI agents explain to Delaware lawyers how sketchy was the information Rudy Giuliani was collecting from known Russian agents in Ukraine. If you include them, you risk blowing the otherwise meritorious tax investigation.

And Chuck Grassley definitely doesn’t realize that he has debunked Bill Barr.

You see, Bill Barr, who is a very adept liar, was sort of telling the truth to Faceplant Margot that the FD-1023 was referred to DE USAO for further investigation. It surely was. But Pittsburgh FBI agents shared it on October 23, 2020, because the US Attorney’s office was frantically trying to figure out whether the entire tax investigation had been blown, or only parts of it. The US Attorney’s office was undoubtedly trying to understand what kind of other garbage Rudy had produced that got shared with the FBI, in addition to any role he had with the “laptop” that had been used in the tax investigation.

Even Gary Shapley admitted that in the wake of the NYPost story, the Delaware US Attorney’s office did some quick CYA to figure out whether they had been using a tainted information operation for the better part of a year (they had!). The October 23 briefing would have had substantially the same purpose as the October 22 one: to figure out how tainted the investigation was.

And Bill Barr instead got even stupider people to believe that that an attempt to triage the damage done by Rudy’s political hit job amounts to an investigation for bribery.

Gary Shapley and Hunter Biden’s Colleague Named “Z”

There was a detail in Abbe Lowell’s letter to House Ways and Means Chair Jason Smith complaining about the way Smith platformed purported whistleblowers to launch an attack on Joe Biden that deserves more attention: Lowell claimed that Gary Shapley misrepresented the identity of the person with whom Hunter Biden had a WhatsApp exchange in 2017.

This is the WhatsApp exchange that Smith mocked up to look like texts themselves. The mocked up texts went wildly viral based on Smith’s unsubstantiated claim that Joe Biden was in the room with Hunter during his deal-making.

Lowell described that fake mock-up this way.

The agent only described one message, but you took that purported text and disseminated images of it on June 22 and June 24 in two Twitter postings.

The screen-grab images you posted are not real and contain myriad of issues: both include a photo of Mr. Biden not from 2017 but from the White House Easter Eggroll in April 2022 (long after the purported message was sent); both images portray the message in a blue bubble, when WhatsApp messages are in green; one image super-imposed the Chinese flag for the contact ID, when surely that was not how a text or contact was kept; and one purports to be a screenshot with the “. . .” of someone composing a text (as in Apple’s iMessage) when that does not happen on WhatsApp.

I explained why Smith had to attempt to recreate WhatsApp messages in this post: Shapley himself shared summaries of the purported WhatsApp messages, rather than the WhatsApp messages themselves or the forensic report from Apple whence (Shapley claimed) the IRS obtained them.

Not only did Shapley admit to the Committee they were summaries, but Shapley isn’t even sure who did the summary.

Q Could you tell us about this document, what is it, and how was it obtained —

A Sure. So there was an electronic search warrant for iCloud backup, and these messages were in that backup and provided —

Q Okay.

A — from a third party, from iCloud.

Q Okay. Who was it provided to?

A The — the investigative team from —

Q Okay. A It would go through all the same processes of — since it’s electronic, it would go to one of the computer analysis folks, and then they would put it in a readable format, and then it would go through filter review.

Q Okay. And these aren’t WhatsApp messages, these are summaries of WhatsApp messages, correct?

A Yeah, that’s correct. Because it was something about the readability of the actual piece, right? It was easier to summarize in a spreadsheet.

Q Okay. And who did the summary? Who prepared this document?

A It was either the computer analysis guy or [redacted, probably Whistleblower X], one or the other [my emphasis]

Even on their face, they’re not reliable summaries. In this text, for example, someone interjects their opinion, “believed to be Zhao” right into the middle of a purported quotation, without marking that opinion as such.

Given that the summary presents at least this direct quote with additional information, we can’t be sure whether other quotes — particularly references to Zhao — are accurate.

Compare Shapley’s summaries with what reliable law enforcement summaries of WhatsApp chats saved to iCloud and obtained from Apple look like (this was an exhibit in the Vladimir Klyushin trial and would have been obtained in the same timeframe).

Not only does this directly quote all the messages, but it includes exact time and the accounts used, details that should drive any law enforcement investigation.

The summary matters, a lot. That’s because Lowell claims that Shapley — or whoever did these summaries — misidentified the Hunter Biden interlocutor whose last name begins with Z.

In one excerpt that has now gotten a great deal of media attention, Mr. Biden is alleged to have been sitting next to his father on July 30, 2017, when he allegedly sent a WhatsApp message, urging the completion of some business transaction. See Shapley Tr. at 14. The inference is that the referenced message was being sent to an official of CEFC (China Energy) to forward a false narrative about the Bidens’ involvement in that company. The facts, which some media has now reported, are that President Biden and our client were not together that day, the company being referenced was not CEFC but Harvest Financial Group (with a person who also had the initial “Z”), and that no transaction actually occurred. More important, your own actions call into question the authenticity of that communication and your subsequent use of it. In short, the images you circulated online are complete fakes. Many media articles confirm that data purported to have come from Mr. Biden’s devices has been altered or manipulated. You, or someone else, did that again. All of the misstatements about this communication and your use of a false text are good examples of how providing one-sided, untested, and slanted information leads to improper conclusions. [my emphasis]

This is a remarkable claim, because — if true — it suggests the IRS was investigating Hunter Biden based on wildly incorrect assumptions about the identity of his interlocutors.

Abbe Lowell claims that the IRS agents who investigated his client for five years — the son of the President!!! — didn’t know to whom he was talking! I’ve heard a lot of outlandish claims from defense attorneys (though Lowell is far more credible than the grifters who defend a lot of January 6 defendants), But this is an utterly inflammatory claim.

Had Shapley used responsible summaries, rather than the unprofessional script he did use, it might be possible to figure out who is right, here, because then we could compare the actual number or email account used.

Or maybe not.

There’s another possible way to explain why IRS agents wouldn’t even know the identity of the person with whom Hunter Biden was discussing business deals.

One of the things that happened during January 2019 when Hunter Biden’s droidhunter88 account had taken over his iCloud account is that his contacts list was “restored.”

In the publicly released emails, there’s no indication of when the request was made, or restored from what. But it happened around the same time as “Hunter Biden” requested a full iCloud download, including his contacts list.

That iCloud download is almost certainly what became much of the content on what is now known as the “Hunter Biden” “laptop” — a laptop the IRS was using (after booting it up in a new laptop, if you can believe Shapley’s notes) for evidence in this investigation.

There are at least three possibilities here:

  • Shapley is right and Abbe Lowell is wrong
  • Whoever wrote these unprofessional summaries just guessed — wrongly — who Hunter’s interlocutor was
  • The iCloud contacts list that the IRS was using when these summaries were made had been altered

We don’t have enough data to know. But given what even Hunter Biden’s persecutors have released, we can’t rule out the last one — that the IRS was using a doctored contacts list to investigate Joe Biden’s son.

The Laptop Everyone Knows as Hunter Biden’s Appears to Have Been Deleted Starting February 15, 2019

I’ve been wading through Hunter Biden data all weekend. There’s some evidence that the descriptions of the “Hunter Biden” “laptop” based on the drive Rudy Giuliani has peddled do not match the description of what should be on such devices given what the FBI and IRS saw.

Before I explain that, though, I want to talk about how the life of Hunter Biden’s iCloud account differs from what is portrayed in this analysis paid for by Washington Examiner.

As that report describes, Hunter Biden activated a MacBook Pro on October 21, 2018, then set it up with Hunter’s iCloud on October 22. Hunter then used the MacBook as his primary device until March 17, 2019, a month before it waltzed into John Paul Mac Isaac’s computer repair shop to start a second act as the biggest political hit job ever.

There are problems with that story. A longer table of the devices that logged into Hunter Biden’s iCloud includes devices that appear to have been accessing core Hunter Biden content.

That same table doesn’t show any access after November 15, 2018, with the last access being the device Roberts MacBook Pro that would end up in a Delaware repair shop, but showing up six days earlier than it should. There’s a phone that should but does not show up in those devices, too.

The report doesn’t discuss the import of the shifts between these emails.

RHB used several emails for business and personal use including:
[email protected] [sic]
[email protected] ([email protected])
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]

One email missing from this list is a Gmail account under which a bunch of passwords were stored. That’ll become important later.

The most important email is the Gmail account (misspelled above), [email protected], which Hunter Biden used to contact sex workers, probably including the Russian escort service that the IRS used to predicate the IRS investigation. That email account got added to his iCloud account at the same time as his iCloud contents were requested, and then again before the MacBook stopped being used. Those changes often happened in conjunction with changes to the phone number.

For now, though, I just want to map out the major events with Hunter’s iCloud accounts from September 1, 2018 (perhaps the months before the IRS would open an investigation into him because he was frequenting a Russian escort service) until the final email as found on the laptop itself. There’s a bunch more — one after another credit card gets rejected, and he keeps moving his Wells Fargo card over to pay for his Apple account; the iCloud account shows Hunter reauthorizing use of biometrics to get into his Wells Fargo account in this period.

In January 2019, the Gmail account Hunter Biden used to contact sex workers (probably including the Russian escort service he had been using) effectively took over his iCloud account and asked for a complete copy of his iCloud account. Then, the next month, all the data on the Hunter Biden laptop was deleted.

Update: I’ve taken the reference to the HB RediPhone out altogether–it’s clear that’s a branded iPhone–and replaced it with a better explanation of the other devices.

Update: I see that he does have D[r]oidhunter88, but doesn’t discuss the import of it.

Update: I’ve added a few things that happened while Hunter’s account was pwned. Importantly, as part of this process an app called “Hunter” was given full access to his droidhunter88 gmail account. There are also a few emails that seem to be a test process.

Update: Added the missing Gmail account.

Hunter Biden’s iCloud

9/1/18: An account recovery request for your Apple ID ([email protected]) was made from the web near Los Angeles, CA on August 31, 2018 at 9:36:07 PM PDT. The contact phone number provided was [Hunter Biden’s].

9/1/18: The following changes to your Apple ID, [email protected] were made on September 1, 2018 at 10:29:36 AM PDT: Password

9/1/18: Your Apple ID ([email protected]) was used to sign in to iCloud on a MacBook Pro 13″.
Date and Time: September 1, 2018, 10:34 AM PDT

9/1/18: Your Apple ID ([email protected]) was used to sign in to iCloud via a web browser.
Date and Time: September 1, 2018, 10:42 AM PDT

9/2/18: Your Apple ID, [email protected], was just used to download Hide2Vault from the Mac App Store on a computer or device that has not previously been used.

9/2/18: Welcome to your new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar.

9/11/18: Your Apple ID ([email protected]) was used to sign in to iCloud via a web browser.

9/11/18: The password for your Apple ID ([email protected]) has been successfully reset.

9/11/18: Robert’s iPad is being erased. The erase of Robert’s iPad started at 2:56 PM PDT on August 5, 2018.

This is one of several times in several weeks that Hunter loses his iPhone, but while it’s lost, someone also pings his MacBook.

9/16/18: A sound was played on iPhone. A sound was played on iPhone at 8:25 PM PDT on September 15, 2018. (Repeats 25 times in 5 minutes)

9/16/18: A sound was played on Robert’s MacBook Pro at 8:30 PM PDT on September 15, 2018. (Repeats 2 times)

9/16/18: A sound was played on iPhone at 8:31 PM PDT on September 15, 2018. (Repeats 7 times)

9/16/18: iPhone was found near Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area 23287 Palm Canyon Ln Malibu, CA 90265 United States at 11:32 PM PDT.

9/16/18: Your Apple ID ([email protected]) was used to sign in to iCloud via a web browser.

9/19/18: Your Apple ID ([email protected]) was used to sign in to iCloud via a web browser.

9/20/18: Your Apple ID ([email protected]) was used to sign in to iCloud on an iPhone 8 Plus.

This is the second time he loses his phone. What follows is basically a chase of Hunter Biden’s iPhone across LA. It’s not clear it is ever recovered — but it is over two weeks before a new iPhone logs into his account.

9/27/18: Lost Mode enabled on Robert Hunter’s iPhone. This device was put into Lost Mode at 7:20 PM PDT on September 27, 2018.

9/27/18: Robert Hunter’s iPhone was found near [address redacted] Lynwood, CA 90262 United States at 7:20 PM PDT.

9/27/18: Your Apple ID ([email protected]) was used to sign in to iCloud on an iPhone 8 Plus.

9/27/18: A sound was played on Robert Hunter’s iPhone at 7:20 PM PDT on September 27, 2018.

9/27/18: A sound was played on Robert Hunter’s iPhone at 7:20 PM PDT on September 27, 2018.

9/27/18: Robert Hunter’s iPhone was found near [address redacted] Lynwood, CA 90262 United States at 7:20 PM PDT.

9/28/18: Robert Hunter’s iPhone was found near [different address redacted] Lynwood, CA 90262 United States at 4:24 PM PDT.

9/28/18: Robert Hunter’s iPhone was found near [third address redacted] Lynwood, CA 90262 United States at 5:27 PM PDT.

9/28/18: Robert Hunter’s iPhone was found near [fourth address redacted] Los Angeles, CA 90036 United States at 6:22 PM PDT.

