The FBI has yielded to demands by the House Oversight Committee to release documents alleging Joe Biden was involved in a $5 million bribe as Vice President.
The agreement ends a standoff that began May 3 when Director Christopher Wray received a subpoena to hand over the document.
Wray had declined to share the uncorroborated document with anyone but committee chairman James Comer and senior Democrat Jamie Raskin.
Comer came out after reviewing the document and said it was worrying; Raskin said it was nothing.
Comer wanted all members of the committee to see the document undarkened: Wray declined. On Monday, Comer threatened to despise him.
But on Wednesday, Comer canceled the contempt vote after Wray agreed to give the entire committee access to a redacted file.
FBI Director Christopher Wray had until May 30 to turn the document over to Republicans in Congress: he refused, and James Comer threatened to arrest him for contempt of Congress. On Wednesday, Wray agreed to provide access to the document
James Comer, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said Wednesday that Wray had “relented” to his threat to hold him for contempt of Congress.
Comer praised the agreement and hailed that Wray had “give in” to demands to allow inspection of the FD-1023 record.
The Biden document at the center of the new dispute was authored by a longtime FBI source that both Republicans and Democrats have called credible.
In it, the source describes an unconfirmed tip from 2020 about Biden and his son Hunter Biden’s business ties in Ukraine.
Hunter Biden worked on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company.
“After weeks of refusing to even admit the existence of the FD-1023 record, the FBI has relented and is now allowing all members of the Oversight and Accountability Committee to view this unclassified record, which suggests a confidential human source’s conversations with a Foreigner who said so.” bribed then-Vice President Joe Biden.
“Americans have lost confidence in the FBI’s ability to impartially enforce the law and demand answers, transparency and accountability.”
“Allowing all members of the Oversight Committee to view these records is an important step in exercising FBI oversight and holding it accountable to the American people,” he added.
All committee members can now see an edited version of a confidential document.
A $5 million bribery scheme involving then-Vice President Joe Biden and a foreigner is alleged.
Raskin said he’s glad Wray and Comer reached an agreement on the document, which Raskin says was made “in good faith.”
Wray “yielded to the pressure,” Comer said Wednesday, agreeing to provide access to the document. But the document is redacted
The uncorroborated document, an FD-1023 record, was authored by a longtime FBI source that both Republicans and Democrats have called credible. In it, the source describes an unconfirmed tip from 2020 about Biden and his son Hunter Biden’s business ties in Ukraine
However, he said he was concerned about events leading up to Wednesday’s deal.
“Holding someone for contempt of Congress is among the most serious actions our committee can take, and it should not be used as a weapon to undermine the FBI,” Raskin said.
The FBI called the contempt vote unwarranted because the FBI has “continuously demonstrated its determination to honor the committee’s request” while maintaining the safety of sources and the integrity of ongoing investigations.
But Comer had repeatedly said for the past month that the only way the FBI could comply with the subpoena was to provide an undredacted copy of the document.
It’s unclear why he changed course at the last minute.
FBI officials previously showed Comer and Raskin a redacted version of the multi-page form during a 90-minute briefing Monday.
The bureau described this briefing as an “extraordinary arrangement” that gave both men an opportunity to take notes on the document and ask questions.
The whole controversy over the document went unusually fast for the House of Representatives.
Committees often argue with an agency or witness for months before initiating a contempt proceeding, often haggling over a “concession” that qualifies as compliance with a subpoena.
Republicans moved much faster, disobeying a little over a month after the subpoena was issued to Wray on May 3.
It would have been the first time Republicans had used the power of contempt against a federal official since taking control of the House in January, but it would have been far from rare in the House.
Democrats memorably wielded the power of contempt in the last Congress as part of the committee’s investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol.
Steve Bannon, a longtime ally of former President Donald Trump, was convicted by a jury of contempt last year after a referral by the House of Representatives committee on Jan. 6.
Another former Trump official, Peter Navarro, is also awaiting trial for contempt. He has pleaded not guilty.