The decade's most triggering comedy
House Oversight Chairman James Comer (R-KY) introduced on Wednesday his resolution to hold FBI Director Christopher Wray in contempt of Congress for not producing a document containing bribery allegations against President Joe Biden.
Lawmakers will consider penalizing Wray for refusing to comply with a subpoena during a business meeting scheduled to take place Thursday at 9 a.m. ET on Capitol Hill, according to a press release from the oversight panel.
“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.”
Americans have lost trust in the FBI’s ability to enforce the law impartially and demand accountability. @GOPoversight must follow the facts and ensure the government is held accountable.
I just introduced the Resolution to hold FBI Director Wray in contempt of Congress. pic.twitter.com/cj9qNXc3xi
— Rep. James Comer (@RepJamesComer) June 7, 2023
So far, according to Comer, the FBI has been willing to show the committee a redacted version of the record, but not produce it to Congress, and only acknowledged its existence a week ago.
The FBI says an “escalation to a contempt vote under these circumstances is unwarranted” as it “demonstrated” a commitment to accommodate the Oversight Committee’s request while also taking precautions “often employed in response to congressional requests and in court proceedings to protect important concerns, such as the physical safety of sources and the integrity of investigations.”
The record sought by Comer is an FBI FD-1023 form, which is used to record information from a confidential human source. This particular form references “June 30, 2020” and “five million” — an apparent date and dollar amount in an alleged scheme in which a foreign national offered Biden money in exchange for certain actions at a time when he was vice president.
Comer says the document pertains to Ukraine with the allegations that fit a pattern seen with other countries, such as Romania, regarding suspicious transactions involving millions of dollars funneled through banks and shell companies linked to members of Biden’s family.
Without the FD-1023 record sought by Comer, the committee cannot determine whether or not the allegations it contains pose a national security risk, and the panel is hindered in its ability to gather more evidence that could inform future legislation that could strengthen disclosure requirements, says a report that accompanied the resolution on Wednesday.
The 17-page report, which explains the background of the month-long standoff over the subpoena and the committee’s rationale for moving forward with contempt, also divulges that Biden’s son Hunter is tied to the allegations.
“The details of the allegations span meetings and conversations that occurred over several years,” the report says. “The allegations in the FD-1023 form are complex; detail business ventures; reference large payment amounts and the reasons why the foreign national is financially involved with Joe Biden and Hunter Biden; and discuss the financial complexity of the alleged scheme.”
The younger Biden’s tax affairs are under investigation by U.S. Attorney David Weiss in Delaware, where former Attorney General William Barr told The Federalist he relayed an inquiry into the allegations. Comer says FBI officials have conveyed to Congress the FD-1023 form is “currently being used in an ongoing investigation.”
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, reviewed the document and was briefed by the FBI alongside Comer in secured space on Capitol Hill on Monday. Afterwards, he said the chairman is willfully ignoring the “legitimate law enforcement concerns” by the FBI and “has declared his intent to hold Director Wray in contempt of Congress to further promote debunked Republican conspiracy theories.”
The president’s team has dismissed Comer’s inquiry as a political exercise. “This is yet another fact-free stunt staged by Chairman Comer not to conduct legitimate oversight, but to spread thin innuendo to try to damage the President politically and get himself media attention,” White House spokesman Ian Sams said in a statement this week.
If the contempt resolution advances through the Oversight Committee, the process would move to the House floor as early as next week, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told Fox News. If the chamber, which is narrowly controlled by Republicans, were to approve a criminal contempt referral to the Department of Justice (DOJ), Wray could face a fine and up to a year’s imprisonment if federal prosecutors take up the case. There are also other forms of recourse, including civil enforcement, according to the American Bar Association.