When it came to Biden family criminal probes, DOJ’s policy often was 'just say no'
"Slow-Walking" and outright blocking: New documents from Congress shed light on further obstructions by the DOJ and FBI in the Biden investigations.
A newly released letter from Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and fresh testimony from former U.S. Attorney Scott Brady provide the latest evidence that the Justice Department and the FBI slow-walked, and sometimes thwarted, investigations into Hunter Biden's business dealings and turned a blind eye to a trusted informant's allegations that President Joe Biden may have been involved in a $10 million Ukrainian bribery scheme.
The body of evidence from prior FBI and IRS whistleblowers and the new revelations this week from Brady and Grassley suggest the FBI and Delaware U.S. Attorney's office went beyond a mere lack of curiosity. The evidence points to hindering investigative steps, pressuring investigators to cooperate with obfuscation and in one instance, using an intelligence assessment report to try and discredit voluminous and credible evidence against the Biden family that may have come from as many as 40 different informants.
The emerging portrait of law enforcement refusing to explore allegations against the Bidens is disturbing, according to one of the FBI retired high ranking officials.
"There's concern among people who've been involved in these investigations, people trying to do the right thing, people on line investigations, in line AUSAs trying to push this investigation along but being met with resistance," Retired FBI Assistant Director of Intelligence Kevin Brock told the "Just the News, No Noise" television show Thursday night.
"Why is that? I hate to say it, but I'm wondering whether we can come to the conclusion right now that this Department of Justice is just not going to pursue the Bidens, it's not going to happen," Brock added.
Here are some of the revelations that have raised the most concern:
FBI Supervisory Analyst Brian Auten Sought to Discredit Hunter Biden Information
In his letter, which was sent to Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray on Tuesday, Sen. Grassley renewed requests for evidence he made in July 2022 about efforts inside the FBI to discredit Hunter Biden information deemed "negative." The key figure in this effort, according to Grassley, was FBI Supervisory Intelligence Analyst Brian Auten.
“On July 25, 2022, I wrote to the both of you. In that letter, I described whistleblower allegations that the FBI developed information in 2020 about Hunter Biden's criminal financial and related activity but ultimately shut it down based on false assertions that it was subject to foreign disinformation,” Grassley wrote. “It's been alleged that the basis for shutting the investigative activity down was an August 2020 assessment created by FBI Supervisory Intelligence Analyst Brian Auten,” he continued.
Grassley alleges that the conclusions born of Auten’s 2020 assessment were used by “an FBI HQ team” to discredit negative information on Hunter Biden and label it as disinformation. This ultimately led to the end of investigative activity into the younger Biden, according to the letter. The basis for how the FBI team selected the information to include in Auten’s assessment is not publicly known.
Auten has a long history of being in the middle of the FBI’s most controversial recent actions, including the Crossfire Hurricane investigation into President Donald Trump where he played a seminal role in vetting the since-discredited Steele Dossier provided to the FBI on then-candidate Trump. The FBI did not immediately respond to email or voicemail requests for comment from Just the News.
In October 2020, Auten confirmed in testimony to Congress that “the actual allegations and the actions described in those reports [the Steele Dossier] could not be corroborated.” He told the investigators that the only information contained in the dossier he or his team could confirm was publicly available information, such as names and positions of subjects mentioned in the report.
Despite being unable to verify any of the substantive allegations in the dossier, Auten failed to inform the FISA court, to which the allegations were submitted, according to contemporaneous reporting by the Federalist. Despite an admitted lack of probity, the dossier was used as the basis for all four of the warrant applications to spy on Trump campaign advisor Carter Page. Former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe admitted in testimony that the dossier was instrumental in obtaining the warrants.
Foreign Influence Task Force Calls Hunter Biden Investigation Evidence "Disinformation"
Auten’s unsupported assessment was nonetheless used by the Foreign Influence Task Force to seek any confidential human source reports on the Biden family and then used to discredit those reports as foreign "disinformation."
Sen. Grassley alleges that the Foreign Influence Task Force also “improperly” briefed him and Senator Ron Johnson, R-Wis., on the investigation, giving media the room to label their investigation into the Biden’s as impacted by disinformation, according to Grassley’s letter. By September of 2020, the Foreign Influence Task Force was using Auten’s information to attempt to shut down reporting of the Biden family FD-1023 document, labeling it as disinformation.