9/28/18: Robert Hunter’s iPhone was found near [fifth address redacted] Los Angeles, CA 90069 United States at 6:38 PM PDT.

10/13/18: Bobby Hernandez to [email protected]: You left your phone. How do I get it to you?

10/14/18: The password for your Apple ID ([email protected]) has been successfully reset.

By date, this login is the HB rediPhone, but Apple recognized it as an iPhone X.

10/14/18: Your Apple ID ([email protected]) was used to sign in to iCloud on an iPhone X. Date and Time: October 14, 2018, 11:24 AM PDT

10/17/18: The password for your Apple ID ([email protected]) has been successfully reset.

10/17/18: The following information for your Apple ID (r•••••@rspdc.com) was updated on October 17, 2018. Trusted Phone Number Added – Phone number ending in 73

10/17/18: New sign-in to your linked account [email protected] Your Google Account was just signed in to from a new Apple iPhone device.

Per the Gus Dimitrelos report, the following activity reflects the creation of a new MacBook account called Robert’s MacBook Pro — the laptop that would end up in Mac Isaac’s shop. But there doesn’t appear to be an alert for a new device like there is the for the iPhone 8 Plus the following day.

10/21/18: Your Apple ID ([email protected]) was used to sign in to iCloud on a MacBook Pro 13″. Date and Time: October 21, 2018, 5:50 AM PDT

10/21/18: Your Apple ID ([email protected]) was used to sign in to iCloud via a web browser. Date and Time: October 21, 2018, 9:06 AM PDT

10/22/18: The following changes to your Apple ID, [email protected] were made on October 22, 2018 at 7:47:30 PM EDT: Phone number(s)

10/23/18: Your Apple ID, [email protected], was just used to download Quora from the App Store on a computer or device that has not previously been used.

10/23/18: Your Apple ID ([email protected]) was used to sign in to iCloud on an iPhone 8 Plus. Date and Time: October 23, 2018, 4:10 PM PDT

10/23/18: New sign-in to your linked account [email protected] Your Google Account was just signed in to from a new Apple iPhone device.

Several spyware apps get purchased in this period.

10/29/18: Your mSpy credentials to your control panel: Username/Login: [email protected]

11/2/18: Your Apple ID ([email protected]) was used to sign in to iCloud on an iPhone XS.

11/16/18: You recently added [email protected] as a new alternate email address for your Apple ID.

11/21/18: You’ve purchased the following subscription with a 1‑month free trial: Subscription Tile Premium

11/22/18: Your Apple ID, [email protected], was just used to download KAYAK Flights, Hotels & Cars from the iTunes Store on a computer or device that has not previously been used.

12/28/18: Your Apple ID ([email protected]) was used to sign in to iCloud via a web browser. Date and Time: December 28, 2018, 7:06 AM PST

1/3/19: Keith Ablow (then Hunter’s therapist) says Hunter’s email is screwed up

1/6/19: Your Apple ID ([email protected]) was used to sign in to iCloud via a web browser. Date and Time: January 6, 2019, 1:51 AM PST

1/12/19: Your Recent Mac Cleanup Pro Order [ADV181229-7742-90963]

1/14/19: The following changes to your Apple ID, [email protected] were made on January 13, 2019 at 10:28:31 PM EST: Phone number(s)

1/14/19: The following changes to your Apple ID, [email protected] were made on January 13, 2019 at 10:31:15 PM EST: Password

1/14/19 The following changes to your Apple ID, [email protected] were made on January 13, 2019 at 10:52:13 PM EST: Billing and/or Shipping Information

1/14/19: The following changes to your Apple ID, [email protected] were made on January 13, 2019 at 10:53:40 PM EST: Phone number(s)

1/14/19: The following changes to your Apple ID, [email protected] were made on January 13, 2019 at 11:12:45 PM EST: Billing Information

1/16/19: Your Apple ID ([email protected]) was used to sign in to iCloud via a web browser. Date and Time: January 16, 2019, 1:59 PM PST

While Hunter is in Ketamine treatment at Keith Ablow’s, a service called “Hunter” gets access to the droidhunter88 gmail account

1/16/19: Here’s my first tip for you!

1/16/19: Hi Robinson, Hunter now has access to your Google Account [email protected].

Hunter can:
View your email messages and settings
Manage drafts and send emails
Send email on your behalf

A bunch of things happen in this four day period: first, someone accessed droidhunter88 from a new iPhone. Someone changed the phone number for the Hunter Biden iCloud. Then, droidhunter88 was given access to the iCloud account. Then the iCloud account ordered all of Hunter’s iCloud contents. Then the password for the account was reset.

1/17/19: New device signed in to [email protected] Your Google Account was just signed in to from a new Apple iPhone device.

1/17/19: I am here to help you find the emails you need!

Giovanni here from Hunter.

I wanted to quickly check if I can help you getting started with Hunter.

There are plenty of functionalities included with your free plan that will allow you to find, verify and enrich a set of data in bulk: these are all explained in our video guides.

However, if you already have a precise task to perform, reply to this email so I can better assist you!

1/17/19: n (from [email protected])

1/18/19: Long email to tabloid journalist sent under rosemontseneca email (this is sent first to Keith Ablow and then George Mesires, the latter of whom responds); this would have shown how the email account worked

1/19/19: The following information for your Apple ID (r•••••@rspdc.com) was updated on January 19, 2019. Trusted Phone Number Removed – Phone number ending in 13

1/20/19: The following changes to your Apple ID, [email protected] were made on January 20, 2019 at 5:24:54 PM EST: Phone number(s)

1/20/19: The following changes to your Apple ID, [email protected] were made on January 20, 2019 at 5:31:21 PM EST: Apple ID
Email address(es)

1/20/19: The following changes to your Apple ID, [email protected] were made on January 20, 2019 at 5:31:21 PM EST: Apple ID Email address(es)

1/20/19: A request for a copy of the data associated with the Apple ID [email protected] was made on January 20, 2019 at 5:40:26 PM EST

1/21/19: The password for your Apple ID ([email protected]) has been successfully reset.

1/21/19: The following changes to your Apple ID, [email protected] were made on January 21, 2019 at 8:28:05 AM EST: Name — changed from Robert Hunter to Robert Biden

1/21/19: You recently added [email protected] as the notification email address for your Apple ID

1/21/19: The following changes to your Apple ID, [email protected] were made on January 21, 2019 at 8:31:02 AM EST:
Rescue email address

1/22/19: The following information for your Apple ID (r•••••@icloud.com) was updated on January 22, 2019. Trusted Phone Number Removed – Phone number ending in 96

1/22/19: Your Apple ID ([email protected]) was used to sign in to iCloud via a web browser. Date and Time: January 22, 2019, 4:21 AM PST

1/22/19: The following changes to your Apple ID, [email protected] were made on January 22, 2019 at 10:05:20 AM EST:
Email address(es)

1/22/19: The following changes to your Apple ID, [email protected] were made on January 22, 2019 at 10:05:29 AM EST:
Email address(es)

1/22/19: The following changes to your Apple ID, [email protected] were made on January 22, 2019 at 10:05:34 AM EST:
Email address(es)

1/24/19: You recently added [email protected] as a new alternate email address for your Apple ID.

I think that after ordering all Hunter’s data, the account is reset to what it had been from the start. But Droidhunter88, not [email protected], gets the iCloud backup.

1/24/19: Your contacts have been restored successfully on January 24, 2019, 1:17 PM PST.

1/25/19: The data you requested on January 20, 2019 at 5:40:26 PM EST is ready to download. [Sent to both Droidhunter88 and [email protected]]

1/27/19: Your Apple ID ([email protected]) was used to sign in to iCloud via a web browser. Date and Time: January 27, 2019, 7:41 AM PST

Several photo editing apps are purchased in this period (and one CAD app).

1/27/19: You’ve purchased the following subscription with a 1‑month free trial: Subscription Polarr Photo Editor Yearly

2/6/19: The following changes to your Apple ID, [email protected] were made on February 5, 2019 at 11:39:09 PM EST: Phone number(s)

2/9/19: Your Apple ID ([email protected]) was used to sign in to iCloud via a web browser. Date and Time: February 9, 2019, 9:52 AM PST

2/9/19: Your Apple ID ([email protected]) was used to sign in to iCloud via a web browser. Date and Time: February 9, 2019, 5:08 PM PST

Hunter connected to your Google Account
Hi Robinson,

2/9/19: Hunter now has access to your Google Account [email protected].

2/9/19: test To:[email protected]

2/9/19: jkFrom:”Robinson Hunter” [email protected]:[email protected]

2/9/19: The following information for your Apple ID (r•••••@icloud.com) was updated on February 10, 2019. Trusted Phone Number Added – Phone number ending in 96

2/9/19: You recently added [email protected] as the notification email address for your Apple ID.

2/9/19: You recently added [email protected] as the notification email address for your Apple ID

2/9/19: The following changes to your Apple ID, [email protected] were made on February 9, 2019 at 8:33:57 PM EST: Rescue email address

2/9/19: Your Apple ID ([email protected]) was used to sign in to iCloud on an iPhone 6s. Date and Time: February 9, 2019, 6:11 PM PST

2/10/19: Your Apple ID, [email protected], was just used to download Call recorder for iphone from the iTunes Store on a computer or device that has not previously been used.

2/15/19: Hi Robinson, Did you know? Hunter doesn’t have only one Chrome extension! We recently built a simple email tracker for Gmail.

This is where the data on the MacBook that would end up in Mac Isaac’s shop started getting deleted.

2/15/19: Robert’s MacBook is being erased. The erase of Robert’s MacBook started at 4:18 PM PST on February 15, 2019.

2/15/19: Robert’s MacBook Pro has been locked. This Mac was locked at 8:36 PM PST on February 15, 2019.

2/19/19: Noiseless MacPhun LLC

2/20/19: where the fuck are youi? from DroidHunter88 to dpagano:

this is hunter
i dont have your #

call me please

The droidhunter88 account bought a new iPhone — but, after telling Apple they would recycle the old one, instead kept it. That would effectively be another device associated with Hunter Biden. Given some of the other apps involved, this may have served as a way to get Hunter Biden’s calls (eg, from Mac Isaac). Unlike the new devices that show up in 2018, this one was paid for. 

2/21/19: New device signed in to [email protected] Your Google Account was just signed in to from a new Apple iPhone device.

2/21/19: Hi Robinson, Welcome to Google on your new Apple iPhone (tied to droidhunter88)

2/28/19: Your items are ready for pickup.Order Number: W776795632Ordered on: February 28, 2019

2/28/19: Your trade-in has been initiated. Thanks for using Apple GiveBack.

3/1/19: Your Apple ID ([email protected]) was used to sign in to iCloud on an iPhone XR. Date and Time: March 1, 2019, 8:52 AM PST

3/5/19: Recently you reported an issue with Polarr Photo Editor, Polarr Photo Editor Yearly using iTunes Report a Problem

3/7/19: Your Apple ID, [email protected], was just used to download Lovense [sic] Remote from the App Store on a computer or device that has not previously been used.

3/9/19: New sign-in to your linked account [email protected] Your Google Account was just signed in to from a new Apple iPhone device.

3/9/19: Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose (Unabridged)

3/13/19: Your Apple ID ([email protected]) was used to sign in to iCloud via a web browser. Date and Time: March 13, 2019, 5:43 PM PDT

3/16/19: The following changes to your Apple ID, [email protected] were made on March 16, 2019 at 11:59:16 PM EDT:Email address(es)

Droidhunter88 is added back to Hunter’s iCloud contact again.

3/17/19: You recently added [email protected] as a new alternate email address for your Apple ID.

3/17/19: The following changes to your Apple ID, [email protected] were made on March 17, 2019 at 12:02:06 AM EDT: Email address(es)

3/17/19: We haven’t received your device.

The Technical Oddities of the FBI’s Exploitation of Hunter Biden’s Laptop

I wrote about the memorialization of an October 22, 2020 meeting about the Hunter Biden laptop that Gary Shapley did here.

Shapley is using it to wind up the frothy right, which as is true of all things Hunter Biden, has worked like a charm.

He has used it not only to make false claims that the FBI has validated the laptop and all its contents, but also to claim that Whistleblower X was being denied access to some of the materials on the laptop. As I noted, by his own description, Whistleblower X saw contents from the laptop, as released by Rudy Giuliani, at some point in the investigation, even though investigators had been instructed not to view publicly available materials out of taint concerns.

But the meeting wasn’t held 8 days after the Rudy laptop had been made public so Whistleblower X could air his complaints. It was held as CYA, to make sure DOJ documented the chain of custody that had just been rendered suspect by the disclosure that a source the FBI had basically trusted had turned the laptop into an election season hit job.

Authentication

The frothy right is either lying or ignorant when they claim this report authenticates the laptop and all contents. Indeed, the report makes it clear that, over a year after first learning of the laptop, the FBI still hadn’t validated every file on it.

But it did do some authentication, some of which could have been faked. That includes:

  • Financial records showing Hunter Biden made a purchase in a cigar shop on the “same day” (could easily be faked, particularly since anyone with his laptop had images of his credit cards)
  • “Other intelligence” showing he was in the area
  • Phone records showing at least two calls “around this time” (but may not reflect later calls Mac Isaac claimed to have made)
  • Device number registered to Hunter Biden’s iCloud account
  • October 2020: Discussion of tracking data creation dates on laptop

Forensic Process

From the description of the memo, the hard drive was easy to access. It was imaged within days of receipt and sent to the regional forensics lab in Philadelphia. Even there, though, by March there were concerns about the quality and completeness of what got imaged from the hard drive.

