The FBI declined to immediately provide congressional Republicans with a document the lawmakers say outlines an “alleged criminal scheme” involving President Biden and a foreign national, blowing through a Wednesday deadline to produce the unverified information that was subpoenaed by House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.).
Christopher Dunham, the FBI acting assistant director for congressional affairs, said in a letter responding to the subpoena that the FBI “is committed to beginning the constitutionally mandated accommodation process” in a response to the request from last week, later adding the agency “would be pleased to coordinate with your staff to discuss whether and how we can accommodate your request without violating our law enforcement and national security obligations.”
“Justice [Department] policy strictly limits when and how confidential human source information can be provided outside of the FBI,” Dunham said in the letter obtained by The Hill.
In a statement, Comer said that he planned to follow up with the FBI to compel compliance with the subpoena, setting up more potential battles over production of the document.
“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,” Comer said. “We’ve asked the FBI to not only provide this record, but to also inform us what it did to investigate these allegations. The FBI has failed to do both. The FBI’s position is ‘trust, but you aren’t allowed to verify.’ That is unacceptable.”
Comer and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said last week that a “highly credible” whistleblower had told them that the FBI possessed a FD-1023 form — which documents unverified information gathered from confidential sources — detailing an “alleged criminal scheme involving then-Vice President Biden and a foreign national relating to the exchange of money for policy decisions.”
They provided no other details on the allegations in the letter, and Grassley has said in other interviews that Republicans were not sure if the claims were true. Comer immediately subpoenaed the document rather than requesting voluntary cooperation from the FBI first.
“The mere existence of such a document would establish little beyond the fact that a confidential human source provided information and the FBI recorded it,” the FBI said in its response. “Indeed, the FBI regularly receives information from sources with significant potential biases, motivations, and knowledge, including drug traffickers, members of organized crime, or even terrorists.”
The subpoena asks for all FD-1023 forms containing the word “Biden” that were created or modified in June 2020, when former President Trump was in office and Bill Barr was attorney general. House Oversight Committee ranking member Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) noted in a statement last week that Rudy Giuliani and Russian agents had been seeking and publicizing “disinformation” about Biden around that time.
“The question remains, what did the FBI do to investigate very serious allegations from an apparent trusted FBI source implicating then-Vice President Biden?” Grassley said in a statement. “Today’s letter from the FBI raises additional questions, including whether the FBI has an open investigation based on these allegations.”
In a press conference presenting information about foreign money that flowed to businesses associated with the Biden family and associates Wednesday, Comer pledged to not publicize any unverified information gleaned from the FBI form.
“We will report to you only facts when they are verified and indisputable,” Comer said. “This committee will not pursue witch hunts, or string the American people along for years with false promises of evidence that is beyond circumstantial evidence.”