The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) refusal to cooperate with a congressional subpoena regarding an alleged bribery scheme involving President Joe Biden has prompted House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer to label their inaction “obstructionist” as he threatens to hold the agency in contempt.
Republican Kentucky Rep. Comer issued a new deadline for the FBI in the wake of repeated refusals to cooperate with a congressional subpoena relating to an FD-1023 form that allegedly details a $5 million bribery scheme involving then-Vice President Biden, the New York Post reported Thursday.
“The FBI’s refusal to produce this single document is obstructionist. Nevertheless, to narrow the breadth of the subpoena, we are providing additional terms based on unclassified and legally protected whistleblower disclosures that may be referenced in the FD-1023 form: ‘June 30, 2020’ and ‘five million,’” Comer wrote in a May 24 letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray.
“June 30, 2020” references the date of the alleged FD-1023 form, and “five million” refers to the amount of money Biden allegedly received from a foreign national in exchange for a specific policy outcome, according to Comer’s letter.
“Your response to the subpoena is due May 30, 2023,” Comer warned Wray. “If the FD-1023 form is not produced by that date, the Committee will initiate contempt of Congress proceedings.”
FBI Director Wray is defying a congressional subpoena for an unclassified record alleging a criminal scheme involving then-VP Joe Biden and a foreign national.
— Rep. James Comer (@RepJamesComer) May 24, 2023
Senate Budget Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Comer initially sent letters to the FBI on May 3, requesting the agency turn over the FD-1023 form, the alleged existence of which was brought to Grassley’s attention by a whistleblower.
The FBI has reportedly maintained that its refusal to cooperate with the congressional subpoena is centered on the Bureau’s desire to protect the confidential source and, by extension, any investigations into the matter. (RELATED: ‘They Don’t Respect Anyone’: Rep. James Comer Slams FBI For Refusing To Turn Over Biden Documents)
“The FBI’s mission is to protect the American people,” the FBI said in a statement to the New York Post. “Releasing confidential source information could potentially jeopardize investigations and put lives at risk. The FBI remains committed to cooperating with Congress’s oversight requests on this matter and others as we always have.
Anyone who has been summoned by either congressional chamber “to give testimony or to produce papers” and refused to do so has committed contempt of Congress, according to Title 2, Section 192 of the U.S. Code. Penalties for contempt can include a fine of up to $100,000 and a prison sentence of up to 12 months, but require prosecution to be handled by the Department of Justice or the U. S. Attorney’s office in the District of Columbia. As such, a contempt charge against Wray would be largely symbolic.