For some reason, however, to access the laptop, the FBI obtained a new PowerBook and installed the hard drove from the Hunter Biden laptop in the new laptop, which “the computer guy” in the meeting said “returned [the laptop] to original.” It took three months to get this image.

Furthermore, there were problems with exporting the results. Even in October 2020, the team were joking that anyone else who wanted to access the laptop would need to buy their own laptop and review the discovery on that.

Here’s what the memo said about this:

FBI determined in order to do a full forensic review a replacement laptop had to be purchased so the hard drive could be installed, booted and imaged.

[snip]

Josh Wilson stated that (while laughing) so whoever [people wanting to review the laptop] are they are going to have to buy a laptop to put the hard drive so they can read it.

As noted, at that point in October 2020, the FBI had not checked the laptop for any alterations made while in Mac Isaac’s custody. Of particular concern given what I’ve heard about the hard drive is whether the computer access email updates during the period it was at the shop (not least because in that period, Burisma was hacked). Shapley said nothing about any validation that happened after this point.

  • Replacement laptop purchased, hard drive installed, booted, imaged
  • CART images external hard drive
  • 12/19/19: Regional Computer Forensics Lab receives image of har drive
  • 3/6/20: FBI receives image of laptop
  • 3/10/20: RCFL receives laptop image
  • 3/31/20: email about quality and completeness of imaged/recovered from hard drive (not shared with agents)
  • No list of when files created

Legal Treatment

Before the government took the laptop, they checked with Apple (what might be a subscriber report) to make sure the laptop in question was registered to Hunter Biden’s iCloud account. The FBI did two telephone and one in person interview with Mac Isaac (curiously, Shapley refers to his as John Paul rather than Mac Isaac). They then served a subpoena on Mac Isaac to take custody. The Office of Enforcement Operations approved the warrant. The IRS then used a Title 26 (tax) search warrant, with search protocols, to access the content.

There are two references to LTFC, which I suspect is the filter team.

  • Order to Apple to verify computer
  • Two telephone and one in-person interviews of Mac Isaac
  • Subpoena for laptop (12/9/19, but not recorded in doc)
  • 12/12/19 OEO approval for search warrant
  • 12/13/19 T26 Search Warrant approved with filter protocol
  • Some grand jury process relating to iPad backup
  • LTFC [?] emails 1/23/20 about data imaging
  • 4/10/20: thumb drive (from laptop?) to LTFC

Discovery History

As noted, the hard drive was easy to access; the laptop was not.

The forensic team first started describing the contents of the hard drive 24 days after obtaining the search warrant (with Christmas in between), and first obtained messages from the hard drive in February.

The investigators didn’t get content from the laptop until April, and it was deduped from the hard drive (though there seems to have been stuff on the laptop that was not on the hard drive).

Whistleblower X kept complaining about not getting a Cellebrite report on the devices. It’s unclear whether that pertained to some of the forensics challenges.

Shapley mentioned that there had been an error when the FBI tried to upload the laptop to USAfx, a discovery platform. That’s weird because USAfx is really finicky. Problems uploading it would be unsurprising. Problems uploading it that remained an issue in October, six months later, would be.

  • After 1/6/20: Emails about “body parts, file names”
  • 1/15/20: Email with file extensions
  • 1/27/20: DE1 and DE2 provide file extensions, provided on USB drive
  • 2/27/20 DE3 All messages from hard drive provided on USB drive (includes iPad and MacBook messages, not iPhone messages)
  • After 2/27/20: iPhone messages decrypted with password obtained from business card
  • 4/7/20: DE4 first evidence from laptop (de-duped from hard drive)
  • 4/17/20: Uploaded files to USAfx, receive error (many file types)
  • 4/20/20: Zip file with PDF and HTML files of cell phone records, and redacted Cellebrite file

Investigative treatment

The most interesting aspect of the investigative treatment of the laptop is that a filter team withheld information from the Mac Isaac 302 from investigators. I wonder whether he told them what he has said publicly–that he has no idea whether Hunter Biden really was the one who showed up in his shop.

  • 10/16/19: Richard McKissack calls the FBI Albuquerque
  • 10/17/19: Baltimore Field Office receives lead from FBI Albuquerque
  • 11/3/19: Unnamed person reaches out to McKissack for contact information for Mac Isaac
  • 11/6/19: Josh Wilson calls Mac Isaac
  • 11/7/19: FBI interviews Mac Isaac, 302 not shared with prosecution team
  • 11/21/19: Follow-up phone call to clarify Mac Isaac claims about timing of abandonment
  • 12/3/19: Whistleblower X starts drafting search warrant
  • 12/9/19: Took property of laptop, external hard drive, and receipt (redacted information about subpoena)
  • 12/12/19: OEO approved search warrant for laptop and hard drive
  • 12/13/19: Whistleblower X obtains T26 Search Warrant
  • 1/6/20: Forensic analysis begins
  • 2/10/20: Filter review completed, scope review begins

Update: Added link to DDOSecrets report.

Links

Original NYPost story

WaPo analysis of drive

Washington Examiner-paid analysis of drive

DDOSsecrets Report

Hunter Biden countersuit

Double Booked: Whistleblower X Described Inappropriate Presidential Interference … Back in 2019

There’s a line in Whistleblower X’s testimony that hasn’t gotten enough attention amid the uncritical treatment of Gary Shapley’s media tour claiming improper political interference in the investigation of Hunter Biden.

Whistleblower X described that when investigators asked late last year why prosecutors hadn’t yet charged Hunter Biden, they learned that the attorneys had “found some emails” that made them question whether “they could actually charge the case.”

So we found out through talking with our SAC that the attorneys had found — we were always asking for updates on charging. When are we going to charge? When are we going to charge? We were told that the prosecutors had found some emails that concerned them if they could actually charge the case. That’s what they said to us.

This explanation — that prosecutors had discovered emails that made them question whether they could charge the case, at all — would present an entirely different explanation for the delayed (and seemingly softball) charging decision with regards to Hunter Biden, one for which there is abundant evidence in the two transcripts, yet one that has been ignored by lazy journalists.

It suggests there may be evidence of past misconduct that, if shared with Hunter Biden’s lawyers in discovery, would lead to dismissal of the entire case, or at least an acquittal.

Non-Virgin Birth

Start with how the investigation was set up. Shapley described that the investigation into Hunter Biden was spun off of an investigation into what he called a “foreign-based amateur online pornography platform.”

The investigation into Hunter Biden, code name Sportsman, was first opened in November 2018 as an offshoot of an investigation the IRS was conducting into a foreign-based amateur online pornography platform.

Whistleblower X, who opened the case immediately after joining the International Tax and Financial Crimes group, described that “amateur online pornography platform” differently; he described it as a “social media company” that may have hosted a prostitution ring.

I started this investigation in November of 2018 after reviewing bank reports related to another case I was working on a social media company. Those bank reports identified Hunter Biden as paying prostitutes related to a potential prostitution ring.

Also included in those bank reports was evidence that Hunter Biden was living lavishly through his corporate bank account. This is a typical thing that we look for in tax cases — criminal tax cases, I should say.

Remember that Whistleblower X has a habit of seeing sex workers everywhere he looks.

Whistleblower X then went from there to look for evidence of crime in public reporting on Hunter Biden’s divorce proceedings.

In addition, there was media reporting related to Hunter Biden’s wife, ex-wife, divorce proceedings basically talking about his tax issues. And I wanted to quote some of the things that were said in her divorce filing which was public record.

“Throughout the parties’ separation, Mr. Biden” — referring to Hunter Biden — “has created financial concerns for the family by spending extravagantly on his own interests, including drugs, alcohol, prostitutes, strip clubs, gifts for women with whom he had sexual relationships with, while leaving the family with no funds to pay legitimate bills.

“The parties’ outstanding debts are shocking and overwhelming. The parties have maxed-out credit card debt, double mortgages on both real properties they own, and a tax debt of at least $300,000.” [my emphasis]

Then, in response to questioning from Minority Counsel, Whistleblower X described how, on his third attempt to open the investigation, he ran bank reports for Burisma, which is what convinced his supervisor to permit him to open the investigation.

Mr. X. My initiation packet, so sending the case forward to get — we call it subject case. It’s an SCI. It’s elevating the case to actually working the investigation. My first one showed the unfiled returns and the taxes owed for 2015 and that was it on my first package. So that was the wrongdoing that we were alleging.

And my supervisor goes: You don’t have enough. You need to find more.

So I kept digging for more and more. And even after that point, he goes: You haven’t found enough. So I ended up searching bank reports that [I] ran on the periphery of what we were looking at.

So I ran bank reports for Burisma, and in those bank reports I had found additional payments that Hunter had received. And then at that point I had found that Hunter did not report the income for 2014 related to Burisma.

So now I had a false return year. So that alone — it was basically so much evidence that I put in there — allowed us to elevate the case.

A potentially “amateur” sex worker site, to divorce proceedings, to Burisma. It all sounds like an effort to find a crime, and finding that crime has been a significant focus of a 12-person international tax group supposedly tasked to find much more significant tax crime ever since.

I don’t think anyone asked how long this process of making three bids to open an investigation into Hunter Biden took. So it’s actually unclear how the timing works with the investigation in Delaware opened in January 2019.

So in [or] around March or April of 2019, the case went up to DOJ Tax. And at that time we were told that William Barr made the decision to join two investigations together. So at that point in time I had found out that Delaware had opened up an investigation related to the bank reports and that that occurred in January of 2019, so 2 months after I started mine.

Likewise, there has never been an explanation for what predicated the separate investigation in Delaware opened in 2019, though NYT describes that an existing civil review of Hunter Biden’s tax problems became a criminal investigation that also included the foreign influence peddling, largely, Burisma, that appears to have since been dropped.

Then, we learn, that shortly after Barr was confirmed, and in a period when he was trying to reverse the prosecution of Michael Cohen, sustaining investigations into Greg Craig and Andrew McCabe, perpetuating efforts to seed an investigation into John Kerry, and launching a four year witch hunt based off fabricated claims about Hillary Clinton, the Attorney General consolidated everything in Delaware — the perfect venue if Joe Biden is your target but (as Whistleblower X noted), the wrong place for Joe Biden’s son, who lived in LA or DC during the alleged crimes in question.

Documented Sixth Amendment Concerns

How all this got started matters, because this early period may be when adverse emails that could make it impossible to prosecute Hunter Biden at trial got put into the record.

That’s because Whistleblower X’s supervisor for the first period of the investigation — for a period that may have spanned over 14 months — believed there were Sixth Amendment and political influence problems with the investigation.

When describing how this perturbed him, Whistleblower X freely admitted that he was reading everything in the press about Hunter Biden (that detail will become important later) and that he went to his supervisor’s boss to get his boss to stop raising concerns about Trump’s tweets.

Whistleblower X described his supervisor Matt Kutz’ concern about Trump’s tweets — a direct example of precisely what Republicans are searching for, inappropriate Presidential interference!! — as exhibiting a liberal viewpoint.

From what I was told by various people in my agency, my IRS supervisor, Matt Kutz, created memos which he put in the investigative files regarding the investigation potentially violating the subject’s Sixth Amendment rights. He also referred to Donald Trump’s tweets at the time.

I recall that at one point I had to go around my supervisor and ask his boss, ASAC George Murphy, to tell him to stop sending me and the Hunter Biden prosecution team these emails and that I was searching media articles on a weekly basis and was aware of everything being written in the media regarding the case.

[snip]

A So it was actually Matthew Kutz. He was my supervisor at the time and from the articles that he was sending me, I would say he had more of a liberal view than I had and it was pretty obvious from the things he would send me and discuss. And that’s just me making an observation.

So I later found out about these memos that were put in the file regarding the issues that he saw with the investigation, the fact that we even had it opened. So I only learned about those after.

And then it came to a point to where he’s sending us so many media articles about different issues that I had to tell him stop, please. And I had to go around him. And that’s when I went to my ASAC at the time, George Murphy, who was above him. [my emphasis]

After learning of an example of Presidential interference, but from Trump, GOP staffers in the interview interrupted the Minority’s questioning by going off the record about something, as if they were the witness.

MAJORITY COUNSEL 2. Off the record.

MAJORITY COUNSEL 1. Off the record.

[Discussion off the record.]

MAJORITY COUNSEL 1. On the record.

That off the record discussion appears to have discussed why Whistleblower X believed that his supervisor’s concerns about the Sixth Amendment were proof of liberal bias, because that’s what Whistleblower X explained immediately after going back on the record. And then, Whistleblower X explained to Minority Counsel, that Matt Kutz raised concerns four years ago about whether this could ever be prosecuted.

Mr. X. So these articles were a lot about — were a lot of articles regarding Trump and getting a fair investigation and things related to that, Trump’s tweets and stuff like that. So, that’s what drew me to my conclusion.

BY MINORITY COUNSEL 1: Q What was the purpose behind him sending you the Trump tweets? What was he trying to get at, or was he trying to give you more information for your case? Why would he send those, or do you know?

A Yeah, I think he was bringing up concerns with potentially us prosecuting the case down the road, potential issues we’re going to incur. I don’t remember the exact email that he sent that caused me to be — that he had to stop sending me some of the news articles, because it wasn’t even the fact that he was sending me these news articles.

