Some House Republicans Call for Holding FBI Director in Contempt of Congress for Failing to Comply With Subpoena
WASHINGTON—House Republicans appear split on whether to hold FBI Director Christopher Wray in contempt of Congress for not complying with a subpoena from the House Oversight Committee that seeks a document with whistleblower allegations that now-President Joe Biden received a bribe from a foreign official.
In a May 3 letter to Wray and Attorney General Merrick Garland, Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), the chairman of the Oversight Committee, and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) wrote that they “have received legally protected and highly credible unclassified whistleblower disclosures.
“Based on those disclosures, it has come to our attention that the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) possess an unclassified FD-1023 form that describes an alleged criminal scheme involving then-Vice President Biden and a foreign national relating to the exchange of money for policy decisions. It has been alleged that the document includes a precise description of how the alleged criminal scheme was employed as well as its purpose.”
The May 3 subpoena required the FBI to hand over any FD-1023 forms—which note information from confidential human sources—with the word “Biden” in them.
The FBI refused to comply with the subpoena’s May 10 deadline.
“It’s clear from the FBI’s response that the unclassified record the Oversight Committee subpoenaed exists, but they are refusing to provide it to the Committee. We’ve asked the FBI to not only provide this record, but to also inform us what it did to investigate these allegations,” said Comer in a May 10 statement. “The FBI has failed to do both. The FBI’s position is ‘trust, but you aren’t allowed to verify.’ That is unacceptable. We plan to follow up with the FBI and expect compliance with the subpoena.”
“While the FBI has failed to produce the specific document by the subpoena deadline, their offer to provide an accommodation process in response to our legitimate request indicates the document is real,” said Grassley in a statement.
“So the question remains, what did the FBI do to investigate very serious allegations from an apparent trusted FBI source implicating then-Vice President Biden? Today’s letter from the FBI raises additional questions, including whether the FBI has an open investigation based on these allegations. The American people pay the FBI’s salaries, and they’re entitled to a fulsome response.”
A spokesperson said that FD-1023 forms are used by agents to record unverified information from confidential sources, and revealing such documents would jeopardize investigations.
“Revealing unverified or possibly incomplete information could harm investigations, prejudice prosecutions or judicial proceedings, unfairly violate privacy or reputations, create misimpressions in the public, or potentially identify individuals who provide information to law enforcement, placing their physical safety at risk,” the spokesperson told The Epoch Times in an email.
GOP Members React
A handful of House GOP members told The Epoch Times on May 12 that they would be willing to hold Wray in contempt of Congress.
Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) is one of those, having replied with a simple “yes.”
“I think it’s unbelievable that the FBI is trying to refuse giving a nonclassified document to the Oversight Committee,” he said.
Reps. Rich McCormick (R-Ga.) and Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) said he “absolutely” would vote to hold Wray in contempt of Congress.
“When you can’t tell me why that document can’t be exposed to people who are on [the House Intelligence Committee], why they have more of a right to intelligence than we do, the people who actually fund that department, when you can’t even do that in a secret capacity, then what are you hiding?” said McCormick.
“If a credible allegation of bribery against a president can be made, that is an impeachable offense, and the full powers of Congress can be invoked not only to hold obstructionists accountable, but also to compel production of the evidence,” said McClintock.
Rep. Jen Kiggans (R-Va.), citing that she’s not on the Oversight Committee, said she is “not up on that issue enough to answer the question.”
When asked on May 12 if they would hold Wray in contempt, Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) answered in the affirmative.
“If a whistleblower, as they have, has identified a form that the FBI has and then the FBI’s response, it seems like, they did not deny they didn’t have the form but they haven’t turned it over, the American public and Congress need to see this form,” said Lesko. “We need to find out if it implicates the president of the United States. And yes, we need to have action. We need to have teeth. If we issue a subpoena and they don’t answer, we need to follow it up.”
Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) demurred.
“I’m not going to get into the details of the FBI issue, but I will tell you that under the Constitution, we have a system of checks and balances,” he said. “And one of the most important authorities and responsibilities that we have as the voice of the American people is to hold the executive branch and the judicial branch accountable. And it’s a mutual system of checks and balances.”
Last but not least, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) would not say, when asked by The Epoch Times on May 11, whether there would be a subpoena but did not rule it out.
“There are checks and balances, and there is oversight. Congress has a right to have that knowledge,” he said. “And I will have a conversation with Director Wray about that and make sure that happens.”
The Epoch Times reached out to McCarthy’s office to ask if the conversation with Wray happened.
This article was updated to include a statement from the FBI.
May 12, 2023 at 04:41PM