FBI harbored Biden allegations since 2017, through impeachment, election, lawmaker says

Rep. Comer makes blockbuster revelation on eve of contempt vote, Sen. Grassley discloses informant reliable enough to be paid $200k

Published: June 6, 2023 11:27pm

If House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer’s sleuthing turns out to be right, the FBI harbored a deep, dark secret through the first Trump impeachment, the Hunter Biden laptop saga and the 2020 election fury. The secret: that a validated and well-paid informant raised concerns all the way back in 2017 that Joe Biden was involved in a $5 million bribery scheme involving Ukraine.

The question emerging now is did America’s most famous crime-fighting agency deep-six the allegation or dismiss it as “Russian disinformation” without thoroughly probing it.

Comer made the bombshell revelation Tuesday night in an interview with Just the News, just a day after reviewing an FBI FD-1023 form that memorialized the informant’s allegations, and two days before he plans to hold a vote in Congress to hold FBI Director Christopher Wray in contempt for failing to provide a copy to his committee as demanded by a subpoena. 

He said the version of the informant report he was allowed to review by Wray had about 10% of information redacted and made clear the allegations were first reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigations back in 2017 as Donald Trump was beginning his term as president.

“Yes, it is Ukraine,” Comer told the Just the News, No Noise television show when asked what country the alleged bribery involved. “This form 1023 involves a business person from Ukraine, who allegedly sent a bribe, a substantial bribe to then-Vice President Joe Biden.”

Asked whether the allegation involved the Ukrainian oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky, whose Burisma Holdings energy firm first hired Hunter Biden into a lucrative board and consulting job in 2014 when father Joe Biden was vice president, Comer carefully demurred.

“I probably better punt on that question. The name was redacted,” the powerful House committee chairman answered.

But Comer said markings on the document he was shown – including footnotes – made clear the informant first provided the bribery allegations to the FBI in 2017, then again one more time before he raised them a third time in the June 2020 informant report

“This first started in 2017,” he said, citing footnotes in the informant report he reviewed that listed two prior reports. “There are two notes, or footnotes, whatever you want to call them. They listed them as notes. I will say footnotes for better explanation, that reference 2017. And it was either 2018 or 2019. So this wasn't the first time that the informant had mentioned a bribery scheme pertaining to Joe Biden to the FBI."

A government official said the informant’s first disclosure of Biden allegations came in March 2017.

Comer’s disclosures came the same day that his colleague in the Senate, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, revealed the FBI informant who provided the intelligence was deemed so credible and valuable that he was paid $200,000 by the bureau over several years. The comments by the two GOP lawmakers pushed back on Democrat claims that the allegations were old, disproven or tied to an effort by attorney Rudy Giuliani to investigate the Bidens’ Ukraine ties that led to Trump’s first impeachment in 2019.

“Partisan media, most likely in conjunction with the Biden FBI, have misleadingly reported the 1023 is from a tranche of information provided by Rudy Giuliani. News reports last week dispel that notion and make clear the 1023 information that we request is independent of Giuliani,” Grassley stated in a speech given on the Senate floor.

“Those news reports also show that the source who formed the basis of the 1023 is a long-serving FBI source. The source reportedly received numerous validations from the FBI. The source reportedly operated even during the Obama administration. Based on what I’ve been told about yesterday’s meeting, the FBI didn’t contradict these findings.”

“Today, I can say that based upon unclassified and legally protected whistleblower disclosures the FBI source in the 1023 has been paid at least $200,000 by the FBI since the source was opened and operational,” he also said. “High dollar payments obviously mean the FBI believes the source to be credible and reputable.”

Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, Burisma and Zlochevsky have all denied wrongdoing over the years, though Hunter Biden and his lawyers have acknowledged he is under criminal investigation for tax matters and belatedly paid more than $2 million in late taxes and penalties. The presidential son has said he expect to be cleared by any investigation.

Comer said the informant's core allegation is a Ukrainian businessman was to pay $5 million to the Biden family in return for a U.S. policy decision that Joe Biden could impact. He said his investigators have not yet found any money going directly to the current president but they are "following the money" through numerous limited liability corporations and bank accounts and have begun to search for off-shore accounts.

"When you first read about it, it's hard to believe," he said. "It's hard to believe that a vice president of the United States would try to take a bribe from a foreign national, in a company in a country that's at the time not noted for anything other than a lot of corruption, and then asked that the money be sent through shell companies and various banks to launder it to where no one would know about it."

Comer said he has strong reason to believe the FBI never properly investigated the Biden bribery allegations, matching a pattern he also saw when the Obama Treasury Department began receiving suspicious activity reports involving transactions associated with Hunter Biden and his associates but did little to investigate them.

“I think what we're gonna find out is the same thing we found out in the Treasury Department with the Suspicious Activity Reports,” he said. “Once you get in there, there's a whole lot more of them than what was previously reported. And this particular (1023) form we want is very important. But I can already tell from reading the form, there are other forms, as well. So we don't know how many form 1023s are pertaining to Biden-bribery."

Grassley suggested the FBI may have ditched the Biden bribery allegations based on an intelligence analysis by FBI analyst Brian Auten in summer 2020 suggesting there was a Russian disinformation campaign making such allegations.

Just the News first reported that possibility in a story Monday.

“Did the FBI follow normal investigative process and procedure? Or did they try to sweep it under the rug?” the senator asked. “For example, did the FBI try to improperly use the August 2020 Brian Auten assessment to shut down the 1023 reporting by falsely labeling it disinformation?"

The bureau told Comer on Monday the allegations in the bribery memo are part of an ongoing but unspecified investigation. The lawmaker said he was suspect of that claim.

“My theory is they never investigated the claim to begin with, for whatever reason,” he said.

Comer said he hopes the contempt vote slated for Thursday will “send a message to the FBI if they don't comply with my subpoena in the next 48 hours. And hopefully, from that point on, we can we can start having a better level of cooperation with the FBI."

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