IRS whistleblower Shapley said he ‘could no longer pursue’ Hunter Biden sugar brother Kevin Morris due to CIA

IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley said he was told he "could no longer pursue" Hunter Biden "sugar brother" Kevin Morris as a witness due to information provided by the CIA, according to an affidavit released Wednesday. 

Fox News Digital first reported earlier this year that a whistleblower claimedthe CIA "stonewalled" an IRS interview with Morris, who provided millions of dollars to pay the first son’s tax debts. Those whistleblowers said the CIA "intervened to stop the interview" with Morris in August 2021. 

The CIA told Fox News Digital those allegations were false. 

Shapley’s affidavit, released Wednesday, shed further light the CIA's alleged interference in the attempted interview with Morris.

WHISTLEBLOWER CLAIMS CIA 'STONEWALLED' IRS INTERVIEW WITH HUNTER BIDEN 'SUGAR BROTHER' KEVIN MORRIS: HOUSE GOP

"In and around August 2021, discussions were ongoing within the prosecution team on the Hunter Biden investigation concerning witnesses who needed to be interviewed in furtherance of the investigation," Shapley said in his affidavit. 

Shapley said that Assistant U.S. Attorney Lesley Wolf told the team that she and DOJ Tax Attorney Jack Morgan "had recently returned from the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, Virginia, where they had been summoned to discuss Kevin Morris." 

Shapley said "Wolf stated that they were provided a classified briefing in relation to Mr. Morris and as a result we could no longer pursue him as a witness." 

"Investigators probed AUSA Wolf, but since her briefing was classified and she was apparently sanitizing it to an unclassified form to share over an open phone line, she did not elaborate with more information," Shapley said, adding that Wolf "reiterated more than once that they were summoned to the CIA in Langley concerning Mr. Morris, and that because of the information provided there, he could not be a witness for the investigation." 

Shapley recalled that Wolf "proudly referenced a CIA mug and stated that she purchased some CIA ‘swag’ at the gift shop while she was there." 

"It is unclear how the CIA became aware that Mr. Morris was a potential witness in the Hunter Biden investigation and why agents were not told about the meeting in advance or invited to participate," Shapley said. "It is a deviation of normal investigative processes for prosecutors to exclude investigators from substantive meetings such as this." 

The CIA told Fox News Digital last month that allegations it stonewalled the interview with Morris were "false." 

"Without confirming or denying the existence of any associations or communications, CIA did not prevent or seek to prevent IRS or DOJ from conducting any such interview," James Catella, the CIA’s director of the Office of Congressional Affairs, wrote in a letter to Jordan and Comer. "The allegation is false." 

The CIA said that, as a general matter and "without specific reference to the issue about which you have inquired, CIA facilitates the Department of Justice's access to national security information in the context of investigations and prosecutions in a variety of circumstances." 

CIA DENIES WHISTLEBLOWER ALLEGATION THAT AGENCY 'STONEWALLED' IRS INTERVIEW WITH HUNTER BIDEN 'SUGAR BROTHER'

"For example, CIA engages with DOJ to enable prosecutors to understand national security information that may arise in the course of an investigation and to assess their discovery obligations," Catella wrote. 

"CIA cooperates with law enforcement partners and does not obstruct U.S. law enforcement investigations or prosecutions," he continued. "To the extent your letter seeks information about any ongoing federal law enforcement investigation or prosecution, the Department of Justice is the responsible agency." 

Morris loaned Hunter Biden approximately $6.5 million — over $1 million more than initially estimated. 

Morris, who was subpoenaed to testify as part of the impeachment inquiry, said that he loaned Hunter Biden at least $5 million and began paying his tax liability. Morris and his attorney were estimating during the interview, a source told Fox News, and promised to follow-up with exact figures loaned to the first son. The attorney followed up to note an additional $1.6 million Morris had given Hunter Biden. 

Morris, on Oct. 13, 2021, gave Hunter Biden a loan for approximately $1.4 million. According to the letter, Hunter Biden was to repay the loan, with $500,000 paid by Oct. 1, 2026 and the remaining $417,634 by Oct. 1, 2027, plus interest.

A few days later, Morris loaned Hunter Biden $2.6 million, with directions to repay the loan by Oct. 1, 2029. That loan, according to Morris’ lawyer, "was used to pay, among other debts, Mr. Biden’s tax debt to the IRS."

On Oct. 17, 2022, Morris loaned Hunter Biden $640,355 to be repaid by Oct. 15, 2027. In December 2022, Morris loaned Hunter $685,813.99, to be repaid by Oct. 15, 2027.

A year later, Dec. 29, 2023, Morris loaned Hunter approximately $1.2 million to be repaid by Oct. 15, 2028, with all interest paid by October 2029.

Special Counsel David Weiss charged Hunter Biden with nine federal tax charges, which break down to three felonies and six misdemeanors for $1.4 million in owed taxes that have since been paid. 

Weiss charged Hunter in December, alleging a "four-year scheme" in which the president's son did not pay his federal income taxes from January 2017 to October 2020 while also filing false tax reports.

Hunter Biden pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The tax trial for the first son is set for Sept. 5. 