It was the opinion he was providing in those emails that I did not agree or that I did not — not agree with but did not think was appropriate. [my emphasis]

Whistleblower X told us in one part of the interview that prosecutors had found something in the email record that led them to worry they could not prosecute this case at all, and then in another part of the interview he told us that the supervisor for the first year or so of this investigation believed they would have problems prosecuting it down the road because of Trump’s constant badgering for precisely this investigation.

Maybe, just maybe, the reason no US Attorney’s Office wanted to take this to trial is because this investigation was plagued by inappropriate tampering from the other President from the start?

Gary Shapley’s Involvement

In January 2020, in the same period when Bill Barr was setting up an alternative channel via which DOJ could ingest dirt about Hunter Biden that Russian spies shared with Rudy Giuliani, Gary Shapley became Whistleblower X’s supervisor, overseeing the 12-person International Tax group that would hunt Hunter Biden for five years.

Now is probably a good time to note that Shapley — who splits his time between Baltimore and DC — seems to have a good relationship with Rod Rosenstein, a Maryland AUSA who went on to become US Attorney and then Deputy Attorney General during a period when DOJ was launching politicized investigations into Trump’s enemies.

Mr. Shapley. No. I think I’ve said it, that this is not the norm. This is — I’ve worked with some great guys, some great prosecutors that went on to be U.S. attorneys and went on to be the deputy attorney general and, I think I have experience enough to where it means something.

As noted, Shapley became Whistleblower X’s supervisor just as Barr was setting up a protected means to ingest dirt pertaining to Burisma. But by his own description, Shapley didn’t start liaising more closely with David Weiss until later….

… Until Rudy Giuliani released the laptop.

From around October 2020 through October 2022, I was the IRS CI manager who interacted directly with the United States Attorney, David Weiss, and individuals at DOJ Tax Division the most.

This coincidence — that Shapley became more involved just after Rudy disclosed that a blind computer repairman had shared a laptop with the FBI before he himself, the President’s personal lawyer, got a copy — may be significant.

The Really Really Really Dated Claim about the Laptop

By Shapley’s description, he contacted the AUSA on the case, Lesley Wolf, and not only complained that the FBI was misrepresenting the laptop (when in fact they were mostly no-commenting), but also raised the possibility that John Durham may have searched the laptop.

On October 19th, 2020, I emailed Assistant United States Attorney Wolf: “We need to talk about the computer. It appears the FBI is 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. If Durham also executed a search warrant on a device, we need to know so that my leadership is informed. My management has to be looped into whatever the FBI is doing with the laptop. It is IRS CI’s responsibility to know what is happening. Let me know when I can be briefed on this issue.”

In his congressional testimony Durham specified that Hunter was the one Trump enemy he hadn’t been ordered to investigate — but remember that there were reports Ukrainians brought dirt to him.

In his testimony, Shapley admitted that the investigative team called this meeting because, “we were just making sure that everything was being handled appropriately.” But he emphasized Whistleblower X’s complaints that parts of the laptop had been withheld from investigators.

As I noted in this post, per Shapley’s own notes, that’s not what the bulk of the meeting was about.

Of 43 numbered entries, just eight deal in part or in whole with access Whistleblower X had, and some of that is conflicting [note that Shapley misspells Cellebrite “cellabright” throughout]. Here’s what those eight numbered entries describe:

  • 14a. Describing that the John Paul Mac Isaac 302 about what he saw on the laptop was being withheld from the prosecution team (as a whole), even though the taint team had found no privileged items discussed in it
  • 25. Describing that Whistleblower X had never seen a PDF version of the Cellebrite report from the drive, but instead had to look at the device itself
  • 29. Describing Whistleblower X asking whether all the iMessages that were relevant and non-privileged had been reviewed, the answer to which the team didn’t know immediately [this seems to confirm the IRS was not doing the scope review of the laptop]
  • 30. Describing that all messages from the hard drive had been shared in the third disclosure to investigators in February 2020, which seems to partially address item 29
  • 33. Discussing a March 2020 email describing limits on the quality and completeness of the recovery of the hard drive; in response to Whistleblower X’s complaint that he hadn’t seen it, an AUSA (probably Wolf) said they would eventually see a redacted version of the report
  • 40c. Quoting Whistleblower X complaining [it’s unclear whether this is in an April 2020 email or live] that he never saw the Cellebrite file
  • 41. Describing that the Cellebrite file was uploaded sometime in May [which may refute 40c]
  • 42. Describing Whistleblower X stating that if they’re going to testify, they need to see everything, in response to which Lesley Wolf said they would return to that issue

Most of the report seems to be an effort to ascertain legal chain of custody, given the discovery that the original source of the laptop had just spent the last few months turning it into a campaign season political hit job. But amid that discussion, Whistleblower X appears to have aired a series of complaints about decisions DOJ made about access in the interim year.

In his testimony, Shapley also made much of the final bullet point in his notes — the only part of the memo, aside from Whistleblower X’s complaints, that memorializes contemporaneous discussion. In his testimony, Shapley quoted AUSA Lesley Wolf stating, just over a week after NYPost released their first story on the laptop, that there was no reason to think anything had been added to the laptop.

We have no reason to believe there is anything fabricated nefariously on the computer or hard drive. There are emails and other items that corroborate the items on the laptop and hard drive.

Shapley repeated that judgment from October 2020 in May 2023 uncritically, as if it is remotely definitive.

AUSA 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.

Right wingers are predictably going nuts over this, claiming it proves something it does not.

Even ignoring the timing of Wolf’s comment, just days after the initial disclosure of the laptop, this comment falls far short of validating authenticity of the laptop. Wolf was only validating the laptop — all of it!! — by matching data points. Importantly, “the computer guy” at the meeting (who could probably spell Cellebrite correctly) proposed doing a report showing document creation date.

If the FBI did that after that meeting, Shapley chose not to disclose the outcome. Given what we know about Mac Isaac’s treatment of the laptop, such a step might have showed whether the blind computer repairman’s failure to airgap the machine resulted in email updates — including from the recently hacked Burisma — being loaded to the laptop.

More importantly, the discussion shows that a year after the government obtained the laptop, no one had yet done this kind of validation of the laptop (and given the recovery problems with it, it’s not entirely clear they could).  A year after obtaining the laptop, the government was still just working off trust in Mac Isaac’s sketchy and changing story.

Plus, it’s one thing to say the laptop as Mac Isaac delivered it to the FBI had nothing added, if that’s true, but we know that the laptop as released by Rudy did have alterations. And the fact that Rudy altered the laptop in the midst of launching an election-year attack discredits any claim that anyone makes about the laptop as released by him.

Whistleblower X’s Hot and Cold Affection for Forensic Reports

One of Whistleblower X’s serial complaints about the laptop — that he couldn’t get the Cellebrite report of the laptop itself, items 25, 40c, and 41, above — is of particular interest: That’s because the WhatsApp messages that Shapley shared with the Committee, showing Hunter Biden invoking his father in an attempt to get business in China, also did not come from the forensic format in which they’d be received from Apple.

In fact, they’re not even direct copies of the report from Apple — they are summaries, as Shapley admitted to the Committee. Shapley doesn’t even know who did the summary.

Q Could you tell us about this document, what is it, and how was it obtained —

A Sure. So there was an electronic search warrant for iCloud backup, and these messages were in that backup and provided —

Q Okay.

A — from a third party, from iCloud.

Q Okay. Who was it provided to?

A The — the investigative team from —

Q Okay. A It would go through all the same processes of — since it’s electronic, it would go to one of the computer analysis folks, and then they would put it in a readable format, and then it would go through filter review.

Q Okay. And these aren’t WhatsApp messages, these are summaries of WhatsApp messages, correct?

A Yeah, that’s correct. Because it was something about the readability of the actual piece, right? It was easier to summarize in a spreadsheet.

Q Okay. And who did the summary? Who prepared this document?

A It was either the computer analysis guy or [redacted, probably Whistleblower X], one or the other

This is the content that the Committee tried to recreate to look like real messages, only to mix message type and appearance.

Here’s what an FBI production from WhatsApp messages obtained from an iCloud warrant would look like in official admissible form, from an exhibit in Vladislav Klyushin’s trial.

It is also a reconstruction (and includes translations), but one that has enough information to afford reliability. It’s also entirely readable.

There’s simply no reason to further summarize from there, much less to do so without all the metadata included, as the IRS reportedly did. It’s not the Committee that first did sketchy reconstructions. Shapley, or Whistleblower X, did, off material they claimed to obtain directly from a warrant return.

These WhatsApp messages from Hunter Biden’s iCloud are important for several reasons: notably, that investigators reportedly had them in hand, directly from Apple, by August 2020, possibly relying on the laptop they had not yet fully validated to get them, then using them to validate the laptop content, the kind of investigative bellybutton that can get a case thrown out.

Further, when discussing them, Whistleblower X makes much of the fact that he wasn’t able to get location data to see whether Hunter was with his father when he sent these emails.

They had just served a search warrant on Apple, which should have gotten a good deal about Hunter Biden’s data — at the very least, the IP from which he was logging in. But given that they had an Apple return in hand, Whistleblower X’s complaint that they weren’t able to get it … almost certainly means he’s complaining that they weren’t able to get Joe Biden’s location data.

In 2020.

During the election.

Taint

With that in mind, go back to Whistleblower X’s complaints, over and over, that he didn’t have all the content from the laptop.

As Shapley explained in response to questioning, the investigative team was instructed not to look at anything from the Internet that was otherwise available, including — especially — the laptop.

Q Now, was your team, were they permitted to use open-source methods for looking at the materials for this case? Like, if materials were published on the internet related to Hunter Biden or related to Hunter Biden’s business concerns, were you allowed to consult that?

A No. We were directed that if there’s anything from the laptop from other sources to not look at it because then it’s potential for it to be tainted.

Q Okay. So if it’s posted on the internet, if it’s written about in the newspaper, you were not allowed to consult that open source method?

A Yeah. We were directed not to.

Q Is that customary?

A I would say yes. Yes.

Whistleblower X, however — after describing that the case predication itself came from press coverage of Hunter Biden’s messy divorce and that he was referencing press coverage of Hunter Biden’s messy life on a weekly basis — described seeing videos on Twitter that he had not received from the laptop.

And one thing that I want to be clear on, that there was information — and I don’t know the detail of that information that was withheld from us — but there was information withheld from the investigators.

And some of that was withheld for privilege. But there was other things — we went out and talked to one of the potential prostitutes. And there were videos that I’ve seen out there on Twitter, on the internet, and information related to that person that I had never seen before.

And I brought this up as an issue. I’m like: I’m seeing things here. Why am I not seeing that from you guys? And when I say “you guys,” the prosecutors. And there was a notion that some information was being held back from us, and I don’t know what that information was.

Whistleblower X, who chased down every one of Hunter Biden’s known sex partners for interviews, complained there were videos online — videos that would have come from a laptop that had been altered — that he had never seen.

Attorney-Client Taint

Whistleblower X risked tainting the investigation by reviewing material released on a laptop that had been altered.

That wasn’t the only taint concern though.

Twice in the interview, Congressional investigators introduced exhibits that Shapley hadn’t seen before: first an email from Eric Schwerin to Hunter Biden, which Shapley explained that he “ha[d]n’t seen it in this form, but I’ve seen excerpts of this document.” Then they showed Shapley an email involving — in addition to Schwerin and Hunter Biden — George Mesires, an email clearly marked as “Re: Tax Analysis — Attorney Communication.”

When Majority Counsel asked Shapley if he has seen that email, he and his attorney went off the record.

Have you seen this document before?

Mr. Lytle. Can we talk to our client just briefly.

MAJORITY COUNSEL 2. Of course. We can go off the record.

[Discussion off the record.]

MAJORITY COUNSEL 2. We’re back on the record.

Having had to consult his attorney about what the simple yes or no response was, Shapley came back to note that this was privileged.

BY MAJORITY COUNSEL 2: Q The question is whether you’ve seen this document before.

A No. Anything from George Mesires was considered privileged —

Q Okay.

A — attorney-client privilege and was not provided to us.

Q Okay. And so that was kept from you by the FBI?

A No. It would be a filter team.

Q Okay.

A When we get any information, and even from the laptop and hard drive, it went through filter reviews, and we only saw what came back as nonprivileged.

A long discussion ensued in which Republican lawyers complained that DOJ conducted privilege reviews for lawyers and accountants working for lawyers. It was immediately after that discussion that Majority Counsel asked whether the investigative team could review material made public from the laptop, as described above.

No, they couldn’t, Shapley explained, because they might see something that would taint the prosecution.

In response to a later question from the Minority, Shapley admitted that if he remained on the prosecution team, reviewing the Mesires letter would amount to taint.

In his response, he referred to Mesires as a “quote-unquote” attorney.

Q Okay. And this was back in 2017. Okay. And then on exhibit 5, it’s the same question, George Mesires, and I think you might have mentioned him earlier, do you know his relationship?

A Yeah. I know him to be a personal, quote, unquote attorney to Hunter Biden. And if I wasn’t taken off the case, I would have been tainted by this document

For example, in August 2020, we got the results back from an iCloud search warrant. Unlike the laptop, these came to the investigative team from a third-party record keeper and included a set of messages. The messages included material we clearly needed to follow up on. [my emphasis]

That’s how Shapley “quote-unquote” dealt with Mesires.

