House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan is demanding a transcribed interview with an FBI official who reportedly mislead Republican senators to offer congressional Democrats ammunition in a smear campaign.
On Wednesday, the Ohio Republican sent a letter to Amazon Senior Risk Manager Bradley Benavides, who worked in a senior role at the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division from 2019 to 2022, requesting the former agency official appear before House lawmakers.
“On August 6, 2020, you provided a briefing to Senators Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson that hampered their investigation into Hunter Biden’s financial connections to foreign governments and questionable foreign nationals,” Jordan wrote.
The two GOP senators would later blast the 2020 briefing as an “unnecessary” exercise that “provided the Democrats and liberal media the vehicle to spread their false narrative that our work advanced Russian disinformation.”
“The allegations that the FBI arranged a briefing for two United States senators as a
pretext to impede their investigation — and then leaked that briefing to the media — are deeply
troubling,” Jordan wrote. “We, therefore, ask that you make yourself available for a transcribed interview with Committee staff.” Jordan gave Benavides until the end of the day on June 21 to provide a schedule to the House.
Johnson and Grassley ultimately published their report on Hunter Biden’s financial dealings in September 2020, a month before the infamous laptop surfaced in the New York Post. The senators found Hunter Biden took $3.5 million from an ex-Moscow mayor’s wife. Senate investigators also accused the younger Biden of paying for prostitutes who might have been trafficked and found that payments Biden received from the Chinese raised concerns about potential crimes that extended to Joe Biden’s brother, James. The explosive Senate report also showed that officials with the Ukrainian energy company, Burisma, tried to bribe Ukraine’s top prosecutor to shut down an investigation following Hunter Biden’s appointment to the corporate board.
Jordan, then ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, demanded the FBI brief Congress on what actions the agency took, if any, on Hunter Biden’s Ukrainian energy firm paying a $7 million bribe to shut down government oversight.
“The report by Chairman Johnson and Chairman Grassley shows that the FBI has been aware of some alleged misconduct for years,” Jordan wrote at the time.
Meanwhile, Democrats worked to delegitimize the Senate investigation as an instrument of Russian disinformation. In July 2020, top Democrats on Capitol Hill urged an FBI briefing over their own accusations that Senate Republicans were spoon-fed misinformation from Russian adversaries.
“We are gravely concerned, in particular, that Congress appears to be the target of a foreign interference campaign, which seeks to launder and amplify disinformation in order to influence congressional activity, public debate, and the presidential election in November,” read a letter to the FBI from Democrat leadership.
The Biden campaign charged Johnson with being a Russian asset by serving as a “party to a foreign influence operation against the United States,” according to a memo reviewed by NBC News. The routine allegations of Kremlin collusion frustrated Republicans, who at the time were wrapping up a years-long investigation based on intelligence collected from U.S. agencies, and current or former U.S. officials.
“It is becoming increasingly clear that your interest in understanding ‘the national security and counterintelligence implications of foreign election interference’ is one-sided and highly political,” Johnson and Grassley wrote to their Democrat colleagues. “The FBI advised all of us during a March 2020 staff briefing that there was nothing to preclude the continuation of our investigation.”