House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-KY) threatened to bring contempt of Congress charges against FBI Director Christopher Wray if the bureau continues to defy a Congressional subpoena.
Comer subpoenaed the document — which allegedly contains information relating to a bribery scheme involving President Biden and a foreign national — on May 3. The FBI first declined to produce the document on May 10, citing DOJ regulations on “confidential human sources.”
“It is critical to the integrity of the entire criminal justice process and to the fulfillment of our law enforcement duties that FBI avoid revealing information—including unverified or incomplete information— that could harm investigations, prejudice prosecutions or judicial proceedings, unfairly violate privacy or reputational interests, or create misimpressions in the public,” wrote Christopher Dunham, the FBI acting assistant director for congressional affairs, in a letter.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) spoke with Director Wray in a phone call last week and vowed to secure the document. After the phone call, Comer was briefed by the FBI on Monday, but the bureau again refused to produce the document.
On Wednesday, Comer threatened to bring contempt of Congress charges against the FBI if they continue to defy the subpoena. “FBI Director Wray is defying a congressional subpoena for an unclassified record alleging a criminal scheme involving then-VP Joe Biden and a foreign national,” wrote Comer in a tweet. “If Director Wray refuses to hand over this record, @GOPoversight will begin contempt of Congress proceedings.”
FBI Director Wray is defying a congressional subpoena for an unclassified record alleging a criminal scheme involving then-VP Joe Biden and a foreign national.
— Rep. James Comer (@RepJamesComer) May 24, 2023
Since the FBI initially refused to comply on May 10, House Oversight and Accountability Committee members have attended two meetings at FBI headquarters this month. “Similar to the May 15 meeting, FBI staff was not authorized to even acknowledge the existence of the FD-1023 form,” Comer wrote in a letter addressed to the FBI director, referencing the committees second meeting on May 22. “There was only one substantive comment regarding the subpoena.”
Comer added that the committee agreed to limit the scope of the subpoena after the bureau complained it was too wide. “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,” Comer wrote, adding that the bureau’s conduct was “obstructionist.”
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) — who requested the document in a letter along with Comer — said the FBI has “continued to tie itself in knots to ignore a legitimate subpoena from Congress,” in a statement to Fox News. “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 White House has repeatedly claimed that President Biden never spoke to his son, Hunter, about his business dealings and have denied the president had any involvement in them.