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Grassley’s Bombshells Show House Investigators Exactly Where To Aim Their Next Biden Subpoenas

Grassley may not be able to force the DOJ and FBI to provide answers or documents, but the House can — and it should immediately.

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The chair of the House Oversight Committee issued a slew of subpoenas on Wednesday, including to Hunter Biden and James Biden. Additional subpoenas, as well as requests for transcribed interviews, were served on other Biden family members and business associates. These investigative steps are solid, but the House committees charged with the Joe Biden impeachment inquiry need to issue subpoenas for the witnesses and documents Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, not-so-subtly suggested late last month.

“I’ve obtained the names of 25 DOJ and FBI personnel to interview at a future date,” Grassley wrote in a late-October letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray concerning the latest details the Iowa senator uncovered related to obstruction of the Biden-family corruption investigation. While the House Oversight Committee is understandably focused on unraveling the extent of foreign influence-peddling, the House should not ignore the second half of the scandal: the DOJ, FBI, and now the Biden administration’s cover-up of the scandal and their cover-up of the cover-up.

Grassley has been focused on that aspect of the scandal for several years, raising concerns “about political considerations infecting the decision-making process at the Justice Department and FBI.” Having heard from several whistleblowers about the scope of the obstruction, Grassley has said that if their allegations are true, it would establish the DOJ and FBI have been “institutionally corrupted to their very core.”

The House has followed several leads Grassley developed. The most significant was related to the FD-1023 summary of a “highly credible” confidential human source’s (CHS) reporting that Burisma paid Hunter and Joe Biden each $5 million in bribes, which Grassley released earlier this year.

More recently, Grassley revealed that the Foreign Influence Task Force used an assessment opened by FBI Supervisory Intelligence Analyst Brian Auten to mine FBI field offices for derogatory information related to the Bidens. The FBI then falsely branded the derogatory information as Russian disinformation, closing out the sources. That revelation was but one of many contained in the seven-page letter the Iowa senator penned to the AG and FBI director on Oct. 24, noting he had a list of some 20-plus agents to interview.

The House committees charged with overseeing the impeachment inquiry need to dissect that letter for leads relevant to the investigation into Biden-family corruption and also to unravel the DOJ and FBI’s corruption. 

Foreign Influence Task Force

Among other things, that letter revealed the complicity of the Foreign Influence Task Force in falsely branding the reporting of confidential human sources from several different field offices as Russian disinformation. As Grassley noted, it was also the Foreign Influence Task Force that “improperly briefed” him and Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., about their investigation into the Biden family. That briefing served solely as a precursor to a media leak to spin the Republican senators’ investigation as contaminated by foreign disinformation. 

Every member of the Foreign Influence Task Force should be questioned by the House, and every communication between the Foreign Influence Task Force, Brian Auten, and the various FBI offices involved in wrongly closing out sources should be subpoenaed. The House should likewise subpoena the materials made part of that assessment and especially any sources or reporting closed out as Russian disinformation.

FBI Field Offices

Here, Grassley helpfully highlighted in his letter several relevant field offices. In noting that the FBI tried to improperly shut down the FD-1023, Grassley emphasized that the claim that the CHS’s bribery report was Russian disinformation was “highly suspect and is contradicted by other documents my office has been told exist within the Foreign Influence Task Force, FBI Seattle Field Office, FBI Baltimore Field Office, and FBI HQ holdings.”

The House should focus its investigative efforts there first. The FBI Seattle field office is a new thread to pull, as it has not been previously raised as relevant to the Biden investigation. A review of the underlying FD-1023 also suggests the Cleveland FBI field office merits attention, as the CHS who reported on the alleged bribes to the Bidens noted that he was introduced to the Burisma executives by Alexander Ostapenko. And the FD-1023 included a notation that the CHS’s reporting on Ostapenko was maintained at the Cleveland field office.

In seeking materials from these field offices and the Foreign Influence Task Force, the House should ask for all records using the terms “Russian disinformation” or “foreign disinformation” from January 2019 to the present. Why? Because that is what Grassley asked the AG and FBI director to provide. And when the Iowa Republican asks for something, he usually knows precisely what the DOJ has secreted away.

DOJ and FBI Documents

Likewise, the House should seek the other documents Grassley identified in his October 2023 letter because the Republican-led House can follow up with subpoenas if the DOJ refuses to comply, whereas Grassley can’t. In total, the Iowa senator named 15 different categories of materials he sought from the DOJ and FBI, and the House should mirror those requests.

Of particular importance are the communications between the U.S. attorneys’ offices for the Western District of Pennsylvania and the Eastern District of New York relating to Hunter Biden, James Biden, Joe Biden, and the FD-1023, as the Eastern District of New York had apparently concluded the FD-1023 did not match any known Russian disinformation. Subpoenaing FBI reports dating to Jan. 1, 2014, and referencing Mykola Zlochevsky, Hunter Biden, James Biden, or Joe Biden will likely also turn up relevant information. 

Naming Names

In addition to subpoenaing these witnesses and the related documents, Grassley’s letter provides the names of several other individuals deserving of questioning. Significantly, the letter indicates that the individuals named had knowledge of Joe Biden’s potential complicity in his son’s money-laundering scheme. But Grassley also named individuals from FBI headquarters, the Washington field office, the Baltimore field office, Delaware FBI agents, and FBI management personnel. 

Finally, the House should take note of Grassley’s repeated references to Assistant Special Agent in Charge Timothy Thibault and the various documents he requested that connect to Thibault. Those references should give House investigators pause because Grassley’s apparent focus on Thibault strikes an odd note given the tune Thibault played in his transcribed interview: that he was new to the job and was only on the periphery of decisions to close out sources. 

Why then, would Grassley seek “[a]ll records derived from reporting on derogatory information linked to Hunter Biden, James Biden, Joe Biden, and their foreign business relationships that was overseen under the approval, guidance, and purview of ASAC Thibault from January 1, 2020, to his last day at the FBI”? And why would Grassley ask for a copy of “[a]ll opened and closed cases initiated by the Washington Field Office under the purview of ASAC Thibault that were ordered closed by ASAC Thibault and/or denied for opening by the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section, and/or the United States Attorney Offices in the District of Columbia and Eastern District of Virginia”?

Grassley may not be able to force the DOJ and FBI to provide answers or those documents, but the House can — and it should, stat.


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