Hallie Biden Was First Compelled to Testify against Hunter Biden in 2022

Remember how I wrote about how Hallie Biden was being compelled to testify?

I described how prosecutors submitted a filing in Delaware on May 17 asking to keep some exhibits pertaining to the testimony a female witness sealed until after she testified.

The United States of America, by and through its attorneys, David. C. Weiss, Special Counsel, and Derek E. Hines and Leo J. Wise, Assistant United States Attorneys for the District of Delaware, move that the enclosed filing be filed under seal as well as the accompanying proposed order and requested order from the court. The filing relates to a witness issue in the upcoming trial. The government will move to unseal this filing after the conclusion of the witness’s testimony at trial. In the interim, the government requests that the filings remain under seal to protect her identity from public disclosure so that her security is not compromised and so that there will be no witness intimidation issues that could undermine these proceedings. See United States v. Smith, 776 F.2d 1104, 1115 (3d Cir. 1985).

They filed an unsealed motion to compel Hallie Biden’s testimony in Los Angeles on May 21.

The Special Counsel hereby applies to this Honorable Court for an order compelling Hallie Biden to testify and produce evidence pursuant to the provisions of Title 18, United States Code, Section 6001 et seq., and respectfully represents as follows:

1. Hallie Biden has been subpoenaed to testify before this Court during trial beginning on June 20, 2024;

2. Counsel for Hallie Biden has advised that if Hallie Biden is called to the stand she will at that time refuse to answer questions, invoking the constitutional privilege against self-incrimination;

3. In the judgment of the Special Counsel, the testimony of Hallie Biden may be necessary to the public interest; and

4. Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg, an authorized Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the United States, has approved this application for an order instructing Hallie Biden to testify pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 6002 and 28 C.F.R. § 0.175(a).

As noted, Stuart Goldberg, the Acting Assistant Attorney General for DOJ’s tax division, submitted authorization for that grant of immunity. His letter doing so is dated May 20, 2024.

Judge Noreika has now ordered unsealed the earlier exhibits tied to testimony. And as I suspected, it pertains to Hallie Biden. As in CA, the approval for compelling her testimony was signed by Goldberg. That earlier letter is dated April 11, 2022.

Of some interest: the order approving that immunity was signed by Judge Noreika, back on April 18, 2022.

That suggests Noreika may have been involved in this case for longer than was known. That might arise if, for example, a non-prosecution agreement (for someone like Zoe Kestan) were filed under seal before Noreika some time ago, and she got assigned Hunter’s case as a related case (though not such paperwork is in Hunter’s docket).

Note that Noreika’s order included tax charges, FARA, and gun charges. So the tax division approved compelling Hallie’s testimony for the gun charges.

Derek Hines’ motion to unseal the exhibits the exhibits notably did not unseal the motion regarding the immunity it in the first place, which remains sealed.

So it’s not clear — and Hines didn’t make it clear when he moved to seal the filing — why it was fine to submit the immunity paperwork publicly in California but not in Delaware.

The filing relates to a witness issue in the upcoming trial. The government will move to unseal this filing after the conclusion of the witness’s testimony at trial. In the interim, the government requests that the filings remain under seal to protect her identity from public disclosure so that her security is not compromised and so that there will be no witness intimidation issues that could undermine these proceedings.

One way or another, though, it’s clear that Hallie Biden was first compelled to testify against her brother-in-law in 2022, when Lesley Wolf was overseeing the case.


Lesley Wolf Vindicated by Alexander Smirnov Indictment

In the wake of the Alexander Smirnov indictment, the 51 former spooks who wrote a letter stating their opinion that the release of Hunter Biden emails to the NY Post is consistent with a Russian information operation have claimed vindication. That has led to this problematic Ken Dilanian report parroting David Weiss filings that deliberately obscured the evidence in the Hunter Biden case. And that, in turn, has led to a flood of people expressing opinions about the laptop turned over by John Paul Mac Isaac (Olivia Nuzzi, Reese Gorman) that exhibit no clue about how precarious that evidence is now.

In other words, that has renewed a debate consisting of misrepresenting the 51-spook letter, then misstating what the public evidence about the laptop shows.

I’ll return to the details about the laptop that these people are missing; hopefully until I get there, they’ll consider whether David Weiss’ claim that a Keith Ablow picture of a picture of a table saw with sawdust was instead Hunter Biden’s cocaine really validates the laptop, as they seem to believe it does.

But there is one person who has been vindicated: Lesley Wolf, the AUSA who aggressively pursued real charges against Hunter Biden, even while attempting to prevent repeated onslaughts of political garbage from tainting the case.

Among the many complaints the two disgruntled IRS agents aired, largely targeting her, one was that, “This investigation has been hampered and artificially slowed by various claims of potential election meddling.” That appeared in a memo submitted within the IRS in December 2020, probably written by Gary Shapley. The IRS agents believed they knew better than Lesley Wolf about efforts to interfere in the election.

The IRS agents and their allies in Congress bitched over and over that Wolf and others had not ingested politicized dirt into the investigation readily enough.

For example, Joseph Ziegler described that investigators asked to reinterview Tony Bobulinski after his October 23, 2020 meeting with the FBI, but were not permitted to do so because he “was not viewed as a credible witness” — and that was before Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony, now backed by video, about the sketchy meeting Bobulinski had with Mark Meadows.

I can recall that agents on the investigative team brought up on multiple occasions to the assigned prosecutors that they wanted to do an interview of Bobulinski with the assigned case agents. I can recall being told that they would think about it and then ultimately being told there was no need for the team to interview Bobulinski and that Bobulinski was not viewed as a credible witness.

In his House testimony, Bobulinski backed off all the most inflammatory claims — such as that he attended a key meeting in Miami and witnessed Hunter receive a large diamond as a gift –made to the FBI.

Republicans in Congress have repeatedly complained that Tim Thibault shut down Peter Schweizer as a confidential human source in September 2020. Thibault explained to Congress that the Supervisory Special Agent called him and asked him to stop sending Schweizer’s reporting, because doing so would give Hunter’s attorneys ammunition if the case ever went to trial.

A I understand you don’t need the reporting anymore. I understand that if this goes to trial, Hunter Biden’s attorney —

Q Uh-huh?

A — could have some ammunition.

And Shapley specifically complained that Lesley Wolf withheld a particular email about some anomalies in the the hard drive image obtained from John Paul Mac Isaac.

Prosecutors deliberately withheld that email from agents who might have to testify to avoid making it Jencks production that would have to be shared with Hunter’s lawyers. Thanks to Shapley, it will presumably play a role in any suppression and Brady complaints tied to the laptop.

None of this is particularly noble on Wolf’s part. It’s typical, among prosecutors, in that they watch out for any evidence that would harm a case at trial, and avoid ingesting it in ways that would give defendants access to it. Lesley Wolf was not withholding details about problems with the hard drive JPMI provided the FBI to protect Hunter Biden. She was doing it to protect her case. In fact, her treatment of the laptop may be the one thing that helps bollox the case, if Leo Wise ends up needing any assistance on that front.

But it seems quite clear that efforts Wolf made to preserve a case for trial were instead spun by the disgruntled IRS agents as attempts to thwart the investigation. Their efforts to sell that spin have not only endangered the case, but also resulted in death threats targeting Wolf and her family.

Particularly given the timing of Congress’ focus on the FD-1023, including Bill Barr’s public commentary, Alexander Smirnov’s attempt to frame Biden is an important example of an effort Wolf made to protect a viable case against Hunter.

Gary Shapley released a memo that will be central to Hunter Biden’s bid to obtain discovery on the treatment of the Smirnov tip and the Scott Brady back channel, generally. It shows that the FD-1023, “was ordered to be received by this prosecution team by [Richard Donoghue]. It is happening on 10/23/2020 at 3pm in the Delaware FBI office.” It is proof that days after Trump yelled at Barr about the Hunter Biden investigation, DOJ ordered Wolf to accept this briefing.

Yet in his testimony, Shapley said that “We never discussed the form,” seemingly a reference to the Smirnov allegation.

After Barr ran his mouth to Margot Cleveland, both Ziegler and Shapley submitted supplements complaining that they hadn’t gotten briefed on the allegation. Shapley’s testimony, that neither the IRS agents nor the FBI agents, had checked out the allegation seems inconsistent with his claim never to have spoken about it.

Neither I nor the line IRS-CI agents acting under my supervision, nor the FBI agents working with IRS-CI, were ever provided the CHS information that Attorney General Barr recently referenced was sent to Delaware to have it “checked out.” Prosecutors never provided such information to IRS-CI. As such, neither IRS-CI nor the FBI agents working with him were provided the opportunity to conduct proper investigation into the allegations presented by this CHS. I, long with other IRS-Cl investigators, requested 10 be apart of briefings that the Delaware USAO and DOJ were having with the Pittsburgh USAO during the investigation, but our requests were denied.

Both further elaborated their complaints about not getting access to the FD-1023 in their public July testimony.

Then, even more forthcoming testimony Shapley gave to House Ways and Means served as a cue during Scott Brady’s House Judiciary Committee testimony, in which Brady described Lesley Wolf’s skepticism about the material being funneled from Brady’s office.

Q And were you ever told that the Delaware U.S. Attorney’s Office did not want a briefing from your office?

A I believe I was. I don’t remember. But I know that we had trouble scheduling it.

Q Okay. And then, further down, it states AUSA Wolf’s comments made clear she did not want to cooperate with the Pittsburgh USAO, and that she had already concluded no information from that office could be credible stating her belief that it all came from Rudy Giuliani.

Were you ever made aware of Ms. Wolf’s processing and decisions regarding this briefing, and why she didn’t want the briefing?

A I was not. We did, however, make it clear that some of the information including this 1023 did not come from Mr. Giuliani.

Q And did your team ever tell you that they were receiving comments from Ms. Wolf that she didn’t find the information your office was receiving credible?

A I don’t remember that, no.

Q If those conversations took place, would those have been between a AUSA at your office and Ms. Wolf?

A If they would have shared that with us at all, yes, likely, and had I been made aware, I would have called Mr. Weiss directly.

Q When you would have called Mr. Weiss directly, would you have told him the information the 1023 wasn’t coming from Mr. Giuliani, is that accurate?

A Yes, I would have, and that was already communicated to their office, that the 1023 was from a credible CHS that had a history with the FBI, and that it was not derived from any of the information from Mr. Giuliani.

Side note: The publicly released HJC transcript redacts several references to David Weiss, perhaps in an effort to hide the degree to which he is a witness to and therefore hopelessly conflicted on the Smirnov prosecution.

I’m guessing that neither Smirnov nor Hunter’s attorneys are so stupid that they can’t figure out who is named behind that redaction! But if they have any questions: Yes, Jim Jordan’s people really did redact references that make it clear what David Weiss personally witnessed in this transcript!

Unsurprisingly, in her testimony, Lesley Wolf did a far, far better job than Shapley and Brady adhering to her ethical duty to avoid speaking of an ongoing investigation. She also suggestsed that a lot of the decisions that Shapley and Ziegler complained about were made for ethical reasons, even an unwillingness on her part to risk her law license to take more aggressive steps. “Hey, I like my law license, and I know this person has a lawyer, so we’re going to have to work through counsel to get that interview you want,” she characterized such discussions with the investigators.

As a result of her strict adherence to prohibitions on her speaking about the investigation, her explanation for her reluctance to accept information from Brady’s side channel was very general. In her general explanation for why she might want to keep the existing Hunter Biden investigation separate from whatever Brady was doing, though, she provided the same reason Thibault got explaining why Delaware didn’t want to receive tips involving Peter Schweizer.

Q And during the course of your career, have you ever had a situation where you were reluctant to cooperate with a different U.S. Attorney’s Office? And by cooperate, I mean have meetings, take telephone calls.

[Wolf attorney Jenny] Kramer. I know this is almost too formal for this process, but I’m going to object to form. What does that mean, unwilling to cooperate? I’m just not clear on what exactly you’re trying to ask.

Mr. Castor. Unwilling to take meetings?

Ms. Kramer. Generally?

Mr. Castor. With a different U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Ms. Wolf. I can answer those questions, generally.


Q Sure, sure.

A I think as a general matter, the idea would be that you are coming from a place of cooperation and the common mission of the Department of Justice and what it is you’re trying to accomplish. But there may well be very, very valid means, reasons for a desire and an interest to keep investigations separate and apart. And in those circumstances, you would — and it wouldn’t be unusual to say, you know what, we’re not going to need to share information, we’re not going to do this. And it would just depend, again, on the particulars of an investigation and what the needs and what the various interests were at play.

Q Okay. Are you familiar with Supervisory Special Agent Gary Shapley’s testimony where he indicated you were unwilling to interact with Scott Brady?

A I’m generally familiar with Special Agent Shapley’s testimony, yes.

Q Okay. Are you familiar with that particular aspect of it?

A I mean, I’ve read his testimony.

Chairman Jordan. Would there be a reason not to interact and meet with Mr. Brady and his team?

Ms. Wolf. As that relates to a particular investigation, I’m not authorized to speak to that.

Chairman Jordan. You said there were some situations that — the general way of doing things is to, you know, “cooperate,” I think, is the word you used. And you said there are times that we’re not going to do that. Why would there be a reason not to do it in this situation?

Ms. Kramer. Chairman, respectfully, I think you had left the room when I had asked Mr. Castor earlier, please allow Ms. Wolf to finish her answers to the questions before —

Chairman Jordan. Okay, sure. I apologize.

Ms. Kramer. — and me as well, number one. And number two, I believe you mischaracterized her very recent answer. I don’t believe you said that there were times that you would refuse to cooperate, unless I misheard. So let’s break that down. I think your first question, Chairman Jordan, is what again, if you don’t mind repeating it?

Chairman Jordan. Would there be a reason not to cooperate with Mr. Brady’s office?

Ms. Wolf. As to this particular case, I’m not authorized to speak to that.

As a general matter, and I think to potentially recast and just reframe, the infusion on the point, there are valid investigative reasons in any given case that would need to be evaluated before joining, overlapping, even taking in information, and that would all be factored in, in any case, to deciding how to move forward in a matter, all in the spirit of advancing and the best interest of the investigation.


You know, to the extent that it then subsequently touches on an investigation or a matter in your district, I would expect that would be something that you would be aware of and usually the kind of thing that would probably take place above the line level. And that’s part of, you know, a sort of lack of clarity or understanding on how this sort of what is and isn’t typical. I hesitate to answer. And, quite frankly, I think in answering whether this was typical or atypical, it runs afoul of what I am authorized to discuss, because it essentially acknowledges or will be interpreted as acknowledging or denying or endorsing what may or may not have happened.

Wolf is being coy here.

But she’s also making it clear that she decided sharing information with Brady’s project would harm the investigation.

This is why I posted Leo Wise’s repeated, defensive rebuttals to David Chesnoff’s claim that the Smirnov indictment was “makeweight.”

It seems clear that Lesley Wolf left the Smirnov allegation well enough alone, knowing that the project generally was producing garbage that could only endanger the case.

Leo Wise seemingly used the Smirnov allegation as an excuse to reopen the case against the President’s son, only to discover it opened a nasty can of worms.  It gave Abbe Lowell the evidence to prove that the prosecution of Hunter Biden was infected by an effort by the Attorney General to accommodate the dirt that Trump’s lawyers picked up from Russian spies. And it gave Wise a real headache of a prosecution to deal with.

Lesley Wolf probably didn’t decline all the garbage from Scott Brady for noble reasons. She was just protecting her case. But having made the opposite decision, Wise may end up blowing that case.

You know who is vindicated by the Alexander Smirnov indictment? Lesley Wolf.

David Weiss Is a Direct Witness to the Crimes on Which He Indicted Alexander Smirnov

On the day that Bill Barr aggressively intervened in the parallel impeachment inquiry and Hunter Biden prosecutions last summer, David Weiss’ office sent out a final deal that would resolve Hunter’s case with no jail time and no further investigation. Within weeks, amid an uproar about claims in an FD-1023 that David Weiss now says were false, Weiss reneged on that deal. With the indictment yesterday of Alexander Smirnov, the source of those false claims, Weiss confesses he is a direct witness in an attempt to frame Joe Biden, even as he attempts to bury it.

On June 7, 2023, Bill Barr went on the record to refute several things that Jamie Raskin described learning about Smirnov’s FD-1023. Specifically, the former Attorney General insisted that the investigation into the allegations Smirnov made continued under David Weiss.

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.”

“It wasn’t closed down,” Bill Barr claimed. As I’ll show below, according to the indictment obtained under David Weiss’ authority yesterday, that’s a lie. “It was sent to [David Weiss] for further investigation,” Bill Barr claimed, not confessing that it was sent to Delaware on October 23, 2020, days after Trump had yelled at him personally about the investigation into Hunter Biden. According to Barr, Weiss was tasked with doing more investigation into the Smirnov claims than Scott Brady had already done.

In the Smirnov indictment, Weiss now says that he only did that investigation last year, and almost immediately discovered the allegations were false.

The same day the Federalist published those Barr claims, June 7, and one day after Hunter Biden attorney Chris Clark spoke personally with David Weiss, Lesley Wolf sent revised language for the diversion agreement that strengthened Hunter Biden’s protection against any further prosecution.

The United States agrees not to criminally prosecute Biden, outside of the terms of this Agreement, for any federal crimes encompassed by the attached Statement of Facts (Attachment A) and the Statement of Facts attached as Exhibit 1 to the Memorandum of Plea Agreement filed this same day.

That language remains in the diversion agreement Leo Wise signed on July 26, 2023.

According to an unrebutted claim from Clark, on June 19, 2023, Weiss’ First AUSA Shannon Hanson assured him there was no ongoing investigation into his client.

36. Shortly after that email, I had another phone call with AUSA Hanson, during which AUSA Hanson requested that the language of Mr. Biden’s press statement be slightly revised. She proposed saying that the investigation would be “resolved” rather than “concluded.” I then asked her directly whether there was any other open or pending investigation of Mr. Biden overseen by the Delaware U.S. Attorney’s Office, and she responded there was not another open or pending investigation.

That day, June 19, was the first day Wise made an appearance on the case.

On July 10, a month after the former Attorney General had publicly claimed that his office sent the Smirnov FD-1023 to Weiss’ office for further investigation in 2020, Weiss responded to pressure from Lindsey Graham explaining why he couldn’t talk about the FD-1023: “Your questions about allegations contained in an FBI FD-1023 Form relate to an ongoing investigation.” The next day, Hanson fielded a request from Clark, noting she was doing so because “the team” was in a secure location unable to do so themselves. “The team” should have had no purpose being in a secure location; they should have been preparing for the unclassified plea deal.

By July 26, the same day Leo Wise signed a diversion agreement that said Hunter wouldn’t be further charged, he made representations that conflicted with the document he had signed, claiming Hunter could still be charged with FARA. That was how, with David Weiss watching, Wise reneged on a signed plea deal and reopened the investigation into Hunter Biden, leading to two indictments charging six felonies and six misdemeanors.

According to the Smirnov indictment, sometime in July (tellingly, Weiss does not reveal whether this preceded his letter to Lindsey Graham, whether it preceded the plea colloquy where Leo Wise reneged on a signed deal), the FBI asked Weiss’ office to help in an investigation regarding the FD-1023.

In July 2023, the FBI requested that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware assist the FBI in an investigation of allegations related to the 2020 1023. At that time, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware was handling an investigation and prosecution of Businessperson 1.

