The Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee said the panel would consider a measure to hold FBI Director Christopher Wray in contempt of Congress on Thursday over a document the committee is seeking.
The Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee released a contempt resolution Wednesday against FBI Director Christopher Wray over the panel’s request for a document that allegedly describes Joe Biden accepting a bribe as vice president.
Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., subpoenaed the FBI last month for the document, called an FD-1023 form, that he and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, allege “describes an alleged criminal scheme involving then-Vice President Biden and a foreign national relating to the exchange of money for policy decisions.” Comer has said the scheme involved a $5 million payment from a foreign national in exchange for a policy outcome.
The FBI declined to provide the document, saying it is bound by Justice Department policy, which “strictly limits when and how confidential human source information can be provided outside of the FBI.”
Comer then vowed to move forward with holding Wray in contempt of Congress unless he turned over the document. During a phone call with Comer, Grassley and Wray last week, Wray had offered to allow the leaders of the committee to review the document “in a secure manner,” the FBI said.
On Monday, the FBI briefed Comer and ranking member Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., on Capitol Hill to give them a chance to review the document. A senior law enforcement official last week said the FBI would redact information that could reveal the source’s identity.
Speaking to reporters outside the secure briefing site after the Monday briefing, Comer said the “FBI again refused to hand over the unclassified record to the custody” of the committee and that the panel plans to consider the contempt of Congress measure Thursday.
“FBI officials confirmed that the unclassified FBI-generated record has not been disproven and is currently being used in an ongoing investigation,” he said Monday.
In a statement Wednesday, Comer said the FBI hasn’t complied with its subpoena and accused the agency of a “coverup by leaking a false narrative to the media.”
“The case is not closed as the White House, Democrats, and the FBI would have the American people believe,” he said. “The FBI created this record based on information from a credible informant who has worked with the FBI for over a decade and paid six figures.”
Comer claimed the unnamed informant had “first-hand conversations with the foreign national” who is alleged to have bribed Biden, and that former Attorney General Bill Barr said the record was given to the U.S. attorney in Delaware for that office’s investigation of the Biden family’s business dealings.
“Americans have lost trust in the FBI’s ability to enforce the law impartially and demand answers, transparency, and accountability,” Comer said. “The Oversight Committee must follow the facts for the American people and ensure the federal government is held accountable.”
The FBI and Scott Brady, then-U.S. attorney for Western Pennsylvania, reviewed the allegation when it was made in 2020 as well as other information about Hunter Biden’s dealings in Ukraine, a senior law enforcement official told NBC News last week. The bribery allegation, however, wasn’t substantiated, the official said.
Reached for comment on Wednesday, Oversight Committee Democrats referred NBC News to Raskin’s statement following the FBI’s briefing this week: “Comer’s actions prove that his interest in issuing this subpoena was never about seeking the truth, but was always about weaponizing the powers of this Committee to hold Director Wray in contempt as part of MAGA Republicans’ efforts to discredit and ultimately ‘dismantle’ the FBI.”
The FBI and the White House did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for comment.
The FBI has said in recent statements that it had been cooperative with Comer’s request, and that “the escalation to a contempt vote under these circumstances is unwarranted.”
The White House has also criticized the committee’s investigations, arguing the probes are politically motivated and designed to hurt Biden’s re-election chances.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told NBC News on Wednesday that the full House would take up the contempt resolution against Wray “right after” the committee advances the measure.