'Courage of whistleblowers' – more than just words

'Courage of whistleblowers' – more than just words

'Courage of whistleblowers' – more than just words

Through the course of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee investigation into the business dealings of Hunter Biden and the involvement of his father, President Joe Biden, Republican lawmakers have spoken of the courage of whistleblowers.

Worthy of impeachment? Absolutely, says researcher

Steve Jordahl (AFN)

Whistleblower testimony is alleging that the Biden family is reaping millions of dollars from foreign countries and influencing policy in return. Seamus Bruner of the Government Accountability Institute says if those allegations are true, it's absolutely grounds for Joe Biden's impeachment.

Bruner, Seamus (GAI) Bruner

"This was never about Hunter Biden. It's not a Hunter Biden scandal. This is a Joe Biden scandal," said Bruner.

As Bruner points out, the money is coming mainly from Ukraine and America's greatest enemy – China. "They're not just Chinese nationals. They're in business with, let's say, the Vice Minister of State Security. That's like China's KGB or CIA," he explained.

Bruner, director of research for GAI, told Washington Watch last week that in a less politically divisive time this would end the Biden administration.

"As the whistleblowers allege, and as informants have alleged, is it a bribery scheme entangling Joe Biden? That's absolutely grounds for impeachment," he stated. "The Constitution mentions bribery specifically by name as a high crime and misdemeanor worthy of impeachment."

In addition to the forensic evidence pointing to Biden, Bruner says a quick look at the president's standard of living is a tipoff that something is not right.

"How does a public servant afford multiple mansions?" he asked. "One in Wilmington, he's got the Rehoboth beach house, [the Biden family] had another beach house … down in the Keys."

Biden, who began his Washington political career in January 1973 as a U.S. senator, "has been living the lifestyle of a multi-multimillionaire, if not billionaire," said Bruner.

Those aren't just throw-away lines in a press conference. Retaliation against men and women who come forward to expose corruption in the federal government is real, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) said on Washington Watch Monday.

Last week, IRS agents Gary Shapley and Joseph Zeigler (pictured above) told the committee that the Department of Justice "slow-walked" the Hunter Biden investigation before he agreed to a lightly impactful plea deal. Both of the agents faced retaliation after coming forward with allegations of potential misconduct within the IRS.

Shapley, the lead agent on a number of global investigations, told investigators that his communication with superiors was significantly reduced and that his cases were put on the back burner, moves that he said endangered the lives of agents working those cases. "None of this is normal," he testified.

Zeigler spoke of professional isolation. He said he was instructed to channel future email through IRS leadership – an experience he described as "chilling."

Senator Johnson argued it can't be this way if government is going to function with transparency as the founders intended.

"When [whistleblowers] come forward and tell us about problems in their agencies, we want transparency. We want to be able to hold these agencies accountable, and so we have multiple laws that have been passed, very strong laws on the books," Johnson told show host Tony Perkins.

Johnson, Ron (R-Wisc.) Johnson

"The foundational premise of this nation is that the people have the power," Johnson continued, "and we grant government the ability to collect taxes to do certain things, but we're the ultimate authority. They are accountable to us, government is, and government should be transparent."

The laws aren't enough as supervisors seem to flaunt them with no fear of accountability. Somewhere the ball has been dropped.

The Department of Labor is charged with enforcement of more than 20 whistleblower statutes that generally provide that employers may not discharge or retaliate against any employee because he or she has filed a complaint or otherwise exercised other rights provided to employees under the statute.

"I come from the private sector, and I am shocked coming to Washington, DC, and seeing how pervasive and, quite honestly, effective retaliation is against whistleblowers. These agencies know what they're doing. They realize Congress has very little enforcement power, and so they continue to retaliate against whistleblowers with impunity," Johnson lamented.

IRS claims it takes whistleblower protection seriously

After an IRS agent, through his attorney Rob Lytle, wrote in a letter to Congress that he and his entire team were removed from the Hunter Biden investigation, the IRS responded with a statement to CBS News saying the agency is "deeply committed to protecting the role of whistleblowers, and there are robust processes and procedures in place to protect whistleblowers."

That position contradicts accounts by Shapley and Zeigler. The two whistleblowers paint a picture not only of retaliation but of federal employees doing the bidding of the Biden family.

"There have been egregious acts of individual retaliation, but from an institutional standpoint the entire IRS investigatory team was taken off the Hunter Biden investigation," Johnson said. "That just shows you the corruption of the IRS if the IRS pulled them off, or the corruption within the DOJ if the DOJ pulled them off."

