By Cami Mondeaux, Congressional Reporter. Media: Washington Examiner.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is backing the House Oversight Committee’s decision to hold FBI Director Christopher Wray in contempt after the agency head failed to comply with a subpoena issued against him last month.
Oversight Chairman James Comer (R-KY) announced on Monday he would be moving forward with contempt proceedings against Wray after the FBI director failed to provide access to a form that allegedly details a criminal scheme involving then-Vice President Joe Biden during the Obama administration. McCarthy backed that move, arguing the document was crucial to the committee’s work.
“Everybody on that committee has a responsibility of oversight,” the speaker said. “He needs to supply it to everybody on the committee.”
Comer issued the subpoena in conjunction with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) on May 3, demanding access to an FBI-generated FD-1023 form they say details an exchange of money between Biden and a foreign national who may have influenced U.S. policy decisions. The two Republicans were tipped off about the document’s existence by a whistleblower, although it remains unclear what wrongdoing Biden is being accused of conducting.
Wray met with Comer and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), the ranking member of the committee, on Monday to view the document in a secure facility. However, the FBI has yet to hand the document over to the full committee for review, prompting Comer to threaten contempt proceedings.
The FBI has previously declined to make the document available, citing national security risks. Instead, the agency initially responded to the subpoena by sending the committee a letter describing background information and “programmatic issues related to confidential human source reporting,” according to Comer.
The FBI has pushed back against the contempt proceedings, and House Democrats have decried the move as an unwarranted action. Raskin also condemned the decision, accusing Comer of “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.”
The subpoena is the latest development in the House Republicans’ investigation into the president’s family and its business dealings, which became a focal point of the party’s agenda after taking control of the lower chamber earlier this year. Many of these investigations have focused specifically on the president’s son, Hunter Biden.
The matter first took prominence during the 2020 election as the GOP sought to determine whether then-candidate Joe Biden benefited financially from his son’s transactions, pointing to national security concerns.
The Oversight Committee has made that a high priority in recent months, with Comer leading investigations into the Bidens’ business dealings “to determine if the Biden family has been targeted by foreign actors, if President Biden is compromised, and if there is a national security threat,” he wrote.
The panel has obtained thousands of documents detailing the family’s financial records and business transactions, including one report that showed the Bidens’ received more than $1 million from a Chinese company through a third party from 2015 to 2017.
Grassley has also raised concerns about political bias affecting high-level investigations at the FBI, especially after the release of special counsel John Durham’s report.
The Durham report detailed the FBI’s investigation into alleged links between the Russian government and then-candidate Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election. The report ultimately concluded the investigation was inherently flawed as there was no proper basis to conduct it in the first place, and it also found that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s campaign played an outsize role in pushing collusion claims to the media and to the FBI.