It is virtually certain that the FBI asked Weiss to pursue whether any leads had been missed in 2020, not whether Joe and Hunter Biden had been unfairly framed. That’s because Weiss cannot — should never have — led an investigation into how the Bidens were framed. He’s a witness in that investigation. 

So it is almost certain that the FBI decided to reopen the investigation into the FD-1023, perhaps based in part on Bill Barr’s false claims. It is almost certain that this investigation, at that point, targeted Joe and Hunter Biden. It is almost certain that this is one thing Weiss used to rationalize asking for Special Counsel authority.

And that’s probably why, when Weiss’ team interviewed Smirnov on September 27, Smirnov felt comfortable adding new false allegations.

51. The Defendant also shared a new story with investigators. He wanted them to look into whether Businessperson 1 was recorded in a hotel in Kiev called the Premier Palace. The Defendant told investigators that the entire Premier Palace Hotel is “wired” and under the control of the Russians. The Defendant claimed that Businessperson 1 went to the hotel many times and that he had seen video footage of Businessperson 1 entering the Premier Palace Hotel.

52. The Defendant suggested that investigators check to see if Businessperson 1 made telephone calls from the Premier Palace Hotel since those calls would have been recorded by the Russians. The Defendant claimed to have obtained this information a month earlier by calling a high-level official in a foreign country. The Defendant also claimed to have learned this information from four different Russian officials.

Smirnov seemingly felt safe telling new, even bigger lies. In his mind, Hunter and Joe were still the target! Again, that is consistent with the investigation into Hunter Biden being reopened based off Bill Barr’s public pressure.

According to the Smirnov indictment, David Weiss’ team found evidence that proves Bill Barr lied and Scott Brady created a false misimpression — the former, to pressure him — Weiss — and the latter, in testimony to Congress that was also part of the pressure campaign against the Bidens.

Compare Bill Barr’s claim made on the day when Weiss agreed that Hunter would face no further charges with what the Smirnov indictment states as fact. The Smirnov indictment says that Scott Brady’s office closed the assessment, with the concurrence of David Bowdich and Richard Donoghue, which is what Jamie Raskin said (though Raskin said Barr himself concurred).

40. By August 2020, FBI Pittsburgh concluded that all reasonable steps had been completed regarding the Defendant’s allegations and that their assessment, 58A-PG-3250958, should be closed. On August 12, 2020, FBI Pittsburgh was informed that the then-FBI Deputy Director and then-Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General of the United States concurred that it should be closed.

But Barr told the Federalist that it was not closed down, it was forwarded — by Richard Donoghue, days after the President yelled at Barr about this investigation (though he didn’t say that) — to David Weiss for more investigation.

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.”

Had it been forwarded to David Weiss for more investigation, had he taken those additional investigative steps Barr claims he was ordered to do, Weiss would have discovered right away the key things that proved Smirnov was lying, the claims that Scott Brady had claimed to investigate, the things that the Smirnov indictment suggest he newly discovered months ago.

According to Scott Brady’s testimony to Congress, his team asked Smirnov’s handler about things like travel records and claimed that it was consistent.

Mr. Brady. So we attempted to use opensource material to check against what was stated in the 1023. We also interfaced with the CHS’ handler about certain statements relating to travel and meetings to see if they were consistent with his or her understanding.

Q And did you determine if the information was consistent with the handler’s understanding?

A What we were able to identify, we found that it was consistent. And so we felt that there were sufficient indicia of credibility in this 1023 to pass it on to an office that had a predicated grand jury investigation. [my emphasis]

According to the Smirnov indictment, Weiss’ team asked the handler the same question — about travel records. Only, they discovered that Smirnov’s travel records were inconsistent with the claims the handler himself recorded in the FD-1023.

43. On August 29, 2023, FBI investigators spoke with the Handler in reference to the 2020 1023. During that conversation, the Handler indicated that he and the Defendant had reviewed the 2020 1023 following its public release by members of Congress in July 2023, and the Defendant reaffirmed the accuracy of the statements contained in it.

44. The Handler provided investigators with messages he had with the Defendant, including the ones described above. Additionally, the Handler identified and reviewed with the Defendant travel records associated with both Associate 2 and the Defendant. The travel records were inconsistent with what the Defendant had previously told the Handler that was memorialized in the 2020 1023.

Tellingly, when Brady was asked more specific questions about Smirnov’s travel records, his attorney, former Trump-appointed Massachusetts US Attorney Andrew Lelling, advised him, twice, not to answer.

Q And did you determine that the CHS had traveled to the different countries listed in the 1023?

Mr. Lelling. I would decline to answer that.


Q The pages aren’t numbered, but if you count from the first page, the fourth page, the first full paragraph states, following the late June 2020 interview with the CHS, the Pittsburgh FBI Office obtained travel records for the CHS, and those records confirmed the CHS had traveled to the locales detailed in the FD1023 during the relevant time period. The trips included a late 2015 or early 2016 visit to Kiev, Ukraine, a trip a couple months later to Vienna, Austria, and travel to London in 2019. Does this kind of match your recollection of what actions the Pittsburgh FBI Office was taking in regards to this.

Mr. Lelling. Don’t answer that. Too specific a level of detail

Q You had mentioned last hour about travel records.

Did your office obtain travel records, or did you have knowledge that the Pittsburgh FBI Office obtained travel records?

Mr. Lelling. That you can answer yes or no.

Mr. Brady. Yes.

If Brady obtained those travel records, he would have discovered what Weiss did: Neither Smirnov’s travel records nor those of his subsource, Alexander Ostapenko, are consistent with the story Smirnov told.

o. Associate 2’s trip to Kiev in September 2017 was the first time he had left North America since 2011. Thus, he could not have attended a meeting in Kiev, as the Defendant claimed, in late 2015 or 2016, during the Obama-Biden Administration. His trip to Ukraine in September 2017 was more than seven months after Public Official 1 had left office and more than a year after the then-Ukrainian Prosecutor General had been fired.


34. Further, the Defendant did not travel to Vienna “around the time [Public Official 1] made a public statement about [the thenUkrainian Prosecutor General] being corrupt, and that he should be fired/removed from office,” which occurred in December 2015.

Paragraph after paragraph of the Smirnov indictment describe how the travel records — the very travel records that the handler and Scott Brady claimed corroborated the allegation — proved Smirnov was lying.

The record is quite clear that Bill Barr and Scott Brady made false representations about activities that directly involved David Weiss in 2020.

And yet Weiss has been playing dumb.

Abbe Lowell made a subpoena request and a discovery request relating to these matters on November 15. Lowell not only laid out this scheme in his selective and vindictive prosecution claim, but he cited the Federalist story in which Barr lied. He cited these matters in his discovery request.

Rather than acknowledging that Weiss’ team had discovered evidence that proved the claims of Barr and Brady were misrepresentations, Weiss’ team lied about the extent of Richard Donoghue’s role — documented in a memo shared by Gary Shapley — in forcing Weiss to accept the FD-1023 on October 23, 2022.

Next, defendant alleges that “certain investigative decisions were made as a result of guidance provided by, among others, the Deputy Attorney General’s office.” ECF 58, at 3 n.4. In fact, the source cited revealed that the guidance was simply not to conduct any “proactive interviews” yet.

And now, on the eve of Abbe Lowell submitting a reply on his motion to compel and a selective prosecution and discovery request in California, David Weiss has unveiled a belated indictment proving that Lowell’s allegations were entirely correct. The indictment may well provide excuse to withhold precisely the discovery materials Lowell has been demanding for months, and it may create the illusion that Barr’s pressure led Weiss to renege on a plea deal. But it is a confession that there was an attempt to frame Joe Biden and his son in 2020.

What David Weiss discovered — if he didn’t already know about it — is that he was part of an effort to frame Joe Biden in 2020, an effort that involved the Attorney General of the United States. If Merrick Garland is going to appoint Special Counsels for these kinds of things, one should be appointed here, especially given that Donoghue required the briefing on the FD-1023 days after Trump personally intervened with Bill Barr.

But David Weiss can’t lead that investigation. He’s a witness to that investigation.

Update: Fixed how long it took Weiss to renege on the deal after Bill Barr’s false claim.

See Hunter Biden’s Eight Legal Chessboards for links to all the filings.

Hearing Footsteps: The Paper Trail of Political Interference David Weiss Is Trying to Bury

Update: Given confusion mentioned in comments, I thought I’d do another handy dandy chart to describe the motions to dismiss, like I did for Trump’s. This post addresses the MTD Selective Vindictive Separation of Powers. 

Abbe Lowell’s motion to dismiss the gun charges against Hunter Biden for selective and vindictive prosecution and violation of separation of powers only asks for discovery in passing.

Often, MTDs for selective prosecution are requests for discovery. For comparison, in a bid to argue that Jan6er David Judd was charged more harshly than Portland rioters, his excellent public defender, Elizabeth Mullin, conceded that she did not yet have proof he was treated worse because he was a Trump supporter, but then asked for six specific things to prove the case.

Mr. Judd does not yet contend the allegations below are sufficient for dismissal of the charges against him. However, they are sufficient for the Court to compel specific discovery regarding disparities in charging decisions.


(1) Communication between the Department of Justice (“Main Justice”) and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon regarding prosecution of defendants arrested in connection with protests in 2020.

(2) Communication between management at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon and line Assistant U.S. Attorneys regarding prosecution of defendants arrested in connection with protests in 2020.

(3) Communication between the Department of Justice (“Main Justice”) and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia regarding prosecution of defendants arrested in connection with the January 6 demonstrations at the U.S. Capitol.

(4) Communication between management at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and line Assistant U.S. Attorneys regarding prosecution of defendants arrested in connection with the January 6 demonstrations at the U.S. Capitol.

(5) Communication between the Department of Justice (“Main Justice”) and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia regarding prosecution of the D.C. Fireworks Defendant.

(6) Communication between management at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and line Assistant U.S. Attorneys regarding prosecution of the D.C. Fireworks Defendant.

Mullin’s bid didn’t work. Judge Trevor McFadden ruled that January 6 was different than Portland — though he did use her argument to treat Jan6ers leniently at sentencing.

Compare that statement with this one, from page 50 of Abbe Lowell’s 60-page selective and vindictive MTD, where he asserts that this is the exceptional case where a defendant can prove vindictive prosecution without discovery.

Cases where a defendant can show actual vindictiveness without discovery may be few and far between, but this is surely one.

Lowell closes the entire brief with a similar statement, footnoted with the assertion that, “Were there to be any doubt at all, the basis for discovery and an evidentiary hearing has well been established.”

“[O]ur society is not bettered by law enforcement that. . . is not conducted in a spirit of fairness or good faith.” Banks, 383 F. Supp. at 397. This prosecution falls in that category, and the Court should dismiss the indictment. 109

109 As stated through this and the other motions to dismiss, the record available to the Court supporting dismissal is extraordinary. Were there to be any doubt at all, the basis for discovery and an evidentiary hearing has well been established.

This argument — that if Hunter Biden hasn’t met his burden for outright dismissal, then surely he should be granted discovery — is four other times relegated to a footnote.

One such footnote appears in a passage purporting to lay out the legal standards that govern this issue, in which Lowell cites a bunch of precedents from other circuits about dismissal in case of selective, vindictive, or separation of powers violations.

When a prosecution is selective, vindictive, or violates separation of powers, the tainted charges must be dismissed. See id. at 700 (“Preservation of this system of checks and balances requires the courts to invalidate actions that. . . undermine the authority and independence of one or another coordinate Branch.”) (citations omitted); In re Aiken Cnty., 725 F.3d 255, 264 n.7 (D.C. Cir. 2013) (“If the Executive selectively prosecutes someone based on impermissible considerations, the equal protection remedy is to dismiss the prosecution . . . .”).42

42 Where a defendant has not carried his burden, but has demonstrated a “colorable claim,” discovery and an evidentiary hearing should be permitted. United States v. Heidecke, 900 F.2d 1155, 1159 (7th Cir. 1990); United States v. Jones, 159 F.3d 969, 978, n.8 (6th Cir. 1998) (granting discovery to give the defendant “the opportunity to move to dismiss the indictment” for selective prosecution). See Mr. Biden’s Discovery Mot (filed concurrently). [my emphasis]

Armstrong, the precedent making it almost impossible for a defendant to get discovery, the one that Principal Senior Assistant Special Counsel Leo Wise cited 48 times in his bid to defeat subpoenas, does not appear in this section (though it does appear in several other places and in the discovery motion).

As this footnote does, two other such footnotes specifically cite a motion for discovery and evidentiary hearing filed the same day. In those other two instances, Lowell cites the line in this NYT article describing that David Weiss told an associate that he preferred not to bring any charges because the average American would not be charged for these crimes.

[T]he New York Times reported that “Mr. Weiss told an associate that he preferred not to bring any charges, even misdemeanors, against Mr. Biden because the average American would not be prosecuted for similar offenses.” 9

9 Michael Schmidt et al., Inside The Collapse Of Hunter Biden’s Plea Deal, N.Y. Times (Aug. 19, 2023), The article does not disclose the source. The account is most likely true considering the charging statistics, DOJ enforcement policies described below, and Mr. Weiss’s initial reluctance in prosecuting Mr. Biden on this charge. If it is true, it is extremely damning evidence of discriminatory prosecution. Thus, to the extent there is any doubt, the Court should grant Mr. Biden’s request for discovery and an evidentiary hearing. See Mr. Biden’s Discovery Mot. (filed concurrently).


DOJ confirmed its own improper motive when, under fire from Congress and the public, it resorted to a rarely used gun charge that reports indicate Special Counsel Weiss himself admitted would not have been brought against the average American.85

85 Michael S. Schmidt et al., Inside The Collapse Of Hunter Biden’s Plea Deal, N.Y. Times (Aug. 19, 2023), As noted above, the article does not disclose the source, and to the extent there is any doubt about the veracity of the claim, the Court should grant Mr. Biden’s request for discovery and an evidentiary hearing. See Mr. Biden’s Motion for Discovery and an Evidentiary Hearing (filed concurrently). [my emphasis]

I have repeatedly predicted we’d see this language in Hunter’s selective prosecution motion, because it provides what virtually no defendant ever has: proof that the prosecutor himself recognized he was selectively prosecuting a defendant.

If Lowell can find these witnesses — experts on gun crimes who said Hunter was charged only because he was prominent and a Weiss associate whom Weiss purportedly told he knew that average Americans would not be prosecuted for such crimes –and get them to testify, then he would have what virtually no other defendant would: Proof that the prosecutor who brought the charge knew that similarly situated defendants would not be charged, but charged the defendant anyway.

But I assumed the proof that David Weiss had said that would require witness testimony.

Perhaps it doesn’t.

Consider that the last instance (in this filing) where Lowell relegates a request for discovery and an evidentiary hearing to a footnote, he makes an assertion — that DOJ has long believed that Hunter’s rights must take precedence over efforts by Trump to interfere in this prosecution — that he does not cite.

But as DOJ itself has long believed, Mr. Biden’s rights must come first and efforts by members of Congress and the former President to interfere have tainted this prosecution beyond purification. As a result, there is no constitutional option but to dismiss this case.40

40 If the Court has any doubt that the material set out in this motion is sufficient to warrant outright dismissal of these charges, it should permit discovery and conduct an evidentiary hearing. Mr. Biden has already sought discovery from DOJ and information from third-parties with knowledge of former President Trump’s influence, and DOJ has not responded to the requests and filed an opposition for this information to be disclosed. [my emphasis]

To be sure, we know that David Weiss’ investigative team, led by Lesley Wolf, made repeated efforts — not always successful — to shield the investigative team from Trump’s efforts to interfere.

For example, Tim Thibault told the House Judiciary Committee that one reason he shut down Peter Schweizer as a source was because then-Supervisory Special Agent Joe Gordon reached out, insinuating they already had laptop-based evidence, and said that if a case against Hunter Biden ever went to trial and Hunter’s attorneys found the FD-1023 from Schweizer that the Washington Field Office had shared with the Hunter team, it would give Hunter’s attorneys ammunition.

A And then fast-forward to sometime in October, I received an unsolicited call —

Q Uh-huh.

A — from the supervisor of the Hunter Biden case. I knew him because he had been assigned to Washington Field Office as the case agent.


A And I said: Okay. What are your concerns? And basically said: Look, the information isn’t of any value to us, number one. My — I deduced from everything he said that they already had the information —

Q Uh-huh.

A — from some other source, some other channel, maybe not a human source but some other channel. He also said that that person was politically connected —

Q Uh-huh.

A — and partisan in his view and he was concerned about the source being on media platforms.


A So I was getting a call from this supervisor. And my — my takeaway was we don’t need your source reporting and also: Why are you sending a file to our — to our case file that we didn’t know about? Right? So Washington Field Office wrote this 1023 and it went to headquarters and it went to Baltimore.


A I understand you don’t need the reporting anymore. I understand that if this goes to trial, Hunter Biden’s attorney —

Q Uh-huh?

A — could have some ammunition.

Regarding that very same laptop, Gary Shapley complained to Congress that Weiss’ office had prevented Joseph Ziegler from seeing a report addressing the “quality and completeness of imaged/recovered information from the hard drive.”

Ziegler himself complained that he hadn’t been able to interview Tony Bobulinski — the guy whom Donald Trump personally hosted at an election debate and who subsequently had a clandestine meeting with Trump’s chief of staff — because, prosecutors told him, Bobulinski, “was not viewed as a credible witness.”

In investigative team meetings that occurred after this, I can recall that agents on the investigative team brought up on multiple occasions to the assigned prosecutors that they wanted to do an interview of Bobulinski with the assigned case agents. I can recall being told that they would think about it and then ultimately being told there was no need for the team to interview Bobulinski and that Bobulinski was not viewed as a credible witness.

And Scott Brady not only confirmed Gary Shapley’s claim that Lesley Wolf repeatedly refused to be briefed by Scott Brady’s team because she didn’t want dirt from Rudy Giuliani, but also that David Weiss had to — and did — intervene before Wolf would share information about her investigation with Brady.

Okay. So, looking at paragraph four on page 2, as it continues onto page 2, the second full sentence, it says: The prosecution team discussed the Hunter Biden related work of the Pittsburgh USAO on several occasions, as it was a line item on the recurring prosecution team’s call agenda for a long period of time. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lesley Wolf told us the Pittsburgh USAO and U.S. Attorney Scott Brady requested to brief the Delaware USAO’s Hunter Biden’s investigative team on multiple occasions, but they were turned down by AUSA Wolf and the Delaware USAO. Is it accurate that you had requested multiple times, you or your office, to brief the Delaware U.S. Attorney’s Office?

A Yes.


Chairman Jordan. Got it. Got it. Now, also, based on what you said, throughout the process, you said that the Delaware U.S. Attorney’s Office wasn’t willing to cooperate, so much so that you had to send interrogatories?

Mr. Brady. Yes, we had conversations, asked for communication and a flow of information, mostly one way from us to them, but also, as I testified, we wanted to make sure we weren’t duplicating what they were doing. They would not engage. And so finally, after me calling Mr. Weiss and saying can you please talk to your team, this is important, this is why we want to interact with them, the response that we got back is you can submit your questions to our team in written form, which we did.

This is an important instance where, at least per Scott Brady, Lesley Wolf was attempting to prevent the politicization of the case, but David Weiss overruled her.