House GOP claims Hunter Biden lied under oath multiple times during congressional deposition

House Republicans have obtained information they say proves "indisputably" that Hunter Biden lied under oath multiple times during his congressional deposition earlier this year. 

The House Ways & Means Committee on Wednesday held a mark-up session to discuss documents protected under IRS code 6103 — a portion of the tax code that keeps certain information confidential. Discussing that material without it being properly released by the House Ways & Means Committee is considered a felony. 

The panel voted on Wednesday to release that information. 

"Hunter Biden has shown once again he believes there are two systems of justice in this country – one for his family, and one for everyone else. Not only did Hunter Biden refuse to comply with his initial subpoena until threatened with criminal contempt, but he then came before Congress and lied," House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith told Fox News Digital on Wednesday. "The Ways and Means Committee’s investigation, and the documents released today, are not part of a personal vendetta against Hunter Biden, but are meant to ensure the equal application of the law." 

HUNTER DEMANDED $10M FROM CHINESE ENERGY FIRM BECAUSE 'BIDENS ARE THE BEST,' HAVE 'CONNECTIONS'

Smith said the documents the committee obtained reveal that Hunter Biden lied at least three times during his deposition. 

After publication, Hunter Biden's attorney Abbe Lowell in a statement denied that any of the three examples were lies. 

"Here they go again, grasping at straws and twisting Hunter’s testimony to try to revive an impeachment inquiry that was a complete and utter failure," Lowell said. 

Smith noted that "lying during sworn testimony is a felony offense that the Department of Justice has prosecuted numerous individuals for in recent years, and the American people expect the same accountability for the son of the President of the United States." 

"Hunter Biden’s lies under oath, and obstruction of a congressional investigation into his family’s potential corruption, calls into question other pieces of his testimony," Smith said. "The newly released evidence affirms, once again, the only witnesses who can be trusted to tell the truth in this investigation are the IRS whistleblowers."

The committee claims Hunter Biden mischaracterized his role working for his firm, Rosemont Seneca, and actually controlled bank accounts he claimed in his deposition he did not. 

HUNTER BIDEN REQUESTED KEYS FOR NEW 'OFFICE MATES' JOE BIDEN, CHINESE 'EMISSARY' TO CEFC CHAIRMAN, EMAILS SHOW

The committee also said Hunter Biden claimed he did not help a foreign national obtain a visa, but the committee says emails between himself and his former associate Devon Archer show that the first son helped a man named Miguel Aleman with visa documents. 

The committee also pointed to Hunter Biden's claim that he sent a text to the wrong "Zhao," due to being under the influence, but WhatsApp records show Hunter Biden only spoke with one Zhao — Henry Zhao of Chinese energy firm CEFC. 

Hunter Biden in the WhatsApp message allegedly told a Chinese business associate from Chinese energy company CEFC that he and his father would ensure "you will regret not following my direction."

Hunter Biden requested the $10 million wire for his joint-venture with CEFC called SinoHawk Holdings. 

"I am sitting here with my father, and we would like to understand why the commitment made has not been fulfilled," Hunter Biden told Henry Zhao, the director of Chinese asset management firm Harvest Fund Management. "And, Z, if I get a call or text from anyone involved in this other than you, Zhang or the chairman, I will make certain that between the man sitting next to me and every person he knows and my ability to forever hold a grudge that you will regret not following my direction."

Zhao responded, in part, "CEFC is willing to cooperate with the family."

Hunter Biden has been charged in two separate jurisdictions stemming from Special Counsel David Weiss’ yearslong investigation into him. 

The first son pleaded not guilty to federal gun charges in U.S. District Court for Delaware. He was charged with making a false statement in the purchase of a firearm; making a false statement related to information required to be kept by a licensed firearm dealer; and one count of possession of a firearm by a person who is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance.  

The first son also pleaded not guilty to federal tax charges in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California — specifically, three felonies and six misdemeanors concerning $1.4 million in owed taxes that have since been paid. 

Weiss alleged a "four-year scheme" when the president's son did not pay his federal income taxes from January 2017 to October 2020 while also filing false tax reports. Weiss filed the charges in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. 

IRS whistleblowers Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler approached Congress earlier this year, alleging that prosecutorial decisions made throughout the federal investigation into the president’s son were impacted by politics.

Shapley and Ziegler have said they were frustrated that the Justice Department did not charge Hunter Biden for failing to pay federal income tax for 2014 and 2015. They alleged that Weiss had allowed the statute of limitations to expire for tax charges against Hunter Biden from 2014 and 2015 in D.C.

FLASHBACK: HUNTER BIDEN IN 2017 SENT 'BEST WISHES' FROM 'ENTIRE BIDEN FAMILY' TO CHINA FIRM CHAIRMAN, REQUESTED $10M WIRE

Shapley, who led the IRS portion of the probe, said that Hunter Biden should have been charged with tax evasion for 2014, and for filing false tax returns for 2018 and 2019. With regard to the 2014 tax returns, Shapley said that Hunter Biden did not report income from Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings. 

Fox News Digital first reported in December 2020 that Hunter Biden did not report "approximately $400,000" in income he collected from his position on the board of Burisma Holdings when he joined in 2014. 

