IRS officials sit for closed-door testimony in GOP's Hunter Biden inquiry

FILE - President Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden arrives for a court appearance, Wednesday, July 26, 2023, in Wilmington, Del. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Friday, Aug. 11, he has appointed a special counsel in the Hunter Biden probe, deepening the investigation of the president's son ahead of the 2024 election. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)
President Biden's son Hunter Biden arrives for a July court appearance in Wilmington, Del. (Julio Cortez / Associated Press)

Republicans are pressing ahead with their Hunter Biden investigations.

An Internal Revenue Service employee alleged to have knowledge of the federal probe into President Biden's son testified to the House Ways and Means Committee behind closed doors on Friday, and a second employee is set to testify privately on Tuesday, two sources familiar with the matter told The Times. The sources were not authorized to speak to the press about the sensitive inquiry.

House Republicans have been probing Hunter Biden's business dealings since taking control of the House last year. Their investigations were invigorated after two IRS agents claimed the Justice Department had mishandled the investigations of the president's son.

The Republican-controlled committee subpoenaed the two employees — Darrell J. Waldon and Michael T. Batdorf — in August after an IRS whistleblower alleged they had knowledge that could aid the GOP's investigation.

Waldon sat for a transcribed interview before the Ways and Means Committee on Friday. Batdorf is expected to sit on Tuesday at 10 a.m. Eastern.

The pair were named by IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley, who claimed they had direct knowledge of an October 2022 meeting in which the prosecutor in charge of the probe — U.S. Atty. David Weiss — indicated he did not have full authority to decide whether to charge Hunter Biden with a crime.

Republicans have suggested that the alleged Weiss comment is evidence that the Biden White House, or political appointees in the Justice Department, interfered in the investigation.

But Weiss, who was appointed by former President Trump and is based in Delaware, said in a June letter to the House Judiciary Committee that Atty. Gen. Merrick Garland had granted him “ultimate authority” of the Hunter Biden investigation. Weiss has “never been denied the authority to bring charges in any jurisdiction,” he wrote.

A federal grand jury began investigating Hunter Biden's taxes and business relations as early as 2018. In August, Garland named Weiss a special prosecutor after a plea deal over tax and gun charges collapsed.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.