Finally, Shapley also provided documentation of his own complaint that, “This investigation has been hampered and artificially slowed by various claims of potential election meddling.”

There are abundant examples where Lesley Wolf attempted to shield the investigative team from Trump’s efforts to intervene. Lowell cites none of them, nor other public evidence, such as Ziegler’s testimony that there were emails (probably his original supervisor’s memorialization of Trump’s improper influence). Instead, he asserts without citation that DOJ has long believed that Hunter’s rights must come first.

I’m mindful that, in the exhibits accompanying his motion to dismiss because the diversion immunizes Hunter Biden from further charges, Lowell also didn’t include the bulk of documentation that NYT and Politico appear to have relied on for stories about how the plea deal collapsed.

That is, it’s possible that one of the documents that NYT received records someone — possibly Wolf — sharing with Chris Clark the explanation that Weiss really wanted to avoid any charges, even misdemeanors. If Abbe Lowell has that document, he’s playing coy.

Indeed, that’s an important dynamic in the motion for discovery and an evidentiary hearing. In a footnote (footnote six in this post), it purports to support both the selective and vindictive motion and the immunity one.

1 To the extent the Special Counsel disputes the facts laid out in Mr. Biden’s Motion to Dismiss the Indictment Based on Immunity Conferred By His Diversion Agreement and the Declaration of Christoper Clark (his former counsel), filed contemporaneously, as noted in that Motion at Note 1, an evidentiary hearing where all the participants to the negotiations (including U.S. Attorney David Weiss) should be held on that motion as well.

The footnote it cites in the immunity motion (footnote seven) asks Judge Maryanne Noreika, if she needs more proof regarding the immunity conferred by the diversion agreement, to include David Weiss (and “responsible members of his prosecution team,” which would include Wolf) among the witnesses.

If the Court believes that parol evidence should be considered, Mr. Biden requests an evidentiary hearing in which all participants in the negotiation of the Diversion Agreement, including Mr. Weiss and the responsible members of his prosecution team, can be called as witnesses to address the extensive recapitulation provided in Mr. Clark’s Declaration.

Even in the discovery motion, Lowell doesn’t provide a list of things like the one that David Judd’s attorney included in hers.

Instead, he simply points to the October 8 and November 15 discovery requests he already made and describes that Weiss’ team responded with silence.

On October 8, 2023 and November 15, 2023, as well as in follow-up correspondence on November 15, Mr. Biden wrote to the prosecution with tailored and enumerated discovery requests, many of which are routine in a criminal defense case such as this one. 2 The October 8 requests included customary Rule 16 discovery requests and 19 specific requests under Brady, Agurs, Giglio, and the Fifth Amendment, Rule 26/Jencks Act and similar requests. These requests have largely been met with silence and will be the subject of a motion to compel should this case proceed. However, the November 15, 2023 requests as well as the motion for Rule 17 subpoenas filed that same day seek information bearing directly on the issues addressed in the motions to dismiss filed concurrently herewith—selective and vindictive prosecution, political interference, and separation of powers concerns. The prosecution has not responded to or addressed these requests by Mr. Biden in any fashion. During a meet and confer phone call on December 1, 2023, Mr. Biden’s counsel even asked Messrs. Wise and Hines for a status update of the prosecution’s discovery, and specifically whether the government intended to make any additional productions in the near-term or respond to our various discovery request letters, to which Mr. Hines responded that the government would “let the discovery stand for itself.”3 [my emphasis]

The November 15 discovery request is similar to the subpoena request from the same day (which Lowell invokes in footnote 3), though it includes any communications discussing an investigation of Hunter that involve Geoffrey Berman as well.

1. All documents and records reflecting communications from January 20, 2017 to the present (the “Relevant Time Period”) to, from, between, or among Donald J. Trump, William P. Barr, Geoffrey Berman, Scott W. Brady, Richard Donoghue, or Jeffrey A. Rosen relating to or discussing any formal or informal investigation or prosecution of Hunter Biden, or a request thereof.

2. All documents and records reflecting communications from the Relevant Time Period to, from, between, or among Donald J. Trump, William P. Barr, Geoffrey Berman, Scott W. Brady, Richard Donoghue, or Jeffrey A. Rosen and any Executive Branch official, political appointee, Department of Justice official, government agency, government official or staff person, cabinet member, or attorney for President Trump (personal or other) discussing or concerning Hunter Biden.

SDNY investigated both Hunter and James Biden as part of their investigation into Patrick Ho and Gal Luft, so there may be communications between Berman and Weiss on that topic. Berman’s investigation of Lev Parnas would have covered the October 2019 meeting at which Parnas believed he’d receive laptop-based dirt from a Burisma associate. Plus, Berman would have been told to stand down on Rudy Giuliani’s December 5, 2019 meeting with Andrii Derkach, in deference to Richard Donoghue. His book describes that those discussions were quite heated.

The October 8 request is — as Lowell claims — more conventional (at least on its face). It asks for the evidence Weiss has about Hunter’s addiction. It asks for affidavits in support of warrants. And some of that — a request for communications on the drafting of the plea agreement and stats on prosecutions of these gun charges — definitely would support Lowell’s motions to dismiss.

There are unsurprising additions, such as any communications regarding leaks to the press, including through cut-outs (which is how I think the October 6, 2022 leak happened).

Any documents and/or information reflecting communications between anyone in your Office or any member of the investigative team or their supervisors (including FBI and IRS agents) with any member of the press or public concerning the investigation, and any documents and/or information reflecting leaks of information concerning the investigation or prosecution of Mr. Biden to the press, any private person, or any government official or employee who was not authorized to receive such disclosure.

Sure, this likely aims to discover whether Shapley and Ziegler had any role, including through cut-outs, in the leaks in this case. But as I noted in my post on that NYT story, there are several claims in it attributed to a “senior law enforcement official with knowledge of the situation” who claimed to have knowledge of things only David Weiss would know.

Then there are things that look innocuous, but might be particularly problematic for Weiss. Given my suggestion above that there may be documentation of a claim that Weiss told an associate he didn’t want to charge Hunter at all, a collection of all the communications anyone in his office had with lawyers for Hunter might pose hazards for this prosecution.

Any documents and/or information reflecting communications between anyone in your Office and any attorney representing Mr. Biden from the onset of the investigation to June 20, 2023.

Normally, when someone takes over a case from a prior defense attorney, they usually get the case file from their predecessor. Lowell would be expected to ask Clark for this. But there are at least two other sets of lawyers who would have been involved (including an investigative interview with George Mesires), which would justify this request. Complying with this request would involve Principal Senior Assistant Special Counsel Leo Wise seeing communications that David Weiss may have attempted to use him to sheep dip from this prosecution.

Then there’s a request for 302s.

A. Any draft FBI-302s, FD-1023s or interview memoranda describing such interviews.

B. Any requests by investigating agents or members of the Department of Justice to edit, revise, or otherwise change the content of any 302 or interview memorandum

This would include the FD-1023s from Peter Schweizer and the Zlochevsky informant, the 302 from Luft, as well as the draft 302 from Tony Bobulinski (and any record that DOJ intervened to prevent its completion), at least three of which Wolf attempted to keep from investigators.

Weiss may be imaging he can withhold these based on a claim that the gun charge doesn’t implicate these documents pertaining to politicized witnesses, and normally he’d be right. Except Judge Noreika already permitted Jason Smith to file an amicus, including protected grand jury materials, based in part on the argument that this has gotten so much publicity already. Plus, in both Jack Smith’s prosecutions of the former President and the serial treatment of Mike Flynn, there is arguably support for sharing such information (I asked Weiss’ spox if his team would adhere to the discovery approaches in those cases and got no response whatsoever to my question).

Finally, there are communications with Congress.

Any documents and/or information reflecting communications between any Member of Congress, Committee or Subcommittee of Congress, or congressional staff and any person at the U.S. Department of Justice, including your Office, concerning the investigation or prosecution of Mr. Biden, including the decision to bring any particular charges.

This would include the letter, cited in the selective MTD, that Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson sent in 2021 regarding any gun charges against Hunter.

It would include the many letters sent to Merrick Garland.

It would also include the transcripts of the many interviews — including Brady, Thibault, from Lesley Wolf last week, and from Weiss himself — Jim Jordan did. At least some of those were shared with DOJ for an accuracy review. And in Weiss’ transcript, he made a claim that has already been rebutted in Chris Clark’s declaration, in which he described Weiss’ First AUSA saying there was no ongoing investigation into Hunter Biden.

This is an area where the Jack Smith precedent may be pertinent: in a response to Trump’s demand to subpoena Congress (which Lowell doesn’t do), Thomas Windom revealed that Smith shared 260 January 6 Committee transcripts with Trump. Jim Jordan has spent five months quizzing almost every member of the Hunter Biden investigative team about whether there was political interference on this case, which seems to make it relevant for any litigation about Congress’ usurpation of David Weiss’ role.

Normally, none of this would be discoverable and Principal Senior Assistant Special Counsel Leo Wise is likely to come back and say it is Jencks, which only will be relevant if these witnesses testify.

As I keep saying, normally none of this goes anywhere. I am assuredly not saying this will work.

What I am trying to lay out is that Lowell is going about via different tactics, in part by arguing this known proof of political interference is Brady (Brady about Brady!), not just evidence of selective prosecution hidden behind 48 invocations of Armstrong.

If Lowell prevails with his argument — his strongest argument, in my opinion — that Hunter is immune from prosecution on the gun charges, none of this may matter (until Lowell makes the same argument in Los Angeles, before a different Trump appointed judge). But once you get into the argument about improper influence on this case, David Weiss might begin to hear footsteps.

Garanimals in a SCIF: David Weiss’ Attempt to Sheep Dip Bill Barr’s Hunter Biden Prosecution

On July 11, 2023, David Weiss’ First AUSA Shannon Hanson responded to an inquiry from Judge Maryanne Noreika’s courtroom deputy, Mark Buckson. He wanted to know when “the final versions of the documents” pertaining to the Hunter Biden plea deal would be completed. Hanson responded within five minutes. Before she explained that she didn’t know when they’d have the final documents, but hoped to have them to Judge Noreika by Thursday (so July 13), she described that, “I will be speaking with the team later today (I understand they are in a secure location and cannot readily be contacted at the moment.”

Hanson was describing “the team” — she had cc’ed Delaware AUSA Benjamin Wallace and Baltimore AUSAs Leo Wise and Derek Hines — as something of which she was not a part. And she was describing that team as being in a SCIF.

Hunter Biden’s attorneys included the email with their motion to dismiss based on an argument that the diversion agreement Hunter signed prohibits the indictment charging him with three gun charges. The email shows that the final documents filed with the court on July 20, by Wallace, had just one change from the version submitted on June 8, by Hanson. Wallace explained:

The parties and Probation have agreed to revisions to the diversion agreement to more closely match the conditions of pretrial release that Probation recommended in the pretrial services report issued yesterday.

Hunter’s team submitted it to show that, following the Probation Office’s recommendation of Hunter for diversion on July 19, the parties submitted it as a finished agreement.

This motion makes a strong argument that the government entered into an agreement with Hunter for which he sacrificed his rights — including by allocuting to the facts regarding the gun purchase — and therefore must honor the contractual protections it offered to get Hunter to sacrifice those rights.

Indeed, in a footnote it goes further than that: it argues that because the immunity agreement language was in the gun diversion, all the charges tied to the informations that were before Noreika are barred, including the tax charges filed in California.

7 Although the only charges now before the Court are the gun charges in the prosecution’s lone Indictment of Mr. Biden in this District, Mr. Biden notes that the sweeping immunity of the Diversion Agreement would seem to bar any plausible charge that could be brought against him (including the recently filed tax charges in California). The only charges that are not be barred by the immunity provision are those filed in the pre-existing Informations filed against him in this District. The Diversion Agreement called for the eventual dismissal of the gun charge Information upon the conclusion of the diversion period, but the prosecution already has dismissed it. Although the Plea Agreement was not accepted on the misdemeanor tax charge Information, the prosecution has dismissed that Information as well. Consequently, the Diversion Agreement’s immunity for gun and tax-related charges would bar any similar charge from now being filed. This sweeping immunity may make it difficult for the prosecutors to appease Mr. Trump and the Republican congressmen who have criticized them, but this is the deal that the prosecutors made and it reflects their choice to place the immunity provision in the Diversion Agreement.

I’m less certain that’ll fly, but it’s a hint of where things are headed in California.

That’s what the documents show with regards to the motion to dismiss, which I’ve always said is probably Hunter’s best argument to have the indictment dismissed.

But the documents are as interesting for what they show of David Weiss’ attempt to sheep dip this prosecution — to give it a virgin birth under the direction of now-Principal Senior Assistant Special Counsel Leo Wise or, as Joseph Ziegler’s attorney described it when he invited the disgruntled IRS agent to explain how irreplaceable he was, to replace one Garanimal with another.

Mr. Zerbe. I want to make sure — you made one point. I think you need to clarify it for him. He asked if the case is going forward. I think for everybody here, explain though that it’s not just kind of Garanimals where they can swap you in and out. Talk about, you not being on the case, you have to put somebody in new, but kind of how that impacts. I just want you to understand that.

Mr. [Ziegler]. So what’s frustrating — and I think it’s obvious is he removed two of the people who have been challenging and been kind of like this is the — we’re trying to do the right thing, we’re trying to do the right thing. And it was kind of like we got loud enough, and they found an avenue to remove us. I have been told by so many people on this case that we’re where we are today because of my work. It’s 5 years of an investigation. You can’t just pick up that and move it onto someone else. And if they removed all the prosecutors, DOJ Tax, and had a brand-new team, I would understand that completely if that’s the decision that they made. But they just removed us.

Ziegler made that comment on June 1. And he was right, at that point — as he sat in a room making claims about Lesley Wolf’s conduct that documents he himself released almost four months later would substantially debunk — that “they” had not yet “removed all the prosecutors.” But they would, within days.

As Chris Clark described in his declaration describing plea negotiations, that same day, June 1, Lesley Wolf invited Clark to come to the US Attorney’s Office the next day to work on the plea agreement, in part so they could share language with David Weiss in real time.

20. On June 1, 2023, AUSA Wolf sent me an email inviting me to meet at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Wilmington on June 2 to work together on the agreements’ specific language and provisions. The idea was for the AUSAs and defense counsel to be in the same room with access to U.S. Attorney Weiss, so that the terms could be worked out. A true and correct copy of AUSA Wolf’s June 1, 2023, email to Chris Clark is attached hereto as Exhibit H.

21. On June 2, 2023, co-counsel Matthew Salerno and I went to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Wilmington, where the USAO presented us with its draft of a new Diversion Agreement, along with a draft Plea Agreement. This was the first time that we had seen the USAO’s draft Agreements. Each draft Agreement was accompanied by a broad and lengthy Statement of Facts, each of which had been drafted solely by the USAO in advance of the June 2 meeting. At this meeting, AUSA Wolf expressed the view that it was in Mr. Biden’s interest to have broad Statements of Facts included because the scope of immunity (under Paragraph 15 of the Diversion Agreement) would be tied to the Statements of Facts. The Agreement included a more limited immunity provision than I had discussed with AUSA Wolf or that Mr. Biden would accept. Among the revisions, during or shortly after that June 2 meeting, references to tax liability for years 2016 and 2019 were specifically added to the Plea Agreement’s Statement of Facts.

22. The AUSAs and we took turns working on the specific language of each Agreement—with AUSA Wolf running the changes by Office leadership, including U.S. Attorney Weiss. No final agreement was reached that day, and the meeting concluded with the AUSAs agreeing that the USAO would work on composing acceptable language on an immunity provision.

23. That same evening (Friday June 2), at or around 9:43 PM EST, I emailed AUSA Wolf, copying my co-counsel, and proposed one revision to Paragraph 15 of the Diversion Agreement (the provision governing immunity): that Paragraph 15 provide that “The United States agrees not to criminally prosecute Biden, outside the terms of this Agreement, for any federal crimes arising from the conduct generally described in the attached Statement of Facts (attachment A) and the Statement of Facts attached as Exhibit 1 to the Memorandum of Plea Agreement filed this same day.” (Emphasis added.) In the email, I advised AUSA Wolf that it was “very critical for us” that the Diversion Agreement include “[t]his language or its functional equivalent.” A true and correct copy of Chris Clark’s June 2, 2023, email to AUSA Wolf, copying co-counsel, is attached hereto as Exhibit I. [emphasis original]

Wolf was still on the team when — after Clark spoke with Weiss directly on June 6 about the importance of protecting Hunter from any further legal exposure — she sent Clark new language seemingly addressing Clark’s concerns about the immunity language.

28. After extensive discussion with AUSA Wolf in which she repeatedly stated that U.S. Attorney Weiss was unwilling to revise the language of the Agreement’s immunity provision, I conveyed that if this language could not be revised, we would not have a deal and that it was the most important term in the Agreement that Mr. Biden get finality. Accordingly, I requested to speak directly with U.S. Attorney Weiss, whom I was told was the person deciding the issues of the Agreement. Later that afternoon, on June 6, 2023, I spoke directly with U.S. Attorney Weiss. During that call, I conveyed to U.S. Attorney Weiss that the Agreement’s immunity provision must ensure Mr. Biden that there would be finality and closure of this investigation, as I had conveyed repeatedly to AUSA Wolf during our negotiations. I further conveyed to U.S. Attorney Weiss that this provision was a deal-breaker. I noted that U.S. Attorney Weiss had changed the deal several times heretofore, and that I simply could not have this issue be yet another one which Mr. Biden had to compromise. The U.S. Attorney asked me what the problem was with the proposed language, and I explained that the immunity provision must protect Mr. Biden from any future prosecution by a new U.S. Attorney in a different administration. The U.S. Attorney considered the proposal and stated that he would get back to me promptly.

29. Later that same evening on June 6, 2023, at or around 5:47 PM EST, AUSA Wolf emailed me proposed language for the immunity provision that read: “How about this- The United States agrees not to criminally prosecute Biden, outside of the terms of this Agreement, for any federal crimes encompassed by the attached Statement of Facts (Attachment A) and the Statement of Facts attached as Exhibit 1 to the Memorandum of Plea Agreement filed this same day.” (Emphasis in original.) After speaking with Mr. Biden, I responded to AUSA Wolf that the language she sent me “works” and is suitable for Mr. Biden as well, at which point the Parties had a deal. A true and correct and correct copy of AUSA Wolf’s June 6, 2023, email to Chris Clark is attached hereto as Exhibit K. [all emphasis in Clark’s declaration]

And Wolf was still on the team on June 8, the day when the documents were first filed with the court.

That is, Wolf was still on the team when Jim Jordan and Bill Barr had already intervened in the case.

Wolf was still on the prosecutorial team — and negotiating a plea deal that would have ruled out FARA charges — on June 7.

That’s the same day Weiss sent the first response, to a May 25 letter Jim Jordan sent Merrick Garland about the IRS agents’ complaints of being removed from the investigation. In it, he cited Rod Rosenstein’s explanation to Chuck Grassley in 2018 how congressional interference might politicize an investigation (in that case, the Mueller investigation).

