Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) on Thursday released a thinly-redacted copy of an FBI document that Republicans had been seeking in their investigation of Hunter Biden, the President’s son.
Grassley had been working alongside House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-KY), who had said he would bring contempt of Congress charges against FBI Director Chris Wray if the Bureau refused to comply with lawmakers seeking to release the information in the subpoenaed document, despite the FBI allowing him to review it at Bureau headquarters.
The document alleges that President Biden was involved in a criminal bribery scheme when he was Vice President. Then-VP Biden allegedly coerced officials at Ukrainian energy company Burisma to pay millions of dollars for Biden’s aid in the ousting of Ukraine’s then-prosecutor general Viktor Shokin at a time when Hunter Biden was on the board of Burisma.
However, the confidential FBI informant who made those allegations, after having spoken to Burisma CEO and founder Mykola Zlochevsky, could not give an opinion on the veracity of Zlochevsky’s statements about Hunter Biden.
In fact, Zlochevsky told investigators that he learned about then-Vice President Biden’s calling for Sholkin’s ouster “from newspapers and internet. We never had contacts with VP Biden during his visits to Ukraine.”
There has never been hard evidence that now-President Biden called for Shokin’s ouster in order to help his son.
But then-President Trump’s insistence that Ukraine investigate the matter or risk the loss of U.S. aid led to his first impeachment in 2019.
“This FBI document released by Republicans records the unverified, secondhand, years-old allegations relayed by a confidential human source who stated he could not provide ‘further opinion as to the veracity’ of these allegations,” Jamie Raskin (D-MD), ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, said in a statement. “Even Senator Johnson recognized these allegation may have been fabricated out of thin air.”
“This could be coming from a very corrupt oligarch who could be making this stuff up,” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) told Punchbowl News. “You have to suspend your judgment until you know more.”
And while Comer said Thursday, “The American people must be able to read this record for themselves. I thank Senator Grassley for providing much needed transparency,” Grassley has said previously that Republicans like him “aren’t interested in whether or not the accusations against Biden are accurate or not”; they want to make sure the FBI complies with the subpoena.
Further, the FBI has rebuked Congressional Republicans for releasing the sparsely-redacted document, saying in a statement that the Committee members had been “provided an admonishment prior to reviewing the document” that the information contained within its contents “could not be disseminated outside of the House sensitive compartmented information facility,” or SCIF.
“We have repeatedly explained to Congress, in correspondence and in briefings, how critical it is to keep this source information confidential,” the FBI statement goes on, adding that the lawmakers were “specifically told that ‘wider distribution could pose a risk of physical harm to FBI sources or others.'”