WATCH: Merrick Garland Calls Criticism of DOJ 'Attack' on Democracy

June 23, 2023

Attorney General Merrick Garland said criticism of the Justice Department is an "attack" on "democracy" following reports that the agency ignored the IRS's recommendation to charge Hunter Biden with felony tax crimes.

"Some have chosen to attack the integrity of the Justice Department," Garland said Friday after a reporter asked whether Americans have "cause to be concerned" about the DOJ's integrity.

Garland said such criticism "constitutes an attack on an institution that is essential to American democracy."

The DOJ is facing criticism after Congress released an interview with a whistleblower from the IRS who said the Biden administration slow-walked its investigation and reduced tax fraud charges for Biden, who reached a plea deal on Tuesday.

One of the two IRS whistleblowers, Gary Shapley, said the IRS recommended felony tax charges for the first son but the Justice Department balked. The other whistleblower has not been named publicly.

Rep. Jason Smith (R., Mo.) said both IRS employees claimed the IRS wanted felony charges brought against Biden for attempting to evade taxes and fraudulent or false statements.

The whistleblowers said the probe, however, faced "recurring unjustified delays" and "unusual actions outside the normal course of any investigation," according to Smith.

Other revelations from the report include that Biden deducted payments to sex clubs and hookers on his tax returns. The report also discussed a message sent on July 30, 2017, to a Chinese official by Biden, who said he was sitting next to his father and that "we would like to understand why the commitment made has not been fulfilled."