The information sought by the Committee concerns an open matter about which the Department is not at liberty to respond. As then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wrote in 2018 in response to a request for information from the Honorable Charles Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary:

Congressional inquiries during the pendency of a matter pose an inherent threat to the integrity of the Department’s law enforcement and litigation functions. Such inquiries inescapably create the risk that the public and the courts will perceive undue political and Congressional influence over law enforcement and litigation decision.


Weiss might claim that he replaced Wolf with Wise and in the process had Wise reassess the prior prosecutorial decisions. But, given the date of that letter, there was never a moment he had done so before the political pressure started. David Weiss cannot claim he did so before being pressured by Jim Jordan.

And Jordan’s letter wasn’t the only political pressure. On the same day that Weiss said he couldn’t share information — the likes of which Shapley had already started sharing — because it might politicize an ongoing investigation, Bill Barr (one of the people Lowell wants to subpoena) publicly intervened in the case, insisting the FD-1023 recording Mykola Zlochevsky making a new allegation of bribery had been a live investigative lead when it was shared with Weiss in October 2020, the FD-1023 Weiss specifically said he could not address because it was part of an ongoing investigation.

On a day when Lesley Wolf remained on the case, both Jordan and Barr had already intervened. And because there was never a time that Weiss had replaced Wolf with Wise before the political pressure started, there was little time he had done so before the physical threats followed the political pressure.

But June 8 — the day the plea deal first got shared with the court — was the last day that Lesley Wolf shows up in Clark’s timeline.

She wasn’t removed for misconduct. In his testimony to the House Judiciary Committee, Weiss agreed that Wolf, “did her work on the Hunter Biden matter in a professional and unbiased manner without partisan or political considerations.” He said,

I believe she did. As I said, she served the Department for more than 16 years, and I believe her to be a prosecutor with integrity.

But per Michael Batdorf, she was, nevertheless, replaced.

On June 19, Principal Senior Assistant Special Counsel Leo Wise made his first appearance. Joseph Ziegler, a disgruntled IRS agent spreading false hearsay claims, succeeded in getting Wolf replaced.

That same day, June 19, Hanson requested that Clark modify the statement he was going to release. But, in a phone call, she told him that there was no pending investigation against Hunter Biden.

35. On June 19, 2023, at 2:53 PM EST, after I had a phone call with AUSA Hanson indicating I would do so, I emailed AUSA Hanson a proposed press statement to accompany the public release of both Informations that read, in part, “I can confirm that the five-year long, extensive federal investigation into my client, Hunter Biden, has been concluded through agreements with the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware.” (Emphases added.) A true and correct copy of Chris Clark’s June 19, 2023, email to AUSA Hanson is attached hereto as Exhibit P.

36. Shortly after that email, I had another phone call with AUSA Hanson, during which AUSA Hanson requested that the language of Mr. Biden’s press statement be slightly revised. She proposed saying that the investigation would be “resolved” rather than “concluded.” I then asked her directly whether there was any other open or pending investigation of Mr. Biden overseen by the Delaware U.S. Attorney’s Office, and she responded there was not another open or pending investigation. Thereafter, at 4:18 PM EST that day, I sent AUSA Hanson a revised statement that read: “With the announcement of two agreements between my client, Hunter Biden, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware, it is my understanding that the five-year investigation into Hunter is resolved.” (Emphases added.) The new statement revised the language from “concluded” to “resolved,” a stylistic change that meant the same thing. A true and correct copy of Chris Clark’s June 19, 2023, email to AUSA Hanson is attached hereto as Exhibit Q [Clark’s italics, my bold]

I hope to hell Clark has notes of that conversation, because the assertion that there was no pending investigation of Hunter Biden on June 19 directly conflicts with a claim that David Weiss made to the House Judiciary Committee.

On November 7, David Weiss repeated a claim his office made when they first announced the deal: that it was ongoing. “I can say that at no time was it coming to a close,” Weiss told the House Judiciary Committee. “I think, as I stated in the one statement I made at the time … the investigation was continuing. So it wasn’t ending there in any event.”

That is, Weiss’ First AUSA, Shannon Hanson, allegedly told Clark something that directly conflicts with something Weiss said to Congress.

That may be why Abbe Lowell, while arguing that no hearing is necessary to dismiss the indictment based on the contract that existed between the government and Hunter Biden, said that if Judge Noreika thinks she does need a hearing, then to please have David Weiss prepared to testify as a witness.

If the Court believes that parol evidence should be considered, Mr. Biden requests an evidentiary hearing in which all participants in the negotiation of the Diversion Agreement, including Mr. Weiss and the responsible members of his prosecution team, can be called as witnesses to address the extensive recapitulation provided in Mr. Clark’s Declaration.

It’s going to be a lot harder for Weiss to claim that US Attorneys-turned-Special Counsels can’t testify when he was willing to testify to Congress.

This is undoubtedly why Lowell asked to be able to subpoena Bill Barr’s communications, through the present, about the Hunter Biden investigation — a version of which he made in formal discovery as well (Lowell also noted Barr’s recent comments on the investigation in the selective and vindictive prosecution MTD). Because Bill Barr intervened in this case before such time as Wolf was apparently removed and replaced by Principal Senior Assistant Special Counsel Leo Wise. Barr intervened publicly, and given Wise’s concerns about DOJ materials in the possession of former DOJ employees in his response to that subpoena request, it seems acutely likely that Weiss recognizes that Barr intervened in a way that shared privileged information.

Likewise, specific regulations govern the disclosure of DOJ materials in the possession of former DOJ employees, and the government is unable to assess the applicability or propriety of disclosure without identification of the specific documents. See 28 C.F.R. § 16.26 (outlining considerations governing appropriateness of disclosure); see generally 28 C.F.R. pt. 16, subpt. B (proscribing Touhy regulations for disclosure of official materials, including those held by former DOJ employees); United States ex rel. Touhy v. Ragen, 340 U.S. 462 (1951). Only once those materials are specifically identified can the government assess the appropriateness of disclosure, including whether such materials are privileged

Worse still, per Weiss’ testimony in November, this effort to mine the investigation into Mykola Zlochevsky that Barr personally orchestrated remains ongoing — or remained ongoing until such time, CNN recently reported, as it closed the investigation into Zlochevsky’s changed statements about the Bidens around the same time DOJ’s criminal investigation into him was closed down by Bill Barr’s DOJ.

When Steve Castor asked about the FD-1023 that, per Chuck Grassley, was the result of Scott Brady’s effort to mine the recently closed Zlochevsky investigation, David Weiss responded that it was part of an ongoing investigation.

Q Are you familiar — let’s mark this as the next exhibit — with an FD-1023 dated June 30, 2020, summarizing a confidential human sources meeting with Burisma executives during which they discussed bribes allegedly paid to Joe Biden and Hunter Biden?

A I’m sorry. What was your question about this document?

Q Are you familiar with this?

A I’m not going to comment on that. I appreciate your question, but it concerns a matter that is subject to an outstanding investigation. It’s something that I absolutely cannot comment on either way. [my emphasis]

This is why I’m interested in Hanson’s description that “the team” was in the SCIF on July 11. Wise and Hynes are — or were, until getting their big promotion to Senior Assistant Special Counsels — Baltimore AUSAs. There’s no reason for them to be in SCIF together with Wallace except on the Hunter Biden case. There is no conceivable classified information in the two Hunter Biden indictments (one, two).

But on July 10 — the day before Hanson said “the team” was in a SCIF — Weiss told Lindsey Graham that the FD-1023 was part of an ongoing investigation. And on November 7, Weiss told Steve Castor that it was part of an ongoing investigation.

And the possibility of a FARA charge is what Leo Wise used on July 26 to blow up an investigation that — as of June 19 — was done.

There is a good deal of reason to believe that David Weiss used the effort Bill Barr set up four years ago to launder dirt from Russian spies into the Hunter Biden investigation as an excuse, after private citizen Barr had intervened in this investigation, to reopen the investigation after Republicans demanded it.


Motion to dismiss because the diversion agreement prohibits the gun charges

David Weiss’ FBI FARA Headfake to Create a Hunter Biden Tax Mulligan

Last week, CNN reported that the President’s brother, James Biden, is among some number of people who have received a grand jury subpoena for ongoing investigations into Hunter Biden. The investigative steps are unsurprising. As I noted, David Weiss spoke with Los Angeles US Attorney Martin Estrada on September 19 of this year about something that “goes to an ongoing investigation.”

According to materials released by Joseph Ziegler, the IRS interviewed James Biden on September 29, 2022, the last interview in the investigation before the failed plea deal. He was asked about a range of topics: a payment he received from Owasco before he was working with them, his and Hunter’s interactions with CEFC, Hunter’s relationship with Kevin Morris, and about several dodgy people whom Hunter paid in 2018 — payments he wrote off on his taxes. Prosecutors had discussed at least two of those people with Hunter’s legal team during the summer in 2022.

James Biden’s September 2022 interview was voluntary, suggesting investigators obtained any documents discussed in the interview — all but two of which appear to predate April 2019, and so might be among the non-Google materials that investigators first obtained from the laptop provided by John Paul Mac Isaac — via other means, including the laptop and warrants obtained downstream of the laptop. Again, any Google content is an exception to this; it appears the IRS obtained the first Google warrant for Hunter’s Rosemont Seneca account before getting the laptop, but it also appears that the government did not obtain things normally available in a Google warrant–such as attachments and calendar notices–with that warrant and so instead relied on the laptop.

As CNN describes, thus far the subpoenas seek documents; it’s unclear whether anyone (besides someone from the new IRS team put on the case after Weiss removed Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler) has or will testify in person. There are certainly documents that the IRS didn’t seem to have in last year’s interview with James Biden, such as details of his trips to California in 2018 to try to save his nephew from the throes of addiction.

But it’s also possible Weiss is using subpoenas to obtain records that otherwise would be tainted by the laptop.

When Estrada testified to the House Judiciary Committee about the recommendations about this case his senior prosecutors made in three different reports, recommendations he adopted and conveyed to Weiss in a call on October 19, 2022, he referenced Justice Manual rules. “We look at whether a Federal offense has been committed and whether we believe that there is admissible evidence sufficient to prove to an unbiased trier of fact that an individual has committed an offense beyond a reasonable doubt.” So the quality of evidence obtained in this investigation could be one reason Estrada’s career prosecutors advised him not to partner on this case.

The details about a renewed investigation into Hunter Biden are not surprising — Estrada’s testimony already suggested as much.

More interesting, however, is CNN’s report that the FBI has completed its part of the investigation, pertaining to FARA and money laundering, and expects no charges.

The FBI, which oversaw the money laundering and FARA portions of the investigation, concluded its findings and didn’t anticipate charges to emerge from those allegations, people briefed on the matter told CNN.

That’s important because potential FARA charges are the reason why this case didn’t end in a plea in July — or at least, the excuse David Weiss and his sheep-dipped prosecutor, Leo Wise, referenced to sustain a claim that the investigation was ongoing.

On July 10, in the wake of a Republican uproar about the Hunter Biden plea deal and public comments from Bill Barr about the FD-1023, Weiss told Lindsey Graham that the allegations of bribery Mykola Zlochevsky made, after outreach from Rudy Giuliani and sometime around when Bill Barr’s DOJ dropped their investigation of him, “relate to an ongoing investigation.” That was probably the second clue that Hunter’s legal team got that the investigation they believed had concluded remained (re)open — the first being Weiss’ press release on the charges on June 20. And in the failed July 26 plea hearing, a potential FARA charge is the specific criminal exposure Leo Wise raised which led Hunter to plead not guilty to a deal significantly negotiated by Delaware AUSA Lesley Wolf.

THE COURT: All right. So there are references to foreign companies, for example, in the facts section.

Could the government bring a charge under the Foreign Agents Registration Act?

MR. WISE: Yes.

THE COURT: I’m trying to figure out if there is a meeting of the minds here and I’m not sure that this provision isn’t part of the Plea Agreement and so that’s why I’m asking.

MR. CLARK: Your Honor, the Plea Agreement —

THE COURT: I need you to answer my question if you can. Is there a meeting of the minds on that one?

MR. CLARK: As stated by the government just now, I don’t agree with what the government said.

THE COURT: So I mean, these are contracts. To be enforceable, there has to be a meeting of the minds. So what do we do now?

MR. WISE: Then there is no deal.

Leo Wise refused to agree that FARA charges were off the table, even though — if you believe Abbe Lowell’s version of events — Lesley Wolf led Hunter’s team to understand, weeks earlier, that FARA charges were off the table. And based on that, Hunter refused to plead guilty.

That’s what gave David Weiss the opportunity to ask to be made Special Counsel: a claim, made after he had already filed tax and a gun charge on June 20, that he was still pursuing an investigation tied to the FD-1023, which would be bribery and money laundering. That’s what led to the three felony gun charges for owning a gun for 11 days in 2018. And that’s what led to a renewed investigation in Los Angeles. And now, David Weiss is using a Los Angeles grand jury to obtain evidence from James Biden that he didn’t think he needed a year ago.

That potential FARA charge is the excuse Weiss used to limit a deal his office had entered into a month earlier. And now, less than two months into any new investigative focus in Los Angeles, CNN says the evidence doesn’t support FARA charges. That’s not surprising. Joseph Ziegler and Gary Shapley released numerous documents showing Weiss’ team discarded various FARA theories months and years ago (though a CEFC theory was still active as of July 2022).

But it means, at least per CNN, the rationale Weiss and Wise used to sustain the investigation proved short-lived.

That’s important background to Hunter Biden’s request for subpoenas for Trump and others in advance of pretrial motions that Hunter Biden will likely file next month, which I will discuss in more length in a follow-up. Contrary to what some smart commentators, like Popehat, have repeatedly argued, there’s no reason to believe Biden is pursuing this “to develop more evidence that Trump people have it in for him that he can use in future prosecutions,” if Trump returns to the presidency.

Indeed, Abbe Lowell said these subpoenas are, “relevant and material to a fundamental aspect of issues in his defense that will be addressed in pre-trial motions.”

Lowell further explained he needs the subpoenas to figure out whether Weiss’ “change of heart” regarding charges was a “response to political pressure.”

From a Fifth Amendment perspective, it is essential for Mr. Biden to know whether anyone improperly discussed, encouraged, endorsed, or requested an investigation or prosecution of him, and to whom and under what circumstances. The information sought would demonstrate that fact. This is especially true in light of the fact that no new evidence related to these charges emerged between June 20 (when the plea deal was first presented to the Court) and July 26 (when the prosecution reneged on its deal), and in fact only more favorable case law on this issue has developed since then.18 Thus, the prosecution’s change of heart appears to be in response to political pressure, rather than anything newly discovered in the investigation of Mr. Biden. Because such evidence, only some of which has been disclosed already, would tend to undermine the prosecution’s allegation that this case was free from any political inference and was not of a selective or vindictive nature, Mr. Biden’s requests are relevant and material under the requirements of Rule 17(c). [my emphasis]

I imagine that if David Weiss is ever forced to explain what led to the head fake with the plea, he will claim that it had to do with the way he tried to sheep dip the investigation after he decided to charge the case even in spite of Shapley and Ziegler’s efforts to force the issue.

Last December, according to IRS Director of Field Operations Michael Batdorf’s September 12 testimony, Batdorf and Darrell Waldon made the decision to remove Shapley and Ziegler from the Hunter Biden investigation. They didn’t implement it, though, until May, after and because Weiss decided he would charge the case, at which point the IRS assigned a completely new team.

Having an objective set of eyes — complete objective set of eyes on the case where the new investigative team came in and the case is good, the evidence is good, that was something that we just said, let’s — we removed the cooperating revenue agent that was doing tax calculations. We just got an entire new investigative team in there.


My concern was the opposite, that if they remained on the case, the case would not go forward


It was my interpretation from the phone conversation that we had in December [with Weiss] that there were concerns with the investigation and investigative team, and adding up all those concerns, so having a harder time jumping over that, you know, moving forward with this prosecution.

He never specifically stated that we had to remove the investigative team. He stated that he does not control IRS resources, and he understands that. But part of the concern of moving forward was our investigative team.


There was no more investigative activities to take. We can get this to prosecution with a new investigative team.

Partly, this may have just been an effort to avoid having to provide Jencks material, some of which Ziegler and Shapley have since already provided Congress. Even last year, Weiss recognized that Ziegler couldn’t present the revenue assessments at trial that he has spent months sharing with Congress. With a new IRS team, Weiss has secured witnesses who can take the stand without requiring that Weiss share documentation of an obsession with charging Hunter Biden and, frankly, of including his father in the investigation.

It may also be an attempt to insulate any charges from a claim that a law enforcement official found by his supervisor to be making, “unsubstantiated allegations [about Weiss] of motive, intent, and bias” had forced a prosecutor’s decision. After which Shapley and Ziegler have spent months trying to do just that!

But it may not have been just the IRS team. Batdorf described that there had also been a change in AUSA, which would include Lesley Wolf, around the same time.

A It’s my understanding that there had been a change in the AUSA, the prosecution team.

Q And when was the change made? Do you know?

A I believe that was made in roughly — I think it was May or June of this year when we decided to move forward with the investigation.

When staffers asked FBI Special Agent in Charge Thomas Sobocinski in his September 7 interview the same question, he wasn’t sure whether that was true or not. “I don’t know that your statement is factually correct,” Sobocinski responded to an investigator asking why she had been taken off pleadings.

What Sobocinski did know, however, was that Lesley Wolf had received threats. It’s “fair” to say that “she may have concerns for her own safety,” Sobocinski agreed.

Weiss might argue that once Leo Wise took over as AUSA — if that’s what happened — then Weiss left prosecutorial decisions to Wise as a way to insulate charges from claims (made by the IRS agents trying to force more serious charges) that Wolf was biased.

The problem with that is that, on June 7, Lesley Wolf sent out what appears to be the final language on the immunity agreement tied to the plea deal.

Over the course of a few more emails, lawyers on both sides kept line-editing the deal. And on June 7, Wolf sent Clark a version that included the final language shielding Biden from future charges. The language is technical, but it would have immense consequences. Here it is in full:

“The United States agrees not to criminally prosecute Biden, outside of the terms of this Agreement, for any federal crimes encompassed by the attached Statement of Facts (Attachment A) and the Statement of Facts attached as Exhibit 1 to the Memorandum of Plea Agreement filed this same day. This Agreement does not provide any protection against prosecution for any future conduct by Biden or by any of his affiliated businesses.”

The language refers to two different statements of facts; one would accompany the guilty plea and the other would accompany the pretrial diversion agreement. Together, the two statements included substantial detail about the first son’s business dealings and drug use. The statements highlighted his time on the boards of a scandal-dogged Ukrainian energy company and a Chinese private equity fund, as well as his business venture with the head of a Chinese energy conglomerate. Wolf included those statements in her June 7 email.

Wolf was still on the prosecutorial team — and negotiating a plea deal that would have ruled out FARA charges — on June 7.

That’s the same day Weiss sent the first response, to a May 25 letter Jim Jordan sent Merrick Garland about the IRS agents’ complaints of being removed from the investigation. In it, he cited Rod Rosenstein’s explanation to Chuck Grassley in 2018 how congressional interference might politicize an investigation (in that case, the Mueller investigation).

The information sought by the Committee concerns an open matter about which the Department is not at liberty to respond. As then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wrote in 2018 in response to a request for information from the Honorable Charles Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary:

Congressional inquiries during the pendency of a matter pose an inherent threat to the integrity of the Department’s law enforcement and litigation functions. Such inquiries inescapably create the risk that the public and the courts will perceive undue political and Congressional influence over law enforcement and litigation decision.