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

Biden border chief Mayorkas in hot seat over Jordanian nationals who tried to breach Quantico

FIRST ON FOX: Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is coming under scrutiny following news that two foreign nationals from Jordan attempted to breach the Quantico Marine Corps Base in Virginia while posing as delivery drivers. 

"Please explain how they came to the United States. Were they here illegally? Are either of them on any terrorist watchlist?" Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., questioned Mayorkas in a letter, also requesting the current status of the individuals. 

MCCONNELL-ALIGNED GROUP SHREDS SEN BROWN’S ‘HANDOUTS FOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS’ IN OHIO SPOT

The two foreign nationals sought entry to Quantico earlier this month, presenting themselves in a box truck and identifying as delivery drivers. After being brought to a holding area, they attempted to move farther toward the Marine base. However, they were prevented from doing so by officers. 

UNUSED COVID-19 FUNDS WOULD BUILD BORDER WALL UNDER NEW SENATE BILL

The individuals were turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody following the event.

Acting ICE Director Patrick Lechleitner previously told Fox News Digital that the foreign nationals were in removal proceedings. 

BIDEN ADMIN SKEWERED BY GOP FOR RULE DESIGNED TO ‘INTENTIONALLY HARM’ GUN INDUSTRY

Graham prompted Mayorkas for an immediate response, asking for information about the Jordanian nationals' "background and intent."

According to the ranking member, "This will allow us to make an informed decision about how to address the recurring threat posed to our national security by this kind of incident, which is not isolated."

REPUBLICANS UNITE TO BLOCK WHITE HOUSE AND SCHUMER BACKED 'FAKE BORDER BILL'

DHS did not provide comment to Fox News Digital. 

Republican lawmakers have increasingly sounded the alarm over the vulnerabilities at the U.S. southern border being a security threat, noting the number of nationals from all over the world entering illegally across it. Some have warned that a terrorist attack, similar to that of Sept. 11, 2001, could take place again due to relatively unfettered illegal migration occurring into the U.S.

The House of Representatives made history earlier this year, impeaching Mayorkas, making him only the second cabinet official to suffer that fate. 

However, the majority-Democratic Senate blocked an impeachment trial from moving forward, allowing the DHS secretary to avoid scrutiny. 

Vince Fong advances in special election runoff to replace ousted House Speaker Kevin McCarthy

Californians voted to advance Republican State Assemblyman Vince Fong during Tuesday's special election to replace former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who was ousted last year.

Fong, a former McCarthy aide endorsed by both McCarthy and former President Trump, faced off with Republican Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux at the polls on Tuesday. 

Because both candidates are Republicans, the GOP will hold 218 seats, compared to the Democrats' 213, factoring in four vacancies. In California's jungle primary system, the top two vote-getters advance to the general election.

Fong, who also earned the most votes in March's primary election, will serve out the rest of McCarthy's term until he battles against Boudreaux again in November in the general election.

TRUMP ENDORSES EX-KEVIN MCCARTHY AIDE VINCE FONG TO FILL VACANT SEAT AS HIS FORMER AIDES BACK FONG’S OPPONENT

Fong and Boudreaux advanced to Tuesday's runoff following a March special election where they emerged as the top two candidates, with neither getting more than 50% of the vote to trigger a victor. By November, voters in the district will have voted for either candidate a total of three times.

McCarthy resigned from the House in December, three months after he was voted out of the speakership. 

The district, which cuts through the Central Valley farm belt, including parts of Bakersfield and Fresno, is the most strongly Republican House seat in heavily Democratic California. Trump largely carried CA-20 in 2020 and McCarthy represented the district from 2007 until his resignation in late 2023. In February, Trump called Fong "a true Republican."

Among Boudreaux's supporters are Ric Grenell, former acting director of national intelligence under Trump, and Republican state Sen. Shannon Grove, from Fong's hometown of Bakersfield.

TULARE COUNTY SHERIFF MIKE BOUDREAUX ON THE CARTEL STYLE HIT THAT KILLED SIX PEOPLE

Trump's involvement in the race casts it as a litmus test for the former president's political relevance as he presumably gears up for a potential rematch against President Biden in November.

"I am proud to join California’s Republican Congressional Delegation, and give Vince Fong my Complete and Total Endorsement!" Trump wrote in a post on Truth Social. "Vince was one of only 6 Republicans in the State Assembly to stand with me, and reject the Second Impeachment Hoax. In Congress, Vince will work with me to Grow the Economy, Lower your Taxes, Cut Burdensome Regulations, Champion American Energy, and Protect and Defend the Second Amendment, which is under siege by the Radical Left."

HOUSE VOTES TO REMOVE KEVIN MCCARTHY AS SPEAKER IN HISTORIC FIRST

In October, the House of Representatives voted to oust McCarthy, the first time in history the top leader of the lower chamber was booted from the job. 

Fox News Digital's Danielle Wallace contributed to this report. 

