House Oversight Chairman James Comer (R-KY) announced late Wednesday that the FBI agreed to allow every member of his committee to see a document containing bribery allegations against President Joe Biden.
This concession by the bureau led the oversight panel to remove a business meeting to vote on holding FBI Director Christopher Wray in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the schedule for Thursday, according to Comer’s team.
“After weeks of refusing to even admit the FD-1023 record exists, the FBI has caved and is now allowing all members of the Oversight and Accountability Committee to review this unclassified record that memorializes a confidential human source’s conversations with a foreign national who claimed to have bribed then-Vice President Joe Biden,” Comer said in a statement.
“Americans have lost trust in the FBI’s ability to enforce the law impartially and demand answers, transparency, and accountability. Allowing all Oversight Committee members to review this record is an important step toward conducting oversight of the FBI and holding it accountable to the American people,” Comer added.
The announcement is the latest twist in a weeks-long standoff in which Comer has sought to gain custody of a particular FBI FD-1023 form, going off whistleblower disclosures. Such forms are used by the FBI to record information from a confidential human source.
After allowing Comer and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), the ranking member of the committee, to view a redacted copy of the document on Monday in a secure room in the U.S. Capitol, the FBI insisted that an “escalation to a contempt vote under these circumstances is unwarranted.”
A statement from the bureau said the FBI “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.”
Now, in addition to all Oversight Committee members being able to review the document, they will receive a briefing while the FBI will make two additional documents referenced in the FD-1023 form available for Comer and Raskin to review, the chairman’s team announced.
It remains unclear if such allowances by the FBI will be sufficient to ward off a contempt vote in the future, as Comer has up until now seemed adamant about getting custody of the unclassified document, not just reviewing it.
“In the spirit of good faith, the FBI has offered Chairman Comer yet further accommodations in response to his subpoena, including to allow all Oversight Committee Members to review in camera the second-hand allegations by Ukrainian individuals reported in the tip sheet,” Raskin said in a statement on Wednesday evening. “Chairman Comer’s acceptance of these further accommodations comes after he has spent weeks attacking the FBI despite its extraordinary efforts to provide Committee Republicans the information they claim to seek.”
The Biden team has been openly dismissive of Comer’s investigative efforts. “This silly charade by Chairman Comer is yet another reminder that his so-called ‘investigations’ are political stunts not meant to get information but to spread thin innuendo and falsehoods to attack the President,” White House spokesperson Ian Sams said in a recent statement.
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, said a report that accompanied a contempt resolution released earlier on Wednesday.
The 17-page report, which explained the background of the month-long standoff over the subpoena and the committee’s rationale for moving forward with contempt, also divulged 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.”