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WASHINGTON — The FBI has refused to give Congress an informant file alleging that President Biden took bribes while he was vice president, The Post has learned — setting up a possible showdown over access to the information.
House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) issued a legally binding subpoena last week requiring the FBI to turn over the file by noon Wednesday, but the bureau instead replied with a six-page letter raising various objections.
“Information from confidential human sources is unverified and, by definition, incomplete,” wrote FBI acting assistant director for congressional affairs Christopher Dunham, who also argued that informant reports must also be kept private to protect sources.
“As is clear from the name itself, confidentiality is definitional to the FBI’s Confidential Human Source program,” Dunham wrote. “Confidential human sources often provide information to the FBI at great risk to themselves and their loved ones. The information they provide also can create significant risks to others who may be referenced in their reporting.”
The FBI official concluded: “We … hope this helps you understand that keeping this kind of source information free from the perception or reality of improper influence — and preventing the redirection of this information for non-law enforcement or non-intelligence uses — is necessary for the FBI’s effective execution of our law enforcement and national security responsibilities.”
Comer slammed the FBI’s stonewalling, but he did not immediately announce further steps to acquire the document. Congress has the power to apply financial pressure to agencies and can also use litigation to enforce its orders or attempt to shame officials through contempt votes.
“It’s clear from the FBI’s response that the unclassified record the Oversight Committee subpoenaed exists, but they are refusing to provide it to the Committee,” Comer said.
“We’ve asked the FBI to not only provide this record, but to also inform us what it did to investigate these allegations,” he added. “The FBI has failed to do both. The FBI’s position is ‘trust, but you aren’t allowed to verify.’ That is unacceptable. We plan to follow up with the FBI and expect compliance with the subpoena.”
An FBI spokesperson shared a comment similar to the letter’s contents.
“An FD-1023 form is used by FBI agents to record unverified reporting by a confidential human source. Documenting the information does not validate it, establish its credibility, or weigh it against other information verified by the FBI,” the rep said.
“Revealing unverified or possibly incomplete information could harm investigations, prejudice prosecutions or judicial proceedings, unfairly violate privacy or reputations, create misimpressions in the public, or potentially identify individuals who provide information to law enforcement, placing their physical safety at risk. Information from confidential human sources and members of the public is critical to the work of the FBI and we are also committed to protecting the confidentiality of anyone who comes forward.”
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who passed a whistleblower’s tip about the document to Comer, first broke the news that the FBI did not comply with the writ.
“They didn’t give us the unclassified document. They sent us a five or six-page letter that I haven’t studied thoroughly yet,” Grassley told The Post at the Capitol.
“They didn’t dispute that it exists — that the document exists or that it is unclassified … why they haven’t given it, I don’t know.”
The document subpoenaed by the Oversight Committee is an FD-1023 informant report that was “created or modified in June 2020″ — months before Biden won the presidency.
In a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray, Comer and Grassley wrote last week, “We have received legally protected and highly credible unclassified whistleblower disclosures.”
“Based on those disclosures,” the Republicans wrote, “it has come to our attention that the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) possess an unclassified FD-1023 form that describes an alleged criminal scheme involving then-Vice President Biden and a foreign national relating to the exchange of money for policy decisions.”
As vice president, Joe Biden regularly interacted with his relatives’ international business associates from countries including China, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Russia and Ukraine.
The FBI refused to hand over the document just hours after Comer hosted a press conference where he identified nine Biden family members who allegedly received foreign income under what he and fellow committee Republicans described as suspicious circumstances involving little or no actual work.
“I think the American people deserve to know whether or not the president himself is a crook,” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) told The Post. “I hope Joe Biden will cooperate fully with the investigation. If he has nothing to hide, he should turn over everything the committee is asking for.”
Hawley added that if Biden accepted bribes, Republicans would bring impeachment charges — saying, “Did that happen? We don’t know. This is why we have to get the facts. If the president has nothing to hide, he should be all for transparency.”
The Oversight Committee recently subpoenaed bank records from Biden family associates and reviewed more than 150 Suspicious Activity Reports filed by banks to the Treasury Department regarding possible criminal activity by the first family and their associates.
First son Hunter Biden reportedly has been under federal criminal investigation related to his overseas income since 2018 and his attorneys met with Justice Department leaders April 26 in a sign that a charging decision may come soon.
An IRS whistleblower who supervised the tax-fraud case against Hunter Biden since early 2020 informed Congress last month that he wanted to share information about a coverup in the case after already making disclosures to the Treasury and Justice Department’s inspectors general.
The longtime IRS worker can “contradict sworn testimony to Congress” by Attorney General Merrick Garland — and reveal “examples of preferential treatment and politics improperly infecting decisions,” a letter from his lawyer Mark Lytle said.
Garland said last week that he stands by his testimony to Congress regarding the ability of Delaware US Attorney David Weiss to unilaterally charge Hunter even if crimes occurred outside of the First State.
Weiss is a Trump administration holdover who was recommended to his post in 2017 by Delaware’s two Democratic senators.
NBC reported last month that there is “growing frustration” within the FBI over the fact that Weiss had not yet brought charges after the bureau concluded most of its work last year.
Weiss has been reviewing four possible charges, NBC reported: Two misdemeanor counts of failing to file taxes, a felony count of evading taxes relating to a business expense and a charge of lying on a federal gun purchase form.
It’s unclear if authorities are still considering charges against Hunter for alleged money laundering and failing to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was sentenced in 2018 to 60 months in prison specifically for FARA violations related to his work in Ukraine, plus another 30 months for other charges including tax and bank fraud and witness tampering.