James Comer Cancels House Vote to Hold FBI Director Wray in Contempt

June 8, 2023

House Oversight Chair James Comer (R-KY) late Wednesday canceled plans to have a vote to hold FBI Director Chris Wray in contempt of Congress. 

The cancelation of Thursday’s vote came after Wray offered to allow the full Oversight Committee to view a document, which alleges that President Biden was involved in a criminal bribery scheme when he was Vice President.

“The Full Committee business meeting to vote on holding Director Wray in contempt of Congress is now removed from Thursday’s schedule,” Comer announced.

Comer had begun the process of bringing contempt charges against Wray even after the FBI had allowed him and Ranking Oversight Committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) to view the document at  bureau headquarters, and be briefed by FBI officials on its details.

Raskin said in a statement Wednesday, “Chairman Comer’s acceptance of these further accommodations comes after he has spent weeks attacking the FBI despite its extraordinary efforts to provide Committee Republicans the information they claim to seek.”

Comer had subpoenaed the FBI for the document last month. He, along with along with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), have said the allegations against the President in the document demand further investigation.

Grassley also acknowledged last week that he had read the document privately but was “not going to characterize it” before it was made public. 

Grassley further admitted that Republicans like him “aren’t interested in whether or not the accusations against Biden are accurate or not,” but rather want to make sure the FBI complies with the subpoena.

The FBI had been hesitant to release the document because, as Christopher Dunham, acting assistant director for the FBI’s Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs, had said in a letter to Comer and Grassley, “The mere existence of such a document would establish little beyond the fact that a confidential human source provided information and the FBI recorded it.”

He added that reviewing the document “out of context” and without national security protections would “undermine” the FBI’s interest in protecting confidential sources. 

Comer had gone forward with plans to hold the contempt vote against Wray—until Wednesday evening when he canceled them—even as the full House has canceled votes for the rest of the week following a mini-revolt by conservatives to block GOP-led bills from passage in response to the debt ceiling deal that Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) had brokered with President Biden to prevent the U.S. government from going into default for the first time in its history.

Had the Oversight Committee voted to hold the FBI Director in contempt of Congress, the charge might not have gone go any further than the legislature as it’s up to the Department of Justices—in which Wray is a principal—to prosecute or not. 

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