Less than two months after telling Grassley to butt out, or the public would believe the Mueller investigation faced undue political influence, Rosenstein would grovel to keep his job, assuring President Trump he could “land the plane.” In practice, the reference was not exactly a guarantee of prosecutorial independence, but if Weiss hoped Jordan would understand that, the all-star wrestler didn’t take the hint that corn farmer Grassley took to heart.

Weiss might claim that he replaced Wolf with Wise and in the process had Wise reassess the prior prosecutorial decisions. But, given the date of that letter, there was never a moment he had done so before the political pressure started. David Weiss cannot claim he did so before being pressured by Jim Jordan.

And Jordan’s letter wasn’t the only political pressure. On the same day that Weiss said he couldn’t share information — the likes of which Shapley had already started sharing — because it might politicize an ongoing investigation, Bill Barr (one of the people Lowell wants to subpoena) publicly intervened in the case, insisting the FD-1023 recording Mykola Zlochevsky making a new allegation of bribery had been a live investigative lead when it was shared with Weiss in October 2020, the FD-1023 Weiss specifically said he could not address because it was part of an ongoing investigation.

On a day when Lesley Wolf remained on the case, both Jordan and Barr had already intervened. And because there was never a time that Weiss had replaced Wolf with Wise before the political pressure started, there was little time he had done so before the physical threats followed the political pressure.

In fact, when Congressional staffers asked Sobocinski whether he and David Weiss spoke about Shapley and Ziegler’s testimony after it went public on the day the plea deal was announced, Sobocinski described that both agreed that Shapley’s testimony would have an effect on the case. “We both acknowledged that it was there and that it would have had it had an impact on our case.” But that effect was, to a significant extent for Sobocinski, about the threats that not just investigators, but also their family members, were getting.

I am solely focused on two things, and they’re not mutually exclusive. The first thing is, like every investigation, I want to get to a resolution in a fair, apolitical way. The second thing, and it’s becoming more important and more relevant, is keeping my folks safe. And the part that I never expected is keeping their families safe. So that, for me, is becoming more and more of a job that I have to do and take away from what I was what I signed up to do, which was investigate and do those things. So when you talk about potential frustrations with communication, I am personally frustrated with anything that places my employees and their families in enhanced danger. Our children, their children didn’t sign up for this.

In Weiss’ testimony to HJC, he described threats too. But unlike Sobocinski, he may not have pointed to the effect Shapley’s now debunked claims had in eliciting them.

Weiss said people working on the case have faced significant threats and harassment, and that family members of people in his office have been doxed.

“I have safety concerns for everybody who has worked on the case,” he said.

He added that he doesn’t know what motivates the people who have threatened his team.

“I’ve certainly received messages, calls, emails from folks who have not been completely enamored of my — with my role in this case,” he added, noting that he is also concerned for his family’s safety.

Weiss’ testimony that he wasn’t sure what motivated the people who threatened his team may not help him insulate his case, because Shapley’s testimony likely wasn’t the only likely source of threats.

Among the things Lowell cited in his request for subpoenas were the four Truth Social posts Trump made between the plea deal first was posted and the day the plea failed, one of which criticized Weiss by name and called for Hunter Biden’s death.

Trump Truth Social posts on June 20, 2023:

  • “Wow! The corrupt Biden DOJ just cleared up hundreds of years of criminal liability by giving Hunter Biden a mere ‘traffic ticket.’ Our system is BROKEN!”

Trump Truth Social post on July 11, 2023:

“Weiss is a COWARD, a smaller version of Bill Barr, who never had the courage to do what everyone knows should have been done. He gave out a traffic ticket instead of a death sentence. Because of the two Democrat Senators in Delaware, they got to choose and/or approve him. Maybe the judge presiding will have the courage and intellect to break up this cesspool of crime. The collusion and corruption is beyond description. TWO TIERS OF JUSTICE!”9 [my emphasis]

There is, thanks in significant part to Jim Jordan, abundant documentation that between the time Lesley Wolf first sent out language seemingly promising Hunter Biden he would not be charged with FARA and the time Leo Wise told Judge Maryanne Noreika that he still could be, Republicans started pressuring David Weiss about his decisions. Thanks to Jordan, there are also multiple witnesses who have described that between the time Lesley Wolf shared immunity language and the time when — Abbe Lowell claims — David Weiss reneged on that language, the investigative team started having to fend off credible threats, not just to themselves, but also their family members.

To be sure, between the time Hunter’s lawyers made clear they planned to argue Weiss reneged on a deal and the time Lowell asked for subpoenas, in part, “possibly as impeachment of a trial witness,” Weiss testified that he always planned on continuing the investigation.

At the time, Biden’s lawyers signaled that the deal meant the Justice Department’s probe of the president’s son was over. But, according to Weiss, the investigation hadn’t ended at that point.

“I can say that at no time was it coming to a close,” he said. “I think, as I stated in the one statement I made at the time, the investigation was continuing. So it wasn’t ending there in any event.”

Yet according to CNN, two months after Weiss spoke to Estrada, seemingly to renew investigative activity in Los Angeles, any FARA investigation has ended. Instead, Weiss appears to be conducting new investigative steps in the tax case, investigative steps that started a week after IRS’ head of Field Operations testified that he understood “there was no more investigative activities to take.”

Both David Weiss and Leo Wise have publicly suggested that the ongoing investigation which Weiss insisted to Congress had always been planned was FARA or bribery related. That claim seems to have served no other purpose than to have given themselves a chance to reconsider tax charges both once claimed could be settled with misdemeanor charges.

Update: Batdorf link corrected.

“JIM IS COMING FOR YOU:” Aspiring Speaker Jordan’s Stochastic Lynching as Oversight


Because the way Capitol Hill beats work, the prospect of a vote that could put Jim Jordan second in line to the Presidency has focused on horserace.

To be sure, given the narrow margins and the historic incapability of Republican men to count votes, the horserace will be determinative. For example, to succeed, Jordan would not only have to win the support of most of the 55 people who voted against him last week in a secret ballot where he had no challenger, but if only 205 Republicans vote — as reportedly happened in that poll — then Hakeem Jeffries would be elected Speaker with the 212 Democrats expected to show up and vote for him.

But almost no reporting has focused on how catastrophic a Jordan Speakership would be — the earliest death knells of democracy that the election of Trump, which a Jordan Speakership would primarily serve, would guarantee.

What reporting there has been has focused on Jordan’s role, 30 months ago, in Trump’s attempted coup, which the January 6 Committee summarized this way:

Representative Jordan was a significant player in President Trump’s efforts. He participated in numerous post-election meetings in which senior White House officials, Rudolph Giuliani, and others, discussed strategies for challenging the election, chief among them claims that the election had been tainted by fraud. On January 2, 2021, Representative Jordan led a conference call in which he, President Trump, and other Members of Congress discussed strategies for delaying the January 6th joint session. During that call, the group also discussed issuing social media posts encouraging President Trump’s supporters to “march to the Capitol” on the 6th.661 An hour and a half later, President Trump and Representative Jordan spoke by phone for 18 minutes.662 The day before January 6th, Representative Jordan texted Mark Meadows, passing along advice that Vice President Pence should “call out all the electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all.” 663 He spoke with President Trump by phone at least twice on January 6th, though he has provided inconsistent public statements about how many times they spoke and what they discussed.664 He also received five calls from Rudolph Giuliani that evening, and the two connected at least twice, at 7:33 p.m. and 7:49 p.m.665 During that time, Giuliani has testified, he was attempting to reach Members of Congress after the joint session resumed to encourage them to continue objecting to Joe Biden’s electoral votes.666 And, in the days followingJanuary 6th, Representative Jordan spoke with White House staff about the prospect of Presidential pardons for Members of Congress.667

To be sure, in his role in the attack, Jordan exhibited utter contempt for democracy.

But what has gotten less attention is the degree to which Jordan has used his position chairing the Judiciary Committee and Weaponization Committee to serve the longer slow-moving attack on democracy.

A Jordan Speakership would undoubtedly escalate Jordan’s assault on rule of law generally and any prosecution of Donald Trump specifically. It would likely directly (by platforming Russian disinformation) and indirectly (by undermining further US aid) help Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Both would make it more likely Trump would win the 2024 election.

Indeed, that’s a telling aspect of Matt Gaetz’ comments when he first announced his (ultimately successful) attempt to depose Kevin McCarthy. Gaetz repeatedly complained that the House hadn’t yet subpoenaed Hunter Biden, and demanded that Republicans use “the power of the purse” to,

zero out the salaries of the bureaucrats who have broken bad, targeted President Trump, or cut sweetheart deals for Hunter Biden.


Joe Biden deserves impeachment for converting the Vice Presidency into an ATM machine for virtually his entire family.

At least for Gaetz (who might well be rewarded with a gavel in a key committee, were Jordan to succeed), this is about shutting down investigations into Trump and fabricating investigations into Biden from the fumes of five year old dick pics.

There’s a specific aspect of Jordan’s actions, however, that deserves more attention in advance of tomorrow’s scheduled public vote: The degree to which Jordan has used the power of his gavel to engage in the same kind of stochastic terrorism that Trump uses to enforce his will.

I’ve already noted how the Gary Shapley media tour (in which Jordan cooperated with James Comer and Jason Smith) ended up getting the team of investigators, including ones still pursuing indictments of Hunter Biden, targeted. As Thomas Sobocinski — who continues to oversee FBI agents investigating Hunter Biden — explained in testimony in early September, the family members of his own team have been followed and AUSA Lesley Wolf has faced specific threats.

[T]his is affecting my employees. I now have FBI employees that names are out there. I have FBI employees and former FBI retired agents who’ve served for 20plus years whose parents are getting phone calls, whose photos with their girlfriends, who their children who are being followed. That is not something that we were prepared for, and I was concerned about having that continue or expand to other one of my employees.


[W]ithout going into specifics, my office and the FBI have done things and initiated things to ensure that [Lesley Wolf] remains safe.

Again, some of these people are currently trying to indict Hunter Biden, and they’re getting swarmed by a mob teed up by Republican efforts.

In the recent Matthew Graves testimony, Graves repeatedly refused to name the members of his team because he knew the transcript would be made public, resulting in threats against prosecutors, on top of the ones DC prosecutors have already faced.

What I can tell you is, I’ve unfortunately had way too many instances of documents getting into the public domain that have our prosecutors’ names in them and me receiving what we call urgent reports about security concerns because of threatening or harassing behavior that they’re receiving … and that we’ve had to take steps for a number of people in our office to mitigate the risk.

Nevertheless, Jordan persisted, to his very last question to include those names in this transcript (I assume he’ll send out letters under their names, as he has with others involved in these investigations).

In the Tim Thibault interview, in which it became clear over time that Republicans had ruined the career and reputation of the guy who had led investigations into two Democratic members of Congress and single-handedly opened an investigation, in 2016, into the Clinton Foundation off of Clinton Cash based off the unsubstantiated claims of others trying to get payback, Thibault described not just how he was targeted — for which he accepted a good deal of the blame on account of his social media posts — but how others were impugned by association.

[T]hose two agents that worked on the Tony Bobulinski EC, I’m aware that they received significant backlash for only doing their job. Why? Because of my social media conduct and Mr. Bobulinski thinking I was a bad agent, that put them in a bad spotlight. Those are the guys that are the victims, the true victims. And no one came and spoke on their behalf. Right? They — they’re just line agents doing their darn job.

As one Democratic staffer noted, though none of 18 sources for such claims to Jordan’s committees have offered any corroboration for the claims, Jordan and his staffers nevertheless continued to push the claims to the media. “[T]he public push or allegations that were being sort of repeated by this committee never stopped.” Jordan is cultivating rumors about the FBI and other agencies to foster retaliation campaigns in the media.

His actions with Fani Willis are perhaps most telling. Jordan first started tampering in Willis’ investigation in August, though — perhaps having learned his lesson when he similarly tampered in Alvin Bragg’s case — he has chosen to send letters rather than subpoenas.

As is the norm for Jordan, his claims are based on conspiracy theories from biased sources. His most recent letter for example, dated to September 27, sources his claim that “there are credible reports” that Willis coordinated with Jack Smith to two articles, one ten months old.

Finally, there are credible reports that your investigation and indictment was coordinated with the Department of Justice and Special Counsel Jack Smith. 30

30 Josh Gerstein, Prosecutor in Trump documents case has history pursuing prominent politicians, POLITICO (June 13, 2023); Jerry Dunleavy, Trump special counsel Jack Smith was involved in Lois Lerner IRS scandal, WASHINGTON EXAMINER (Nov. 25, 2022). [links added]

Not even the propaganda outlet, Washington Examiner, supports Jordan’s claim. Neither of those stories even mention either Willis or Georgia.

Notably, Jordan doesn’t note that in his September 12 interview — an interview conducted just over two weeks before he sent this letter — Thibault denied interacting with Willis’ team four times: “No, ma’am. … Never. … Never. … No, ma’am.” Jordan doesn’t note that this particular conspiracy theory — which, even if true, would be squarely within the expectation that state and federal law enforcement can cooperate and share information — has not been substantiated by a guy who would have had firsthand visibility (though, because of the delay in predicating an investigation against the fake electors, only on the earliest parts of the DC investigation; Jordan did not, publicly at least, ask Steve D’Antuono this question during his June interview).

A far more important detail from these letters is in Willis’ first reply, dated September 7 (which she resent as part of her recent response). After laying out constitutional reasons why Jordan shouldn’t get involved and referring him, as a non-member of the bar, to where he could information on Georgia’s RICO law, she provides ways that the House Judiciary Committee could more usefully spend their time, such as on funding for victim-witness advocates.

She then notes that Jordan should show more concern about the safety of people involved in the criminal justice system — precisely the kind of people that Jordan has instead sown threats against.

As it seems you have a personal interest in the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office, you should consider directing the USDOJ to investigate the racist threats that have come to my staff and me because of this investigation. For your information, I am attaching ten examples of threats this office has received. See Exhibits F through O. I am providing these examples to give you a window into what has happened to my staff and me as I keep the promise of my oath to the United States and Georgia Constitutions and do not allow myself to be bullied and threatened by Members of Congress, local elected officials, or others who believe lady justice should not be blind and that America has different laws for different citizens.

As noted, she included a number of the threats she and her office have received. We always hear about such threats, but only get to see what they include if they get charged.

The dripping racism of many of these threats is breathtaking.

Of particular interest are the two threats sent on the same day that Jordan first targeted Willis, on August 24, especially the one that echoes things Jordan included in his letter — such as the paragraph in which Jordan argues Willis should have charged this in 2021 and since she didn’t was obviously just trying to impact the election. Even more notably, this threat appears to invoke Jordan’s campaign against Willis explicitly.


This is, quite simply, the language of the lynch mob.

And if the taunt, “Jim is coming for you,” is, indeed, indication that the person who sent this threat had read Jordan’s earlier letter to Willis, it means it took just hours for Jordan’s threats, posing as oversight, to translate into violent racist threats against Willis, her daughter (in the other threat sent that day), and the entire city of Atlanta.

This is not new. Jordan has been sowing threats against Donald Trump’s enemies for years, since the focus on Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.

But even in his current position, Jordan is using his gavel as a means to tee up threats based on conspiracy theories, threats designed to make every single imagined opponent of Donald Trump worry about their careers, their safety, their life.

This week, Jordan will and already has been mobilizing similar mobs against his fellow Republican members of Congress in order to pursue even more power, an even bigger gavel.

Which is why all the stochastic threats Jordan has already mobilized deserve more attention.

Five Years Ago Today, Hunter Biden Bought a Gun

Yesterday, Judge Maryanne Noreika dismissed the gun-related Information against Hunter Biden, signed by Baltimore AUSA Leo Wise, that was filed on June 20, an Information tied to a diversion agreement that Leo Wise also signed.

At the arraignment on Hunter’s new charges — three charges replaced one — Magistrate Judge Christopher Burke reminded the Special Counsel’s team (Derek Hines had the speaking role at the arraignment, not Leo Wise) about the Information still on the docket.

Mr. Hines, one question on my end. The Indictment now obviously has been filed on the docket and that still has the prior felony information that was filed with regard to the prior gun charge back at the point where it was thought that there might be a plea. Did the Government intend to dismiss that charge?

MR. HINES: Yes, consistent with local practice, we intend to file a written motion within the next day.

THE COURT: Okay. And that will go to Judge Noreika and she will review that.

It took Leo Wise two tries — he forgot to sign the first motion to dismiss — but Weiss’ team did indeed move to dismiss the Information, and the docket identified the motion to dismiss that Noreika granted as the amended one, the one Leo Wise actually signed.

And so it was that on the last day off the fifth year after Hunter Biden purchased a gun, Judge Noreika dismissed one charge against him for doing so. Weiss’ team moved to dismiss the Information without prejudice to refiling it. But as of today, the statutes of limitation begin to expire on both that Information — charged under 18 USC 922(g)(3) and 18 USC 924(a)(2) — and the charges in the Indictment — which added charges under 18 USC 924(a)(1)(A) and 18 USC 922(a)(6) and 18 USC 924(a)(2), something Leo Wise noted at the failed plea hearing in July. Any charge tied to unlawful possession of that gun, as opposed to unlawful statements made during the purchase of the gun, will expire on October 23.

So, 9 days into the 30-day period during which Judge Burke gave Hunter’s team to file motions, things may begin to get interesting,

Since the failed plea, the two sides have been involved in a dance regarding whether the diversion agreement — which, as noted, Leo Wise signed on July 26 — remains binding on the government. Over and over, the government, with its evolving titles, has claimed it does not remain binding. Over and over, Hunter’s team preserves the record, insisting it does.

For example, when the government moved to vacate Judge Noreika’s briefing order with an August 11 filing — a motion signed by Leo Wise — claiming that, “there is no longer a plea agreement or diversion agreement,” Hunter’s lawyers responded two days later countering, “the parties have a valid and binding bilateral Diversion Agreement.” On August 15, DOJ filed a reply — signed by newly promoted Assistant Special Counsel Leo Wise — disputing Hunter’s claims, focusing not on whether Wise signed the diversion, but whether Judge Noreika approved the plea or Probation signed the diversion.

On September 6, in response to an order from Judge Noreika, DOJ filed a status update — once again signed by Leo Wise — stating (among other things) that the diversion had not been executed because, while it had been signed by Leo Wise, it had not been signed by Probation. Lowell responded — again, protecting the record — that the court had been provided an executed copy of the diversion agreement, the one signed by Leo Wise.

I don’t know who will win this dispute. I know that DOJ — in filings signed by Leo Wise — keeps saying that where the diversion agreement says “approval” in ¶¶ 1 and 2, it means approval by Probation, not the parties mentioned in ¶¶1 and 2. But from the moment DOJ first opened this docket — with a letter signed by Leo Wise — they referred to executed agreements that were signed that day.

I also know that DOJ keeps speaking of a plea agreement as it existed on July 26, not the agreement that DOJ entered into on some unspecified date in June before that, between which time and July 26, Leo Wise took over from Lesley Wolf and the scope of the immunity agreement started shrinking, one of two things that led the plea to fail on July 26.

At the arraignment last week, Lowell warned that several things were going to happen by or before November 3, when motions are due.