The head of the criminal division of the IRS, testifying before the Senate Finance Committee earlier this year, said he's never seen an entire investigatory team removed from a case.

"He's been there for 30 years, and he's never seen that, so I would say this is quite unprecedented. The level of corruption that we are witnessing right now in these federal agencies may also be unprecedented," Johnson said.

What corruption looks like

Whistleblower testimony has pulled back the curtain on corruption within the Biden family which the House Oversight Committee, through its investigation, has accused of a multi-million dollar scheme involving foreign nationals and the Chinese government, its proceeds padding the pockets of nine different family members.

More recently the Secret Service quickly closed an investigation into cocaine found at the White House because it said it could not come up with a suspect due to a lack of physical evidence. This comes from the nation's most surveilled and secure residence.

Republicans have accused the DOJ of being staffed with an abundance of "left-wing bureaucrats" – the words of Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wisconsin) – who make it their mission to "protect the Bidens."

Grothman says there are two main takeaways from the still ongoing Hunter Biden investigation: "We should worry about the Department of Justice and its left-wing bureaucrats who were so set on looking out for the Biden family. The second thing is the president of the United States may be somebody over in Ukraine who was just paid a bit and acted like he had the morals of a 1920s Chicago alderman."

According to Senator Johnson, this agenda of looking out for the Bidens was already firmly in place while Donald Trump was in the White House.

"Trust me, President Trump would have wanted to see this information come out. He would have wanted to see a thorough and honest investigation and prosecution of Hunter Biden, but that didn't happen," Johnson said. "Unfortunately, you have the radical Left infiltrating virtually every institution of this country. They've been infiltrated with leftists. It's not a fair fight."

Meanwhile, House member Lauren Boebert (R-Colorado) has agreed to be patient and allow the House Oversight Committee, of which she is a member, time to investigate further.

Patience … but with conditions

A month ago, Boebert sought to bring to the House floor an impeachment vote of Joe Biden – primarily over her concern how he is handling the southern border. But a lot has changed since the end of June as whistleblowers continue to pile on accusations of a president on the take.

So for the time being, the GOP lawmaker has agreed to a "privileged motion" – a procedural move that makes it possible for lawmakers to deal with pressing matters with a sense of urgency not seen in daily business matters.

Boebert, Rep. Lauren (R-CO) Boebert

"A lot of Republicans got upset because they were going to be put on the spot with a straight up-or-down vote to impeach Joe Biden," Boebert said on Washington Watch last week, explaining her decision.

"I knew Chairman [James] Comer wanted to have more details so no one could say we were going about this in a manner that was irresponsible. He wanted all the facts; he wanted the Oversight Committee to have investigations."

Under the agreement, Boebert will not call for a privileged motion vote provided she sees progress on accountability for Joe Biden.

"We came to the agreement that if the committee actually did their job with an impeachment inquiry, I would allow it to go to committee. But I also stated that if I do not see this impeachment inquiry gaining momentum and having hearings and investigations then we will bring up another privileged motion and have that straight up-and-down vote," Boebert said.

For now, she's content to continue to let the process play out.

"We are seeing so much more information. We have the IRS whistleblowers, these criminal investigators coming before the Oversight Committee … that are very credible men. They had so much detail about the financial transactions, the shell companies, over $17 million they're seeing from our foreign adversaries, China, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, all of this is coming out. We have the information that we need. The American people are tired of having someone who is compromised in the White House without any justice," Boebert said.

The biggest hurdle to justice?

One of the biggest hurdles to justice, Rep. Glenn Grothman told show host Jody Hice, is the department by the same name. The Department of Justice was in "protect the Bidens" mode while Donald Trump was still in office, Grothman said.

Between Biden's election in 2020 and his inauguration in 2021, the House Oversight Committee interviewed 12 people on concerns about Hunter Biden, but only one person was made available.

"The IRS had tipped off, apparently, the Biden transition team as to what was going to happen," Grothman said.

As Biden family misdeeds are made public there are two things that should concern Americans, said the Wisconsin Republican: "We should worry about the Department of Justice and its left-wing bureaucrats who were so set on looking out for the Biden family. The second thing is the [sitting] president of the United States may be somebody over in Ukraine who was just paid a bit and acted like he had the morals of a 1920s Chicago alderman."