Biden’s ‘privilege’ claims sound like arguments Trump officials made before getting thrown in jail: attorney

President Biden's assertion of executive privilege to prevent recordings of his interviews with special counsel Robert Hur from being released shares some similarities with former President Trump's attempts to use privilege while in the White House, according to one legal expert.

Though transcripts of Biden's interview with Hur have already been released to a committee, the White House asserted executive privilege to block the audio recordings from becoming public while arguing in lockstep with Attorney General Merrick Garland that "law enforcement files like these need to be protected."

"The same arguments were made during the Trump years as are being made now. It's just that the roles are reversed," former Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew McCarthy told Fox News Digital

"For example, during the Mueller investigation, Trump made available Don McGahn, who was the White House counsel. They not only let Mueller interview McGahn at length, but McGahn took voluminous notes of his conversations with Trump, which they also turned over. And then Democrats wanted to subpoena McGahn to come to the House Judiciary Committee, and the Republicans fought it.

BIDEN'S PRIVILEGE CLAIM TO KEEP SPECIAL COUNSEL INTERVIEW UNDER WRAPS A 'CRUDE POLITICS' MOVE: EXPERTS

"What they said was giving information to an executive branch prosecutor doesn't waive the privilege as to Congress," he added. "The Democrats all said that this was an obstruction of justice, that it was outrageous, that he'd already waived the privilege by allowing McGhan to speak to the prosecutor."

Executive privilege has been around since the earliest days of the country and gives the executive branch the ability to withhold certain internal discussions and documents from scrutiny by the courts and the legislative branch. It allows the president some breathing room for his own deliberations with staff.

"The fact is that since the Republic started, presidents have been withholding information from Congress," McCarthy said.

Congress has a variety of tools it can use to pry information out of the executive branch, including by holding people in contempt. 

"Congress has a whole arsenal of stuff from the Constitution, powers that it can use to fight back and pry information out of the executive branch," McCarthy said. "You know, you can slash budgets or hold up appointments, and if it gets bad enough, you can start holding people in contempt. … The final option, obviously, is impeachment."

McCarthy warned, however, that if the president's party has enough influence in Congress, those efforts can be more challenging.

"If the president's party has enough sway in Congress that you can stop that arsenal from being used, then the whole thing is just a political calculation," he said. "Like for Biden here, it's how much worse would I be hurt by letting the tape come out or the recording come out than by stonewalling. It looks like the tape is so bad, he's decided that even though he's going to be damaged by stonewalling, that's better than letting the tape out."

McCarthy also highlighted how the media has reacted to Biden's assertion of executive privilege, saying they'll report on the matter in an attempt to preserve their integrity and then move on from it to "help Biden bury it."

"The usual problem that you always have here is that when Republican administrations stonewall, the media gets all whipped up about it, and when Democratic administrations stonewall, they feel like they have to cover it for a day or two so that they can say they covered it but then move on to another subject and help Biden bury it, or at least they'll try," he said.

Garland on Thursday defended Biden's decision to assert executive privilege, saying the subpoena for audio recordings "is one that would harm our ability in the future to successfully pursue sensitive investigations."

"There have been a series of unprecedented, frankly, unfounded attacks on the Justice Department. This request, this effort to use contempt as a method of obtaining our sensitive law enforcement files is just the most recent effort to threaten, defund our investigations, and the way in which there are contributions to an atmosphere that puts our agents and our prosecutors at risk," he added.

"It is the longstanding position of the executive branch held by administrations of both parties that an official who asserts the President’s claim of executive privilege cannot be prosecuted for criminal contempt of Congress," Associate Attorney General Carlos Uriarte wrote in a letter Thursday to GOP Reps. Jim Jordan and James Comer, chairmen of the Committee on the Judiciary and Committee on Oversight and Accountability, respectively.

That "longstanding position," however, was challenged following Trump's term in the White House and the Capitol protests Jan. 6, 2021. 

Two individuals who served in the Trump administration and raised executive privilege claims — former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and former Trump adviser Peter Navarro – have been convicted of contempt of Congress and sentenced to serve jail time for their refusal to comply with subpoenas issued by the now-defunct House select committee investigating the Capitol protests.

TRUMP ALLY STEVE BANNON LOSES APPEAL ON CONTEMPT CONVICTION AS HE FIGHTS TO STAY OUT OF PRISON

Bannon, 70, was sentenced to four months in prison in October 2022 and a $6,500 fine for ignoring a congressional subpoena.

Bannon's appeal was denied last week after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit released a 20-page opinion that said granting Bannon's appeal would "hamstring Congress’s investigatory authority."

Bannon claimed he acted on the advice of his legal team and did not intend to break the law. Judge Bradley Garcia wrote the acting on "advice of counsel" defense is "no defense at all."

The ruling will be appealed, Bannon's attorney, David Schoen, told Fox News Digital last week.

Schoen noted that Bannon's attorney at the time he received the subpoena, Robert Costello, advised his client that he was not permitted, as a matter of law, in any way to respond to the notice, saying executive privilege had been raised and that it was not his privilege to waive it. Costello wrote the committee to inform it that Bannon would comply if the panel worked out any privilege issues with former President Trump or if a court ordered him to comply, Schoen said.

