Democratic Rep. Dan Goldman of New York was sharply corrected by a witness during a hearing on Thursday regarding House Republicans’ impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.
Goldman asked former Republican assistant attorney general for the Tax Division, Eileen O’Connor, about whether an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) memorandum regarding Hunter Biden — reported to the House Oversight Committee by whistleblowers —recommended his prosecution, suggesting that it did not. O’Connor responded by correcting Goldman about the memo’s text, saying that the term “discretion” used did not suggest that the investigation was flawed.
“[T]he whistleblowers reported that it was a ‘discretion’ finding and, since you worked in the DOJ Tax Division, I’m sure you understand that there is ‘full authorization,’ there is ‘discretion,’ and there is ‘declination.’ And, when they give a discretion determination, that is because there are serious holes and flaws and they leave it to the discretion of the U.S. Attorney if they want to charge it. Is that correct?” Goldman asked.
“No, not at all,” O’Connor retorted. “Discretion is not based on holes and flaws, it’s based on the ability of that particular district to prosecute that case and, in fact, in that 99-page memo, as I’ve mentioned several times in the testimony, only one time did it mention ‘discretion.’ All the other times it did not mention ‘discretion’ at all.”
The existence of the IRS memorandum was first disclosed to the committee by IRS criminal investigators Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler in June, according to a transcript of an interview with committee investigators.
O’Connor headed the Tax Division of the Department of Justice, responsible for all tax-related litigation by the U.S. Government, for six years during the George W. Bush administration. She was listed as a Republican-invited witness for Thursday’s hearing.
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