Whistleblower X, who admitted seeing videos online he hadn’t seen in material shared from the filter team, was different though.

As he was reading from an email that, he said, showed Lesley Wolf refusing to get approval for interviews, Whistleblower X stopped himself from reading one particular name.

Lesley Wolf says to me on September 9th, 2021: “I do not think that you are going to be able to do these interviews as planned. The document requests require approval from Tax Division. At present, Jack and Mark are racing to get the EWC motion on Stuart’s desk” — so Stuart was the [Acting] Deputy [Assistant] Attorney General, Stuart Goldberg at Tax Division — “Stuart’s desk for approval before he leaves town for a week. “Along with the approval for the” — and I’m going to leave the name out of that — “both of these items are higher priority and we can’t pull time and attention away to move these subpoenas through. [my emphasis]

In follow-up, Minority counsel asked Whistleblower X what name he had asked to leave out.

It was George Mesires.

Q Okay. You mentioned — this is a little ways later — I believe on September the 9th of 2021 that you had an email. You were reading through it, and you had mentioned that Stuart Goldberg was leaving town. You said there was a name that you wanted to leave out when you were reading the email. What was that name?

A So it was the name of Hunter’s personal counsel, George Mesires.

A year after complaining loudly that he hadn’t been provided stuff he saw on Twitter, he tried to subpoena Hunter Biden’s “quote unquote attorney.”

Whistleblower X’s Unclean Dirt

There’s one more detail that suggests whatever prosecutors found in email could have made the case unsustainable — and also makes Whistleblower X’s urgent concerns, in a meeting just over a week after NYPost reported on Rudy’s version of the laptop — far more suspect.

In what appears to be the last of his complaints about not getting information on the laptop (item 42), he said, as recorded by Shapley,

42 SA [redacted, probably X] — For items not seen by agents shouldn’t they see everything because if they have to testify to it they need to see it

a. Lesley response is that this is a historical review and we can discuss that later.

To get access to the entirety of the laptop, Whistleblower X made an argument about what he would need to do to prepare to be the key witness against Hunter Biden at trial.

That argument is 180 degrees the reverse from what he explained over and over in his testimony, about how he was avoiding anything that might taint him as a witness.

For example, he said he had been avoiding testimony to Congress to preserve his ability to testify.

I’d like to note that I wasn’t present at the leadership meeting on October 7th, 2022, that Mr. Shapley and leaders from the IRS were a part of with U.S. Attorney David Weiss, the meeting where he made the statements about not being in charge.

I also wanted to continue to protect the record and my ability to testify as the case agent in the future, which is also a part of the reason I didn’t come forward to you.

[snip]

I was interviewed by an investigator — I think they were with TIGTA. I told them, I didn’t leak anything. I thought that the leak might have come from either defense counsel, or from DOJ like the other ones came. But what I can tell you, and I’ve told this to the prosecution team, I’ve done everything that I can to keep my record clean and to keep my ability to testify as the case agent as clean as I possibly can.

He explained that he purposely wouldn’t write stuff down to preserve his ability to be summary witness.

Mr. X. On the record.

I just want to say that I made every effort to — when we work these cases, you have to be careful of what you might say that could be used against you if you were to go to trial or if you were to go in front of a grand jury. Usually, the IRS special agent is the final witness, the summary witness. So things that you put out there in emails, they can attack you at a later date.

So I did everything that I could to possibly make the record as clean as it possibly could, investigated the case, but in doing that, here’s all the things that happened because of that.

Shapley, on the other hand, did put all that in writing. When Minority Counsel pressed him on the fact that he really hadn’t disclosed any of this to supervisors, he described that he kept taking notes of bitch sessions so that the others could testify.

Q No one at IRS above — other than CI, no deputy commissioners, no commissioner? A That is correct. And, there was a common theme that and the co-case agent Christine Puglisi would — after all these pros team calls we would have a follow-up call. And sometimes FBI agents would be on there as well. And it was basically talking about the strategy and it often became like, Wow, they are not letting us do this. Can you believe they said that? Like that type of thing.

And we — in order to protect the record of the investigation basically it was me that could only document that, right? Because we wanted to make sure that the agents weren’t documenting things that would eventually be turned over in discovery and could somehow affect the viability of the case.

So that is something that I documented moving forward. And each time we were, like, Wow, they didn’t let us do the search warrant. Like she said — to overcome probable cause with a search warrant is, like, that is it, right? That is really, like, okay, well, you are going to go do it, because we want evidence that is unfiltered, right? But the whole point is we were like, well, there is no way they are not going to charge us. The evidence is there. They say the evidence is there. And we just really couldn’t believe that they would be doing something wrong. It was a very heavy burden to overcome from my experience and training to be, like, wow, there is something going on here.

[snip]

Now I want to talk about exhibit 6, which is your memo about the laptop and the hard drive. Was this memo provided to anyone?

A This memo was discussed in length with the case agent and co-case agent, but to protect the record, these I couldn’t send to them.

Q Okay.

A So after each time we had calls like this, I would have conversations with them. There was even a document that I produced where they were like, well, there was this problem, this problem, this problem. So I was like, I’ll record it, because we don’t want this to potentially be discoverable and have any issues in the future. So this is an example of that, where if there are at least two people that will say that we talked about this right after, and most of the conversation is to discuss what happened during that, to make sure that it was accurate.

Q But you don’t provide a copy to your supervisor or Mr. Fort or anyone else in your chain of command?

A No.

Q It just stays with you?

A That’s correct. [my emphasis]

Effectively, what Shapley and Whistleblower X described to Congress is that the IRS investigators were keeping a double set of books regarding the investigation.

To be fair, I think many — perhaps most! — government investigative teams do this. Short of that, they get an agent who investigated just a small corner of the whole, shielded from any ongoing investigation. Or a paralegal.

But if an investigator really really wants to take the stand against they guy they’ve been investigating for five years, they have to be sure to keep their books clean.

Reviewing the full Hunter Biden laptop would have tainted Whistleblower X as a witness, though. Even ignoring probable chain of custody problems with the laptop, reviewing the laptop as reviewed with a search warrant would have made Whistleblower X a tainted witness. Reviewing the laptop as Rudy released it after altering it, all the more so.

Plus, some of the details in the IRS’ double set of books about the Hunter Biden investigation raise questions not about DOJ approval processes, but about integrity of evidence, including the laptop and everything that came after that.

For example, because in September 2020, AUSA Lesley Wolf raised the possibility (and then debunked) that the investigation would shut down after the election, as this double set of books recorded, it raises real concerns about whether this investigation was nothing more than an election stunt, whether Bill Barr’s DOJ was simply investigating Hunter Biden for a campaign ploy. When Wolf described that DOJ was under fire for self-inflicted reasons, it’s unclear whether she was talking about past disclosures, like the Carter Page IG Report that focused on FBI’s conduct, or whether she was talking about Barr’s tampering in ongoing investigations, something that was quite pressing in September 2020.

Gary Shapley created a double set of books in the Hunter Biden investigation and described it as such. That double set of books raises ample questions about whether this investigation was about Hunter Biden … or his father.

Cleanup on Aisle Nine

The press release from Delaware US Attorney David Weiss’ office announcing two Informations as part of a plea deal stated the investigation into Hunter Biden was “ongoing.”

The team assigned to the plea deal includes two Special AUSAs, Leo Wise (who has been brought into troubled cases in the past) and Derek Hines, and includes Benjamin Wallace from DE USAO rather than the AUSA at the center of allegations of abuse, Lesley Wolf.

Whistleblower X — a big fan of hearsay — told the House Ways and Means Committee that FBI Agents were being treated the same way IRS Agents are: requiring that they report through their Special Agent in Charge to Weiss.

A I did hear from FBI that they were being treated the exact same way — that they had to communicate through their SAC to the U.S. Attorney in Delaware.

So in spite of Gary Shapley’s wails that his team got cut off as retaliation, there’s some reason to believe everyone did.

Whistleblower X also referenced two topics into which there might be an ongoing investigation. The first was a CEFC deal with Hunter Biden in 2017 and 2018.

MAJORITY COUNSEL 1. Can I go off the record? Mr. X. Yeah. Off the record.

[Discussion off the record.]

MAJORITY COUNSEL 1. Back on the record?

Mr. X. I don’t feel comfortable disclosing anything further on that issue.

The other involves the circumstances of how Kevin Morris paid off Hunter Biden’s tax debt in 2000.

A So on his 2020 tax return, personal tax return, Hunter stated: “See statement in 2020. The taxpayer received financial support from a personal friend totaling approximately $1.4 million. The parties agreed in 2020 to treat the support as a loan and later documented their agreement in a promissory note in the amount of $1.4 million, 5 percent interest. “The promissory note requires periodic payments between 2025 and 2027. The promissory note was executed by both parties on October 13th, 2021. “The taxpayer is treating this amount as a loan for tax purposes. The balance of the financial support is treated as a gift. No amount of the support is treated as a reported taxable event on this tax return.” So that’s what was filed with the return.

Q And has that transaction been investigated or —

A I’m no longer a part of an investigation related to that.

[snip]

Q It’s a voluntary interview. If you’re not comfortable saying, you don’t have to answer the question, any of our questions.

A It goes back to one of my — if there is potentially a current investigation that’s out there to —

Mr. Zerbe. Let’s go off the record.

[Discussion off the record.]

MAJORITY COUNSEL 2. Go back on the record?

Statutes of limitation on the latter event would not expire until at least 2025 (though, as noted, the terms of the loan only require that the President’s son start repaying the loan in 2025). It could well be that Hunter Biden, or his benefactor, will eventually be charged with a serious felony — potentially include campaign finance violations — for the way Joe Biden’s son eliminated some of his past tax exposure (though this post-dated the election).

So I think it very possible that Weiss effectively reset the Hunter Biden investigation as a way to move past a great deal of dodgy shit that went down in the last five years.

But amid the media attention Shapley has generated, there are signs that something else — not lefty political bias — undermined the case against Hunter Biden, potentially up to and including outright misconduct. There is a whole range of communications that may have made a prosecution of Hunter Biden unsustainable: documentation of political pressure from Trump, concerns about the sources of leads, evidence of potential taint, and a clear obsession with investigating Joe, not just Hunter.

Those thing should make a Hunter Biden prosecution unsustainable. And the people who kept a double set of books recording some of it are now wailing as if someone else blew the case.

When they may have.

The leaks that seem to have been the proximate cause of the turmoil may make — may already have made — such misconduct more apparent.

Gary Shapley’s Goosey Gander: When Investigators Want Treatment They Don’t Accord Others

Update, July 10: In a letter to Lindsey Graham, David Weiss has even more explicitly debunked Gary Shapley’s claims. (Jordain Carney first reported the letter.)

To clarify an apparent misperception and to avoid future confusion, I wish to make one point clear: in this case, I have not requested Special Counsel designation pursuant to 28 CFR § 600 et seq. Rather, I had discussions with Departmental officials regarding potential appointment under 28 U.S.C. § 515, which would have allowed me to file charges in a district outside my own without the partnership of the local U.S. Attorney. I was assured that I would be granted this authority if it proved necessary. And this assurance came months before the October 7, 2022, meeting referenced throughout the whistleblowers’ allegations. In this case, I’ve followed the process outlined in my June 30 letter and have never been denied the authority to bring charges in any jurisdiction.

It was over four-fifths of the way through the interview of purported IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley — at least four hours in, if you include lunch — before the discussion turned to the October 6, 2022 leak about the investigation to Devlin Barrett.

Q In No. 1 on this email you prepared, says: “Discussion about the agent leak — requested the sphere stay as small as possible…DOJ IG will be notified. FBI — HQ is notified.” What was the specific leak?

A So there was a leak, I’m not sure what outlet, on October 6th of 2022 — it appeared to come from the agent’s level, who was critical of the prosecutors for not charging the case.

Q Okay. Talking about the Hunter Biden case?

A Yes, not charging the Hunter Biden case. So, obviously that was part of the discussion at the beginning. And there have been multiple leaks in this case going back, and this one was handled a lot differently because I guess it was purportedly from the agent’s level. So this drastic — you know, they used that as an excuse to kind of — to do what they were doing to us after this meeting on the 7th, they kind of used that leak as an excuse to exclude us.

The October 7 meeting, at which the leak was agenda item number one, was mentioned during the interview as Shapley’s line in the sand with what he claimed was DOJ misconduct over twenty times before anyone discussed the leak.

The reverse order congressional interview

And so before the actual leak was discussed, Shapley described two different instances where DOJ asked for his emails, as discovery in advance of trial, he described.

The first was in March 2022, the same month as details of the Hunter Biden investigation — including a discussion of the Hunter Biden laptop — appeared in this NYT story.

But, even though he was one of two people who had attempted to interview Hunter Biden in December 2020, Shapley didn’t provide his emails, because — he said — managers’ emails aren’t discoverable to a defendant.

It is common practice for DOJ to ask for the case agents’ communications in discovery, as they might have to testify in court. However, it’s much more unusual to ask for management communications, because it is simply not discoverable.

