Caving to Comer: FBI agrees to release doc to panel for review; chairman cancels contempt hearing

The FBI will now allow all House Oversight and Accountability Committee members to review a document alleging that President Biden engaged in a $5 million bribery scheme when he was vice president during the Obama administration.

Chairman James Comer, Kentucky Republican, Wednesday night, responded to the bureau’s statement and said the panel’s expected Thursday proceeding to hold FBI Director Christopher A. Wray in contempt for withholding the unclassified document from the committee is now removed from the schedule.

After weeks of battling with the FBI over getting custody of a document known as an FD-1023 form, GOP committee members, led by Mr. Comer, managed to convince the bureau to allow all members of the panel to review the record and receive a briefing.

Additionally, the FBI is making two additional documents referenced in the FD-1023 available for Mr. Comer and Ranking Member Jamie Raskin, Maryland Democrat, to review.

“The FBI has caved and is now allowing all members of the Oversight and Accountability Committee to review this unclassified record that memorializes a confidential human source’s conversations with a foreign national who claimed to have bribed then-Vice President Joe Biden,” Mr. Comer said in a statement.

“Americans have lost trust in the FBI’s ability to enforce the law impartially and demand answers, transparency, and accountability. Allowing all Oversight Committee members to review this record is an important step toward conducting oversight of the FBI and holding it accountable to the American people.”

The Oversight Committee had drafted and released the text of the contempt resolution against Mr. Wray Wednesday and set a vote for Thursday.

GOP lawmakers said Mr. Wray needed to turn over the documents to the committee detailing an informant’s claims that Mr. Biden took bribes from a foreign national when he was vice president in the Obama White House or face a contempt charge.

A White House spokesperson said in a memo that Republicans were wasting their time on an investigation without merit.

“Congressional Republicans, led by House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer and his committee, have spent six months wasting taxpayer resources to stage politically motivated stunts disguised as ‘investigations,’” said Ian Sams, White House spokesperson for oversight and investigations.

Meanwhile, former Attorney General William P. Barr disputed the assertion made by the Oversight Committee’s top Democrat, Mr. Raskin, that the FBI had shut down the investigation of the bribery scheme.

Mr. Raskin said the FBI‘s investigation during Mr. Barr’s tenure determined that there were no grounds to continue the probe.

“Attorney General Barr named Scott Brady, who is the U.S. Attorney for Western Pennsylvania, to head up a group of prosecutors and FBI agents who would look into all of the allegations related to Ukraine,” Mr. Raskin said. “They decided there [were] no grounds to escalate this investigation. So if there’s a complaint, the complaint is with the Attorney General William Barr with the Trump Justice Department and the team that the Trump administration appointed to look into it.”

Mr. Barr later told the Federalist that the case was never shut down.

“It’s not true. It wasn’t closed down,” he said. “On the contrary, it was sent to Delaware for further investigation.”

Mr. Raskin on Wednesday said he stands by his statements because that’s what the FBI team told them at the briefing.

“If William Barr has a problem with this characterization, his problem is not with me but with the FBI,” the congressman said.

FBI officials briefed Mr. Comer and Mr. Raskin on Monday about the unclassified document that was subpoenaed by the Oversight Committee in May.

The FD-1023 form details the information provided by a confidential informant.

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