WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A former FBI agent who helped lead the probe of Hunter Biden told congressional investigators that he was not aware of any political interference in the case, though he said higher-ups blocked an interview with President Joe Biden’s son weeks after the 2020 presidential election, transcripts show.
In transcripts from a July 17 interview with the Republican-controlled House of Representatives Oversight Committee, the unidentified FBI supervisory agent corroborated earlier testimony by an Internal Revenue Service whistleblower that investigators were not allowed to interview Hunter Biden on Dec. 8, 2020, after top Secret Service officials and the Biden transition team were notified of the plan.
The former agent, who retired last year after more than 20 years with the agency, told investigators that he was frustrated over the decision by more senior officials to block the interview but didn’t consider the outcome problematic.
“I wasn’t aware of political interference, personally,” the former agent said.
Republicans pointed to the testimony as evidence that the Justice Department intervened to delay the Hunter Biden probe, even though the events took place while Republican President Donald Trump was in office.
“Tipping off the transition team and not being able to interview Hunter Biden as planned are just a couple of examples that reveal the Justice Department’s misconduct in the Biden criminal investigation,” House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer said in a statement on Monday when the committee released the transcript.
Comer said the alleged misconduct occurred under U.S. Attorney David Weiss, a Trump appointee who was named special counsel in the Hunter Biden investigation last week over the objections of many House Republicans including Comer.
Hunter Biden in July pleaded not guilty to charges of failing to pay taxes on more than $1.5 million in income in 2017 and 2018 despite owing more than $100,000. He did not enter a plea in a separate case where he is charged with unlawfully owning a firearm while using illegal drugs, which is a felony.
The former agent said investigators had planned to surprise Hunter Biden with their interview request, but first had to notify the Secret Service, which had begun protecting the son of the then-president-elect days earlier.
In the end, both FBI and Secret Service headquarters were notified about the interview plan, the interviewers’ access to Hunter Biden was blocked and the former FBI agent heard from an attorney for Hunter Biden.
(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Scott Malone and Howard Goller)