In March of 2022, DOJ requested of the IRS and FBI all management-level emails and documents on this case. I didn’t produce my emails, but I provided them with my sensitive case reports and memorandums that included contemporaneous documentation of DOJ’s continued unethical conduct. [my emphasis]

Shapley’s discussion of the second request that he turn over his emails appears in conjunction with a discussion of an email he sent in December 2022, which I’ll get to in a sec.

That request for his emails was in October, like the March request, in the same month as a major leak.

[T]his was the culmination of an October 24th communication from Delaware U.S. Attorney’s Office and — well, it was really Lesley Wolf and Mark Daly who called the case agent, [redacted], on the telephone and said, hey, we need — we need Shapley’s emails and his — these sensitive case reports that he’s authored back to May.

And they didn’t ask for discovery for anybody else. They didn’t ask for, from the — mind you, the agents had provided discovery March-April timeframe, so there was 6 months or so of additional discovery, and they’re not asking for that, right? They’re only asking for mine.

So [redacted] sends me an email with Wolf and Daly on it that says, hey, you know, they asked for this, you got to talk to Shapley. I respond, hey, yeah, I’m available 9:15, let’s chat. And she sends that, she forwards my email to Shawn Weede, number [two] — a senior level at Delaware U.S. Attorney’s Office.

And then he contacts me about this discovery, and he’s kind of putting a lot of pressure on me. So even Weiss called up, the deputy chief, to complain about timing of the emails that got turned over from me at that request.

Presented this way, before any discussion of the October 6 leak (to say nothing of the March 2022 leak, which was never explicitly mentioned), Shapley explained that DOJ was only asking for his email because in March he had shared memos critical of their actions, and they wanted to see all the criticism he had memorialized.

That’s important theater behind the way he was able to appear before the House Ways and Means Committee as someone making protected disclosures. DOJ was retaliating against him, he claimed, because he had documented misconduct about the investigation.

Shapley’s thin protected disclosures

There’s something funny about Shapley’s claim to be making protected disclosures, though, and about the documents he shared with the committee that he claimed documented misconduct.

A few things, actually.

You’d think that if his memorialization of misconduct were so damning that DOJ was retaliating against him, he’d have some pretty damning documents to share with Congress.

But none of the documents he shared about the investigation were documents from 2021, and no document memorializing misconduct from 2022 predated October 7:

Even recreated versions of some WhatsApp messages obtained in August 2020– the big GOP takeaway of the interview — investigatively date to Bill Barr’s tenure at DOJ, as does the transcript excerpt from the December 2020 interview of a Hunter Biden business associate, another complaint about 2020 that Shapley was making.

Crazier still, when Minority Counsel asked Shapley for details of whether he had shared some of the exhibits he presented in the hearing as protected disclosures, he admitted he didn’t share them.

Okay. Now I want to talk about exhibit 6, which is your memo about the laptop and the hard drive. Was this memo provided to anyone?

A This memo was discussed in length with the case agent and co-case agent, but to protect the record, these I couldn’t send to them.

Q Okay.

A So after each time we had calls like this, I would have conversations with them. There was even a document that I produced where they were like, well, there was this problem, this problem, this problem. So I was like, I’ll record it, because we don’t want this to potentially be discoverable and have any issues in the future. So this is an example of that, where if there are at least two people that will say that we talked about this right after, and most of the conversation is to discuss what happened during that, to make sure that it was accurate.

Q But you don’t provide a copy to your supervisor or Mr. Fort or anyone else in your chain of command?

A No.

Q It just stays with you?

A That’s correct.

[snip]

Now I’m going to look at exhibit 7. And the question is the same as the one before it. Was this memorandum provided to anyone or copied to anybody?

A It was not. Just to reiterate again, that this was discussed right after — I can’t even think of a time when we didn’t have a discussion immediately after these meetings with just me, case agent, co-case agent, and sometimes with FBI agents on the phone to discuss this.

I’ll return to the document about the laptop, but it doesn’t really document misconduct; it documents investigators trying to cover their ass after they discovered that a problematic piece of evidence that they had spent a year reviewing got turned into an election season political hit job. All the more so given that both so-called whistleblowers made clear they replicated the evidence with an August 2020 warrant for Hunter Biden’s iCloud account, obtaining the WhatsApp messages mentioned above.

That said, the document about the laptop would be useful proof for journalists for stories like the March 2022 one.

Minority Counsel asked why Shapley didn’t share his 2020 complaints — the only documents that he claimed described misconduct shared in the interview that predate his October 7 email — during Bill Barr’s tenure.

Q Okay. When we were talking about this exhibit 7, you mentioned that, at the time, Bill Barr was the AG. Why did you not take your concerns up the chain in 2020 at that time?

A Well, as I said before, there is a healthy tension between investigators and prosecutors, right? And there are sometimes when I don’t agree with a prosecutor, but every time I don’t agree with a prosecutor, I’m not going to run to Bill Barr or to senior leadership to — to blow the whistle or make a protected disclosure. The whole focus was to do what we had to do, even if it meant dealing with obstructions from prosecutors to get this case across the finish line, if it was worthy of it. And, that’s what we did. Every single time something happened wrong in this investigation, I couldn’t bring it to Bill Barr or anyone else, so —

Q And did you think about, in 2020 at all, coming to the committee at that point in time? Because I know that you mentioned that there were irregularities that you saw in the summer of 2020. Did you think about coming to the committee or coming forward at that time or making a report to TIGTA in 2020?

A Like I said, we are trained and we work with these prosecutors hours and hours, trips, and spend all this time. We are just trained to trust them, and it was an incredibly high burden. If I wasn’t in the October 7th meeting, my red line might not have been crossed. [my emphasis]

All that led to this weird exchange with Majority Counsel. Shapley claimed to have made protected disclosures without making protected disclosures.

Q Okay. And would it be correct to say that you sought to state your opinion and impact decision making short of protected disclosures before the October 7th meeting?

A Well, I think I reached a level of protected disclosure internally to IRS senior leadership before that.

Q And at what point was that first protected disclosure?

A I believe it was June of 2020. You got to understand, at the time, I wasn’t making a protected disclosure. I was just working a case raising issues, right? It’s not until we’re down the road a hundred miles that that was a protect[ed disclosure] — you know?

Q Yeah. Understood

A But it seems like the October 7th meeting, after that, after I raised issues directly to them, I explained to them the risk of not charging ’14, ’15. I explained to them how we had no mechanism to ever recoup that money, and I went like kind of like point by point how the elements were met.

And, it was that meeting where I think DOJ started to look into the discovery that I had provided back to March, because I was like, this is not right, there’s a big, huge problem here. And it switched from me raising just concerns, hoping that they’d be remedied, to now I’m like, no, this is a problem. And I think because of that, they went and looked at all my documents that I contemporaneously documented over the years. And then I think they started attacking me. And I think I read a part in my opening statement, the email that I sent to my director of field operations exactly on that topic. [my emphasis]

This is what led me to look back at the letter Shapley’s lawyer sent to Congress in April, which was the subject of a great deal of press attention at the time. It explained that his client — Shapley — had already made protected disclosures.

My client has already made legally protected disclosures internally at the IRS, through counsel to the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, and to the Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General.

I remember at the time thinking that the Inspectors General must not have been very impressed with those disclosures, if the anonymous whistleblower — who we now know was Shapley — was going to Congress with them.

And when Minority Counsel invited him to explain why he hadn’t brought his concerns to Treasury’s Inspector General, his attorney piped in to say that his attorneys have made such disclosures.

MINORITY COUNSEL 1. But if you’d like to answer about the inspector general that is fine, too, but I was asking about Main Treasury.

Mr. Lytle. Just to clarify, his attorneys have made some disclosures to all of these entities so —

MINORITY COUNSEL 1. That is fine. But I am not asking about those. I was asking more at the time —

Mr. Lytle. Got it.

But by timeline, none of these occurred before DOJ was already demanding his emails in the wake of a second major leak about the investigation (because he didn’t lawyer up until still later).

All of which suggests that Gary Shapley didn’t start claiming to be making protected disclosures of any substance until after he started worrying he was under investigation for leaks, and his lawyers’ contact, by that point, would have been with two Inspectors General investigating those leaks.

Gary Shapley’s Investigative Priorities

Which is why some of Shapley’s purported protected disclosures are so interesting. He complains, over and over, that his team wasn’t permitted to take steps that might leak or would be really showy. IRS wasn’t permitted to send out subpoenas using Hunter Biden’s own name in advance of the election because those might leak. IRS wasn’t permitted to interview Hunter Biden’s children. IRS wasn’t permitted to conduct physical surveillance — 14 days before a Presidential election!! — of Hunter Biden.

Shapley was really angry, in fact, that Delaware US Attorney David Weiss congratulated the team in December 2020, as they prepared to take their first overt steps, that the investigation had remained secret up to that point (though the very next day, a December 9, 2020 story confirming the investigation, which included Barrett’s byline, did provide non-public details about the investigation).

A I think that she wasn’t worried about that part. She was worried about blow-back from doing a search warrant that was related to Hunter Biden. I think all of these things that they didn’t allow us to do, even back in June of 2020, was because their primary goal was to keep this investigation secret, right?

And even on December 3rd of 2020, when we’re in Delaware U.S. Attorney’s Office prepping for the day of action on December 8, Weiss came in and was like — congratulations for keeping it secret. And I was like, well, I thought that we were conducting an investigation here. I didn’t think that what we were doing was trying to keep a secret.

But Shapley’s complaint about emphasizing secrecy, which in addition to avoiding political blowback would have protected the investigation, is wholly inconsistent with his claimed reason to be concerned that the Secret Service got tipped off the day before he tried to interview Hunter Biden on December 8, 2020, or that, days later, Hunter Biden’s lawyers were asked to comply with a subpoena of a storage facility rather than permitting a search.

On December 10th, 2020, the prosecutorial team met again to discuss the next steps. One piece of information that came out of the day of action was that Hunter Biden vacated the Washington, D.C., office of Owasco. His documents all went into a storage unit in northern Virginia. The IRS prepared an affidavit in support of a search warrant for the unit, but AUSA Wolf once again objected.

My special agent in charge and I scheduled a call with United States Attorney Weiss on December 14th just to talk about that specific issue. United States Attorney Weiss agreed that if the storage unit wasn’t accessed for 30 days we could execute a search warrant on it.

No sooner had we gotten off the call then we heard AUSA Wolf had simply reached out to Hunter Biden’s defense counsel and told him about the storage unit, once again ruining our chance to get to evidence before being destroyed, manipulated, or concealed.

Gary Shapley didn’t want any of the subjects of the investigation to get advance notice, because they might obstruct the investigation.

However, the night before, December 7th, 2020, I was informed that FBI headquarters had notified Secret Service headquarters and the transition team about the planned actions the following day. This essentially tipped 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.

It’s a fair consideration! Most investigators are going to feel the same!

But that’s why that December 2022 Shapley email sent to FBI Special Agent Darrell Waldon and cc’ed to Michael Bartoff is so interesting.

Waldon was part of the case team, but also the guy who referred the Barrett leak to IRS’ Inspector General. Bartoff is the guy to whom Shapley claimed to have made protected disclosures.

It turns out that Shapley was on vacation as DOJ was reviewing his emails. He sent the email to ask Waldon to let him explain any emails before they got shared with anyone else.

If you have questions about any emails I would ask you share it in advance so I can look at them and be prepared to put them into context. The USAO was so eager to got my emails (which they already had 95% of) … then surprise … they “might” have a problem with a few of them that memorialized their conduct. If the content of what I documented, in report or email is the cause of their consternation I would direct them to consider their actions instead of who documented them.

I have done nothing wrong. Instead of constant battles with the USAO/DOJ Tax, I chose to be politically savvy. I documented issues, that I would have normally addressed as they occurred, because of the USAO and DOJ Tax’s continued visceral reactions to any dissenting opinions or ideas. Every single day was a battle to do our job. I continually reported these issues up to IRS-CI leadership beginning in the summer of 2020. Now, because they realized I documented their conduct they separate me out, cease all communication and are not attempting to salvage their own conduct by attacking mind. This is an attempt by the USAO to tarnish my good standing and position within IRS-CI … and I expect IRS-CI leadership to understand that. As recent as the October 7 meeting, the Delaware USAO had nothing but good things to say about me/us. Then they finally read “discovery” items (provided 6 months previous — that are not discoverable) and they are beginning to defend their own unethical actions.

Consider the below:

  1. I am not a witness — therefor Jencks/impeachment is not an issue.
  2. I am not the receiver of original evidence nor engaged i any negative exculpatory language against the subject … My documentation only shows the USAO/DOJ Tax’s preferential treatment of this subject. [bold underline original, italics mine]

This was an email asking — at a minimum — for the kind of advance notice that Shapley believed Hunter Biden should not get. And given that Shapley’s other testimony (in which he said he didn’t turn over any of his email) seems to conflict with his claim here that DOJ already had 95% of them, it might be more than that.

Just before the end of the interview, Shapely implored the committee to help him, because, “My life’s on the line here, so do what you can.” He repeated Whistleblower X’s complaint that the IRS and DOJ aren’t considering the human cost of their actions after the October 2022 leak.

But the document which Shapley points to as documentation that he raised such concerns made a request — an opportunity to participate in an investigation — that he himself complains Hunter Biden started getting over two years into the investigation. That’s his complaint: That Hunter Biden got to look at stuff in advance, starting two years into an investigation.

