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House Republicans send new Justice Department subpoenas in impeachment inquiry, drawing pushback

WASHINGTON (AP) —

The Justice Department is pushing back against a new set of subpoenas quietly sent out by House Republicans related to the Hunter Biden criminal investigation in another brewing faceoff in the President Joe Biden impeachment inquiry.

The department said it has already taken “extraordinary steps” to rebut claims of political interference in the investigation into the president’s son despite a lack of hard evidence for the allegations, according to a letter obtained Friday by The Associated Press.

The letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan is a response to previously unreported subpoenas the committee sent last week as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Biden. The subpoenas went to two rank-and-file attorneys in the Justice Department’s tax division as well as two officials who have previously testified before the committee, U.S. Attorney for Washington, D.C., Matthew Graves and former Delaware prosecutor Lesley Wolf.

The Judiciary Committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hunter Biden’s tax and business affairs have been under investigation in Delaware since 2018. He is has pleaded not guilty to gun and tax charges filed after the implosion of a plea deal that would have spared him jail time.

Republicans who blasted that proposed agreement as a “sweetheart deal” have been probing allegations from Internal Revenue Service agents that the Justice Department investigation into the president’s son was “slow-walked” and mishandled.

Six senior Justice Department officials have testified that there was no political interference into the investigation, according to the letter from Assistant Attorney General Carlos Uriarte, the head of congressional affairs. It’s rare for the Justice Department to have rank-and-file attorneys give congressional testimony.

A deposition from the investigation’s top prosecutor, Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss, marked the first time a special counsel has ever appeared before lawmakers while a probe was still ongoing.

Jordan has said that, for him, Weiss’s testimony reinforced rather than dispelled allegations the special counsel didn’t have the full authority.

The letter, which was first reported by NBC, asks the committee to send specific written questions.

News of the Justice Department subpoenas comes days after Hunter Biden testified behind closed doors as part of the 14-month probe that has largely centered on his overseas business dealings. Republicans have long questioned whether they involved corruption and influence peddling by Joe Biden, particularly when he was vice president.

Yet after conducting dozens of interviews and obtaining more than 100,000 pages of documents, Republicans have yet to produce direct evidence of misconduct by the president. Meanwhile, an FBI informant who alleged a bribery scheme involving the Bidens — a claim Republicans had cited repeatedly to justify their probe — is facing charges from federal prosecutors who accuse him of fabricating the story.

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Associated Press writer Farnoush Amiri contributed to this report.

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