House Democrats keep lying about the FBI’s handling of a “highly credible” confidential human source (CHS), who reported that the Ukrainian owner of Burisma bragged about paying then-Vice President Joe Biden a $5 million bribe. Their persistence suggests the FBI is poised to peddle selectively leaked documents to cover up its political favoritism and interference in the 2020 election.
On Friday, Democrat Ro Khanna went on Fox News to discuss the scandal surrounding the FD-1023 form that implicated Biden in a bribery scandal. Khanna, a member of the House Oversight Committee, along with other committee members, had reviewed the FD-1023 the previous day. After professing his full trust in the president, Khanna repeated the lie Ranking Member Jamie Raskin had peddled earlier in the week: that then-Attorney General William Barr’s hand-picked prosecutor, Scott Brady, had closed the investigation into the CHS’s claims contained in the FD-1023.
But Barr had already said this was a lie. After Raskin peddled the same falsehoods, Barr stated on the record that Trump’s DOJ had not closed the investigation into the CHS’s reporting of the alleged $5 million bribe.
“It’s not true. It wasn’t closed down,” Barr told The Federalist on Tuesday, stressing it was sent to “Delaware for further investigation.”
Raskin doubled down on his claim, however, issuing a press release soon after The Federalist’s story broke:
I stand 100% by my statements that we were told by the FBI team that visited us on Monday, June 5, 2023, that the Department of Justice team of prosecutors and FBI agents under U.S. Attorney Scott Brady determined that there were no grounds to escalate their probe from an initial assessment of the allegations surfaced by Rudy Giuliani to a preliminary or full-blown investigation and that it was therefore closed down.
“Mr. Raskin doesn’t appear to understand the limited nature of Pittsburgh’s role in this,” Barr reportedly told Politico in a statement, again correcting the record. “That office was simply managing an intake process that checked out the source and the credibility of evidence before assigning it to one of the ongoing investigations already pending in the Department. The purpose was to identify any potential disinformation.”
But in the case of the FD-1023, Barr noted, “Pittsburgh determined that there was no basis to believe this was disinformation, and that the information should be followed up on and therefore sent it to Delaware, where there was an ongoing investigation, to follow up on it.” The former attorney general then stressed that “once that decision was reached, Pittsburgh’s work on that evidence ended, but the investigation of the underlying information continued in Delaware.”
Notwithstanding Barr’s detailed and unequivocal statement, Democrats persisted. Politico reported that a spokesman for House Oversight Democrats accused Barr of “downplaying the scope of the assessment he assigned to US Attorney Brady and his team of prosecutors and FBI agents, who interviewed the confidential human source and reviewed suspicious activity reports filed by banks, to evaluate the allegations of corruption peddled by Rudy Giuliani.”
Setting the Record Straight — Again
With Democrats doubling and tripling down on their lie despite Barr’s various public statements, the former attorney general sat down with Martha MacCallum on Fox News on Thursday to address their prevarication.
“Mr. Raskin is confused as to the process that was involved and the nature of the exercise in Pittsburgh,” Barr began, explaining that several Ukraine-related investigations, including some related to Hunter Biden and the Biden family, were underway heading into the 2020 election year. At the beginning of 2020, Barr continued, “I set up a special process in Pittsburgh that was not an investigation of the case but was an intake process to make sure evidence that was pouring in was screened to make sure it was credible evidence, determine its source, [and] determine if it was disinformation.”
“This was a screening,” and served “a clearing-house function,” Barr noted, explaining the goal was “to check evidence out before sending it to the ongoing investigations.” It was as part of that process that Brady, then-U.S. attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, reviewed the CHS’s FD-1023 that is now in controversy, Barr said. Brady’s team “checked out” the FD-1023 — which Barr explained had not, to his recollection, come from Giuliani — and “determined that it was not likely to have been disinformation.” Thus it was given to Delaware’s ongoing investigation “to follow-up on and to check out,” according to Barr.
