Biden investigation: Wray agrees to speak with Comer about ‘criminal scheme’ document
Biden investigation: Wray agrees to speak with Comer about ‘criminal scheme’ documentJerry Dunleavy
May 25, 11:16 AM May 25, 11:16 AM
FBI Director Christopher Wray will talk with a Republican investigator after being threatened with contempt proceedings for his refusal to turn over a form allegedly describing a “criminal scheme” involving President Joe Biden and an unnamed “foreign national.”
Rep. James Comer (R-KY), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, who is conducting an investigation into Hunter Biden’s overseas business dealings, sent a letter to Wray on Wednesday pledging to initiate contempt of Congress proceedings if the FBI director did not cooperate.
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The Washington Examiner learned that Wray quickly scheduled a phone call for next Wednesday in response, but Comer and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) are still demanding that the FBI hand over the document by May 30 or face a possible contempt charge.
“It shouldn’t have taken the threat of holding FBI Director Wray in contempt for him to finally agree to a phone call that Chairman Comer and Senator Grassley requested over a week ago,” a spokesperson for Comer’s committee told the Washington Examiner. “The FBI must produce the unclassified record by May 30 or the Oversight Committee will initiate contempt of Congress proceedings. The subpoenaed record is already two weeks past due.”
The FBI also released a statement in response to Comer’s letter, signaling continued refusal.
“The FBI’s mission is to protect the American people,” the FBI said. “Releasing confidential source information could potentially jeopardize investigations and put lives at risk. The FBI remains committed to cooperating with Congress’s oversight requests on this matter and others as we always have.”
Comer had sent the FBI a letter in early May telling the bureau that “whistleblower disclosures” indicated that the FBI and Justice Department are “in possession” of an FD-1023 form that describes an “alleged criminal scheme” involving Biden and a foreign national “relating to the exchange of money for policy decisions.” An FD-1023 form is a document the FBI uses to record interviews with confidential human sources (CHS).
The letter was authored jointly with Grassley, who is also investigating Biden family finances linked to China and Ukraine.
“The FBI has continued to tie itself in knots to ignore a legitimate subpoena from Congress, which has a constitutional duty of oversight,” Grassley said in a statement Wednesday, adding, “The FBI knows exactly what document Chairman Comer and I are seeking, and if they know us at all, they know we will get it, one way or another.”
Comer fired off a May 3 subpoena to the FBI to hand over “all FD-1023 forms, including within any open, closed, or restricted access case files, created or modified in June 2020, containing the term ‘Biden’, including all accompanying attachments and documents to those FD-1023 forms.” The FBI had until May 10 to turn the document over, but it has refused.
The FBI then sent Comer a six-page letter on May 10, arguing that “as is clear from the name itself, confidentiality is definitional to the FBI’s Confidential Human Source program” and that “significant harm to investigative work — and to the program as a whole — could result from dissemination of FD-1023s or other similar documents.”
The bureau added that “often, even confirming the fact of the existence (or nonexistence) of an investigation or a particular piece of investigative information can risk these serious harms” and called it “standard practice for law enforcement agencies to decline to confirm or deny” the existence of the requested document.
Wray told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee the same day that “we are committed to working collaboratively with both committees, but we also have to balance sources and methods and ongoing investigations.”
Comer then met with FBI staff on May 15 and May 23, and said both times the FBI “was not authorized to even acknowledge the existence of the FD-1023 form.”
FBI staff told Comer on Tuesday that the search terms were too broad because there were many responsive records containing the term “Biden” in its CHS database for June 2020.
Comer called the new information “alarming” as he argued that “the FBI’s gamesmanship in holding a meeting about general CHS confidentiality issues — instead of addressing the specific FD-1023 form the Committee subpoenaed — is unacceptable.”
The House chairman told Wray that “to narrow the breadth of the subpoena, we are providing additional terms based on unclassified and legally protected whistleblower disclosures that may be referenced in the FD-1023 form.” He said the subpoena terms would now be narrowed to “June 30, 2020” and “five million.”
Comer contended that “these terms relate to the date on the FD-1023 form and its reference to the amount of money the foreign national allegedly paid to receive the desired policy outcome.
“The FBI’s refusal to provide this single document is obstructionist,” Comer said in a Wednesday statement. “Whistleblower disclosures that Joe Biden may have been involved in a criminal bribery scheme as Vice President track closely with what we are seeing in our investigation into the Biden family’s influence-peddling schemes. Congress and the American people need to know what, if anything, the FBI did to verify the allegations contained within this record.”