WASHINGTON — Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Lesley Wolf, who was part of the team investigating Hunter Biden, broadly defended her work in a closed-door deposition with congressional investigators Thursday as she faces claims by IRS whistleblowers that she slow-walked parts of the investigation.
In a copy of her opening remarks obtained by NBC News, Wolf said she was legally obligated not to address specific allegations made by the whistleblowers because she is still constrained by Justice Department policies, even though she left the U.S. attorney’s office earlier this year.
Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler, the two whistleblowers from the IRS who were investigating Hunter Biden, have come before Congress to raise concerns about the Hunter Biden probe. They have testified that Wolf blocked them from pursuing lines of questioning related to President Joe Biden, said investigators would be in “hot water” if they tried to interview Biden’s grandchildren, and that she and another DOJ attorney informed Hunter Biden’s defense counsel about a storage unit the investigators were monitoring, among other things.
“At all times while serving as an AUSA, I acted consistently with the Justice Manual, DOJ policy directives, and my statutory/legal and ethical obligations,” Wolf said in her prepared remarks. “I followed the facts where they led, and made decisions in the best interests of the investigation. This includes, but is by no means limited to, policies and rules governing politically sensitive investigations, election year sensitivities, attorney search warrants, search warrant filter requirements, and professional conduct rules barring contact with represented parties.”
Wolf, who appeared voluntarily for about four and a half hours, expressed an “overwhelming feeling of frustration and disappointment” at not being able to discuss specific decisions and actions made during the investigation, according to the prepared remarks.
Wolf left the DOJ a few weeks ago, after a 16-year career, a decision that she said predated the allegations against her. She also told Congress on Thursday that she stayed with the department months longer than planned because she was being threatened and harassed due to allegations related to the Hunter Biden investigation. Wolf said she believed she and her family were safer while she still worked for the U.S. attorney’s office.
“My desire to serve my community and my country, such a great source of pride, has recently come at significant cost. As a private person, the once routine and mundane details of my life have become the subject of public interest in an invasive and disturbing manner,” she said. “Far worse, I have been threatened and harassed, causing me to fear for my own and my family’s safety.”
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who attended part of the deposition, said Wolf refused to answer most of the committee’s questions and that they may need to speak to her again during their investigation.
The deposition comes after Hunter Biden declined to appear for a closed-door deposition of his own Wednesday, instead holding a press conference outside the Capitol reiterating his demand to testify in public only, not in private where Republicans could spin his words. Republicans have said they want to interview Hunter Biden behind closed doors first and they plan to begin the process of holding him in contempt of Congress when they return from the holidays in January.