FBI Director Christopher Wray was confronted on Wednesday over the FBI's refusal to comply with a congressional subpoena for a declassified document showing crimes allegedly committed by Joe Biden.
What is the background?
In early May, congressional Republicans subpoenaed the FBI for a document they claim evidences an alleged criminal scheme involving Biden.
"We have received legally protected and highly credible unclassified whistleblower disclosures," Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (R) and House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R) wrote Attorney General Merrick Garland and Director Way in a letter on May 3.
The report, they explained, "describes an alleged criminal scheme involving then-Vice President Biden and a foreign national relating to the exchange of money for policy decisions. It has been alleged that the document includes a precise description of how the alleged criminal scheme was employed as well as its purpose."
Lawmakers demanded the report be supplied by May 10 — but the FBI refused to comply.
Instead, the bureau responded with a six-page letter justifying its decision to ignore congressional oversight, citing, among other reasons, the need to protect confidential human sources.
What did Wray say?
Under questioning from Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Wray refused to provide any additional details about his agency's refusal to comply with the subpoena.
In fact, when Hagerty asked Wray if the FBI complied, he said, "I believe we submitted a lengthy letter earlier today" — an obvious obfuscation.
"A letter? Not the document that was the subject of the subpoena request?" Hagerty followed up.
"I can't speak to the specific document," Wray shot back. "We are committed to working collaboratively with both committees, but we also have to balance sources and methods and ongoing investigations."
When asked if the FBI planned to comply with the subpoena, Wray dodged again, instead directing Hagerty to read the letter he cited. And when Hagerty asked Wray to confirm whether the document exists, Wray responded, "I really can't get into the specifics here."
The FBI's refusals and their offer to provide an "accommodation process" are evidence the document is real, Grassley and Comer said last week.
"We've asked the FBI to not only provide this record, but to also inform us what it did to investigate these allegations. The FBI has failed to do both," Comer said in a statement. "The FBI's position is 'trust, but you aren’t allowed to verify.' That is unacceptable."
"We plan to follow up with the FBI and expect compliance with the subpoena," Comer promised.
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