Originally published May 26, 2023 9:12 am PDT
WASHINGTON—In an escalating conflict between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, Chairman James Comer (R-KY) and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) have criticized FBI Director Christopher Wray for allegedly disregarding a congressional subpoena.
The subpoena is seeking an unclassified FBI record suggesting a criminal scheme involving then-Vice President Joe Biden and a foreign national, according to a press release.
Chairman Comer warned Director Wray in a recent letter that failure to provide the requested record by May 30, 2023, could lead to the initiation of contempt of Congress proceedings.
“The FBI’s refusal to provide this single document is obstructionist,” stated Comer, adding, “Congress and the American people need to know what, if anything, the FBI did to verify the allegations contained within this record.”
The subpoenaed document, an FBI-generated FD-1023 form, allegedly reveals an exchange of money for policy decisions.
According to the Oversight Committee, it is a critical part of their ongoing investigation into potential “influence peddling schemes” by the Biden family.
Chairman Comer remarked, “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.”
The FBI has reportedly indicated that the search terms included in the original subpoena were overly broad.
In response, Comer has narrowed the subpoena by adding two additional terms: “June 30, 2020” and “five million.”
The added terms correspond to the alleged date on the FD-1023 form and the amount of money the foreign national supposedly paid for a desired policy outcome.
Senator Grassley echoed Comer’s sentiment, accusing the FBI of evading its constitutional duty of oversight.
“The FBI has continued to tie itself in knots to ignore a legitimate subpoena from Congress,” Grassley said, adding, “The Bureau’s developed a serious reputation problem through its spate of failures and overreach, and leadership is doing it no favors by attempting to stiff-arm Congress.”
The Oversight Committee issued the subpoena for the unclassified FBI record on May 3, 2023, with a return date of May 10.
However, despite several in-person meetings and requests for a phone call with Director Wray, the FBI has not produced the FD-1023 form or offered a reasonable accommodation to allow the Committee to review the document.
As Senator Grassley noted, “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.”
As the May 30 deadline approaches, the escalating tension between the FBI and the Oversight Committee shows no signs of abating.
Read Comer’s letter to Wray below: