House Oversight Committee chairman Rep. James Comer (R-KY) has announced that he will be moving forward with holding FBI Director Christopher Wray in contempt of Congress after the bureau refused to comply with a subpoena.
A whistleblower recently came forward to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to allege that the FBI was in possession of an unclassified FD-1023 form that described a criminal bribery scheme involving a foreign national and President Joe Biden, who was serving as vice president in the Obama administration at the time of the alleged scheme.
Following those allegations, the House Oversight Committee sent a subpoena to the FBI demanding the document and all related materials be turned over.
On Tuesday, Comer released a statement announcing that the FBI had failed to comply with the committee’s subpoena — which was initially sent on May 3 and had a deadline of May 10, though the deadline was later extended to May 30.
“Today, the FBI informed the Committee that it will not provide the unclassified documents subpoenaed by the Committee,” the Oversight Committee chairman said in the statement. “The FBI’s decision to stiff-arm Congress and hide this information from the American people is obstructionist and unacceptable.”
While Comer did note that he has a call with Wray scheduled for Wednesday, he said in his statement that the Oversight Committee “has been clear in its intent to protect Congressional oversight authorities and will now be taking steps to hold the FBI Director in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a lawful subpoena.”
In a letter to the FBI director last week, Comer noted that the FD-1023 form he was seeking may reference some variant of “five million” and “June 30, 2020.”
“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 letter continued.
The FBI has responded to Comer in a letter published by Politico, which claimed that FBI officials had “identified additional information that we are prepared to offer the Committee as an extraordinary accommodation.”
According to acting Assistant Director for Congressional Affairs Christopher Dunham, Wray “looks forward to discussing how we plan to make that information available to the Committee during” his Wednesday call with Comer.
The FBI also responded to Comer’s statement in a separate statement provided to The Daily Wire.
“The FBI remains committed to cooperating with the Committee in good faith. In a letter to Chairman Comer earlier today, the FBI committed to providing access to information responsive to the Committee’s subpoena in a format and setting that maintains confidentiality and protects important security interests and the integrity of FBI investigations,” the bureau claimed.
“Last week, Director Wray scheduled a telephone call for tomorrow to provide additional details of the FBI’s extraordinary accommodation to satisfy the subpoena request,” the FBI added. “Any discussion of escalation under these circumstances is unnecessary.”
While there have not been many details about the FD-1023 document made public as of yet, including the country to which the foreign national belonged, the date that Comer referenced came roughly two weeks after Ukrainian officials revealed that a $5 million bribe had been discovered that was intended to end an investigation into the founder of Burisma Holdings. Coincidentally, Burisma Holdings happens to be the Ukrainian gas company where Biden’s son, Hunter, served on the board for several years.
Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) also spoke out about the FBI’s refusal to provide the document, noting that he has Comer’s back in his efforts to obtain the document and to hold Wray in contempt.
“Today is the deadline for him to act,” McCarthy said. “If he does not act, he’s not above the law. He’s not above Congress. And we will hold him in contempt. Now I want to be very clear about that.”
If the Republican-controlled House approves of a criminal contempt referral to the Department of Justice (DOJ), and federal prosecutors actually agree to take up the case, Wray could face a fine and up to a year in jail.
“Americans deserve the truth, and the Oversight Committee will continue to demand transparency from this nation’s chief law enforcement agency,” Comer wrote in his Tuesday statement.