The FBI on Wednesday rejected a request from House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer to provide access to sensitive law enforcement materials that some congressional Republicans insist will reveal criminal activity involving Joe Biden from when he was vice president.
Comer, R-Ky., along with Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, had initially requested the materials in a letter May 3 to the FBI, citing what they called “highly credible unclassified whistleblower disclosures” about an unclassified document detailing “an alleged criminal scheme involving then-Vice President Biden and a foreign national relating to the exchange of money for policy decisions.”
In his subpoena, Comer demanded that the FBI produce what are known as FD-1023 forms — records of interactions with confidential sources — created or modified in June 2020 including the word “Biden,” along with any accompanying attachments or other documents.
The FBI responded in a letter Wednesday, with Christopher Dunham, the acting assistant director for congressional affairs, saying that while the FBI was committed to "beginning the constitutionally mandated accommodation process," it was also bound by Justice Department policy, which "strictly limits when and how confidential human source information can be provided outside of the FBI."
"Often, even confirming the fact of the existence (or nonexistence) of an investigation or a particular piece of investigative information can risk these serious harms," Dunham wrote, adding that it was "standard practice" for law enforcement agencies to decline to confirm or deny such facts.
Comer blasted the FBI's response.
“It’s clear from the FBI’s response that the unclassified record the Oversight Committee subpoenaed exists, but they are refusing to provide it to the Committee," he said in a statement. “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."
Grassley, meanwhile, insisted that the FBI's "offer to provide an accommodation process in response to our legitimate request indicates the document is real."
Reached for comment, an FBI spokesperson said the report requested by Comer’s committee “is used by FBI agents to record unverified reporting by a confidential human source.”
“Documenting the information does not validate it, establish its credibility, or weigh it against other information verified by the FBI,” the spokesperson said in a statement, cautioning that providing such information could harm investigations and judicial proceedings and “unfairly violate privacy or reputations.”
Earlier Wednesday, Comer sent a 36-page memo to GOP members of the Oversight Committee that included limited details about the Biden family’s alleged business dealings with foreign nationals stemming from subpoenas to four banks.
Reached for comment about Comer's attempts to obtain FBI materials, the White House referred Wednesday night to a statement last week from Ian Sams, its spokesperson for oversight and investigations, which accused congressional Republicans of a yearslong effort at “lobbing unfounded, unproven, politically-motivated attacks against the President and his family without offering evidence for their claims or evidence of decisions influenced by anything other than U.S. interests.”