The attorney for the IRS whistleblower who has alleged that the Justice Department interfered in and mishandled the Hunter Biden criminal probe met with members of Congress last week on behalf of his client, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
The Friday meeting was described to CBS News as a proffer session with the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees to lay the groundwork for what the whistleblower could tell investigators and how he could do so without running afoul of taxpayer privacy laws. CNN first reported the meeting.
In a letter to Congress last month, the attorney, Mark Lytle, said his client, an unnamed IRS criminal supervisory special agent, could shed light on how the years-long, high-profile investigation had been hindered by “preferential treatment and politics.” However, Lytle said his client could not share “certain information” because of the taxpayer privacy laws.
Lytle told CBS’s chief investigative correspondent Jim Axelrod, “My client wants to come forward to Congress. … He’s ready to be questioned about what he knows and what he experienced under the proper legal protections.”
Lytle did not respond to a request for comment for this report, but in his April letter, he said his client’s information would “contradict sworn testimony to Congress by a senior political appointee.”
In a Senate hearing in March, Attorney General Merrick Garland promised he would not interfere with the work of David Weiss, the U.S. attorney in Delaware who is leading the probe. In a recent, unrelated news conference, Garland addressed the IRS whistleblower allegations.
“Yes, it’s still the case I stand by my testimony, and I refer you to the U.S. attorney for the District of Delaware who is in charge of this case and capable of making any decisions that he feels are appropriate,” Garland said.
A spokesman for the House Ways and Means committee would not confirm the meeting took place, but told CBS News in a statement, “Chairman [Jason] Smith is working to ensure all of the appropriate steps are taken in this particular investigation to receive and evaluate the allegations and information this whistleblower shares with Congress and has publicly pledged that the committee will go where the facts lead. Each week and day provide a new opportunity to advance this particular whistleblower claim and shed more light and transparency for the American people.”
When President Joe Biden took office, dozens of U.S. attorneys appointed by Trump were asked to resign, as is customary in a new administration, but Weiss, who was leading the probe into Hunter Biden, was asked to stay.
The IRS and Treasury inspector general for tax administration have not responded to earlier requests for comment.
Rebecca Kaplan and Jim Axelrod contributed to this reporting