And in response to that, he ran to Congress and, with Whistleblower X, made disclosures that didn’t consider the impact they’d have on the equally human life of Hunter Biden.

Timeline

2007: Shapley at NSA IG

2010: Whistleblower X starts at IRS

July 2009: Shapley starts at IRS

April 12, 2016: Mesires email (from laptop)

January 16, 2017: Schwerin email to Hunter

July 30, 2017: Date of suspect WhatsApp message

November 2018: Whistleblower X moves to International Tax and Financial Crimes; opens criminal investigation into Hunter Biden (after prior civil action)

March to April 2019: DOJ Tax reviews Whistleblower X’s lead

2019: IRS supervisor documents Sixth Amendment problems with case, collects Trump’s tweets

October 16, 2019: First lead on laptop

December 9, 2019: FBI takes property of laptop

December 13, 2019: Search warrant for laptop

January 2020: Shapley becomes supervisor over Sportsman Case

March 6, 2020: Request for physical search warrants in CA, AR, NY, DC

April 2020: Latest date on laptop timeline

June 16, 2020: Call about search warrants

June 16, 2020: Meeting with DFO about foot-dragging

August 2020: iCloud returns with WhatsApp messages

September 3, 2020: Donoghoe imposes halt on pre-election activities (Lesly Wolf denies SW, also warrant for Blue Star Strategies — but it was OEO that denied that)

September 21, 2020: FBI tries to limit number of interviews

October 19, 2020: We need to talk about the computer (mention of Durham)

October 22, 2020: Meeting about laptop

October 2020: Shapley IRS CI Manager interacting with Weiss’ office

November 17, 2020: Original plan to go overt delayed

December 3, 2020: Wolf objects to questions about Joe Biden; Weiss congratulates on keeping investigation secret

December 7, 2020: Notice to Secret Service and transition team

December 8, 2020: Day of action, attempted interview of Hunter Biden, interview of Rob Walker

December 9, 2020: Article confirming investigation includes inside details

December 31, 2020: Don Fort leaves as Chief of CI, replaced by Jim Lee

March 2, 2021: Mention of blowing whistle about DOJ handling of the case

May 3, 2021: Wolf chooses not to examine campaign finance (loan to Hunter), which Shapley documents to chain of command (not shared in interview)

August 18, 2021: Plan to interview Hunter’s children

October 21, 2021: Wolf nixes plan to interview Hunter’s children

January 27, 2022: Prosecution memo

February 9, 2022: Christy Steinbrunner sends prosecution plan forward with concur

February 11, 2022: CT responds with non-concur

March 2022: DOJ presents prosecution plan to DC USAO, DC rejects prosecution, Hunter Biden extends SOLs first of two times

March 16, 2022: NYT story including inside information

March 2022: DOJ asks for all management-level emails (Shapley doesn’t produce)

May 2022: Joe Gordon asks why IRS doesn’t ask for Special Counsel

April 26, 2022: Garland response to Bill Hagerty promises independence

June 15, 2022: Bigger meeting at DOJ, explaining why they couldn’t charge the case

July 29, 2022: Wolf says Weiss sets September as indictment for 2014, 2015 charges

August 12, 2022: Prosecutors claim Chris Clark said charging Hunter Biden would be career suicide

August 16, 2022: Prosecutorial meeting, discussion of CT’s nonconcur memo

August 25, 2022: FBI Supervisor Curley complains about missed communication between meetings

September 2022: IRS presents case in CDCA

September 22, 2022: Wolf says no action until after midterms

October 6, 2022: Devlin Barrett leak

October 7, 2022: Meeting about leak, and DC approval

October 12, 2022: Final interview in case

October 17, 2022: Investigators told no grand jury available

October 24, 2022: DOJ renews request for Shapley emails

November 2022: DOJ lets statutes of limitation on 2014, 2015 expire

November 7, 2022: SA Mike Dzielak says DOJ requests management and senior management documents pertaining to case

December 8, 2022: Waldon and Weiss cancel meeting about case

December 12, 2022: Claims concern about emails about documentation of misconduct

February 2023: Batdorf pauses ongoing investigation

March 1, 2023: Grassley asks Garland about case

March 16, 2023: DOJ Tax Mark Daley stated they would give approvals for charge (overheard)

April 13, 2023: Whistleblower X emails Lola Watson

April 19, 2023: Mark Lytle letter to Congress

May 15, 2023: DOJ requests new IRS team

On Bill Barr and Sex Workers: Whistleblower X Raised Hunter Biden’s Baby Momma in Response to a Prostitute Question

As a number of people have noted, the second so-called IRS whistleblower on the Hunter Biden case pointed to the official release of the documents Trump stole as an example of another high profile case where (he claimed, incorrectly), like the Hunter Biden one, there were leaks.

Q What’s an example of another high-profile case that we’re comparing that to?

A So some of the information that was released — or some of the information that was leaked related to the Trump classified documents. So that case. So there were actual pictures that were leaked from inside the search warrant. And this is what my memory of seeing things in the media. So that’s something that I remember. But, I mean — yeah.

It’s a testament to the way he has internalized Trump propaganda. It is one indicator of his unreliability.

There are more.

Far more.

The man should not be treated as credible.

All Whistleblower X’s International Tax Experience Has Been Milking Hunter Biden

Start with his own description of his work experience.

While he has been with the IRS for 13 years, it’s actually not clear how experienced he is in this kind of investigation. As he described, until just before he personally predicated the Hunter Biden investigation in 2018, he was a Public Information Officer, seemingly in both a public-facing role and working investigations.

Literally his first investigation on IRS’ International Tax and Financial Crimes group was into Hunter Biden.

And that’s important because he seems to struggle with due process. Throughout his presentation, for example, he seems to have little understanding of FBI guidelines, including least intrusive means and required approvals for Sensitive Investigative Matters. Many of his complaints amount to a complaint that he wasn’t permitted to violate rules that FBI has re-emphasized in the wake of the Carter Page IG Report.

So in a sense, Republicans are wailing because FBI wouldn’t violate rules the FBI didn’t even violate with Carter Page, such as doing physical surveillance of a candidate’s son 14 days before the election.

Q Why did you have to get approval for that?

A Because we were in a posture at that point that we couldn’t do anything that appeared — any investigative activities pretty much whatsoever.

Q But you weren’t wearing an IRS windbreaker, and you weren’t driving a car marked with IRS letters on it. So how would anyone possibly know? It’s a free country. You’re allowed to drive by any house you want.

A Yeah, I didn’t want it — because I think at that time we were trying to do surveillance of pretty much everyone we were going to potentially interview. So he was just another one of the people that we wanted to do that for. I guess I don’t know —

[snip]

Q What is that email in reference to?

A This is in reference — this is October 20th, 2020, walk-by of possible residence. And Mark Daly says: Tax does not approve. This will be on hold until further notice.

He also seems to have assumed that decisions were made to protect Hunter when many of his complaints seem to pertain to efforts to protect the investigation (for example, in addition to the above complaint that he wasn’t able to physically surveil Hunter Biden solely to make sure he was living where they believed him to live; another objected to making a data request without using his name, something that would prevent leaks).

But particularly given his own description of his career track, it’s not clear how many successful investigations he has had.

Over the course of his testimony, he described two other cases he worked about which there were substantive disagreements. The first was one he apparently worked while also an Public Information Officer. There, after the AUSA cycled off of the case, a new one declined to prosecute.

Prior to joining the case, DOJ Tax had approved tax charges for the case and the case was in the process of progressing towards indictment. Our assigned Assistant United States Attorney was promoted to judge, and DOJ Tax had made the decision to reinvestigate the case.

After working thousands of hours on that captive case, poring over evidence, interviewing witnesses all over the U.S., the decision was made by DOJ Tax to change the approval to a declination and not charge the case.

I was devastated when I found that out, but at the end of the day I understood.

We did everything we could to try to work through the issues and get the captive case ready for indictment. I fought hard, having meetings with the leaders of my agency and DOJ Tax to try and get it charged. But at the end of the day it was a difference in opinion, and DOJ Tax didn’t want to set precedence.

I’m bringing this up to show you an example of difference in opinion between the investigators and prosecutors when it came to charging. The captive case and the steps taken were significantly different than what happened with the Hunter Biden investigation, and hopefully I can show you that with my testimony here today.

Without distinguishing the difference, Whistleblower X claimed he wasn’t much bothered by the declination in that case.

Much later in his interview, he was asked why he didn’t approach IRS Director of Field Operations Michael Batdorf after he was removed from the Hunter Biden case, when in 2021 Batdorf had invited him to do.

Whistleblower X described that in mid-October 2022, shortly after the big pre-election leak about the case to Devlin Barrett, Batdorf put a hold on another of his cases.

Q So you mentioned Michael Batdorf and that he had told you previously that you could go directly to him. Is that right?

A Yes.

Q Did you do that at the stage where you learned that you were removed?

A I did not.

Q Okay. Did you feel like you could talk to him about this issue?

A No, because I’ve been having other issues with him on another case I’m working that is — I felt like that chain of — that that relationship was broken.

Q When did that relationship start to break down?

A Probably since mid-October, maybe, would be my guess. I mean, it’s — yeah. It’s definitely —

Q Mid-October 2022?

A Yes.

Q And you mentioned issues you were having with him on another case. It’s totally fine if you don’t want to get into the specifics of that particular case, but can you generally describe the issues that you’re referring to?

A Yeah. I need to stay very, very high level on this. I had received approval with a strategy related to this case. And they backtracked that approval a couple weeks later and said to me that we need to put this on pause and that we’ll get back to you on what strategy we’re going to do moving forward. And we’re still on a pause right now.

[snip]

Q We were talking about the approval on the strategy for this other case. And just to clarify, this is a totally unrelated matter?

A Unrelated matter, yes.

Q Okay. And can you describe more about what happened to that strategy?

A It felt like it was — all along, we had been — for the past probably year, we had been communicating a strategy on this case that is tackling a big problem and trying to tackle it efficiently, okay? And it’s a compliance issue in this area. So we were briefing our [IRS] leaders and constantly having meetings about what we’re planning on doing, and they were on all [of] these phone calls, and we were sending emails of our strategy. And very recently, one of those strategies was moving forward on this compliance issue, and we were a go on it. And a few weeks later, I receive[d] a phone call that basically says, you’re being paused, and we’re having to relook at what you were doing, and we will make a determination moving forward.

So now, to all my peers and the different people, I was the one pushing the strategy, and it got halted in place, and now I have to go back to [these] people and explain to them why — it was just a mess. It was an absolute mess.

Q When did you get that phone call saying that you were being paused?

A It was in February of 2023. It was either a phone call or an email. [Inline brackets original]

Perhaps this was a response to the investigation into the leak, but Whistleblower X suggested that on a second case, he had had serious disagreements with management.

And yet, per a later answer, Hunter Biden and its offshoots were his only case.

Q Okay. I want to get some sense generally of your caseload and what you work. How many cases do you currently have? How many cases did you have back in 2018 when this case was assigned to you?

A I was new to the group. So this was one of two cases that I was working at the time. And then moving forward to right now, I have one large case. But it includes probably 80 tangential cases — or 80 sort of spinoff cases that I’m trying to manage and work, as well.

That’s abnormal. Normally for an IRS special agent, normally it’s one or two cases that they’re working a year because of how much work goes into them.

Q You mentioned that one of your other cases is paused. How many cases do you have that are paused? I don’t know how you count the one large one with the 80 tangentials. But how many of those are paused?

A Probably 20-ish. Let me rephrase that. I would say 10 to 15.

Mr. Zerbe. Why are they paused? You might expand on that.

BY MINORITY COUNSEL 1: Q I was going ask that question. So, yeah, go ahead.

A They are second-guessing the strategy that we’re putting forward on those.

[snip]

Q In your cases that you’ve had, first starting back since November of 2018, coming forward, have you had disagreements in other cases that you’ve been working?

A Yeah, yes.

Q How did that play out? How do your disagreements play out generally?

A I can give you an example of in another situation I was working, we also had a person who had failed to file returns and they earned a significant amount of money and they went out into — I need to be — so they had that situation at hand. I went to the prosecutors on the case. And I said, hey, this person has these unfiled returns. I’m thinking that specifically with what has happened — and specifically with what has happened in news reporting related to them, I think we need to go talk to them

Not only don’t these answers make sense, but even if they’re true, Whistleblower X has had problems with every major case he has worked for the last five years.

That wasn’t the only way Whistleblower X damaged his credibility.

On the Third Try He Admits He Listened into a Meeting Uninvited

Take his belated admission to listening in on a phone conversation involving his chain of command covertly.

Whistleblower X provided three different accounts of how he learned he had been removed from the Hunter Biden investigation.

His first description of how he learned he had been removed came as he was reading from an email he sent to much of the IRS chain of command. Either in that email or an aside he made as he read (note the quotation marks; this transcript was reviewed and revised by Whistleblower X and his attorney, who has very close ties to Chuck Grassley), he claimed he never got a phone call informing he had been removed.

It says, “My respective IRS leadership, first off, I apologize for breaking the managerial chain of command, but the reason I am doing this is because I don’t think my concerns and/or words are being relayed to your respective offices. I am requesting that you consider some of the issues at hand. I’m sure you are aware I was removed this week from a highly sensitive case out of the Delaware U.S. Attorney’s Office after nearly 5 years of work. I was not afforded the opportunity of a phone call directly from my special agent in charge or assistant special agent in charge, even though this had been my investigation since the start.”