In reality, the federal prosecutor who was in charge of the probe into the Biden family’s dealings in Ukraine in Ukraine told Congress that his office had corroborated enough of the FBI’s informants claims of the alleged bribery scheme involving Joe Biden to merit further investigation.
Former Pennsylvania U.S. Attorney Scott Brady told the House Judiciary Committee that there was enough credible information uncovered by his office in their initial review to refer criminal matters to U.S. Attorney’s offices in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Delaware. Brady also testified that his working relationship with the FBI was “challenging” and that officials were reluctant to to look into any matter related to Hunter Biden at all.
FBI Officials Delay and then Downplay the FD-1023 Biden Family Bribery Document
These were not the only instances of FBI and DOJ officials working to limit, delay, or close down any investigations of Hunter Biden.
In March 2017, before Auten’s assessment, the FBI and DOJ came into possession of an FD-1023 document relating to the kleptocracy investigation of Mykola Zlochevsky, the owner of Burisma. An FD-1023 is a document generated by the FBI “to record unverified reporting from a confidential human source.”
That form included a reference to Hunter Biden that the source’s handling agent did not believe was relevant to the ongoing case against the Burisma owner at the time it was created, according to Grassley’s letter. When the FBI and DOJ obtained the document later, they requested that the the source’s handler re-interview the source. Grassley asserts that these agents had “to fight for a month” for the handler to reinterview his confidential human source (CHS).
Once the interview was finally granted after the delays, the new FD-1023 form was produced that addressed the alleged criminal scheme between then-Vice President Biden, Hunter Biden, and Zlochevsky. This document was handled by the assessment by the Pittsburgh DOJ office regarding the Biden matter, assigned to that office by the Trump Department of Justice. This FD-1023 was the document that was obtained by congressional investigators and released by Grassley.
You can read that FD-1023 below:
Grassley also noted that the FD-1023 was obtained separately from the information provided to the Pittsburgh U.S. Attorney’s Office by Rudy Giuliani. Democrats have downplayed the information contained in the FD-1023 by linking it to evidence that Rudy Giuliani submitted to the office, which Oversight Committee Ranking Member Jamie Raskin, D-Md., claimed was not corroborated by investigators.
After the assessment from Pittsburg was closed down in late September 2020, U.S. Attorney Brady forwarded a summary of his investigation’s findings to a deputy attorney general. According to Sen. Grassley’s letter, Brady’s assessment was limited in its ability to verify all information in the FD-1023 because his office was not authorized to use a grand jury.
“According to information provided to my office, the officials involved in the assessment had limited ability to verify all information in the Biden family FD-1023 because the Justice Department did not authorize them to use a grand jury and, therefore, they didn’t have all the tools at their disposal to run the information to ground, including subpoenas to obtain documents and interviews,” Grassley wrote. Despite this, the report included the recommendation for continued investigations into the Biden matter.
These reports were eventually transmitted to U.S. Attorney David Weiss’ office in Delaware, though, so far, Weiss has not charged Hunter Biden or anyone in the Biden family related to the alleged bribery scheme.
IRS whistleblowers Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler alleged that there has been political interference in the Hunter Biden investigation by U.S. Attorney Weiss’ office and from the Justice Department. Specifically, Weiss’ Assistant U.S. Attorney Lesley Wolf was one of the lead officials obstructing the investigation into Hunter Biden. In one instance, she prevented the investigative team from mentioning Joe Biden in a search warrant.
In another instance, Wolf’s team tipped off Hunter Biden’s lawyers about a search warrant on his storage unit, potentially compromising the search. Wolf also told investigators not to pursue potential foreign accounts of Hunter Biden and insisted that any investigators’ interviews required pre-approval from the DOJ Tax Division.
The Facts Inside Our Reporter's Notebook
- letter from Senator Chuck Grassley
- new testimony from former U.S. Attorney Scott Brady
- Auten confirmed in testimony to Congress
- contemporaneous reporting by the Federalist
- Andrew McCabe testified
- corroborated enough of the FBIâs informants claims
- downplayed the information contained in the FD-1023
- Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler alleged that there has been political interference
- Lesley Wolf was one of the lead officials obstructing the investigation into Hunter Biden