WASHINGTON — House Republicans doubled down Thursday on their attacks against President Joe Biden and his family after they viewed a document behind closed doors that remains secret.
Republicans on the House Oversight Committee emerged from a secure room on Capitol Hill, known as a SCIF, after having viewed the FD-1023 form brought in by the FBI, and they continued to accuse Biden and his family members of bribery and corruption.
As part of the investigation, Republican lawmakers, however, have repeatedly released financial documents that failed to prove any of the accusations.
The FBI and a prosecutor reviewed the allegation when it was made in 2020, a senior law enforcement official said last week. The bribery allegation, however, wasn’t substantiated, the official said.
Republicans have purported that the document includes an unverified allegation from a human source who said Biden, when he was vice president, was involved in a bribery scheme involving a foreign national. House Republicans called the allegation "credible" and "legitimate" Thursday. Reps. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., and Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., claimed that the human source has been a paid FBI informant for several years.
Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, R-Fla., said Biden is "100% guilty" of bribery.
Democratic members of the committee also viewed the document Thursday, but none opted to make public statements afterward.
In a statement Wednesday, Jamie Raskin, D-Md., the member of the Oversight Committee, said the FBI team that briefed him and Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., on Monday said “that the Department of Justice team of prosecutors and FBI agents under U.S. Attorney Scott Brady determined that there were no grounds to escalate their probe from an initial assessment of the allegations surfaced by Rudy Giuliani to a preliminary or full-blown investigation and that it was therefore closed down.”
On Wednesday, a memo from Ian Sams, the White House spokesman for oversight and investigations, urged people not to fall for Comer’s “stunts” and said Comer and his committee “have spent six months wasting taxpayer resources to stage politically motivated stunts disguised as ‘investigations.”
For the next step in their investigation, Republicans on the Oversight panel said they plan to subpoena records from two banks. They said they also plan to request more documents and ask the FBI to make the document they viewed public.
Originally, Comer planned to initiate contempt of Congress proceedings against FBI Director Christopher Wray on Thursday over the committee’s efforts to acquire the FBI's FD-1023 form. He canceled the plan, however, on Wednesday after the FBI offered members a chance to view a redacted version of the document Thursday.
Two Republicans, Biggs and Luna, said after they viewed the form Thursday that contempt is still on the table for Wray.
“The director of the FBI wanted to play games, and he was trying to punk us by saying that he wasn’t going to allow members of House Oversight to see this document. So we’re not taking contempt of Congress off the table, to be clear. If they’re going to do that, he’s going to be dealt with accordingly,” Luna said.
Comer subpoenaed the FBI last month for the document, which he and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, have claimed “describes an alleged criminal scheme involving then-Vice President Biden and a foreign national relating to the exchange of money for policy decisions.” Comer has said the scheme involved a $5 million payment from a foreign national in exchange for a policy outcome.
The FBI declined to provide the document, saying it is bound by Justice Department policy, which “strictly limits when and how confidential human source information can be provided outside of the FBI."
Democrats on the committee have dismissed the GOP attacks on Biden. Earlier this week, Raskin said in a statement that “Comer’s actions prove that his interest in issuing this subpoena was never about seeking the truth, but was always about weaponizing the powers of this Committee."