And outside, I still have not received a phone call from my assistant special agent in charge or anyone in my IRS CI leadership other than my supervisor.

Later Chairman Jason Smith asked him how he found out. Whistleblower X implied that Gary Shapley told him.

Chairman Smith. Who informed you that you were being removed from the investigation?

Mr. X. I learned through my supervisor, Gary Shapley.

Chairman Smith. How were you informed that you were being removed from this investigation?

Mr. X. He told me — Gary Shapley told me that he was removed and I was removed.

Chairman Smith. So it was by phone call?

Mr. X. Yes.

The implication from this exchange was that after he learned of it, Gary Shapley picked up the phone and called Whistleblower X to tell them the entire team had been removed from the case.

Shortly after that exchange, Whistleblower X and his attorney went off the record, after which he offered a third version: He sat in, uninvited, on a call that Shapley was asked to attend.

Mr. X. So I want to be clear with this. Can I explain what happened?

The assistant special agent in charge, Lola Watson, sent Gary an email — not me, Gary Shapley — my supervisor an email saying that they want to have a call regarding Sportsman. So a Sportsman update call. Gary, not feeling comfortable with our leadership, asked me to be on that call as a witness. I was not invited on that call, but I participated via phone on that phone call.

And it was during that call that — I overheard it, and they said that essentially the ITFC — so our group was removed from the investigation, and they were going to replace us with some other agents within the D.C. Field Office that they didn’t know the names of yet. There was no mention of, we need you to tell X. No mention of me whatsoever. It was just that we were removed from the case.

So, after telling two entirely different stories, Whistleblower X admitted he had basically listened in, uninvited, to an official government call.

And Republicans on the committee were not much bothered by that.

When Prostitutes Turn Girlfriends Turn Baby Mommas

Whistleblower X described starting the investigation into Hunter Biden off a sex worker site.

I started this investigation in November of 2018 after reviewing bank reports related to another case I was working on a social media company. Those bank reports identified Hunter Biden as paying prostitutes related to a potential prostitution ring.

I genuinely wonder whether this entire investigation is Elliott Spitzer 2.0, a highly politicized case out of someone arranging for sex work, especially given later references to the Mann Act.

And then there were — and I know that my counsel brought this up earlier. There were some flying people across State lines, paying for their travel, paying for their hotels. They were what we call Mann Act violations.

Even by Whistleblower X’s description, this investigation started off almost nothing.

Mr. X. My initiation packet, so sending the case forward to get — we call it subject case. It’s an SCI. It’s elevating the case to actually working the investigation. My first one showed the unfiled returns and the taxes owed for 2015 and that was it on my first package. So that was the wrongdoing that we were alleging.

And my supervisor goes: You don’t have enough. You need to find more.

All the more so given Whistleblower X’s problems with sex workers.

He talked about women he claimed to be prostitutes a lot.

At one point he bragged about how, in spite colleagues’ dismissals of the import of sex workers, he hunted down every sex worker with a tie to Hunter Biden and wowed his colleagues about them.

There was a lot of different investigative steps that we took, that even going and talking to the prostitutes, we found multiple people that he called his employees that were also prostitutes, and that he would have them clean his hotel room or — there were a lot of these interviews that we ended up going and doing and talking to people that were so worth it, even though someone might — we were always being told by the prosecutors, you guys are wasting your time going and doing that. It’s not worth it. And literally, I would surprise them every time and find everyone.

Later, Whistleblower X turned to the woman whose child support payments Hunter Biden just settled, Lunden Roberts, and claimed she didn’t work for Hunter Biden (Abbe Lowell complained when Shapley made this same claim).

So in addition to some of this stuff that we’ve been talking about, he also had members of his family, including Lunden Roberts, on his payroll. We know that during the time period she was paid, she did not work for him. So he was deducting things for salary for employees that were his family members. A lot of those witnesses are people we would go and talk to.

Still later, one of the majority counsels tried to get Whistleblower X to confirm he caught Hunter Biden paying health insurance for his sex workers, only to have him raise Roberts, the mother of the child he fathered.

Q During our discussion of the 2018 tax year, you mentioned that Hunter Biden was making business expenses for prostitutes?

A Yes, in some circumstances.

Q Could you give us a little bit more information on that? What was the nature of the — was he paying for — were they on the payroll? Was he paying for travel?

A In some situations, they were on payroll, and that was to get them health insurance in certain situations. There was —

Q So he’s paying for health insurance for his prostitutes?

A Not necessarily for — so let me go back and — so one of his girlfriends was on the payroll and — Mr. . Off the record, please, for a second. [Discussion off the record.]

MAJORITY COUNSEL 2. Back on the record.

Mr. X. So Lunden Roberts, she was on his payroll. She was not working. She was actually living in Arkansas pregnant with his child, and she was on his payroll.

There were expenditures for one of — he called it his West Coast assistant, but we knew her to also be in the prostitution world or believed to be in the prostitution world. And he deducted expenses related to her. She relates to the sex club issue.

Particularly given how much of this case relied on leads obtained from and tax returns updated in response to the paternity suit here, it is fairly remarkable that Whistleblower X raises Roberts in response to a question about prostitutes (though he quickly promoted her to being a girlfriend), particularly given corroboration for the claim that she was a personal assistant.

To be clear: I’m not saying she was anything but a personal assistant. Whistleblower X, however, raised her as an example in response to a question about prostitutes, and only later called her a girlfriend.

According to the NYT, Roberts’ father hunts with Don Jr, and Whistleblower X raised her in response to a question about sex workers.

But maybe Whistleblower X’s treatment of all these women as sex workers is not an accident.

Steve Bannon has been involved in this operation for years. I’ve heard a propagandist close to Bannon has been a source of leads for the investigation.

What if any ties to sex work among his personal assistants was not Hunter’s doing?

Whistleblower X Retreats from Hearsay … But Only His Bill Barr Hearsay

Whistleblower X’s presentation was riddled with hearsay (so much so, it raises real questions about his integrity as an investigator — in congressional testimony he proved unable to distinguish between rumor and fact). He repeatedly made claims about things that transpired with the investigation about which he has no firsthand knowledge.

That includes a claim he made about Bill Barr: Throughout Whistleblower X’s presentation, he claimed Bill Barr made the decision to send this tax investigation to Delaware.

So in [or] around March or April of 2019, the case went up to DOJ Tax. And at that time we were told that William Barr made the decision to join two investigations together. So at that point in time I had found out that Delaware had opened up an investigation related to the bank reports and that that occurred in January of 2019, so 2 months after I started mine.

He didn’t change his story on follow-up from Minority Counsel.

Q Shortly after that, you talked about in March and April of 2018 that Attorney General Barr had made a decision to join the cases. And then you said that Delaware had opened the case. You said January of — is that 2019 or 2018 or 2020? I didn’t get the year.

A It was January of 2019 —

Q Okay.

A — that Delaware, U.S. Attorney’s Office, and FBI had opened up the investigation. They wouldn’t have been able to see in our IRS system that we had a case open.

Or another follow-up from Minority Counsel.

Q Okay. I wanted to go back to something that you mentioned earlier. You said that in March/April — and I think you meant 2018, but I’m not sure — that Bill Barr made the decision to join these cases together.

A So that would have been 2019.

Q 2019. And then you said that the case in Delaware was opened January of 2019? Is that correct?

A Yep.

Q Okay. And then this case was opened May of 2019?

A So the cases were joined May of 2019.

Q How was it communicated to you that Bill Barr joined these cases together?

A I believe it was my manager that told me. My manager would have been Matt Kutz.

Q How would he have known? Would that have come from Justice somewhere or where does that come from —

A From his leadership, most likely, when we were told — we were essentially told that we had go up to Delaware to meet them. And the decision was made at his direction, from what I recall.

Q “His” being Bill Barr?

A Yes.

Q Okay. Was there any other discussion of Bill Barr taking interest in this case that you heard of beyond it being joined?

A Not at all.

Q Was there any reporting up the chain that you know of to Bill Barr?

A No, not that I know of.

As noted, Whistleblower X attributed this claim to his then-supervisor Matt Kutz.

Curiously, Republican Chairs chose not to demand testimony from Kutz — who might explain why he understood the decision to consolidate the cases in Delaware came from the Attorney General — among the 12 from whom they’re demanding impossible testimony.

  • Lesley Wolf, DOJ
  • Jack Morgan, DOJ
  • Mark Daly, DOJ
  • Matthew Graves, DOJ
  • Martin Estrada, DOJ
  • David Weiss, DOJ
  • Stuart Goldberg, DOJ
  • Shawn Weede, DOJ
  • Shannon Hudson, DOJ
  • Tom Sobocinski, FBI
  • Ryeshia Holley, FBI
  • Michael T. Batdorf, IRS
  • Darrell J. Waldon, IRS
  • 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.

Anyway, Whistleblower X’s attorney, Dean Zerbe, began to cop on to how problematic it was that Barr had intervened the third time the Minority Counsel followed up about this.

MINORITY COUNSEL 2. How unusual, or in your experience, how frequently have you seen cases merged from the DOJ and IRS?

Mr. Zerbe. Let’s go off the record.

MAJORITY COUNSEL 3. Off the record. [Discussion off the record.]

BY MINORITY COUNSEL 2: Q That’s what I’m asking. How common is that circumstance? Sorry. Back on the record.

A I have never had that happen in my career.

Q Would you say it was something of an unusual occurrence for the Attorney General himself to order that?

A Looking back at it, I think he was trying to utilize the resources that he had. And I recall doing venue analyses for them to determine where proper venue was, to see if — but everything that I did said that we were — there’s no residence of Hunter other than his dad’s residence, his dad, President Biden, in Delaware. So his return preparers are in, I think it’s Maryland, his — at the time were in Maryland. So everything was pointing to outside of Delaware.

Q Well, when you say utilize his resources, is it usual for the Attorney General to take a specific interest in a case that maybe conservatively would be of, you know, $1 million in value to the U.S. Government, which, although obviously is a lot of money to the folks sitting here, is pretty small, small dollars relative to the entirety of the fiscal —

A Can ask you your question again? I apologize.

Q Does the Attorney General usually weigh in on cases where you’re talking about $1 million?

A I’ve never had that happen before.

Q To your knowledge, did Attorney General Barr weigh in, or seek updates on the investigation after those cases were joined?

A Not to my knowledge.

By this point, the Majority Counsel seems to have sussed out the problem with Billy Barr’s personal involvement in this. Because then that lawyer weighed in to cue up a response that maybe Barr was just approving high level prosecutions.

Q Okay. The discussion last round about the Attorney General Barr’s involvement, are you aware of the Justice Department policies and procedures that relate to sensitive investigative matters and political matters?

A I am not.

Q And do you know if the Attorney General, under the DOJ rules and procedures, has to make some of these decisions?

A I did not.

Q Would it surprise you if, in fact, the Attorney General does have to sign off on certain things when it relates to the son of a Presidential candidate or an incoming President-elect?

A It wouldn’t surprise me at all.

Now, it is totally plausible that Bill Barr was personally involved in sending a tax investigation to Delaware on which to hang foreign influence allegations that — thus far at least — have amounted to nothing. After all, Barr’s DOJ ordered up an investigation into John Kerry in SDNY. He ordered DC USAO to take a second stab at the Greg Craig prosecution, which flopped. He made John Durham Special Counsel so he could take two flimsy conspiracy theories to trial.

And he personally set up a parallel channel via which information channeled through Rudy Giuliani from known Russian spies could be ingested through the Pittsburgh US Attorney Office and sent on to the Delaware office.

That’s why Whistleblower X’s “supplement” is so interesting.

Both Shapley and Whistleblower X sent supplements complaining that they didn’t get to see the FD-1023 that Barr weighed in publicly to claim was totally reliable even though it came via Russian spy channels. That is, both used Barr’s public comments to intervene in the investigation from which they’ve already been removed.

In addition to doing that, though, Whistleblower X admitted — alone among all the unsubstantiated rumors he shared in his testimony — that after standing by his claim that it was Bill Barr who consolidated the cases in Delaware in four different exchanges, he was no longer sure that was the case.

After having been given an opportunity to review the transcript of his interview, Mr. X thought it would be helpful for the work of the Committee to clarify and update the transcript through this letter.

The clarification: Mr. X recalls in his testimony that he was told (roughly five years ago) by a supervisor that it was then-Attorney General William Barr who directed that the proposed case be merged with an ongoing case in Delaware. Mr. X is confident he was told by his supervisor that the merging of the cases was at the direction of an official at the Department of Justice. However, on further reflection, Mr. X cannot definitively state that his then-supervisor said that that the Department of Justice official directing the merger of the cases was AG Barr. Separate from that conversation with his supervisor, Mr. X has no independent knowledge of who at the Department of Justice directed that the cases be merged.

Someone decided that it is not helpful to the Republican cause — or to Whistleblower X’s role as nascent hero of the far right — for Bill Barr to have intervened so directly in this case.

And, as noted, Republican Chairs are making sure they don’t learn anymore details about Barr’s role either.

Republicans think they’ve got a great scandal going here. But Whistleblower X’s testimony inadvertently makes the whole thing sound like a rebirth of the manufactured Eliot Spitzer scandal, only this time with the direct involvement of the Attorney General.

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