MR. LOWELL: Yes, a couple of things, Judge. First, I understand that Judge Noreika did advise the Government of their Brady obligations. I would want to talk to the Government about the overall discovery issues, especially with the thirty-day motions schedule. We would like to get discovery in the case obviously before we file the motions. We will talk to them. I don’t know that we’ll have any problems that we will need to bring for the Court’s attention, but we will see.

And second of all on those motions, I appreciate the date, I think we can conform to that based on the discovery perhaps, but I think there will be a number of motions which won’t be a surprise to Your Honor or to Judge Noreika, including motions to dismiss which we discussed during the last proceeding which would focus on our view that there was an agreement in effect which would prevent this charge from being filed as well as questioning the constitutionality of the statutes that have been cited and others depending on what happens. So that thirty days seems right, but we’ll talk to the Government.


MR. LOWELL: The only other thing that would maybe not change the schedule but would add to the schedule, is that at least one of those motions, I think given what we all know about this case, we will be making a request for an evidentiary hearing. [my emphasis]

Lowell said he:

  1. Wanted Brady and other discovery before he filed motions
  2. Would make a request for an evidentiary hearing
  3. Would file motions (plural) to dismiss, arguing:
    • The diversion agreement prohibits these charges
    • The gun charges are unconstitutional
    • “others depending on what happens”

As a threshold mattter, Lowell seems to believe he had not, by last Tuesday, received all the Brady discovery, even though Chris Clark agreed he had received it back in July. That is, Lowell believes the government has evidence that either exculpates Hunter (which is unlikely) or impeaches the investigation or prosecution that DOJ has not yet turned over.

It’s not a mystery what some of this is. In an August 13 appearance on CBS, Lowell described that if Weiss decided to file charges other than what got filed in June, something must have “infected” the process.

LOWELL: But you asked me whether or not that has been part of the investigation and after five years and what we know happened in the grand jury, of course that had to be part of what the prosecutor has already looked at, as well as every other false allegation made by the right wing media and others, whether it’s corruption or FARA, or money laundering. That was part of what this prosecutor’s office had to have been looking over for five years. I can assure you that five years concluded that the only two charges that made sense were two misdemeanors for failing to file like millions of Americans do, and a diverted gun charge for the 11 days that Hunter possessed a gun. Everything else had been thoroughly looked at. So is that possible that they’re going to revisit it? Let me answer it one way. If the now Special Counsel decides not to go by the deal, then it will mean that he or they decided that something other than the facts and the law are coming into play.


LOWELL: –Because I know we were a little rushed. So to answer your question squarely. People should keep in mind that while Mr. Weiss’ title changed last week, he’s the same person he’s been for the last five years. He’s a Republican U.S. attorney appointed by a Republican president and attorney general, who had career prosecutors working this case for five years, looking at every transaction that Hunter was involved in. So whether it was tax or the gun, or possible any other charge, if anything changes from his conclusion, which was two tax misdemeanors, and a diverted gun charge. The question should be asked: what infected the process that was not the facts and the law?

MARGARET BRENNAN: Or new evidence? I mean, are you confident your client won’t face new criminal charges?

LOWELL: I’m confident that if this prosecutor does what has been done for the last five years, look at the facts, the evidence and the law, then the only conclusion can be what the conclusion was on July 26. It’s new evidence, there’s no new evidence to be found. Some of these transactions are years old. They’ve had people in the Grand Jury, they’ve had data that was provided to them. I don’t know the possibility exists after this kind of painstaking investigation for them to be “oh, my gosh, there’s a new piece of evidence which changes.” The only thing that will change is the scrutiny on some of the charges, for example, the gun charge.

More spectacularly, in a September 14 appearance on CNN, after the gun charges were filed, Lowell casually mentioned that prosecutors, “don’t share their emails with me, at least as of yet.”

LOWELL: And that the only thing that changed, Erin, was not the facts and not the law, which has only gotten worse for law enforcement but the application of politics. If it turns out that they continue to escalate the charges, then that is an issue that should be explored.

BURNETT: Okay. So but you are saying that they would be doing that because they are under political pressure from Republicans, MAGA Republicans as you referred to them, in Congress.

LOWELL: Well, they don’t talk to me about their motives.


LOWELL: They don’t share their emails with me, at least as of yet. All can I do, as you as a good reporter does, is make connections. So, if they thought after five years this was appropriate and then the political pressure came and now they think this is appropriate and if it’s no change in the facts and no change in the law, then let me ask you as a journalist would ask, what changed? And I’m telling you, the only thing that’s changed is the politics.

That is, Lowell insinuated that he would demand emails from the prosecution team to understand what led them to (to use the phrase used in the first Hunter filing signed by Lowell) renege on a plea deal.

I have said repeatedly when covering this case and I’ll repeat again, defense attorneys make the kinds of claims that Lowell is making — raising selective prosecution claims and insisting they haven’t gotten Brady discovery, for example — all the time. Such claims usually don’t work. Mind you, you would always need to take those claims more seriously when dealing with someone like Lowell; he’s a formidable lawyer. But even still, selective prosecution claims almost never reach the bar required to get an evidentiary hearing and DOJ has a great deal of flexibility in how they fulfill their discovery obligations. Lowell is making incredibly aggressive claims here, especially the casual suggestion he might get prosecutors’ emails.

The Hunter Biden case is different though. It’s different because Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler have spent months making easily debunked claims about politicization in favor of Hunter Biden, even while disclosing the existence of evidence showing the opposite, improper political influence to investigate Hunter. And it’s different because James Comer and Jim Jordan and Jason Smith and the chief investigative counsel they all keep swapping between committees like a cheap date, Steve Castor, keep forcing one after another investigative witness to go on the record about this investigation.

Take just one example: the emails that Gary Shapley belatedly claimed he was a whistleblower to try to explain away because David Weiss’ team demanded them in discovery. Michael Batdorf — the Director of IRS-CI Field Operations who described that Shapley uniquely escalated things to him because he has, “a tendency to go to level like grade 7 five-alarm fire on everything,” also described that Shapley wasn’t a mere supervisor on this team, he was playing an investigative role.

He was taking investigative steps with the special agents. I mean, he was one of the team.

So it wasn’t just an agent involvement. It was the supervisor involvement. He was, again, taking those actions as if he was a working case agent. (97)

Batdorf provided this description to explain why it was reasonable to remove the entire IRS investigative team (which Batdorf also repeatedly said was not retaliation, undercutting yet more of Shapley’s claims). But it would also serve to explain why it was totally reasonable for Weiss to demand Shapley’s emails in discovery, first in March 2022 and then, after Shapley refused to turn them over, again in October 2022. Batdorf also revealed that Weiss had to and did go over his head to get Shapley’s emails. If it was reasonable to obtain Shapley’s emails for discovery — and Batdorf has explained why it was — then it would be reasonable for Hunter Biden to expect to get them.

Republicans’ frenzied dick pic sniffing has also provided clear evidence, both in the form of testimony about whether Shapley’s notes accurately reflect what happened on October 7, which multiple witnesses say they do not, and in notes that clearly conflict with what he typed up and sent in emails, to demand Shapley’s hand-written notes, in addition to his more formal memorializations.

Normally, evidence that Shapley has been biased or dishonest would only matter for any tax case Weiss attempts to charge down the road. Weiss has time yet under the statute of limitations for tax charges, allowing him to see how this gun charge will go down, and possibly allowing him to delay responding to precisely this kind of discovery request until after the gun charges are resolved.

Except that thanks to frothy Republicans, there is already evidence showing that Shapley’s media tour “infected” Weiss’ prosecutorial team before they made the decision to “renege” on a plea agreement and add additional felony gun charges against Hunter.

When asked by Steve Castor in an interview on September 7 how Shapley’s media tour was affecting the ongoing investigation (which Thomas Sobocinski continues to oversee), the FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Baltimore office described that the media tour, “is affecting my employees,” so much so that the children of retired FBI agents “are being followed.”

Castor later asked a question I’m sure Abbe Lowell would love to know the answer to: Why Lesley Wolf was taken off court filings. Sobocinski balked at answering, even questioning whether Castor’s premise was “factually correct.” But Democratic staffers followed up to ask whether Wolf has faced threats. Sobocinski responded that “my office and the FBI have done things and initiated things to ensure that she remains safe.”

In other words, Shapley made himself relevant to not just the tax charges but also to all charges from David Weiss’ office by setting off a media frenzy that led to credible threats that — Hunter’s attorneys can and undoubtedly will argue — may have led prosecutors to ratchet up the charges against Hunter.

It turns out, though, that it wasn’t just the threats Shapley elicited that affected Lesley Wolf’s involvement in the case. Just five days after Sobocinski’s interview, Batdorf was willing to answer that question.

Q And looking at the individuals who were working on the case outside of IRS, so looking at the AUSA, for instance, to your knowledge, was there any change in the personnel of the AUSA from when it started in 2018 to now? Has there been a change, or has it been generally the same career people working the case the entire time?

A It’s my understanding that there had been a change in the AUSA, the prosecution team.

Q And when was the change made? Do you know?

A I believe that it was made in roughly — I think it was May or June of this year when we decided to move forward with the investigation. (99)

According to Politico, Wolf remained involved in the plea negotiations at least as late as June 7. According to Batdorf, Weiss did ultimately remove her.

The process by which Weiss removed his own AUSAs from the prosecution team appears to have taken two steps. First, between June 7 and June 20, Leo Wise started signing things, including things that Lesley Wolf negotiated. While Wolf was never on the Hunter Biden docket, Delaware AUSA Benjamin Wallace was on early filings (and has not withdrawn from it). According to reports from the day, a number of Weiss’ prosecutors attended the scotched plea deal as well.

But since Weiss was named Special Counsel, just Wise and Hines have appeared on filings, using their new title, Assistant Special Counsel. In other words, it seems that Weiss may have belatedly — very, very belatedly — tried to create a prosecutorial clean team that might sustain charges against the President’s son.

Along the way, Wise made preposterous claims — such as that he was not aware of any leaked grand jury information — that suggest that on top of removing Wolf from the process, Weiss is serially attempting to sheep-dip the prosecution, to create a team unaffected by the bullshit that has gone on for five years, so as to create the illusion of apolitical, neutral prosecutorial decisions.

On a July 31, 2023, call, Assistant United States Atiomey Wise stated he was “not aware” of any leak of grand jury information by the Government during the courseof the Government’s investigation of our client. Such a statement was surprising given that Mr. Biden’s counsel have discussed such leaks with the Government on multiple occasions over the past two years and addressed these leaks in at least four prior letters and countless telephone calls with your Office.1 We incorporate by reference counsels’ prior correspondence on these issues, enclosed herewith as Exhibits A – D.

Not only does that ignore the press blitz Republicans have created, to which both Wise and jurors would have been exposed.

But at least in June, Leo Wise signed things negotiated by Lesley Wolf. You can’t claim that Wise represents a team isolated from the original investigative team if he was signing documents negotiated by Wolf.

That transition, from Wolf to Wise, is a central factual issue that would determine whether DOJ reneged on the terms of the plea agreement, as Hunter’s team insists DOJ did. That transition, from Wolf to Wise, will significantly determine whether that diversion agreement really does remain binding — meaning the indictment already charged would need to be dismissed, with statutes of limitation expired even for an Information to backstop any diversion agreement that remained in place.

Again, normally defendants would never get access to such details. Normally defendants would never contemplate, as Lowell did publicly, getting prosecutors’ emails.

But Jim Jordan and James Comer and Steve Castor have been jumping through hoops providing Lowell cause to do just that.

And so, on the fifth anniversary of the day when Hunter Biden purchased a gun, things may start to get interesting.

Update: Hunter’s attorneys have filed a consent motion to extend deadlines, with Hunter’s initial motions deadline extended to December 11 (provided Judge Noreika approves).

The parties in the above-captioned case have conferred, and respectfully submit the following proposed modified briefing schedule for all pretrial motions: (a) the defendant’s pretrial motions to be filed by December 11, 2023; (b) the government’s oppositions/responses to be filed by January 16, 2024; and (c) the defendant’s replies to be filed by January 30, 2024. The parties will be prepared to argue the motions, if the Court so directs, following completion of all briefing. This proposed schedule excludes deadlines for motions regarding jury selection, discovery, and motions in limine (which can be scheduled at a later time once a trial date is determined).

The Timeline of the Hunter Biden Investigation Doesn’t Support Attacks on Lesley Wolf

Self-imagined IRS whistleblowers, Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler, continue to engage in an information campaign that not only hasn’t provided real evidence for impeachment, but also must be creating real difficulties for David Weiss as he attempts to charge the tax case against Hunter Biden.

The House Ways and Means Committee released a slew of documents provided by the IRS Agents the other day in advance of Thursday’s Impeachment Clown Show. Below, I’ve laid out just the documents pertaining to the investigation (that is, the purported topic of their whistleblower complaint), along with explanations of what the documents show. There are a bunch of other investigative documents (Shapley appears to have let Ziegler assume most of the legal risk of releasing the bulk of the new IRS and grand jury documents), some of which reflect a real sloppiness about parts of the investigation, which would pose still more problems charging this case.

I also plan to write a follow-up post laying out Gary Shapley’s actions in advance of the October 7, 2022 meeting. They show that the items he claimed presented a new “red line” for him in that meeting had instead been raised with him months earlier. He came into the meeting with an agenda — notably, that David Weiss should ask to be appointed Special Counsel (as opposed to Special Attorney) — and raised non-sequiturs given the posture of the case at the time.

As to some other key claims the IRS Agents have made, especially against Lesley Wolf, the record provides countervailing evidence on those too.

As noted, for example, the decision not to take overt steps in 2020 came directly from Donald Trump’s Deputy Attorney General’s office, from someone — Richard Donoghue — who knew first-hand about Russian efforts to tamper in the election by focusing on Hunter Biden. The IRS Agents and Republican Members of Congress have blamed Wolf for that.

One key complaint is that Gary Shapley wasn’t permitted to surprise Hunter Biden during the day of action on December 8, 2020. But as Wolf represented it in a call Ziegler memorialized on December 11, the norm would have been to work through Hunter’s lawyers for an interview. Her support of going with only a heads up to the Secret Service was a deviation from that norm, she claimed. There’s no support in these documents for Shapley’s claim (and Ziegler’s hearsay claim) that the Transition Team got a heads up from DOJ, so if Shapley had a credible source for it, it wasn’t documented notice.

Another complaint — one Republicans in Congress can’t let go — was that Wolf used a subpoena to get the contents of a storage facility Hunter had rather than a search warrant. But a month earlier than that, the plan wasn’t to get a warrant, it was to do a consent search. When Ziegler pitched her on a search warrant after the Rob Walker interview, he wanted to do the search immediately, within a week, in spite of what she represented would be the onerous approval process to get a warrant. According to what Ziegler records Wolf saying, all the lawyers involved in this decision agreed with her (not surprisingly, given that a taint review after going overt would involve the same level of defense attorney involvement as a subpoena would). When the IRS escalated this issue on December 14, they still didn’t know how a taint review would work in the Fourth Circuit, meaning they had not yet tested Wolf’s claims.

Importantly, the reason Ziegler thought it so important to do a search of the storage facility rather than serve a subpoena is that he wanted to find proof of foreign bank accounts, something for which Wolf claims there was no evidence.

Ziegler brought up the potential for foreign accounts and the records that he had seen thus far that indicate there are foreign accounts involved in this case. Wolf said that there is no indication what‐so‐ever that the Subject has foreign accounts and that any records related to that would be turned over [pursuant to subpoena].

Even in the most recent Republican documents, reflecting what Ziegler and Shapley turned over, I’m aware of no such evidence. The foreign payments Republicans claim are so suspect went right through corporations established in Delaware. Many of the payments appear to have gone through the same Wells Fargo accounts on which Ziegler predicated this investigation five years ago. And the IRS appears to have checked (one, two) with the most likely havens — Hong Kong and the Cayman Islands — about whether there were foreign accounts. I haven’t read all the investigative documents or the tax returns and investigators may find something else, but if this is correct, then it’s one hell of a money laundering claim these guys are chasing, consisting of payments through corporations headquartered right in Delaware and payments through Hunter’s main bank account.

It was already clear from Ziegler’s testimony that his complaints about delays in interviews in 2021 didn’t account for Wolf’s efforts to prioritize more important investigative steps, such as getting approval for a subpoena for Hunter’s attorney, George Mesires, rather than focusing on interviews with sex workers. The interview with Mesires took another year to schedule. But one set of emails from the time show it was Ziegler’s IRS supervisor, and not Lesley Wolf, that pushed back on his plans for interviews; the supervisor suggested he bring in “collaterals” to do some of the investigative work rather than do it all himself.

The IRS Agents and Republican Members of Congress similarly keep complaining that David Weiss let the statute of limitations expire on the 2014 and 2015 charges most closely focused on Burisma. There was already evidence (most especially in the hand-written notes that Shapley only belatedly shared) that it wasn’t so much that Weiss “let” SOLs expire, but that he made a prosecutorial decision — one Shapley refused to abide by — not to charge those years. Lesley Wolf first started raising questions about the sufficiency of the evidence in May 2021. This new trove of documents show that Shapley had been informed that DE USAO was disinclined to charge those years more than two months before October 2022, and again in August 2022. There is a good deal of evidence that Shapley’s manufactured panic about “letting” SOLs expire instead is an expression of disagreement with a prosecutorial decision.

Perhaps worst of all, the depiction the IRS Agents have made of Lesley Wolf does not reflect what appears in these documents, which show her to be more supportive of them than they claimed. On September 21, 2020, Wolf followed up immediately when the FBI showed reluctance to pursue parts of the investigation. In October 2020, she was supportive of the IRS’ wishes to do the Day of Action interviews sooner rather than later. In December 2021, she made a point of commending all the work Ziegler had done on the case. In June 2022, David Weiss recognized Ziegler’s work. In August 2022, Wolf noted that Ziegler was  busy dealing with a family issue and empathized, “know I am thinking of you and sending good thoughts.”

The one thing Wolf absolutely did push back on was the IRS Agents’ efforts to conduct a campaign finance investigation of the funds Kevin Morris provided to Hunter to pay off his taxes. At one point, her request that they prioritize the 2014 tax case first (which she said hadn’t been proven yet) was depicted as obstruction. At another — in Shapley notes that again appear to conflict with what he was writing in the official record — she provided several good legal reasons not to pursue the case, including that any “donation” from Morris to Joe Biden via Hunter was even more attenuated than the John Edwards case that failed. By recording and publicly releasing Wolf noting that the law was not clear on this issue, Shapley will make it almost impossible to charge, because anyone charged would simply point out that even DOJ agreed it wasn’t a clear campaign finance donation. And what the IRS Agents otherwise portray as Wolf’s disinterest in involving Public Integrity (PIN) because they would take authority away from her was (here and elsewhere) instead described as PIN requiring another layer of approvals, precisely the thing that IRS Agents were complaining about elsewhere.

The IRS Agents’ recriminations of Lesley Wolf have gotten her targeted with serious threats. And yet, their own record doesn’t substantiate the claims they have made against her.

Update: Corrected which countries IRS reached out to: the Caymans and Hong Kong, not Cyprus.


September 21, 2018: Suspicious Activity Report from Wells Fargo.

October 31, 2018: Primary investigation initiated into other entity.

November 1-2, 2018: Request of support for SAR, only other agency investigating was DA office.

