FBI Director Christopher Wray narrowly avoided contempt of Congress proceedings last week over his refusal to provide the House Oversight Committee with an unclassified document memorializing a trusted informant’s allegation that then-Vice President Joe Biden accepted a $5 million bribe from Ukrainian energy oligarch Burisma.
Dramatic as the near-rebuke may have appeared, and as explosive as the contents of the FBI’s concealed FD-1023 form seem to be, the trio of apparent scandals this saga touches on transcends its immediate significance.
The first scandal — hiding in plain sight for years yet never fully exposed, let alone prosecuted — concerns the Biden family’s potentially criminal, national security-imperiling, public trust-eroding influence peddling. The reality of this influence peddling makes the stunning allegation of a Joe Biden bribe seem infinitely more plausible than it might otherwise appear.
The House Oversight Committee’s recent review of thousands of records from subpoenas to four banks — which preceded its pursuit of the FD-1023 — shows that “Biden family members and business associates created a web of over 20 companies,” the majority of which were formed during Biden’s vice presidency. Through this web, “the Biden family, their business associates, and their companies received over $10 million from foreign nationals’ and their related companies” [emphasis original] during and after the then-vice president’s tenure.
Millions seem to have come from a company controlled by a corrupt Romanian oligarch and entities tied to the Chinese Communist Party. The money flowed to Biden family members, many of whom possessed no discernible relevant skills or experience. And at times, there was no evidence they rendered any services.
These findings build on the earlier work of Republican Sens. Charles Grassley — who, alongside House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, pressed FBI Director Wray to produce the FD-1023 — and Ron Johnson. The duo detailed dubious Biden family dealings with Russian, Kazakh, and Ukrainian nationals as well — Ukraine, of course, being the famously corrupt country of origin for the alleged Biden bribe.
The Biden family’s apparent monetizing of Joe’s office — including in Ukraine — alongside its apparent efforts to disguise associated transactions dovetail with the bribery allegation.
“After foreign companies sent money to business associates’ companies,” the House Oversight Committee has reported, “the Biden family received incremental payments over time to different bank accounts. These complicated financial transactions appear to conceal the source of the funds and reduce the conspicuousness of the total amounts made into the Biden bank accounts.”
Consistent with this practice, Chairman Comer has intimated that the FD-1023 suggests then-Vice President Biden “asked that the [alleged bribe] money be sent through shell companies and various banks to launder it to where no one would know about it.”
Several additional red flags — beyond the FBI’s steadfast unwillingness to share the document until under duress — suggest this is a serious allegation.
Chairman Comer has disclosed that FBI officials confirmed the FD-1023 “has not been disproven and stated several times the information contained within it is currently being used in an ongoing investigation.”
The source of the bombshell allegation is an informant reportedly considered “highly credible” by the FBI, as evinced by his more than 10 years serving the agency, and the $200,000-plus compensation the bureau has doled out to him for his work. The informant supposedly heard about the bribe directly from its source. The specifics of the allegation — supposedly with a nexus to Burisma — the logic to it, and the supposed evidence substantiating it, further speak to its veracity.
These and perhaps other points about the allegation inspired such confidence in House Oversight Committee member Rep. Anna Paulina Luna that after reviewing the 1023, she declared, “There’s no doubt in my mind that Joe Biden is guilty of bribery 100%.”
To the extent the bribe did occur, beyond the immediate ramifications, it would cast a pall over U.S. policy with respect to Ukraine under President Biden and suggest that the purpose of the first impeachment of Donald Trump was to cover up and divert attention from such Biden corruption.
Even if no bribe occurred, the allegation should renew Americans’ focus on the Biden family “business.” The public must demand a complete accounting of what money the Bidens made, from whom, in exchange for what, when, to what extent it flowed directly or indirectly to Joe Biden, as well as what the president knew and when he knew it regarding the family’s dealings.
The seeming compromise at play calls into question the foreign policy of this administration, as well as our national security. Meanwhile, where is our primary law enforcement agency in all this — considering how consumed it has been with foreign interference in the U.S. political system?
Herein lies the second potential scandal at play: Did the FBI and DOJ protect the Bidens, rather than the U.S. national interest, by turning a blind eye to their dubious dealings? This was the impetus behind the Comer and Grassley-led pursuit of the FD-1023 in the first place.
