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Republicans threaten to hold FBI director in contempt


May 31, 2023

The law enforcement agency has refused to turn over documents detailing bribery allegations against US President Joe Biden

The FBI has again refused to turn over documents subpoenaed by Congress regarding bribery accusations against President Joe Biden, prompting US House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer to warn that he will seek to hold the agency’s director in contempt for “obstructionist” tactics.

“The FBI’s decision to stiff-arm Congress and hide this information from the American people is obstructionist and unacceptable,” Comer said on Tuesday in a statement. The Kentucky Republican added that the committee will take steps to hold FBI director Christopher Wray in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a lawful subpoena. 

“Americans deserve the truth, and the Oversight Committee will continue to demand transparency from this nation’s chief law enforcement agency,” Wray added.

At issue is an FBI informant file detailing allegations that Biden accepted $5 million in foreign bribes in exchange for policy favors when he worked as vice president under then-President Barack Obama. The FBI received the tip in June 2020. The allegations came to light earlier this year, when a whistleblower informed Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of their existence.

FBI officials have missed multiple deadlines to comply with the subpoena, including Comer’s demand that the documents be handed over by Tuesday. Wray has claimed that the allegations against Biden were unverified and that the so-called FD-1023 file in the case must be kept private to protect FBI informants.

House Republicans have sought the documents to weigh the substance of the allegations against Biden and examine whether the FBI has handled the case properly. Comer argued earlier this month that the agency has had the evidence for years and has apparently “done nothing” with it.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, said on Tuesday that he will lead members of his party in voting to hold Wray in contempt if the FBI director refuses to turn over the FD-1023. He added that any sensitive information on the informant could be redacted.

The FBI issued a statement saying any discussion of pursuing contempt proceedings against Wray was “unnecessary.” The agency said it had offered in a letter to Comer to provide information to the committee “in a format and setting that maintains confidentiality and protects important security interests and the integrity of FBI investigations.” Wray is scheduled to discuss the issue with Comer on Wednesday in a phone call.

Comer has said the allegations “fit a pattern” of then-Vice President Biden flying to various countries, taking an unusually active role in US foreign policy decisions, then receiving wire transfers from those nations into bank accounts linked to his family members.

The House Oversight Committee released documents earlier this month showing evidence of the bank transfers. Biden, meanwhile, argued that the committee’s findings were “not true.”