December 10, 2018: Primary investigation initiated into Hunter Biden.

January 18, 2019: Update from Wells Fargo on SAR.

Around February 2019: SSA informs Ziegler that DE USAO looking into SAR.

March 28-29, 2019 Exhibit 400: April 26, 2019, FBI FD 302, re: March 28, 2019, Interview with Gal Luft. It appears likely there were two 302s of these interviews (possibly three) because Luft’s alleged lies don’t appear in unredacted form in this one.

April 12, 2019: Package submitted to DOJ-Tax

April 15, 2019 Exhibit 206: April 15, 2019, Email from Joseph Ziegler to Jessica Moran, Subject: Approx. Timeline. This shows the above timeline, about which Ziegler was not clear in his testimony.

April 29, 2019 Exhibit 207: April 29, 2019, Email from Matthew Kutz to Kelly Jackson, cc’ing Joseph Ziegler and Christopher Wajda, Subject: Robert Doe – FYI Venue issue. Kutz is the person to whom Ziegler attributed his understanding that Barr had assigned this to DE USAO himself, before backing off that claim. Kutz is also the person who was documenting 6A and inappropriate influence on the investigation. Ziegler provides none of that.

August 5-7, 2020 Exhibit 202: August 5-7, 2020, Emails Between Joshua Wilson, Lesley Wolf, Carly Hudson, cc’ing Susan Roepcke, Michelle Hoffman, Joseph Ziegler, and Joseph Gordon, Subject: BS SW Draft. This was a warrant for BlueStar emails. AUSA Wolf objected not just to the mention of Joe Biden in the warrant (which is the only thing Ziegler leaves unredacted), but also to a great deal of stuff that was outside scope of the warrant. The SDNY FARA investigation was active in this period, which may be why other stuff was included, but in short order, even the IRS seemed to concede the SDNY FARA investigation into CEFC (the one that would rely on Gal Luft’s interview) was not viable.

Exhibit 203: Draft of B[lue]S[star email] Warrant.

September 3-4, 2020 Attachment 2: September 3-4, 2023, Emails Between Joseph Ziegler, Lesley Wolf, cc’ing Carly Hudson, Jack Morgan, Mark Daly, Joshua Wilson, Susan Roepcke, Alyssa Ruisard, Antonino Lo Piccolo, Christine Puglisi, Stefania Roca, Michael Dzielak, Gary Shapley, and Joseph Gordon, Subject: Today’s Agenda. This is an incredibly helpful list of where key legal process stood:

  • 4 iCloud backups (Ziegler asked whether location data was necessary, which he and Shapley suggested was mandatory before)
  • Relevancy review of iPhone Backup (which tells you they were still scoping the phone when they got the iCloud warrants)
  • Search warrant for BlueStar (about which investigators disagreed in August)
  • Supplemental email search warrant (unclear on which account)
  • DropBox search warrant (which wouldn’t be served for some time, but which seems to have been an attempt to get emails they knew of but didn’t have)
  • Discussion of 2703-D orders (metadata) for two accounts belonging to Vadym Pozharskyi and one to Devon Archer; elsewhere Ziegler relies on the “laptop” for emails involving the two

The agenda also notes investigative developments involving SDNY (the FARA investigation), Pittsburgh (the FD-1023), and Comerica.

September 3-4, 2020: Memo of Meeting. At this meeting, there was a discussion of keeping Hunter Biden’s name off overt requests, to which Ziegler objected (as if he wanted it to be discovered). There’s a discussion of whether the investigation would continue or not after the election, which Wolf said it would. Wolf attributed sensitivities to Richard Donoghue. Note: Shapley doesn’t say who was involved in the follow-up call on September 4.

September 21, 2020 Attachment 3: September 21, 2020, IRS CI Memorandum of Conversation Between Gary Shapley and Mark Daly, Authored by Gary Shapley. This memorializes a meeting earlier that day in which Joe Gordon expressed uncertainty among FBI management about how many interviews they would participate in after the election. Lesley Wolf pushed back hard on this. This memo reflects double hearsay (Wolf to Mark Daly to Shapley) blaming Special Agent Josh Wilson for the reluctance on investigating Hunter, because he had just moved back to Wilmington with his family. Shapley also memorializes a call to his ASAC about the details. This is another instance where Wolf was pushing the investigation hard.

October 19, 2020 Attachment 5: October 19, 2020, Email from Gary Shapley to Lesley Wolf, Subject: Computer. This is an email Shapley read, in part, in his testimony, regarding IRS’ need to know what was going on with the laptop. Ironically, he notes that there may be specific disclosure limitations tied to the IRS warrant, a concern with which he has since dispensed.

October 21, 2020 Attachment 4: October 2, 2020, Emails Between Lesley Wolf, Joseph Ziegler, Gary Shapley, and George Murphy, Subject: Dates. This reflects ongoing discussion about when to do the day of action, in an attempt to avoid interviewing Hunter in Delaware, as opposed to LA. Lesley Wolf was again supportive of Shapley’s goals to do the interviews sooner rather than later.

October 21, 2020 Exhibit 210: October 21, 2020, Emails Between Jack Morgan, Lesley Wolf, cc’ing Mark Daly and Carly Hudson, Subject: Mann Act. Jack Morgan emails Lesley Wolf regarding nine communications, two with traffickers, that he says may support Mann Act exposure. In only two cases was the travel confirmed. There are no dates in this list. Three instances include travel to Massachusetts (and so might coincide with the apparent hijacking of Hunter’s digital identity while he was in Ketamine treatment).

October 22, 2020: Notes on laptop. As noted, Shapley wildly misrepresented what the notes on the laptop actually say. They show that 10 months after accessing the laptop, the FBI still hadn’t done basic things to validate the content on the laptop had not been tampered.

October 22, 2020 Attachment 6: October 22, 2020, IRS CI Memorandum of Conversation between Prosecution Team, Authored by Gary Shapley. Shapley records Wolf as saying that there would not be a warrant on the DE residence. He does not record why. He also records the briefing on the Pittsburgh lead, ordered up by PDAG (Donoghue). This meeting happened an hour after the laptop meeting, but Shapley treats it as a separate meeting (and doesn’t say who attended).

October 23, 2020 Exhibit 400A: Tony Bobulinksi FBI FD-302 Interview Memorandum. This interview happened on October 23, 2020; Bobulinski went straight from the White House to self-report at the FBI. He repeatedly refused to let the FBI image his phones. It certainly doesn’t help Bobulinski’s credibility as a witness.

October 23, 2020 Exhibit 400B: Attachment Tony Bobulinksi FBI FD-302 Interview Memorandum.

November 2-9, 2020 Attachment 7: November 8-9, 2020, Emails Between James Robnett and Kelly Jackson, cc’ing Michael DePalma, George Murphy, and Gary Shapley, Subject: 1 page brief needed. The day after networks called the election for Joe Biden, the Deputy Chief of IRS-CI ordered the team to put together a one-page summary of the Hunter Biden investigation, to be delivered to him by Tuesday, November 10.

November 9, 2020 Attachment 8: November 9, 2020, Email from Kelly Jackson to Gary Shapley, cc’ing George Murphy, Subject: Recipient of the 1 pager. Effectively, the IRS team checked how far this would circulate before drafting.

~November 9, 2020 Attachment 9: Sportsman Investigation, IRS CI One-Pager. This appears to be a draft, not the final, as there are inline questions and answers. This provides a good summary of where the investigation was, notes that the FARA investigation pertained to CEFC (and that investigators planned no overt steps). It also says that the plan was to do a consent search of the storage facility (and a residence, though it’s not clear which one), which puts the later dispute in context.

December 8, 2020 Exhibit 401: December 8, 2020, Transcribed Interview of John Robinson Walker.

December 8-9, 2020 Exhibit 204: December 8-9, 2020, Emails Between Joseph Ziegler, Lesley Wolf, Mark Daly, Carly Hudson, Jack Morgan, cc’ing Christine Puglisi and Gary Shapley, Subject: Storage Location Warrant. The discussion returns to a warrant for the storage facility outside of DC (in VA). Ziegler says he wants to execute it the following week. Wolf tries to explain that there will be too many approvals required and heavy filter requirements because the facility is in the Fourth Circuit.

December 10, 2020 Attachment 10: IRS CI Monthly Significant Case Report, Subject Name: Robert Hunter Biden, December 2020. This periodic report (Shapley only provided two, raising questions about whether there were others) includes the most substantive description of how the investigation was predicated off sex workers. Shapley bitches about Wolf forgoing the approvals and instead applying the subpoena to the storage facility (without noting that the initial plan was to do a consent search). He says that the only viable charges at that point were tax charges (meaning the SDNY FARA charges didn’t flesh out). This report also notes the election meddling allegations. Shapley also bitches that prosecutors aren’t responding to Congressional inquiries, a totally inappropriate stance, one he would repeat in a later report. He blames the December 2020 leak on DOJ, with no explanation. Unclear whether this really is dated December 10, before the December 11 call with Wolf.

December 11, 2020 Exhibit 205: Joseph Ziegler’s Notes re: Phone Call with Lesley Wolf About the Storage Unit Warrant. The notes of this call actually debunks several things Ziegler has claimed. Wolf notes that the normal way to interview Hunter would be to call his lawyers, but she worked hard to go through just Secret Service. She also notes that all lawyers involved agreed subpoenaing for the documents was the appropriate thing to do.

December 14, 2020 Attachment 11: December 14, 2020, Emails Between Kelly Jackson, George Murphy, and Gary Shapley, Subject: SM – call with DFO today. This escalated matters on the facility to Deputy Commissioner. At that point, one of the IRS people didn’t even knew how a taint would work after a search.

December 15, 2020 Attachment 12: December 15, 2020, FBI Electronic Communication, Title: Attempted Interview: Hunter Biden 12/08/2020. The 302 reflecting the non-interview of Hunter. Slightly over two hours later, Hunter’s lawyers contacted the FBI.

January 26, 2021 Exhibit 315A: January 26, 2021, Emails Between Joseph Ziegler, Stefania [redacted], and Carly Hudson, Subject: Can you send me the filter terms that have been used for Relativity? For some reason, Ziegler included these filter terms, which will be very helpful to Hunter’s lawyers. Notably, there were two sets of filters: tax and FARA, which may explain the source of Ziegler’s frustration that they didn’t get all results. At that point FARA was exclusively focused on Ukraine.

Exhibit 315B: Appendix A, Filter Keywords for Google Email.

Exhibit 315C: Appendix A – Laptop, Filter Keywords for Laptop Filter.

Exhibit 315D: Appendix A, Filter Keywords for Laptop FARA Filter.

February 5, 2021 Attachment 13: February 5, 2021, Emails Between Joseph Ziegler, Lesley Wolf, Carly Hudson, Joshua Wilson, Susan Roepcke, Michelle Hoffman, Antonino Lo Piccolo, Christine Puglisi, Stefania Roca, Michael Dzielak, Matthew McKenzie, cc’ing Joseph Gordon and Gary Shapley, Subject: Agenda 2/5 Meeting @ 12:30PM. This reflects Wolf and other lawyers briefing seemingly more than one AAG (unclear whether this is Acting, or Assistant, since no one was confirmed yet). Shapley was put out that NSD asked to be briefed on the tax side of the case.

April 27, 2021 Exhibit 1E: Transcript of Recorded IRS CI Interview with Jeffrey Gelfound, re: Hunter Biden Representation Letter and Discussion of Hunter Biden 2014 Tax Return. A fragment of an interview with Hunter’s accountant regarding a representation letter signed 3 months after the initial representation. Gelfound really didn’t seem as worked up about it as the IRS.

April 27, 2021 Exhibit 1F: Transcript of Recorded IRS CI Interview with Jeffrey Gelfound, re: Alleged Gulnora Deduction. The part of the Gelfound interview regarding how the sex worker came to be deducted.

April 27, 2021 Exhibit 1J: Transcript of Recorded IRS CI Interview with Jeffrey Gelfound, re: Hunter Biden’s Tax Payments. Gelfound suggested that the payments with a lien would be paid by Kevin Morris first, possibly because of publicity.

May 2021 Attachment 14: IRS CI Monthly Significant Case Report, Subject Name: Robert Hunter Biden, Month/Year of Report: May 2021. This notes the 2021 expiration of the 2014 tax year. It states that FBI is not sold on charging decision. It says FBI is actively involving FARA. And it claims there are campaign finance violations (pertaining to Kevin Morris paying off Hunter’s taxes), which Wolf wanted nothing to dø with, in part to avoid PIN involvement. She stated that 2014 could not yet be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, which is what she wanted them to focus on.

June 14, 2021 Exhibit 1G: Interview excerpt of Gulnora. This is the interview with the sex worker payments to whom Hunter deducted. She appears to have ties to the overseas escort service, so these payments could be the ones that triggered the entire investigation. Marjorie Taylor Greene misrepresented this interview in her campaign to turn Hunter into a sex trafficker.

September 9, 2021 Exhibit 208: September 9, 2021, Email Between Joseph Ziegler, Lesley Wolf, Stefania Roca, cc’ing Carly Hudson, Jack Morgan, Mark Daly, Christine Puglisi, Michelle Ann Hoffman, Susan Roepcke, and Joshua J. Wilson, re: Frustrations with Interview Delays. Ziegler complains that some interviews with sex workers have to be put off because DOJ Tax is still approving, among other things, a subpoena for Hunter’s lawyer George Mesires.

September 10-24, 2021 Attachment 15: September 10-24, 2021, Emails Between Gary Shapley and Jason Poole, Subject: Quick Call. Shapley’s own supervisor was blowing him off too, but he did follow-up twice to complain about approvals.

September 20, 2021 Exhibit 209: September 20, 2021, Emails Between Mark Daly and Joseph Ziegler, Subject: Re: email sent to mgmt with list of 10 [redacted]. Mark Daly gets involved and seems to move these forward.

September 20, 2021 Attachment 2: September 20, 2021, Emails Between Joseph Ziegler, David Denning, Christine Puglisi, Darrell Waldon, and Gary Shapley, Subject: Travel. Here Ziegler lashes out at his own supervisor, who suggests he send a “collateral” to do interviews in LA, rather than doing them himself. Contrary to wanting to go overt in the past, he claims he is trying to keep things quiet. Ziegler writes that this is “a case I’ve worked with very little problems and only support from my management, you’re making it hard for me to do my job” (though he may have only been referencing the IRS side).

September 20, 2021 Attachment 3: September 20, 2021, Emails Between Joseph Ziegler, David Denning, Christine Puglisi, Michael Batdorf, and Gary Shapley, Subject: Travel. Ziegler escalates to Mike Batdorf. He notes, “I don’t want to put some details in this email” and also says he’s only cc’ing Shapley “because I’ve briefed him on what has happened and because he’s been my management since day 1,” which is of course false.

September 22, 2021 Exhibit 506: September 22, 2021, Emails Between Justin Cole, James Lee, James Robnett, Michael Batdorf, Darrell Waldon, and Joseph Ziegler, Subject: Sensitive Case Heads Up. CNN reached out to IRS and said they had a recent witness saying the case was almost wrapped up, claiming to having a Hunter email saying that all this would go away when his dad became President, claiming there was a plea deal. Batdorf gets the question, sends it to Ziegler, he asks if he can share with the lawyers. Batdorf asks not to share the CNN side, even though they regularly share media reports. Ziegler reports back that Wolf said no plea had been offered.

September 20-23, 2021 Exhibit 507: September 20-23, 2021, Emails Between Joseph Ziegler, David Denning, Christine Puglisi, Michael Batdorf, and Gary Shapley, Subject: Travel. Batdorf follows up again and Ziegler says “It seems to have been a miscommunication from my senior management. … I had a significant amount of trust in my prior management, and for some reason, that has gone away.”

November 16, 2021 Exhibit 1H: IRS CI Memorandum of Interview with Jeffrey Gelfound on November 16, 2021.J

November 23, 2021 Exhibit 402: John Robinson Walker FBI FD-302.

December 20, 2021 Exhibit 200: December 20, 2021, Email from Lesley Wolf to Mark Daly, Jack Morgan, Carly Hudson, Matthew McKenzie, Joseph Ziegler, Christine Puglisi, Antonino Lo Piccolo, Susan Roepcke, Michelle Ann Hoffman, Michael Dzielak, Stefania Roca, Joseph Gordon, and Joshua Wilson, Subject: Thank you! Wolf gives extra credit to Ziegler for all his work.

January 12, 2022 Attachment 16: Notes from January 12, 2022, Sportsman Call. Wolf gives good legal reasons not to pursue the campaign finance investigation, notably that the law is uncertain and the facts are even more attenuated here than they were for John Edwards. She doesn’t want to involve PIN because it would add another level of approval.

Janaury 27, 2022: Prosecution Memo. As described in Shapley’s testimony, this document is what goes through a series of approval processes.

February 15, 2022 Attachment 17: February 15, 2022, Email from Gary Shapley to Darrell Waldon, cc’ing Lola Watson, Subject: For Review/Approval: Sensitive T26 Prosecution Recommendation – SPORTSMAN – SA Ziegler. This was Shapley’s rebuttal to CT’s non-concur on prosecution, based on Hunter’s addictions. Though Shapley (and especially Ziegler) has elsewhere stated clearly that Hunter was totally incapacitated in this period, Shapley now claims, “the universe of his conduct clearly indicated he was lucid during his periods of insobriety and therefore a blanket lack of willfulness defense to the pattern of conduct is not reasonable nor logical.”

May 13, 2022 Attachment 18: May 13, 2022, Email from Gary Shapley to Michael Batdorf and Darrell Waldon, which Gary Shapley Forwarded to Joseph Ziegler and Christine Puglisi, Subject: Sportsman – 3rd DOJ Tax – Taxpayer Conference Delayed. Because of a delay in the tax conference at which the prosecution recommendation would be presented, Shapely pitches briefing Jason Poole and David Weiss on it in advance.

June 14-15, 2022 Exhibit 314: IRS CI Presentation re: Sportsman Investigation “Robert Doe,” Tax Summit, June 14-15, 2022. This is the slide deck presenting the case. Most of it — three pages — describe spin-off investigations. It shows the main remaining steps were to establish venue somewhere besides Delaware and get discovery production; at this moment, Shapley was refusing to turn over discovery production to DOJ.

June 30, 2022 Exhibit 1K: June 30, 2022, Email from Matthew Salerno to Mark Daly, Lesley Wolf, Carly Hudson, Jack Morgan, cc’ing Chris Clark, Brian McManus, and Timothy McCarten, re: 2018 Tax Defenses Proffered, wh ich Mark Daly Forwarded to Joseph Ziegler, Michelle Ann Hoffman, Christine Puglisi, and Michael Dzielak. This is Mark Daly forwarding Hunter’s lawyers’ rebuttal on some of the 2018 deductions, explaining while none of Hunter’s efforts to develop businesses worked, he was attempting. Ziegler has claimed there’s contrary evidence (from James Biden) in the record, but none of that is definitive and James Biden testified his memory wasn’t great on the matter.