Similarly, Navarro, who reported to prison in Miami in March following an order from the U.S. Supreme Court, was charged and convicted with contempt of Congress after he refused to comply with a congressional subpoena demanding his testimony and documents relating to the events of Jan. 6.

Though Navarro is attempting to appeal his contempt of Congress conviction, the court refused to postpone his imprisonment until after the appeal is concluded.

Navarro claimed he could not cooperate with the committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack because Trump had invoked executive privilege, an argument that lower courts have rejected.

The lower courts found that Navarro could not actually prove Trump had invoked executive privilege.

Biden's decision to assert the privilege, according to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, came at the request of Garland. Jean-Pierre said it was Garland's suggestion that "law enforcement files like these need to be protected."

The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday advanced a resolution to hold Garland in contempt of Congress over the Justice Department’s failure to produce the subpoenaed audio recording of Biden’s interview with Hur. The vote advances the measure for a full floor vote.

Hur led the investigation into Biden's handling of classified documents after his departure as vice president under the Obama administration. Hur announced in February that he would not recommend criminal charges against Biden for possessing classified materials after his vice presidency, saying Biden is "a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory."

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Hur wrote in the report that "it would be difficult" to convince a jury to convict Biden of any willful crime, citing his advanced age. 

The findings sparked widespread outrage that Biden was effectively deemed too cognitively impaired to be charged with a crime but could serve as president. Trump has meanwhile slammed the disparity in charges as a reflection of a "sick and corrupt, two-tiered system of justice in our country."

Fox News' Chris Pandolfo, Elizabeth Elkind, Louis Casiano and Emma Colton contributed to this report.

Mayorkas forced to admit more migrants have crossed US border under Biden than Trump: ‘Several million people’

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Friday admitted that the number of migrants who have crossed the southern border under his watch outpaces that under the Trump administration — but blamed a number of hemispheric factors and a "broken" system for the border crisis.

Mayorkas was asked at an event at The Economic Club in Washington, D.C., about the border crisis, and the historic numbers of migrants the U.S. has been seeing in recent years. There were more than 2.4 million migrant encounters in FY 23, and that mark could be broken in FY 24, although monthly numbers have decreased.

"The number of encounters at the southern border is very high, but it's very, very important, number one, to contextualize it and, number two, to explain it," he said. From a context perspective, the world is seeing the greatest level of displacement since at least World War II."

BIDEN ADMIN REFUSES TO REVEAL TERROR WATCHLIST NATIONALITIES AS ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION EXPLODES ON HIS WATCH

"So the challenge of migration is not exclusive to the southern border, nor to the Western Hemisphere," he said. "It is global."

Mayorkas cited violence, insecurity, poverty, corruption, authoritarian regimes and "extreme weather events" among the reasons for migration across the globe. However, he also said there were additional explanations for why the U.S. was a top destination.

"In our hemisphere, we overcame COVID more rapidly than any other country. We had, in a post-COVID world, 11 million jobs to fill, we are a country of choice as a destination, and one takes those two forces and then one considers the fact that we have an immigration system that is broken fundamentally and we have a level of encounters that we do," he asserted.

As evidence that the system is broken, Mayorkas said that the average time between an encounter and the adjuciation of an asylum claim is seven years. He was later asked by David Rubenstein, president of the Economic Club, how many people have come across the border since President Biden took office.

"It's several million people," Mayorkas said.

Rubenstein asked if it was true that more people have come in under President Biden than former President Trump.

Mayorkas said it was, but said that was in part due to a suppression of migration during the COVID pandemic that followed a significant increase in migration under the last pre-COVID Trump year.

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS FROM FOREIGN ADVERSARY HIT NEW HIGH AMID NATIONAL SECURITY FEARS 

"That is true," he said. "Now in 2019, there was almost a 100% increase in the number of encounters at the southern border over 2018. The situation in the hemisphere was propelling people to leave their country. 2020 was a period of tremendously suppressed migration throughout the hemisphere and around the world because of the COVID-19 people coming over the border illegally."

The Biden administration has defended its record on immigration, saying it has combined additional consequences for illegal entry with broader pathways for lawful migration. It has coupled that with calls for reform and additional funding from Congress, including most recently a bipartisan Senate bill that has failed to pick up support. It has also pointed to 720,000 removals or returns of illegal immigrants since May 2023, more than in every full fiscal year since 2011.  

CLICK HERE FOR MORE COVERAGE OF THE BORDER SECURITY CRISIS

Mayorkas also noted a recent drop in numbers that showed 179,725 encounters in April, compared to 211,992 in April 2023 and 189,357 in March. 

Republicans, however, have blamed the Biden administration for the border crisis, saying it is the rolling back of Trump-era policies that have caused the surge in migration. Republicans in the House have passed their own border security bill, which would restart border wall construction and limit asylum claims, among other inclusions. They also impeached Mayorkas earlier this year, but those articles of impeachment have not been taken up in the Senate for a trial.

Fox News' Jasmine Baehr contributed to this report.

Inside Donald Trump and Speaker Johnson’s mutually beneficial relationship

Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., was in New York for various events when he reached out to former President Trump to inform him he would be at the Manhattan courthouse, where Trump's criminal trial was taking place the very next morning.

