House Republicans to Hold FBI Director Wray in Contempt of Congress

On Monday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) informed House Oversight Republicans that it would not complying with a subpoena to hand over unclassified documents to the Committee regarding an ongoing investigation into an alleged criminal scheme involving President Joe Biden while he was Vice President. As a result, Chairman James Comer has announced the Committee's Republicans' intention to hold FBI Director Christopher Wray in contempt of Congress.

A press release from earlier this month warned that Chairman Comer would pursue this course of action if the FBI refused to comply with the subpoena:

The document, an FBI-generated FD-1023 form, allegedly details an arrangement involving an exchange of money for policy decisions. In a new letter to Director Wray, Chairman Comer warns that if the FBI fails to produce the record by May 30, 2023, the Oversight Committee will initiate contempt of Congress proceedings.

“The FBI’s refusal to provide this single document is obstructionist. Whistleblower disclosures that Joe Biden may have been involved in a criminal bribery scheme as Vice President track closely with what we are seeing in our investigation into the Biden family’s influence peddling schemes. Congress and the American people need to know what, if anything, the FBI did to verify the allegations contained within this record. If Director Wray refuses to hand over this unclassified record, the Oversight Committee will begin contempt of Congress proceedings,” said Chairman Comer.

FBI staff indicated to Oversight Committee staff the search terms contained in Chairman Comer’s subpoena were broad because there were many responsive documents containing the term “Biden” in its confidential human source database for June 2020. Chairman Comer is narrowing the breadth of the subpoena by providing two additional terms that may be referenced in the FD-1023 form: “June 30, 2020” and “five million.”  These terms relate to the date on the FD-1023 form and its reference to the amount of money the foreign national allegedly paid to receive the desired policy outcome. 

“The FBI has continued to tie itself in knots to ignore a legitimate subpoena from Congress, which has a constitutional duty of oversight. The Bureau’s developed a serious reputation problem through its spate of failures and overreach, and leadership is doing it no favors by attempting to stiff-arm Congress. The FBI knows exactly what document Chairman Comer and I are seeking, and if they know us at all, they know we will get it, one way or another. If FBI leadership truly cares about protecting the agency’s reputation, they’d cooperate. These needless delays only harm the Bureau,” Senator Grassley said.

As House Speaker Kevin McCarthy added, House Republicans have a responsibility to review the form in question:

McCarthy said Tuesday that he told Wray the FBI director could redact certain parts of the document. “But we have a right to see it. He does not have the right to choose what he can and cannot show us. We oversee the FBI and if he thinks differently, he will soon see a contempt charge in Congress against the director,” he added.

“There’s enough problems in the FBI and I will not sit back and allow him to ignore this. We will get this document. … He knows that there’s a document and we have a responsibility to see it,” McCarthy said.

House Republicans should be applauded for carrying out important oversight over the Executive Branch.