By Dorothy Li
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said on May 21 he was hopeful that Congress would obtain an FBI record that allegedly links President Joe Biden to a pay-to-play bribery scheme while he was still vice president under President Barack Obama.
Appearing on Fox News’ program “Sunday Morning Features,” McCarthy confirmed he had a phone call with FBI director Christoper Wray on May 19 about the requested document. The progress comes more than a week after the bureau failed to comply with a subpoena the House Oversight and Accountability Committee issued earlier this month.
“I wanted to be very clear with the FBI director that Congress has a right and we have the jurisdiction to oversee the FBI,” McCarthy said.
“This is one piece of paper that a chairman of a committee has requested to see,” he said, noting the FBI hasn’t even acknowledged whether it has such a document.
Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, filed a subpoena to Wray on May 3 seeking an internal note, called an FD-1023, which recorded information from confidential human sources.
Comer, along with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), revealed in a separate letter that they received “legally protected and highly credible unclassified whistleblower disclosures.” The whistleblower’s tip indicated that the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FBI possessed an unclassified document that “describes an alleged criminal scheme involving then-vice president Joe Biden and a foreign national relating to the exchange of money for policy decisions,” according to a letter to Wray and Attorney General Merrick Garland dated May 3.
The deadline set in Comer’s subpoena was May 10.
But the FBI has so far failed to produce the document. Instead, Christopher Dunham, acting assistant director for congressional affairs, sent a letter (pdf) to Comer on May 10 saying the FBI 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.”
Dunham stated an FD-1023 form “is used by FBI agents to record unverified reporting from a confidential human source.” The DOJ policy, he noted, “strictly limits when and how confidential human source information can be provided outside of the FBI.”
In the six-page letter, Dunham declined to confirm whether the requested file exists.
“Often, even confirming the fact of the existence (or nonexistence) of an investigation or a particular piece of investigative information can risk these serious harms,” he said.
McCarthy previously described the FBI’s response as “unacceptable.”
On Sunday, the congressman said he had already spoken to Wray and expected the FBI to give lawmakers the document.
“I explained to the director that we will do everything in our power and we have the jurisdiction over the FBI and we have the right to see this document,” he told Fox News.
“I believe after this call, we will get this document.”
McCarthy’s comment came ahead of an in-person meeting between FBI officials and Oversight Committee members, which was scheduled on May 22.
The Republican-led Oversight Committee is doubling down on the push to acquire the document. On May 19, Comer sent another letter to Wray, reiterating the demand for all FD-1023 forms from June 2020, containing the term ‘Biden.
Comer said his committee has “offered a reasonable accommodation to address the FBI’s stated confidentiality concerns but the FBI to date has refused to meaningfully engage in discussions about how the Committee can obtain the information that it needs.”
Some House Republicans told The Epoch Times on May 12 that they would hold Wray, the top federal law enforcement official, in contempt of Congress if he were to not comply with the House panel’s subpoena.
Grassley, in a statement, also raised concerns about the FBI’s “well-documented failures in politically sensitive investigations.”
Citing special counsel John Durham’s Report, which found that the FBI’s 2016–2017 investigation into former president Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign was based on insufficient intelligence and that the FBI “failed to uphold their important mission of strict fidelity to the law,” Grassley urged the federal agency to take steps to restore public confidence.
“Flouting a legitimate congressional subpoena and dodging oversight is no way to rebuild the public trust,” Grassley said. “The FBI’s credibility is on the line, and their continued failure to cooperate will have long-lasting consequences.”