Johnson made the decision himself and contacted Trump directly, a source close to the speaker told Fox News Digital. Multiple people said he rode with Trump in his motorcade on Tuesday morning.

"I came here… today on my own to support President Trump because I am one of hundreds of millions of people and one citizen who is deeply concerned about this, so I’m glad to be here," he told reporters afterward.

Johnson was the highest-ranking federal lawmaker to show up at Trump’s criminal proceedings so far – a public symbol of the staunch alliance the two have built since Johnson became speaker after a tumultuous series of events in October.

SPEAKER JOHNSON RIPS 'ATROCITIES' AGAINST TRUMP AT MANHATTAN HUSH MONEY TRIAL

Multiple people close to Trump and Johnson told Fox News Digital that they speak frequently, with one GOP lawmaker estimating they talk "at least weekly" but added "it depends on the issue."

The source close to Johnson told Fox News Digital that the speaker keeps Trump in the loop on the major moves being made in the House of Representatives.

Those same allies stressed that the relationship, a close one for an elected congressional leader and their party’s presumptive presidential nominee, is positive for both the House and the GOP as a whole.

"It helps both sides. It helps the House, but it also helps the party, because you're coming in from two different directions at the same general goal," Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., who previously served in Trump’s Cabinet, told Fox News Digital.

Zinke said Trump and Johnson have a very good working relationship, arguing their "uniquely different" personalities make for a good match.

SPEAKER JOHNSON TO ATTEND TRUMP TRIAL IN MANHATTAN IN SHOW OF SUPPORT

"I think they both understand that unity of effort is required, and it has to be a cordial relationship… I think there's a realization that if we hold the House, that would be an imperative for the America First agenda," Zinke said. "You have a 100% New Yorker with high elbows and a lot of bravado. And then you have a Louisiana son of a firefighter that is kind and low-key. So maybe it's a good match."

Rep. Dan Meuser, R-Pa., told Fox News Digital, "President Trump, behind the scenes and in public, speaks well of [Johnson]. I think, like a lot of people, he trusts him."

Meuser added, "[Trump] thinks he could probably improve in certain areas. As I’ve said, some of those bills, I just think we should have fought harder for. But I think they really have a special relationship."

Indeed, Trump has exercised his powerful influence to help Johnson out of legislative jams before – like expressing public support against GOP rebels’ threats to oust the speaker from leadership, and showing tacit support for Johnson’s plan on foreign aid.

Johnson, for his part, has vehemently defended Trump amid his criminal trials and even recently floated defunding Special Counsel Jack Smith. 

TRUMP REBUKES MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE'S FAILED ATTEMPT TO OUST SPEAKER: 'NOT THE TIME'

That support extends behind closed doors as well – Johnson touted Trump’s poll numbers in critical swing states during a members-only House GOP Conference meeting on Wednesday morning, multiple people said.

And while he was not the first House GOP leader to endorse Trump’s re-election, his decision to do so was swift and, like much of Johnson’s political calculus surrounding the ex-president, appears to have been a unilateral decision.

Ahead of his November CNBC interview when Johnson made news by endorsing Trump, the source close to him recalled it was suggested that the speaker wait until his political team could put together a formal rollout. 

But Johnson argued that it made no sense to wait because he already supported the ex-president’s re-election, the source said, and then caught staff off guard when he told "Squawk Box," "I'm all in for President Trump."

Multiple lawmakers categorized Trump and Johnson's relationship as a productive but working one – the GOP lawmaker who spoke with Fox News Digital said they started out at "nearly zero" – but the source pushed back, citing a recent interview in The Atlantic where Johnson said Trump called him the day after Johnson had to abruptly leave a meeting because his sons had almost drowned.

JOHNSON WARNED AGAINST MAKING 'SIDE DEALS' WITH GOP REBELS: DON'T 'GREASE A SQUEAKY WHEEL'

"President Trump heard about it somehow – miraculously, this never made the news," Johnson had said. "He was just so moved by the idea that we almost lost them… and we talked about the faith aspect of that, because he knows that I believe that, you know – that God spared the lives of my sons. That’s how I understand those events, and we talked about that."

Trump also had a good relationship with Johnson when the latter was part of Trump’s impeachment defense team in 2020, the source said.

Rep. Ronny Jackson, R-Texas, another staunch Trump ally, told Fox News Digital, "I think it's a healthy relationship. I think they both respect each other. And they don't always agree, but who does? But you know, I think that they’ve got a relationship where they can get together in person or get on the phone and talk about stuff and come up with a common plan, a common strategy."

Rep. Andy Barr, of Kentucky, another Republican close to both, said their relationship was "very beneficial" to both sides.

"A lot of credit [goes] to both gentlemen for recognizing that they need each other. We need to collaborate and not just politically, but we want to have an effective first 100 days. We want to grow our majority, take back the White House and flip the Senate, and we want to be ready day one," Barr said.

Fox News Digital reached out to the Trump campaign for comment.

GOP turns up heat on House Dems with high-pressure Israel vote Thursday

The House of Representatives is set to vote on a bill to stop President Biden from blocking offensive weapons aid to Israel on Thursday.