As the colleagues asserted in their initial letter calling on the FBI and DOJ to produce the form, “it remains unclear what steps, if any, were taken to investigate the matter. The significant public interest in assessing the FBI’s response to this information, as well as growing concern about the DOJ and the FBI’s track record of allowing political bias to infect their decision-making process, necessitate exacting congressional oversight.”
The context for these concerns is important. Over the last several years, whistleblowers have come to Grassley with information illustrating the hyper-politicization of these agencies. In July 2022, Grassley wrote a letter to the DOJ and FBI detailing certain such disclosures. Included among them is the allegation that during 2020, the FBI developed information about Hunter Biden’s criminal financial and related activity — only to sit on it. In August of that year, an FBI intelligence analyst “opened an assessment … used … to improperly discredit negative Hunter Biden information as disinformation,” which “caused investigative activity to cease,” Grassley said. That information was apparently falsely labeled “disinformation.”
In September 2020, the FBI “placed their findings with respect to whether reporting was disinformation in a restricted access sub-file reviewable only by the particular agents responsible for uncovering the specific information.”
Perhaps not coincidentally, the intelligence analyst in question was Brian Auten, a key figure in Russiagate. Auten was responsible for leading the vetting of a Steele dossier his team could never corroborate. He withheld key information from the FISA court pertaining to the Carter Page warrant applications.
Whistleblowers also made Grassley and Comer aware of the existence of the FD-1023. In a June 6, 2023 speech, Grassley linked the two sets of disclosures, asking, “Did the FBI try to improperly use the August 2020 Brian Auten assessment to shut down the 1023 reporting [of a Biden bribe] by falsely labeling it disinformation?”
Grassley and Johnson themselves may well have been targeted by the FBI in a related Biden protection scheme. In the July-August 2020 period, Democrats appear to have instigated, and the FBI seems to have colluded with them in, an information operation to publicly discredit the Grassley-Johnson probe with false claims it was corrupted by foreign disinformation.
The DOJ’s apparent protection of the Biden family during and after the 2020 election raises a critical question: What do these agencies know about Biden family dealings, when did they learn it, and what have they done about it?
For his part, Comer has said that based on his review of the FD-1023 form, “there are other forms, as well … we don’t know how many form 1023s are pertaining to Biden-bribery.”
The third potential scandal concerns the FBI’s seeming cover-up of its efforts to protect the Biden family. Why exactly did the bureau go through so much trouble to keep the 1023 from congressional investigators?
The FBI obstructed congressional oversight efforts in myriad ways, slowly replying to the subpoena for the document, briefing investigators about tangential topics, refusing for a period to even confirm the document’s existence, calling for investigators to narrow the search, then allowing only the chairman and ranking member of the House Oversight Committee to review the document in camera and without taking notes. The FBI finally relented and provided the document to the full committee — but not before a draft contempt resolution was released.
Such obstructionism would be laughable were it not so serious. This kind of behavior illustrates a broader pattern. Our national security and law enforcement apparatus operates as if it were above Congress — and even, it seems, as if it were above the law.
At this point, the pattern is consistent and exhausting. Consider Russiagate: Republicans seek out documents they believe illustrate deep state hyper-politicization, weaponization, or corruption. The deep state and its media stenographers cry “state secrets,” and “sources and methods” to claim transparency threatens security. Ultimately, if we are lucky enough to get the documents — albeit often in heavily redacted form — we find Republican concerns to be more than merited, and the deep state to be motivated by the hiding of its own malfeasance.
In the case of the Biden bribe-alleging FD-1023, the FBI went with the sources and methods alibi — despite Republican assurances that they would accept the document with appropriate safeguards for the informant.
After Comer reviewed the document — and before the rest of the committee had a chance to do the same — Luna tweeted, “The FBI is afraid their informant will be killed if unmasked, based on the info he has brought forward about the Biden family.”
This was a remarkable statement on two levels. First, are we really to believe the FBI could not modify the document to protect the informant — and does the FBI still stand by its position today having now shared the document with the full House Oversight Committee? Or maybe the FBI was really more concerned about shielding the document because of what it might reveal about Biden and the FBI’s kid-glove treatment of him and his family.
Second, if the FBI does genuinely believe the informant could be killed, that itself is indicative of the allegation’s veracity. Whom does the FBI fear exactly? Foreign actors? Domestic ones?
Despite Wray’s skirting of contempt of Congress, it is clear that this trio of apparent scandals reflects our ruling class’s total and utter contempt for the American people.