Biden bribery memo: Open investigation or game of keep away?

Comer and Democratic Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin were permitted to view the FD-1023 form but not to take it with them.

Published: June 5, 2023 11:12pm

Three years after it was written, an FBI informant memo alleging Joe Biden was involved in a foreign bribery scheme is at the center of dueling narratives that typify the political divide in Washington.

House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, a Republican, suggested Monday that the FBI is conducting an ongoing investigation into President Biden stemming from the memo’s allegations about a scheme while he was vice president. Democrats insisted it was much adeiu about nothing, essentially a dead end. 

Comer and Democratic Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin were permitted to view the FD-1023 form but not to take it with them. The document describes an alleged bribery scheme in which Biden agreed to help change U.S. policy in exchange for $5 million for his family business.

"FBI officials confirmed that the unclassified FBI generated record has not been disproven, and is currently being used in an ongoing investigation," Comer said. The document "suggests a pattern of bribery where payments would be made through shell accounts and multiple banks."

Comer touted the credibility of the informant who provided the information on the alleged scheme. He further admitted that he was unaware of what investigation specifically involved the document, saying "all I know is there’s an ongoing investigation." The Kentucky Republican went on to speculate that it may relate to an ongoing U.S. attorney investigation into first son Hunter Biden, which has seen several whistleblowers warn of political bias in the DOJ's handling of the case.

whatever the case, Comer made it clear he plans to find the FBI Director Christopher Wray in contempt for failing to give a copy of the document to Congress.

Raskin, meanwhile, disputed Comer's statement about the FD-1023 being part of an active investigation. "I must have missed that because I’ve not heard that this is part of any ongoing investigation."

In the press conference, the Maryland Democrat contended that the FBI had done its "due diligence" in examining the claims made in the FD-1023, but that it had "found no reason to escalate from an assessment to a so-called preliminary investigation. And after that, comes a full-blown" investigation.

Reporters pressed him on Comer's own statements, but declined to directly contradict him, instead pointing to the the Trump's DOJ's initial review of the claims and decision not to pursue an investigation at the time.

"The FBI and the Department of Justice team, under [then-Attorney General] William Barr and Scott Brady, in the Western District of Pennsylvania terminated the investigation. They said there were no grounds for further investigative steps. So, they ended that."

He went on to say he could not speak to the document's possible relevance to any other investigation.

The apparent contradiction between the accounts of the two men who both viewed the document and met with the FBI has frustrated lawmakers.

Florida Republican Rep. Anna Paulina Luna said that during its briefing the FBI expressed concern for the safety of the informant.

“The [FBI] is afraid their informant will be killed if unmasked, based on the info he has brought forward about the Biden family," Luna tweeted.

Texas Republican Rep. Troy Nehls on Monday suggested that the FBI would use the claim that the document is part of an ongoing investigation as an excuse to deny the public access to it until after the 2024 presidential contest.

"It's going to be an ongoing investigation until after... the election," he said on the "Just the News, No Noise" television show. "They're not going to absolutely it's going to be you won't know that for another 18 months, they're going to have this election over web before they ever say 'now we can give you an answer.'"

"They got to do everything to protect sleepy Joe and his corrupt family," Nehls continued. "That's exactly what they're going to do. And when you don't own the White House, and you appoint all these people, what do you think you're gonna get? You're not going to get a whole hell of a lot from them."

Comer himself, expressed dissatisfaction with the bureau's response to his subpoena demanding that it hand over the FD-1023 outright and has indicated he intends to continue with proceedings to hold FBI Director Christopher Wray in contempt of Congress for refusing to do so.

Such a move earned praise from Republican Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, who said "I appreciate James Comer is going to hold Christopher Wray accountable... but the bigger story here, as important is to understand the criminal nature, the Biden grifts, it's even more important to understand the corruption of the FBI and the federal government, the weaponization of it."

"So, the FBI, there's a lot of corruption that needs to be uncovered there," Johnson said on the "Just the News, No Noise" television show on Monday.

FBI whistleblower Steve Friend also expressed doubts during the program about the bureau's reasons for not releasing the document to the committee, saying "[m]y concern is the timing of this document. It's three years ago, in the summer before presidential election. And the question is, if that is credible information, then there should have been at least an assessment or preliminary investigation, if not a full investigation that went on and they've sort of indicated that one does exist."

"But if it had the ability to impact an election, it was certainly a comment on the FBI to to reveal that and now after the fact where they're saying that, that they that they're worried about revealing sources and methods. That's just nonsense," he continued.

Friend then contended that the FBI might be loosely defining "ongoing investigation," effectively leaving the material unpursued but nominally under review, saying "I think they're saying that this is an ongoing, usable source who's who's providing information and maybe another open active investigation."

"[B]ut if they filed it away, and I think there might be concerned about that this information was brought forward it was might have been damning against Joe Biden," he said, "and instead of doing the necessary steps and opening an assessment or preliminary or full investigation to to find out what happened they memorialized that information inside of an FD-1023, a source reporting document and just left it in the sources file and never pursued it further."

"And that is a dereliction of duty in the FBI stance," he concluded.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.

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