The Pittsburgh-based U.S. attorney charged with screening evidence of Ukrainian corruption before the 2020 election testified before the House Judiciary Committee on Monday about the bureaucratic obstruction his team faced. The roadblocks detailed by former U.S. Attorney Scott Brady over the course of the six-hour hearing were so outrageous that at one point a lawyer for the minority party asked whether he was speaking in hyperbole. He wasn’t.
The situation Brady faced was also much worse than the media have reported to date, as the full transcript of the interview, reviewed by The Federalist, establishes. Here are the seven most shocking details revealed during Monday’s hearing.
1. FBI Drags Its Feet While Tying Brady’s Hands
Monday’s closed-door hearing of the House Judiciary Committee, which is investigating the DOJ and FBI’s handling of the probe into Biden family corruption, opened with Brady explaining that in early January 2020, then-Attorney General William Barr tapped him to vet evidence related to Ukrainian corruption.
While he immediately moved to open a matter in the U.S. attorney’s office for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Brady testified that he didn’t believe the FBI opened its assessment until late March. Part of the problem, Brady explained, was that the FBI maintained it had to operate under the framework of the Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide (DIOG) and that there was no procedure for handling a vetting assignment such as Barr assigned to the Pittsburgh office.
So, as Brady explained, he had a discussion with the Pittsburgh FBI agents about “how, in their administrative process, it should be characterized.”
“I said, ‘Well let’s all sit together around a table and talk this out; could you please share with me your DIOG,’” Brady testified, explaining the DIOG “is the FBI’s bible for their processes and procedures.”
The local FBI agents told Brady that someone from FBI headquarters directed the local agents not to share the DIOG with the U.S. attorney’s office. Brady’s response, as he relayed to the committee, perfectly crystalized the madness: “I’m a presidentially appointed United States attorney. We’re on the same team, part of the Department of Justice. What do you mean you can’t share your DIOG with me?”
“That’s what we were told, so we can’t, sir,” the local Pittsburgh FBI team replied, in his telling.
And they never did share the DIOG with him, the former federal prosecutor testified, explaining he instead resorted to finding an older redacted version online, and then referenced those standards when discussing with the FBI team how to open the investigation.
2. 17 Approvals Needed — and That’s Not Hyperbole
The FBI eventually opted to open an “assessment” for the material on Ukraine provided by the Pittsburgh-based U.S. attorney’s office. Under the DIOG, an “assessment” could only last for 30 days, after which it would need to be reauthorized. That meant every 30 days, the Pittsburgh FBI office needed to re-up the assessment, which normally wouldn’t be an issue, Brady testified, because a special agent’s immediate supervisor, a supervisory special agent (SSA) at the local field office could reauthorize an assessment.
But not in the case of the Ukrainian corruption vetting.
“In this case,” Brady testified, “it required 17 different people, including mostly at the headquarters level to sign off on it before the assessment could be extended.” Consequently, Brady explained, at times the FBI agents “had to go pens down sometimes for 2 or 3 weeks at a time … because they were still waiting on, again, on someone within the 17-chain signoff to approve.”
The ridiculousness of a 17-person approval was clear to even the Democrat attorney questioning Brady. After noting he had made reference to “17 layers of approval,” she asked: “Was that an actual number, or was that just hyperbole? Were there 17 boxes to check?”
“So it was our understanding, related by someone on the FBI team in Pittsburgh, that that was an actual number, that there were 17 approvals that were required to extend the assessment an additional 30 days.”
3. FBI Headquarters Had To Sign-Off on Everything.
Not only did more than a dozen individuals need to approve the renewal of the assessment, including many out of FBI headquarters, but Brady testified that FBI headquarters was required to “signoff for any investigative steps that FBI Pittsburgh was asked to take by” the Pittsburgh U.S. attorney’s office.
Brady reiterated this point, testifying: “It was my understanding that they could not take any steps absent the approval, the review and approval of FBI headquarters, not just the leadership of FBI Pittsburgh.” And later, when asked to elaborate on challenges with the FBI, Brady noted: “It was my understanding that FBI headquarters had to sign off on every assignment, no matter how small or routine, before they could take action.”
This level of signoff by headquarters was not normal, Brady confirmed, noting that in his experience, even in a sensitive investigation, the investigation is usually contained within the field office, with an SSA approving requests, or maybe an assistant special agent in charge or on occasion even the special agent in charge. But never in his career had Brady seen anything like this.
4. FBI Reluctance In Investigating
The former U.S. attorney’s testimony also made clear the FBI was reluctant to assist their investigation.