The former attorney general then stressed what he called “the critical point”: “The assessment that was being done in Pittsburgh was not the typical kind of assessment where you determine, ‘Now do we have to open a broader investigation?’” That wasn’t necessary because “there already was a broader investigation, a predicated investigation,” Barr explained. “This was an assessment of whether the evidence should be passed on to that, or that there was some problem with the evidence and the allegations.”
Yet the next day, on the same network, Khanna continued to peddle Raskin’s lie when he told “America Reports” host John Roberts that Brady “looked into all of this in detail in 2020 and found no evidence or conclusion of wrongdoing.”
House Democrats persisting in their charge that Brady closed the investigation into the CHS’s claims in August 2020, against Barr’s strong denials, suggests a plot is underway to leak a document that will seemingly support Raskin’s narrative.
After six-plus years of witnessing this modus operandi, it isn’t too hard to foresee this scenario. Nor is it difficult to predict what the FBI would leak: an August 2020 document signed by Brady closing the assessment. After all, that’s what Raskin says the FBI has claimed happened.
Such a document would be deceptive, however, because as Barr explained, “the assessment that was being done in Pittsburgh was not the typical kind of assessment where you determine, ‘Now do we have to open a broader investigation?’” Rather, Brady’s assessment addressed solely whether the evidence should be passed on or not.
Thus Brady closing his “assessment” would merely mean he had concluded his review, reaching a determination on how the evidence should be handled, and no further investigation by him was required. In the case of the FD-1023, the determination Brady apparently reached, according to Barr, was that the information from the CHS was not disinformation and should be investigated further in Delaware.
Thus, a leak by Democrats of a document showing Brady had closed his assessment of the FD-1023 means nothing, absent some further evidence memorializing a finding by Brady that the evidence was disinformation and should not be shared with Delaware or further investigated.
Given Barr’s repeated unequivocal statements, it seems unlikely any such document would exist. On the contrary, there is likely documentation from Pittsburgh summarizing the U.S. attorney’s findings related to the FD-1023 and the other material he screened, and concluding whether further investigation was needed by Delaware.
An Important Letter
Of course, the FBI won’t leak those documents. But even without those documents, we have more than just Barr’s word that Brady’s job was not to open a preliminary or full investigation of the FD-1023. Thus Brady’s failure to do so means nothing.
Barr made this point during his interview with MacCallum, reminding the host that at the time he set up the intake process in Pittsburgh in early 2020, it was “well covered in the news.”
The then-attorney general first explained this screening procedure during a press conference on Feb. 10, 2020, stating the Department of Justice “had established an intake process in the field,” to allow it to assess the credibility of any information related to Ukraine. About a week later, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd provided more detail of the arrangement in a letter to then-Chair of the House Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler.
That letter explained that the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Richard Donoghue, would coordinate open matters potentially related to Ukraine and that Brady would provide assistance. Brady’s role, according to the letter, was “to assist in the receipt, processing, and preliminary analysis of new information provided by the public that may be relevant to matters relating to Ukraine.”
The letter further stressed that any “information will be carefully evaluated and vetted by the Department before investigatory steps, if any, are taken,” and that “the Department will reject information it finds to be non-credible while continuing to discharge its duty to pursue all meritorious leads and investigations.”
Boyd’s letter from more than three years ago confirms Barr’s explanation of Brady’s role in reviewing the FD-1023.
Barr also stressed during a congressional hearing on July 28, 2020, that the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania’s role related to Ukraine matters was merely the “vetting” of material to prevent the infiltration of disinformation into the criminal justice system.
Thus, while Democrats are now accusing Barr of “downplaying the scope of the assessment he assigned to US Attorney Brady and his team,” these documents and Barr’s public statements from 2020 make clear Pittsburgh’s role was as a gatekeeper only.
Given Barr’s numerous statements and the totality of the contemporaneous evidence supporting his claims, one must wonder why FBI headquarters and Democrats insist Brady closed out the investigation.
Might it be that the FBI intercepted the FD-1023 or otherwise prevented Delaware from learning the DOJ wanted that office to further investigate the allegations against the Bidens?