Biden has faced bipartisan backlash for withholding a bomb shipment from Israel over fears it could be used in Rafah, as well as for warning Israel that the U.S. would not send offensive weapons if they were used on population centers in the southern Gaza Strip. 

The Israel Security Assistance Support Act would condemn the president’s posture on Israel’s Gaza invasion while compelling the Biden administration to expeditiously send any weapons shipments already approved by Congress.

REPORTS OF BIDEN WHITE HOUSEKEEPING ‘SENSITIVE’ HAMAS INTEL FROM ISRAEL DRAWS OUTRAGE

It would also withhold funding from the secretary of defense, secretary of state and the National Security Council if there was any delay in weapons aid. 

Democrat leaders in the House and White House are actively opposing the bill, but it’s expected to have at least a few supporters on the left.

One House Democrat aide told Fox News Digital they anticipate roughly 10 left-wing lawmakers to join Republicans in supporting the bill.

 BLINKEN DELIVERS STRONGEST REBUKE OF ISRAEL YET: ‘GET OUT OF GAZA’

A second House Democrat aide put the number at under 20, noting that the White House was "pushing hard" against the bill.

At least two Democrat lawmakers – Reps. Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y., and Greg Landsman, D-Ohio – have told Axios that they are voting for the bill.

The issue of Israel has proven to be a potent political cudgel for the GOP as Democrats wrestle with a growing chorus of voices who are increasingly critical of the U.S.’s traditionally unconditional support for Israel.

MIKE PENCE ACCUSES BIDEN OF IMPEACHMENT HYPOCRISY

House Minority Whip Katherine Clark, D-Mass., said Wednesday morning, "We know this is a political sham bill. And really, when you look at this bill, they are looking to [the Pentagon], State Department, the NSC, in this time of global conflict. It's shameful."

The White House called the bill a "misguided reaction to a deliberate distortion of the administration’s approach to Israel" in its veto threat.

The vote comes days after Biden announced he was moving forward with a $1 billion weapons shipment to Israel, according to reports.

White House walks diplomatic tightrope on Israel amid contradictory messaging: ‘You can’t have it both ways’

The Biden administration has been taking criticism as of late for what some have described as conflicting messaging on key subjects relating to the United States' top Mideast ally: Israel.

During a daily briefing last week, Fox News White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich pressed White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre about the administration's attestation to an "ironclad commitment" to Israel while "slow-walk[ing] arms sales."

Jean-Pierre replied, in part, by reiterating America's commitment to Israeli security remains "ironclad."

Meanwhile, President Biden himself pledged that if the Israel Defense Forces incur substantively into the southern Gazan city of Rafah, "I’m not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities – that deal with that problem."

BLINKEN DELIVERS STRONGEST REBUKE OF ISRAEL YET: ‘GET OUT OF GAZA’

Several lawmakers have taken issue with the administration's stance, including Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., chair of the House Armed Services Committee, who called the president's recent tack "another shortsighted decision by Biden that undermines our allies, emboldens our adversaries, and sends the message that the U.S. is unreliable."

"Our adversaries would love nothing more than to drive a wedge between the U.S. and Israel," Rogers told Fox News Digital in a statement Friday. "Israel has the right to defend itself against Hamas and Iran."

Rogers' counterpart in the Senate, Armed Services Committee ranking member Roger Wicker, R-Miss., also called out Biden over a May 8 Associated Press report that the U.S. indeed paused a shipment of bombs in response to Israel potentially making a decision on a "full-scale assault" on Rafah.

"If Hamas laid down its weapons, the war would be over. But if Israel lays down its weapons, it would be the end of Israel," Wicker said. 

MIKE PENCE ACCUSES BIDEN OF IMPEACHMENT HYPOCRISY

"Unfortunately, President Biden has this backwards. He has withheld arms for our staunchest ally one day then professed solidarity with the Jewish people the next," the Magnolia State lawmaker added.

Former National Security Council official Victoria Coates said of the administration's conflicting messaging, "you can't have it both ways."

"You're going to have to pick a team and put on a jersey and get in a fight. And the administration is desperately trying to please both sides," Coates said.

"And what they've achieved is that both sides are very angry with them. So, you know, it's it's just a massive failure both on the policy and the political front."

Two other GOP senators, Ted Budd of North Carolina and Joni Ernst of Iowa, wrote the White House a detailed letter demanding issue-specific answers from Biden on his comments on arms sales and Rafah.

Some of the questions posed included demands on which types of ammunition are reportedly being withheld, whether any arms withheld were part of those directly approved by Congress in a recent supplemental appropriation, and how such reports square with the president's April 23 pledge to "make sure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself against Iran and terrorists it supports."

"Why did your administration fail to notify Congress about this decision to withhold assistance to Israel?" Ernst and Budd asked in the letter. 

"We must give Israel the arms it needs to fight the Hamas terrorists that continue to hold Americans hostage. We call on your administration to immediately restart the weapons shipments to Israel today."

In a statement, Budd told Fox News Digital one of his constituents, Keith Siegel, remains in Hamas captivity along with seven other U.S. citizens.