“It was a challenging working relationship,” Brady noted, saying he believed “there was reluctance on the part of the FBI to really do any tasking related to our assignment … and looking into allegations of Ukrainian corruption broadly and then specifically anything that intersected with Hunter Biden and his role in Burisma.”
When pushed on where the problems originated, Brady said, “It was somewhere at FBI headquarters,” but he “had no visibility into where that choke point was.” But it was somewhere below the deputy director and principal assistant deputy attorney general because whenever the FBI refused to cooperate, forcing Brady to elevate the issue to FBI headquarters or the DOJ, the issues were resolved by the various high-level officials.
Unbeknownst to Brady, that also proved to be the case when it came to his office briefing the Delaware U.S. attorney’s office on the results of his assessment. Brady testified that he had been trying for some time to arrange a briefing with the Delaware U.S. attorney’s office, only to learn later that Assistant U.S. Attorney Lesley Wolf had not wanted to take the briefing. IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley recently revealed that the meeting only came about after Main Justice ordered Delaware to meet with Brady’s team to be briefed on the results of their vetting.
5. FBI Headquarters Tells Pittsburgh Agents to Play Coy
“Reluctance” appears to be an understatement, though, as Brady further testified that a member of the Pittsburgh FBI team relayed that FBI headquarters had directed them “not to affirmatively share information” but rather “only to share information with [Pittsburgh] if we asked them a direct question relating to that information…”
That “is not typically how the investigative process goes,” Brady added.
That the FBI agents had directions only to share information with the U.S. attorney’s office if asked a direct question seems to explain Brady’s later testimony. The former U.S. attorney later testified that when the Washington field office discovered an older FD-1023 report that included a discreet statement mentioning Hunter Biden’s service on the Burisma Board, the Pittsburgh office requested to see the FD-1023. Apparently, relying on the FBI to convey relevant information to the prosecutors was not an option. In this case, that FD-1023 led to the confidential human source providing extensive additional information about the Bidens’ involvement and alleged bribe-taking from Burisma, so it is a good thing Pittsburgh asked to see the actual document.
When it came to the Hunter Biden laptop, however, Brady and his team of prosecutors didn’t know what they didn’t know, so they never asked whether the FBI had seized any of Hunter Biden’s electronic devices. With “don’t ask, don’t tell” being Delaware’s protect-Biden policy, the Delaware office opted against informing the Pittsburgh U.S. attorney’s office of the existence of the laptop. Rather, Brady testified that he first learned of the laptop’s existence when the New York Post broke the story in mid-October.
6. Delaware Refuses to Play Nice
Not only did Brady testify about the challenges of working with the FBI, but he also faced issues with the Delaware U.S. attorney’s office.
“[I]t was regularly a challenge to interact with the investigative team from Delaware,” Brady testified. “There was no information sharing” or “very limited” information sharing, from Delaware. In fact, “at one point, the communication between our offices was so constricted that we had to provide written questions to the investigative team in Delaware, almost in the form of interrogatories, and receive written answers back,” Brady testified.
“This was very unusual,” Brady continued, noting that “typical U.S. attorney to U.S. attorney office communications, even on sensitive matters, is fairly clear and transparent.” “We’re all professionals,” Brady explained.
Yet, with Delaware, the Pittsburgh U.S. attorney’s office had to resort to submitting a list of written questions to U.S. Attorney David Weiss’s team, which the Delaware prosecutors then responded to in writing, much as interrogatories are served on opposing parties in litigation.
Jim Jordan, the chair of the Judiciary Committee, asked Brady if he had ever seen anything like this during his time as an assistant U.S. attorney or U.S. attorney.
“Not where an office had to submit written interrogatories to another office for permission,” Brady said.
7. Lying About Brady
Another challenge he faced, Brady explained, was false representations being made to senior FBI leadership about what the U.S. attorney’s team was or wasn’t doing. “There was information that was being shared up that chain at the FBI that was incorrect,” Brady explained, and it rose all the way up to AG Barr.
Brady noted that while they resolved the issue, it presented an unnecessary challenge to handling the vetting process.
Of course, some of the same people likely used that same tactic by lying about the Pittsburgh vetting process to the press. And more recently, Democrats such as Jamie Raskin resorted to peddling falsehoods, such as that Barr’s handpicked prosecutor, Brady, had closed the assessment into the FD-1023.
During his Monday testimony, Brady also confirmed that Barr had accurately described the true scenario — that the FD-1023 had been passed on to the Delaware U.S. attorney’s office for further investigation — and that Raskin was lying, at I reported here in The Federalist.
But what else could a Biden apologist do but lie — after whistleblowers exposed the DOJ and FBI’s obstruction and the evidence of the president’s corruption?