FBI offers to let entire oversight committee review Biden document ahead of contempt push against Wray

The FBI has offered to let all members of the House Oversight Committee see a redacted document that GOP Chairman James Comer says outlines an allegation of a bribe to Joe Biden when he was vice president , said a source familiar with the negotiations around the panel’s subpoena to acquire the document.

The offer of a briefing to the entire oversight committee, first reported by CNN, comes as the panel prepares to meet later this week to consider a move to hold FBI Director Christopher Wray in defiance of Congress for not complying with his subpoena to deliver the document.

Comer, R-Ky., issued a resolution for contempt against Wray on Wednesday, even after the FBI had already let him, along with ranking member Jamie Raskin, D-Md., See the document on Capitol Hill this week.

Comer subpoenaed the FBI last month over the document, called Form FD-1023, which he and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, allege “describes an alleged criminal scheme involving then-Vice President Biden and a foreign national connected to the exchange of money for political decisions.” Comer said the plan involved a $5 million payment of a foreign national in exchange for a political result.

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 may be provided outside of the FBI.”

Comer then vowed to move forward holding Wray in contempt of Congress unless he turned over the document. In a phone call with Comer, Grassley and Wray last week, Wray had offered to allow committee leaders to review the document “in a secure manner,” the FBI said.

On Monday, the FBI briefed Comer and Raskin on Capitol Hill to give them a chance to review the document. A senior law enforcement official said last week that the FBI would suppress information that could reveal the identity of the source.

Speaking to reporters outside the secure briefing site after Monday’s briefing, Comer said “the FBI has again refused to release the unclassified file into the custody” of the committee and that the panel plans to consider the contempt measure on Thursday.

“FBI officials have confirmed that the unclassified file generated by the FBI has not been refuted and is currently being used in an ongoing investigation,” he said Monday.

Although the House canceled votes for the rest of the week, after the Conservatives closed the floor, Comer said Thursday’s hearing would continue. “It’s still on,” he said as he left the Capitol on Wednesday evening. “But there are serious negotiations going on.”

In a statement earlier Wednesday, Comer said the FBI failed to honor his subpoena and he accused the agency of “covering up by leaking a false account to the media.”

“The case is not closed as the White House, the Democrats and the FBI would have the American people believe,” he said. “The FBI created this file based on information from a credible informant who worked with the FBI for over a decade and paid six figures.”

Comer claimed the anonymous tip had ‘first-hand conversations with the foreign national’ who allegedly bribed Biden and that former attorney general William Barr said the file was turned over to the U.S. attorney in Delaware for this office’s investigation of the Biden family. Business affairs.

“Americans have lost faith in the FBI’s ability to enforce the law impartially and demand answers, transparency and accountability,” Comer said. “The oversight committee must follow the facts for the American people and make sure the federal government is held accountable.”

The FBI and Scott Brady, then U.S. Attorney for Western Pennsylvania, looked into the allegation when it was made in 2020, along with other information about Hunter Biden’s dealings in Ukraine, a senior said. law enforcement official last week. The bribery allegation, however, was not substantiated, the official said.

White House spokesman Ian Sams criticized the committee’s investigation.

“Instead of devoting their time and energy to working on the issues that matter most to the American people, such as cutting costs, creating jobs or strengthening health care, Congressional Republicans, led by House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer and his committee have spent six months wasting taxpayer resources staging politically motivated stunts disguised as ‘investigations,'” Sams said in a statement.

Reached for comment on Wednesday, Oversight Committee Democrats referred NBC News to Raskin’s statement following the FBI briefing this week: “Comer’s actions prove that his interest in issuing this subpoena was never to seek the truth, but still to weaponize the powers of this committee to hold Director Wray in contempt as part of MAGA Republicans’ efforts to discredit and ultimately “dismantle” the FBI.

Representatives of the Justice Department and FBI did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The FBI said in recent statements that it cooperated with Comer’s request and that “the escalation to a contempt vote in these circumstances is unwarranted.”

The White House has also criticized the committee’s investigations, arguing that they are politically motivated and designed to hurt Biden’s re-election chances.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told NBC News on Wednesday that the entire House would pass the contempt resolution against Wray “immediately after” the committee moved the measure forward.

This article originally appeared on NBCNews.com

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