FBI Director Christopher Wray on Wednesday offered to allow House Oversight Chair James Comer to review an internal law enforcement document at FBI headquarters that Republicans believe will shed light on an allegation that Vice President Joe Biden was once involved in a criminal scheme with a foreign national, the chairman said in a statement.
The document has its origins in a tranche of documents Rudy Giuliani provided to the Justice Department in 2020, people familiar with the matter said.
Allegations of wrongdoing by the former vice president, many from sources in Ukraine, are so dubious that Attorney General William Barr in early 2020 ordered a U.S. attorney in Pittsburgh to investigate them, in part because of concerns Barr that the Giuliani document The tranche could contaminate the ongoing investigation of Hunter Biden handled by the Delaware US attorney.
Barr told reporters at the time why he was being cautious: “We can’t take anything we’ve received from Ukraine at face value.”
Former Pittsburgh US Attorney Scott Brady oversaw the FBI’s investigation into Giuliani’s claims. The 1023 document requested by Comer is one of the products of that investigation.
While the 1023 form documents the claims from the informant, it does not provide proof that they are true, people on the matter said. The FBI and prosecutors who reviewed the information could not confirm the claims.
Brady did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Comer subpoenaed the document and threatened Wray with subpoenaing Congressional proceedings if Wray did not hand it over. According to his statement, Comer told Wray during a phone call Wednesday afternoon that the accommodation may not be enough to stop the contempt proceedings.
“While Director Wray – after a month of refusing to even acknowledge that the form existed – offered to allow us to see the documents in person at FBI headquarters, we were clear that anything short of doing so documents to the House Oversight Committee is not to comply with the subpoena,” said Comer.
“If the FBI fails to provide the FD-1023 form required by the subpoena, the House Oversight Committee will begin contempt of Congress proceedings,” he added.
The top Democrat on the committee, Rep. Jamie Raskin, obtained a separate phone call with Wray, in which he said he was offered the same accommodation. Raskin – who had hoped to view the document with Comer at the same time – said he was given the impression that the document was brief.
“I asked how long we were going to be there and it didn’t seem like we were going to be there long,” he said. “They said, you know, you can be out in half an hour.”
FBI officials are expected to show the document to lawmakers in the coming days, people briefed on the matter said.
The FBI, in a letter sent before Comer’s impeachment threat, said it would make the information available to the oversight committee “in a format and condition that maintains confidentiality and protects important interests.” the security and integrity of FBI investigations.” The FBI also says there are limits to its ability to share unsubstantiated raw intelligence outside the bureau.
An FBI spokesperson told CNN on Wednesday that “during today’s call, Director Wray offered to give the Committee Chairman and Ranking Member an opportunity to review the information that will respond to the subpoena in a secure manner.” -accommodate the committee, while protecting the confidentiality and safety of sources and important investigative sensitivities.”
“The FBI has consistently demonstrated its commitment to working with the Committee to accommodate its request, from scheduling briefings and calls to now allowing the Chair to review the information in person. The FBI remains commitment to cooperate with the Committee in good faith,” continued the spokesperson.
The FBI uses FD-1023 forms to recall information gathered from confidential sources. These often include allegations from a source that the FBI has not yet verified. According to Comer, the one in question, dated June 30, 2020, states that the foreign national allegedly paid $5 million to receive a desired policy result, based on unclassified and legal protected whistleblower disclosures.
In a recent letter to Wray and Attorney General Merrick Garland, Comer and Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley wrote, “It is alleged that the document includes an accurate description of how the alleged criminal scheme was implemented as well as its purpose.”
Ian Sams, White House spokesman for oversight and investigations, dismissed Comer’s investigations, telling CNN in a statement that they were a “crazy charade” and “political stunts” to “spread thin innuendo and lies to attack the President.”
“He’s already admitted that it’s not about exposing the facts but about trying to hurt the President’s poll numbers, so the only question left is how long he’ll waste time, energy, and dollars of the taxpayer to support a fact-free politically motivated goose. Just chasing to get media attention and the spotlight on Fox News,” Sams said.
Raskin also expressed concern at the idea of the FBI or other law enforcement entities being forced to hand over records or tips made by confidential informants.
“There are no confidential informants, if there is a politician they can just subpoena them and then open it to the public,” he said.
Since taking control of the House earlier this year, Republicans have aggressively pursued Biden and his family, particularly his son Hunter Biden, over allegations that they improperly used their current political connections. president to promote themselves.
Earlier this month, Comer alleged that the Biden family received millions of dollars in payments from foreign entities in China and Romania, including vice president Biden. The committee did not suggest anything illegal about payments from foreign sources and representatives for the White House and Hunter Biden rejected the allegations as politically motivated.
This story has been updated with additional developments.