June 21-28, 2022 Exhibit 201: June 21-28, 2022, Emails Between David Weiss, Joseph Ziegler, and Gary Shapley, cc’ing Lesley Wolf, Carly Hudson, Jack Morgan, and Mark Daly, Subject: Sportsman Request. After thanking Ziegler for all his work, Weiss asks IRS to have a revenue agent rerun all the loss numbers for 2014 and 2015. He asks for that, first, because that’s what is normally done, and second, because, “at trial we are going to need a testifier on this issue and that testifier can’t be Joe.” While Ziegler ultimately complied with Weiss’ request, Ziegler first appears to have redone the analysis himself. This email will give Hunter’s attorney cause to question the revenue analyst about Ziegler’s role in these numbers, if this ever gets charged.

July 29, 2022 Attachment 19: Notes from July 29, 2022, Sportsman Call. This includes details of the state of the investigation, including mentions of approval for a new prong of FARA investigation, with references to SDNY (CEFC) and Romania. The outstanding witnesses include George Mesires and family members, including James Biden (and possibly Hallie Biden, though that’s redacted), though an August 18 email lists Mervyn Yan among those left to be interviewed. Wolf clearly tells the team that if they don’t indict by September, it’ll be after November. She clearly says that prosecution decision will be collaborative with DOJ Tax. She clearly says she’s not inclined to toll the 2014 and 2015 tax years ago. In short, she clearly communicates, in July, all the things that the IRS agents claim were surprises in October.

August 5-8, 2022 Exhibit 503: August 5-8, 2022, Emails Between Joseph Ziegler and Lesley Wolf, Subject: Meeting with David. Wolf sets up an August 16 meeting that it appears Ziegler requested, at which only Weiss will be present from DOJ. She requests he run numbers on an early undetermined issue. Ziegler says he’s working with revenue agent — the one Weiss asked to involve in June — on that. Wolf is again warm with Ziegler.

August 11, 2022 Exhibit 501: August 11, 2022, Emails Between Mark Daly, Joseph Ziegler, Christine Puglisi, Michael Dzielak, Michelle Ann Hoffman, Susan Roepcke, cc’ing Jack Morgan, Carly Hudson, and Lesley Wolf, Subject: Meeting. An internal IRS meeting about charging decisions that would precede the meeting with Weiss.

August 12, 2022 Exhibit 502: Calendar Invitation, Subject: Sportsman – Call re Charging, Organized by Mark Daly, Required Attendees: Michael Dzielak, Michelle Ann Hoffman, Susan Roepcke, Jack Morgan, Carly Hudson, Joseph Ziegler, and Christine Puglisi, Scheduled for August 12, 2022. The tax meeting on charging decisions.

August 15-18, 2022 Attachment 4: August 15-18, 2022, Email Between Gary Shapley, Michael Batdorf, and Darrell Waldon, Subject: Sportsman Update. Shapley telling his supervisors that Weiss was still not inclined to charge 2014 and 2015. One of his complaints is that if 2104 and 2015 weren’t charged, it would take the Burisma stuff off the table, which doesn’t sound like a tax decision. He’s still worried about not collecting that revenue, though the revenue is not that much (even if you believe him about what was owed). He claimed that Weiss mocked CT’s non-concurrence, but DOJ Tax does seem to side with not charging some of this. Shapley also claimed that the reason he was only learning venue on CA was through lack of transparency, except that’s totally consistent with what Wolf had said earlier: You decide charges first, then venue.

August 15-18, 2022 Attachment 20: August 15-18, 2022, Emails Between Gary Shapley, Michael Batdorf, and Darrell Waldon, Subject: Sportsman Update. This appears to be a dupe.

August 18, 2022 Exhibit 211: August 18, 2022, Email from Mark Daly to Joseph Ziegler, Michael Dzielak, Michelle Ann Hoffman, Christine Puglisi, Lesley Wolf, and Carly Hudson, cc’ing: Jack Morgan, Jason Poole, and John Kane, Subject: Going forward. At this point, the three remaining interviews were Mesires, Merv[y]n Yan, and James Biden.

August 25, 2022 Attachment 21: August 25, 2022, Emails Between Garret Kerley and Lesley Wolf, cc’ing Joseph Ziegler and Mark Daly, Subject: Case Coordination. The FBI SSA (who may have replaced Joe Gordon) complains they’re not communicating enough between meetings and asks to start an email chain. Wolf asks him to stand down until they can meet — clearly an effort to avoid creating discoverable information. Shapley turns it into a Memo for his files.

September 20 – November 8, 2022 Attachment 29: September 20, 2022, Emails Between Gary Shapley, David Weiss, and Darrell Waldon, Subject: SM Meeting – Management. On September 20, Shapley asks for a quick call. Weiss responds that he would set up a meeting/call for updates in near term (what would end up being the October 7 meeting). Then on November 8, after the prosecution meeting is canceled, Shapley attempts to set up a meeting in December. Shapley then writes back on November 8 saying the FBI can’t make it on December 2, so asks Weiss to confirm that December 5 would work.

September 22, 2022 Attachment 22: Notes from September 22, 2022, 2:30PM, Conversation, at which Lesley Wolf and Mark Daly are Present. Shapley notes that Wolf and Daly both joined late but doesn’t say how late. He describes that the US Attorney (whom he refers to as “her” but has to be a reference to Martin Estrada, who was just confirmed on September 19) has only been sworn in and will need time to get up to speed. DOJ Tax also wanted to defer the charges until after the election. And DE’s finance guy had a number of remaining questions.

September 22, 2022 Attachment 23: September 22, 2022; 3:33PM ff, Email from Gary Shapley to Michael Batdorf, Subject: Conversation with Batdorf Michael T. Shapley texts Batdorf, then emails the texts, complaining about the decision to wait until after the election.

September 22, 2022 Attachment 5: September 22, 2022, 5:28 PM Email from Gary Shapley to Darrell Waldon, Lola Watson, and Michael Batdorf, Subject: SM Update. Shapley tells his supervisors that Wolf said they wouldn’t charge until after the election. Shapley complains that, “the statement is inappropriate let alone the actual action of delaying as a result of the election.” He claims ther are other items (which he doesn’t lay out) “that are equally inappropriate,” probably that they weren’t going to charge the gun charge in October. Shapley was told months ago about this, but is wailing now.

September 22, 2022 Attachment 24: September 22, 2022, Email from Gary Shapley to Michael Batdorf, Darrell Waldon, and Lola Watson, Subject: SM Update. This appears to be a dupe, with the news he had a doctor’s appointment redacted.

September 21-October 6, 2022 Attachment 25: September 21-October 6, 2022, Emails Between Shawn Weede, Ryeshia Holley, and Gary Shapley, cc’ing Garret Kerley and Lesley Wolf, Subject: Call on Charging Timeline. This is a thread between Shawn Weede, Ryeshia Holley (whose name the FBI tried hard to keep obscure), Gary Shapley, about setting up the meeting he wanted. Because he was in the Netherlands the last week of September they instead waited until he returned. Shapley sent out his list of agenda items, showing clearly that he came into the October 7 meeting with an agenda — listing “1. Special counsel 2. election deferral comment – continued delays 3. venue issue”. — and a wildly mistaken understanding of how Special Attorney status works. At 4:34PM, two hours after the WaPo story posted, she says the meeting will include, “Anything further that develops by tomorrow.”

September 21 – October 6, 2022 Attachment 1: September 21-October 6, 2021, Emails Between Shawn Weede, Ryeshia Holley, Gary Shapley, cc’ing Garret Kerley and Lesley Wolf, Subject: Call on 2 Timeline. This shows the last two emails to the earlier thread.

September 28-29, 2022 Exhibit 504: September 29, 2022, Emails Between Joseph Ziegler, Darrell Waldon, and Gary Shapley, cc’ing Lola Watson and Michael Batdorf, Subject: Sportsman. Darrel Waldon writes to note he requested a meeting with the US Attorney’s office. Ziegler notes he’s awaiting information about CDCA’s decision on charging 2017-2019. Hours later, Waldon asks him to call his cell. Seemingly after that call, Ziegler responds that, “we also need to request the presentation of 2014 and 2015 to the criminal chief / US attorney in DC.” This seems to be inconsistent with past claims about when and how closely DC USAO reviewed this case.

September 29, 2022 Exhibit 401: IRS CI Memorandum of Interview with James Biden on September 29, 2022. Ziegler has pointed to this interview — “James B was not sending RHB any deals while he was out in California.  … conversations were about getting RHB well at this point and not about business” — as proof that Hunter’s lawyers were lying about his attempts to do business in 2018; yet Hunter’s uncle made clear that he kept trying to engage him and also noted that his memory was not all that clear. The interview also raises questions about Tony Bobulinski’s motives and credibility (as Rob Walker already had). The interview timing is as important as anything else — Shapley went on a tear about the timing of charging before this key interview was even done.

October 6, 2022 Attachment 26: October 6, 2022, Emails Between Gary Shapley, Michael Batdorf, and Darrell Waldon, Subject: Sportsman. After responding to Holley, Shapley alerts his supervisors of the Devlin Barrett story that he would later claim he didn’t know where it was published, noting that it is likely to come up at the meeting the next day. He identifies that the leak was “purportedly from the ‘agent’ level, reveals he spoke with the IRS press person about it, and stated, “I have no additional insight that is anything but a rumor.” This marks the third or fourth inconsistent representation of Shapley’s knowledge of the leak.

October 6, 2022 Exhibit 505: October 6, 2022, Emails Between Joseph Ziegler and Carly Hudson, Subject: Sportsman Uncle question. One of the AUSAs tells Ziegler that Weiss asked about something Ziegler raised, and he states that DOJ-Tax didn’t expect the case to be indicted until 2023, as they were still working on approvals. Hudson sends the email at 10:07AM; Ziegler responds at 6:51PM. I find it exceedingly unlikely Shapley did not also know that the case would not be indicted until 2023.

October 7, 2022: Handwritten notes. As noted these notes show that Shapley misrepresented what David Weiss said and introduced the DC USAO review that would be mooted by the decision not to charge 2014 and 2015, something Shapley had been alerted to months earlier.

October 7-11, 2022: Shapley to Darrell Waldon. The original email Shapley shared, which makes it clear the meeting was dominated by the leak.

October 7-11, 2022 Attachment 6: October 7-11, 2022, Email Between Gary Shapley, Michael Batdorf, and Darrell Waldon, Subject: Sportsman Meeting Update. This adds Mike Batdorf’s response to both Shapley and Waldon, 3 hours after Waldon said he’d handle the referral to TIGTA.

November 7, 2022 Attachment 27: November 7, 2022, Notes, Subject: Telephone Call from FBI Special Agent Mike Dzielak and IRS-CI Case Agent Joe Ziegler. A 10-minute call in which an FBI Special Agent discusses with Shapley and Ziegler that DE USAO was asking for management level emails. Dzielak suggests that the FBI was balking, in the same way that Shapley still was. Shapley offered up that this was proof that DE USAO had no intention of charging, which is utterly debunked by the fact that they had made this request once before (he says in April-May here, but in his House Ways and Means testimony he said it was in March). There’s no mention of the leak.

November 8-10, 2022 Attachment 28: November 8-10, 2022, Emails Between Gary Shapley and Ryeshia Holley, Subject: Next Meeting in Delaware. This reflects Shapley’s immediate effort to schedule a December meeting after the November prosecution meeting was canceled. One reason he did so was because of the request for his own emails.

December 13, 2022: Shapley email to Michael Batdorf. This is the email where Shapley asked Batdorf to ask him if he had any questions about the emails that got turned over.

December 13-16, 2022 Attachment 30: December 13-16, 2022, Emails Between Gary Shapley, Michael Batdorf, and Darrell Waldon, Subject: Meeting at Del USAO Today. Shapley emails Batdorf and Waldon to tell them that prosecutors and the FBI had an all-day meeting in Wilmington. Waldon asks if anyone from Tax participated.

January 6, 2023 Attachment 7: January 6, 2023, Notes, re: Call between Gary Shapley and Michael Batdorf on Whistleblowing. Shapley memorializes an either 8- or 13-minute call with Mike Batdorf, alerting him that on January 4, he lawyered up with “whistleblower” counsel. He gave a weird pitch (including that he would criticize the IRS, but that the IRS could boast that it was an IRS agent who “came forward.” Shapley claimed he would attend to 6103 and 6e matters he has not — including getting approval before sharing. He specifically left out the Senate Finance Committee. And he admitted that he expected DOJ to make “nefarious” allegations against him but hoped the IRS would support him. Batdorf said he hadn’t heard of any allegations.

January 20, 2023 Attachment 8: January 20, 2023, Emails Between Gary Shapley, Michael Batdorf, Darrell Waldon, and Lola Watson, Subject: Discussion – Sportsman. In the guise of finding out what was expected of him, Shapley claimed that FBI investigators had been brought back on the Hunter Biden case (which he learned via Ziegler).  He also noted that a third FBI Agent on the team retired before mandatory retirement. Waldon corrects Shapley that the FBI agents met with DE USAO on other issues, but only inquired about Hunter Biden.

January 25-February 10, 2023 Attachment 9: January 25-February 10, 2023, Email Between Gary Shapley and Michael Batdorf, Subject: For Review/Approval: Administrative Leave Request for Protected Whistleblower Activities – Shapley. Shapley asks Batdorf for paid leave for meetings, including with Congress, months before any overt meetings with Congress happened (suggesting he may have met with Grassley). Batdorf not only gives him leave but offers to pick up his work to enable it. Shapley offers to document with whom he was meeting (which given that this request preceded most overt outreach by months, would have been really helpful), but Batdorf says that’s not necessary.

April 13, 2023 Exhibit 212: April 13, 2023, Email from Joseph Ziegler to Lola Watson, cc’ing Gary Shapley, Subject: Sportsman. Ziegler updates Lola Watson (but not Kareem Carter), about meetings Hunter’s lawyers are having, including with Brad Weinsheimer (which leaked). He claims, without evidence, that Weiss was responding to the Merrick Garland testimony. And he addresses two investigations (which involves someone whose taxes would have implications for Hunter Biden — possibly Kevin Morris, would be consistent with Ziegler’s testimony) from which his team has been excluded.

Attachment 31: May 15, 2023, Notes from Conference Call with Kareem Carter, Lola Watson, Gary Shapley, and Joe Ziegler, Re: Sportsman. Memorialization of 17-minute call on which Kareem Carter took the International Tax team off the Hunter Biden case. Some of Shapley’s claims (such as that he documented complaints going back ot June 2020) are not substantiated in the emails released. And he was downright insubordinate on the call. Importantly, his memorialization does not reveal that Ziegler was not invited on the call, and in fact falsely suggests that Ziegler received an invitation to the call.

May 18, 2023 Exhibit 213: May 18, 2023, Email from Joseph Ziegler to Douglas O’Donnell, Daniel Werfel, James Lee, Guy Ficco, Michael Batdorf, Kareem Carter, and Lola Watson, Subject: Sportsman Investigation-Removal of Case Agent. Joseph Ziegler’s email in which he acknowledges breaking chain of command to complain about his removal.

Gary Shapley Didn’t Tell Congress about Election Meddling Concerns

I’m reading my way through the documents from Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler that the House Ways and Means Committee released the other day.

While I have yet to read the tax-related documents closely, the others don’t help the evidence-free impeachment much, undoubtedly complicate David Weiss’ hopes of charging Hunter Biden on tax crimes, and probably give Abbe Lowell a stash of documents he would otherwise not have gotten, some of which show investigative sloppiness and potential evidentiary problems for any case Weiss does charge (again, some of which Lowell would otherwise never have gotten).

Plus, some of the documents undermine the Agents’ claims to be whistleblowers. The documents show they had advance notice of both Delaware’s decision to decline prosecution of the 2104 and 2015 tax years and of the timing of any prosecution. They show Shapley walked into a key October 7, 2022 meeting with a chip on his shoulder and an agenda entirely at odds with his knowledge of declination and timing. From that point forward, phantoms of Shapley’s paranoia, not facts, appear to have driven his actions.

For now, though, I want to point to two details that utterly destroy Shapley’s complaints about delays in 2020. It has always been the case that most of Shapley’s complaints about politicization (besides his own) pertained to events that happened under the Trump Administration. Indeed, that’s something that Jason Smith struggled to address at his own presser the other day: how events from 2020 could support the impeachment of Joe Biden.

But details in two documents Shapley sent in late 2020 reveal that during his entire media tour, Shapley has been withholding a key detail that make these complaints all the more ridiculous.

The first is what must be a draft (since it is not dated and includes editorial questions) one page summary of the investigation written for the IRS Deputy Commissioner around November 9, 2020. It explained (as other documents the IRS agents did too) that after the IRS got a Suspicious Activity Report regarding a UK porn site that wasn’t reporting income to US-based contractors, one of whom Hunter Biden had also paid as an escort, the IRS used that to start pulling Hunter’s tax returns, an initial predication that is going to be comedy gold in any opening arguments Abbe Lowell ever gives at a Hunter Biden trial. It also revealed (again, this gets mentioned in other documents) that there was a FARA investigation out of New York regarding Hunter’s ties to CEFC. Finally, the document attributed any pre-election guidance not just to David Weiss’ office, but also to DOJ Tax and the Deputy Attorney General’s office.

To date no proactive interviews have occurred as a result of guidance provided to the investigative team by the USAO in Delaware, DOJ Tax PDAG and the Deputy Attorney General’s office.

We’ve known of the Deputy Attorney General’s involvement since Shapley’s transcript was first released, which described that the guidance involved Richard Donoghue. Shapley has nevertheless blamed Weiss’ office for these delays ordered by Bill Barr’s top deputies, and Smith even blamed Lesley Wolf personally.

But the centrality of the DAG’s office in such delays is important background to a report filed on December 10, 2020 — which shows that its author (it’s not entirely clear who wrote this, but Shapley provided it) was upset that investigators weren’t improperly sharing information with Congress even then — attributes any delays in the investigation to concerns about election interference.

This investigation has been hampered and artificially slowed by various claims of potential election meddling. Even after the election, our day of action to go overt was delayed more than two weeks.

The memo clearly dismisses those claims, which suggests whoever wrote it thinks they know better than FBI counterintelligence investigators. But it also ignores someone else who knows better about known efforts by Russia to use Hunter Biden as a campaign prop: Donoghue. In February 2020, when he was US Attorney for EDNY, Bill Barr ordered him to serve as a gatekeeper for any investigation implicating Ukraine. This was a specific effort to prevent the SDNY investigation into Rudy Giuliani to pursue Rudy’s efforts to fetch dirt, including a laptop!!, from Andrii Derkach in December 2019.

But starting in July, Donoghue swapped places with Seth DuCharme, becoming the Principal Assistant Deputy Attorney General, where he proceeded to issue guidance to delay any overt investigative steps in the Hunter Biden investigation. In other words, the orders to delay overt steps until after the election would have involved someone who knew as well as anyone in government that the effort to exploit Hunter Biden’s relationship with Burisma involved a plot coordinated with known Russian agents.

But over the course of a four month media blitz, Gary Shapley — represented by people close to Chuck Grassley, who of late has been pushing this Russian information operation himself — suppressed the fact that DOJ had concerns, concerns that manifested in multiple Treasury sanctions afterwards, that the effort to focus attention on Burisma was orchestrated by Russia, Ukranian agents of Russia, and Donald Trump’s own efforts to solicit dirt whereever he could.

Twice yesterday, Republicans refused to vote on Democratic requests that James Comer subpoena Rudy (the first request included a request to subpoena Lev Parnas as well). Yet this detail from Shapley — and his suppression of it for four months — makes a Rudy subpoena all the more important.