FBI held in contempt of Congress?
House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman James Comer has issued a strong warning to the FBI, threatening to initiate contempt of Congress proceedings if the bureau fails to comply with a subpoena by next week. The subpoena pertains to a document, known as an FD-1023 form, allegedly describing a criminal scheme involving then-Vice President Biden and a foreign national in relation to the exchange of money for policy decisions. Comer’s letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray expressed frustration over the bureau’s failure to produce the document and its refusal to acknowledge its existence, citing obstructionism and hindrance of the committee’s oversight responsibilities.
The Subpoena Dispute:
Chairman Comer, a Republican from Kentucky, issued the subpoena to the FBI for the FD-1023 form, which is believed to contain crucial information about the alleged criminal scheme involving Joe Biden. The document was brought to Comer’s attention by a whistleblower who claimed that both the FBI and the Justice Department possessed it. Comer’s letter to Director Wray stated that the FBI had not only failed to produce the document but had also declined to provide any reasonable accommodation for the committee to review it. The subpoena deadline was set for May 30, with the threat of contempt of Congress proceedings looming if the FBI did not comply.
FBI’s Response and Alleged Gamesmanship:
Instead of complying with the subpoena, the FBI cited the need to protect its confidential human source program. The bureau claimed that acknowledging the existence of the FD-1023 form would compromise this program’s integrity. House Oversight Committee counsel attended two meetings at FBI headquarters in an attempt to resolve the matter, but the bureau did not address the specific document requested. Chairman Comer criticized the FBI’s gamesmanship and accused it of obstructing the committee’s investigation by refusing to produce the document. He argued that narrowing the scope of the subpoena and offering additional terms should assist the FBI in identifying the specific FD-1023 form at issue.
The Quest for Cooperation:
Comer’s letter expressed frustration with the FBI’s delay and deemed it unreasonable. However, he extended a final deadline of six days for the bureau to produce the FD-1023 form. Comer also urged the FBI to promptly notify the committee if numerous documents referencing “Biden” and “five million” dollar payments exist. Senator Chuck Grassley, who was also notified about the whistleblower disclosures, criticized the FBI for its attempts to ignore a legitimate subpoena and emphasized that Congress has a constitutional duty of oversight. Grassley urged the FBI leadership to cooperate and avoid further harm to the bureau’s reputation.