House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) doubled down on the push to acquire an FBI document that linked Joe Biden to a pay-to-play bribery scheme while he was still vice president under President Barack Obama.
“The FBI’s delay in producing a single, unclassified record is unacceptable,” Comer said in a May 19 statement.
“The information provided by a whistleblower raises concerns that then-Vice President Biden allegedly engaged in a bribery scheme with a foreign national. The FBI must provide this record to Congress without further delay.”
Comer reiterated the demand in a May 19 letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray. Some House Republicans have already signaled they would hold Wray in contempt of Congress after the FBI missed Comer’s subpoena deadline—May 10—to produce the internal notes regarding an alleged “criminal scheme” involving Biden.
Comer, along with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), revealed in a May 3 letter that they received “legally protected and highly credible unclassified whistleblower disclosures.” The whistleblower’s tip indicated that the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FBI possessed an unclassified document that “describes an alleged criminal scheme involving then-vice president Joe Biden and a foreign national relating to the exchange of money for policy decisions,” according to the letter to Wray and Attorney General Merrick Garland.
“This specific document goes into great detail, the pay-for-play agreement between Joe Biden as vice president, and the policy outcomes that this foreign national wanted,” Rep. Eric Burlison (R-Mo.), a member of the House Oversight Committee, previously told NTD, a sister media outlet of The Epoch Times.
On May 3, Comer filed a subpoena to Wray seeking an internal form, called an FD-1023, which recorded information from confidential human sources. The subpoena instructed the FBI to produce “all FD-1023 forms, including within any open, closed, or restricted access case files, created or modified in June 2020, containing the term ‘Biden.’”
Instead of turning over the requested document, Christopher Dunham, the acting assistant director for congressional affairs, wrote a letter (pdf) to Comer on May 10 explaining the FBI’s confidentiality interests.
Dunham said the FD-1023 form “is used by FBI agents to record unverified reporting from a confidential human source.” The DOJ policy, he noted, “strictly limits when and how confidential human source information can be provided outside of the FBI.”
An FBI spokesperson later told The Epoch Times that sharing such internal notes has the risk of jeopardizing investigations.
“Revealing unverified or possibly incomplete information could harm investigations, prejudice prosecutions or judicial proceedings, unfairly violate privacy or reputations, create misimpressions in the public, or potentially identify individuals who provide information to law enforcement, placing their physical safety at risk,” the spokesperson said.
In the May 19 letter to Wray, Comer stated that his committee “has already offered a reasonable accommodation to address the FBI’s stated confidentiality concerns but the FBI to date has refused to meaningfully engage in discussions about how the Committee can obtain the information that it needs.”
Although the committee members had an in-person meeting with the FBI officials on May 15, the bureau failed to produce the requested document.
“Most troubling, the FBI staff stated they were not authorized to disclose whether the FD-1023 form exists,” Comer said.
“In lieu of producing the subpoenaed document, FBI staff proposed a second meeting with different FBI employees to provide a briefing regarding confidential human source reporting.
“Committee counsel agreed to the second meeting but called into question whether the FBI was acting in good faith given its refusal to even acknowledge the existence of the FD-1023 form at issue.”
The second meeting is set to take place on May 22.
The FBI and the White House didn’t respond by press time to requests by The Epoch Times for comment.
Comer’s latest push built on a months-long investigation by the Oversight Committee into Biden and his alleged involvement in his family members’ foreign business deals. On May 10, investigators revealed that bank records from subpoenas showed that the “Biden family, their business associates, and their companies received over $10 million from foreign nationals’ companies.”
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said on May 11 that he would speak to Wray on Biden’s alleged bribery scheme, but it’s unclear whether such a conversation has happened.
Hold in Contempt?
If Wray, the top federal law enforcement official, were to not comply with the House panel’s subpoena, Republicans could hold him in contempt of Congress.
Reps. Bob Good (R-Va.) and Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) told The Epoch Times that they would consider such action.
“If a whistleblower, as they have, has identified a form that the FBI has and then the FBI’s response, it seems like, they did not deny they didn’t have the form but they haven’t turned it over, the American public and Congress need to see this form,” Lesko said.
“We need to find out if it implicates the president of the United States. And yes, we need to have action. We need to have teeth. If we issue a subpoena and they don’t answer, we need to follow it up.”
Reps. Rich McCormick (R-Ga.) and Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) said they “absolutely” vote in support of the contempt action.
“When you can’t tell me why that document can’t be exposed to people who are on [the House Intelligence Committee], why they have more of a right to intelligence than we do, the people who actually fund that department, when you can’t even do that in a secret capacity, then what are you hiding?” McCormick said on May 12.
“If a credible allegation of bribery against a president can be made, that is an impeachable offense, and the full powers of Congress can be invoked not only to hold obstructionists accountable, but also to compel production of the evidence.”
Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) appeared to be hesitant to take such a move.
“I’m not going to get into the details of the FBI issue, but I will tell you that under the Constitution, we have a system of checks and balances,” he told The Epoch Times on May 12. “And one of the most important authorities and responsibilities that we have as the voice of the American people is to hold the executive branch and the judicial branch accountable. And it’s a mutual system of checks and balances.”
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