House Oversight Committee Releases Contempt Resolution for FBI Director for ‘Stonewalling’ on Biden ‘Bribery Document’

Comer originally threatened to hold Wray in contempt in late May after several deadlines to turn over the document were missed.

Bonnie Cash/pool photo via AP
The director of the FBI, Christopher Wray, testifies at Washington, May 25, 2022. Bonnie Cash/pool photo via AP

The Republican majority on the House Oversight Committee has released a contempt resolution for the FBI director, Christopher Wray, for refusing to hand over a whistleblower document that alleges President Biden received $5 million during his time as vice president. Passage of the resolution by the full House would mark the first time in American history that an FBI director has been held in contempt of Congress.

The committee recommends that Mr. Wray be held “in contempt of Congress for refusal to comply with a subpoena duly issued by the Committee on Oversight and Accountability,” the resolution reads. The committee will vote on the resolution on Thursday morning, with the full House likely to consider the motion early next week.

In a statement accompanying the resolution, the chairman of the committee, Congressman James Comer, says the FBI and Mr. Wray have brought this resolution upon themselves after weeks of stonewalling. 

“Once Director Wray confirmed the record’s existence, the FBI started their coverup by leaking a false narrative to the media,” Mr. Comer wrote. “The case is not closed as the White House, Democrats, and the FBI would have the American people believe. The FBI created this record based on information from a credible informant who has worked with the FBI for over a decade and paid six figures.”

Congresswoman Anna Paulina Luna, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, speculated that Mr. Wray could face criminal penalties for his lack of compliance with the lawful subpoena. “We’re gonna be holding them accountable, and this is potentially going to be a criminal charge if this guy doesn’t pony up,” Ms. Luna told a conservative influencer, Benny Johnson. “It’s very possible that the director of the FBI could end up in jail.”

While individuals such as Steve Bannon have faced criminal charges for defying a subpoena, the Department of Justice — of which Mr. Wray is an employee — has a tendency to protect it own. In 2012, Attorney General Holder was held in contempt of Congress by the full House for his lack of cooperation with the “Fast and Furious” investigation, but no charges were filed and the contempt resolution became little more than a blemish on his record. 

Mr. Wray could face a similar lack of consequences even if a majority of members vote to hold him in contempt. 

Republicans on the committee are claiming the whistleblower who alleges Mr. Biden received a $5 million bribe will not come forward due to fears for his or her safety. The claims were made following a meeting that select members of the Oversight Committee had with FBI officials on Monday, which came after weeks of stonewalling from the agency.  

Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, a committee member, told the Daily Mail that the whistleblower “fears for their own life because of our government.” Ms. Greene argues that the FBI’s “excuse” for not giving the document to the committee is that the agency wants “to protect their informants, even though the names are redacted.”

“The unclassified document should be in our hands right now,” Ms. Greene said. 

Ms. Luna echoed those sentiments after the meeting. “Just left [a] meeting for House Oversight. The [FBI] is afraid their informant will be killed if unmasked, based on the info he has brought forward about the Biden family,” she wrote on Twitter.

Mr. Comer first threatened to hold Mr. Wray in contempt in late May after several deadlines to turn over the document were missed. Dissatisfied with what he considered a lack of transparency from FBI officials during their meeting, Mr. Comer committed to following through on the contempt resolution. 

Just hours before a May 30 deadline, the FBI’s acting legislative affairs chief, Christopher Dunham, sent a letter to Mr. Comer throwing cold water on the prospect of disclosing the whistleblower report. Mr. Wray is worried about “chilling effect that could flow from the wide dissemination of investigative files,” according to the letter sent by Mr. Dunham. 

The FBI then relented and brought the document to Capitol Hill, where Mr. Comer and the committee’s Democratic ranking member, Congressman Jamie Raskin, reviewed it under FBI supervision. 

Mr. Raskin has criticized the GOP majority for what he says is politicization of the oversight process. “Chairman Comer’s actions prove that his interest in issuing this subpoena was never about seeking the truth, but was always about weaponizing the powers of this Committee to hold Director Wray in contempt as part of MAGA Republicans’ efforts to discredit and ultimately ‘dismantle’ the FBI,” Mr. Raskin’s office said in a statement to the Sun. 

Mr. Raskin recently claimed that the investigation was concluded in 2020 after the whistleblower report was filed, but that has been disputed by Attorney General Barr, who led the DOJ when the whistleblower first came forward. “It’s not true. It wasn’t closed down,” Mr. Barr told the Federalist. “On the contrary, it was sent to Delaware for further investigation.”

Mr. Comer said that simply allowing committee leaders to view the document violated the subpoena the GOP had sent, as it required the FBI to “produce the document” to the committee. 

“At the briefing, the FBI again refused to hand over the unclassified record to the custody of the House Oversight Committee,” Mr. Comer said at a press conference after reviewing the document. “And we will now initiate contempt of Congress hearings this Thursday.”

The New York Sun

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