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White House defends Hunter Biden probe as 'free from any political interference'

The White House emphasized the Justice Department's "independence" as an unnamed IRS agent seeks whistleblower protections to discuss “preferential treatment” in the case.
Image: President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden on the South Lawn of the White House on April 10, 2023.
President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden on the South Lawn of the White House on April 10.Drew Angerer / Getty Images

WASHINGTON — The White House dismissed allegations by an IRS special agent said to be seeking whistleblower protections to discuss “preferential treatment” in the federal investigation into Hunter Biden’s taxes, insisting the case is “free from any political interference.”

White House spokesperson Ian Sams defended the Justice Department’s independence after a lawyer for an unnamed career IRS employee said his client was prepared to provide information to lawmakers about undue influence in the case.

“Since he took office and consistent with his campaign promise that he would restore the independence of the Justice Department when it comes to decision-making in criminal investigations, President Biden has made clear that this matter would be handled independently by the Justice Department, under the leadership of a U.S. Attorney appointed by former President Trump, free from any political interference by the White House,” Sams said in a statement. “He has upheld that commitment.”

Federal prosecutors have been investigating Hunter Biden’s taxes since 2018, before his father was elected president. The White House has stressed that the president has not been involved in the case and maintained his promise to restore the independence of the Justice Department.

Hunter Biden’s attorney said Thursday that the IRS whistleblower could be improperly disclosing private tax information and trying to abuse the power of the government to harm the president’s son.

“It is a felony for an IRS agent to improperly disclose information about an ongoing tax investigation. The IRS has incredible power, and abusing that power by targeting, embarrassing, or disclosing information about a private citizen’s tax matters undermines Americans’ faith in the federal government,” Hunter Biden's attorney, Chris Clark, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, that is what has happened and is happening here in an attempt to harm my client. It appears this IRS agent has committed a crime, and had denied my client protections that are his right.”

Mark D. Lytle, a lawyer for the IRS employee, wrote to a bipartisan group of lawmakers Wednesday that he represents a “career IRS Criminal Supervisory Special Agent who has been overseeing the ongoing and sensitive investigation of a high profile, controversial subject since early 2020” and would like to make a whistleblower disclosure to Congress. 

Lytle did not name Hunter Biden in the letter but said the agent is prepared to provide details that would “contradict sworn testimony to Congress by a senior political appointee,” demonstrate failures to handle “clear conflicts of interest” by the agency and reveal instances of “preferential treatment and politics improperly infecting decisions and protocols.”

Hunter Biden has denied wrongdoing in the investigation into his finances, saying, “I take this matter very seriously but I am confident that a professional and objective review of these matters will demonstrate that I handled my affairs legally and appropriately, including with the benefit of professional tax advisors.”

He first revealed that federal officials were investigating his taxes in 2020.