"President Biden is making it harder to secure the hostages’ freedom," Budd said.

Another Republican lawmaker, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Michael McCaul of Texas, called the threat of an arms embargo a "dangerous mistake" and "shortsighted."

On his Fox News program, "Life, Liberty & Levin," former Reagan Justice Department chief of staff Mark Levin went so far as to say Biden's actions have renewed "ancient blood libels against Jews."

Stateside, Biden has condemned the "ferocious surge of antisemitism in America" and said that "there’s the right to protest, but not the right to cause chaos" only after he tried to clean up comments made during a press gaggle where he said, "I also condemn those who don’t understand what’s going on with the Palestinians …"

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The administration has been criticized for declining to take a tough stance against criminal acts committed by some anti-Israel agitators on college campuses or call on law enforcement to step in.

In April, 27 Republican senators wrote a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to demand an update on any efforts to curb the "outbreak of anti-Semitic, pro-terrorist mobs on college campuses."

"These pro-Hamas rioters have effectively shut down college campuses and have literally chased Jewish students away from our schools," the letter reads in part. "The Department of Education and federal law enforcement must act immediately to restore order, prosecute the mobs who have perpetuated violence and threats against Jewish students, revoke the visas of all foreign nationals (such as exchange students) who have taken part in promoting terrorism, and hold accountable school administrators who have stood by instead of protecting their students."

In response to the protests, Rep. Michael Lawler, R-N.Y., of whose district 90,000 Jewish U.S. citizens call home, drafted the Antisemitism Awareness Act, which successfully passed the House, 320-91, with some "nay" votes falling on grounds the bill would purportedly infringe upon First Amendment rights. Lawler's office did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

Fox News Digital reached out to the White House for comment but did not receive a response by press time.

Fox News' Jacqui Heinrich, Bradford Betz, Greg Norman and Andrew Mark Miller contributed to this report.

Biden torched by Republicans for tougher immigration rule ahead of November election

Republicans slammed President Biden for a newly proposed Department of Homeland Security rule that they claim is just an election-year move to help him in a close match with former President Trump. 

"Biden is announcing these new rules on criminal migrants because they have released migrants with links to terrorism into America and are now scrambling to cover themselves in case we have an attack before the election," said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., on X, formerly Twitter.

DHS announced the proposed rule change, which would move up "statutory bars to asylum" in the evaluation process, last week. 

DEMS PLAN TO REVIVE BORDER BILL REJECTED BY REPUBLICANS AHEAD OF NOVEMBER ELECTION

A DHS official told Fox News Digital that the proposed rule would not change any eligibility standards but would only move the assessment of security threats up in the process. 

"This rule would enable DHS to more quickly remove those who are subject to the bars and pose a risk to our national security or public safety," read a press release from the department. 

"During his first 100 days, President Biden took 94 executive actions to OPEN the border," wrote Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., on X. "Now, just months before an election, he finally took an obvious step that should have been taken years ago."

She called the move "small and necessary," but claimed, "It does nothing to address the larger border crisis he created."

SCHUMER MAY LET CONTROVERSIAL BIDEN NOMINEE WITH 'PROBLEMATIC' TIES QUIETLY EXPIRE: EXPERT

This sentiment was echoed by Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., who said on X: "Less than 6 months before an election, he is attempting 1 small change the narrative on our chaotic border – they already have the authority to do so much more, but they won’t." 

The White House did not provide comment to Fox News Digital over the criticism. 

VULNERABLE DEMOCRATIC SENATOR BACKS LAKEN RILEY IMMIGRATION BILL AHEAD OF TOUGH RE-ELECTION IN RED STATE

While Republicans were suspicious of the Biden administration's motivations for the change, not every Democrat was happy with it either. 

An advocate for the rights of asylum-seekers, Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif., said on X: "I’m closely reviewing the Administration’s proposed rule. Concerned that moving the asylum bars to the initial credible fear interview stage risks returning legitimate asylum seekers to danger."

"To improve the asylum system we must fully fund it and provide access to counsel," he added. 

"The proposed rule we have published today is yet another step in our ongoing efforts to ensure the safety of the American public by more quickly identifying and removing those individuals who present a security risk and have no legal basis to remain here," Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement regarding the rule. "We will continue to take action, but fundamentally it is only Congress that can fix what everyone agrees is a broken immigration system."

BIDEN ADMINISTRATION GRANTED SANCTIONS RELIEF TO ARAB NATIONS JUST BEFORE PRESIDENT'S ISRAEL AID THREAT

Mayorkas recently made history by becoming only the second Cabinet official to be impeached, with the House passing two articles against him. The previous Cabinet-level impeachment occurred more than 100 years prior. However, the secretary was not removed from office as Senate Democrats were able to swiftly dismiss the articles upon delivery. 

The proposal comes just months ahead of the presidential election in November, which is shaping up to be a close rematch between Biden and Trump. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is also seeking to shift attention back to the border in the legislature, where he is strongly considering reviving a border bill that nearly all Republicans opposed, per a source familiar. 

Several incumbent Democratic senators face significant challenges in the upcoming elections, where the party will fight to hold onto its Senate majority.