Comer and Grassley say they learned of the potential source of the anti-Biden allegations from a “highly credible whistleblower” who contacted lawmakers to confirm knowledge of an FBI conversation with a confidential source.
Neither Republican provided any information about the whistleblower’s background, or how the person would have known about the alleged conversation with the FBI source. GOP lawmakers have faced criticism from Democrats in the past for using the whistleblower designation for people who don’t meet the legal definition.
“Based on the alleged specification contained in the document, it appears that the DOJ and FBI have sufficient information to determine the truth and accuracy of the information. However, it is not clear what steps were taken to investigate the matter,” Comer and Grassley said Wednesday in FBI Director Christopher Wray’s attorney’s office. General Merrick wrote to Garland.
The subpoena forces the FBI to require more than FD-1023 forms — the formal term for records describing conversations with a confidential human source — that contain the word “Biden” since June 2020. Forms, regardless of their content, are not independently evidence of wrongdoing.
The FBI has until May 10 to hand over the documents, according to a copy of the subpoena obtained by POLITICO.
In a letter to Ray and Garland, Grassley and Comer acknowledged they were unsure whether the FBI had already investigated the matter internally. The DOJ confirmed receipt of the Republicans’ letter and declined to comment. The FBI separately acknowledged it had received the subpoena but declined to comment further.
But the subpoena prompted a fierce backlash from both the White House and Democratic allies on Capitol Hill.
White House spokesman for oversight and investigations Ian Sams accused Republicans of “anonymous cover” and linked the subpoena to a long arc of Hill GOP investigations into Biden and his family.
“For five years, Republicans in Congress have launched baseless, unproven, politically-motivated attacks against the president and his family without providing evidence for their claims or evidence of decisions that were struck by anything other than American interests. Because, through the megaphones of their allies in the right-wing media, they wanted attention. They prefer floating anonymity,” Sams said in a statement.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, called the subpoena a “baseless nonpartisan stunt.”
“Committee Republicans are recycling unsubstantiated claims released by Senate Republicans that issued a June 2020 subpoena to the FBI to release a tip from an unknown informant. During the same period, Rudy Giuliani and Russian agents, sanctioned by Trump’s Treasury Department, spread disinformation aimed at interfering in the 2020 presidential election,” Raskin added.
No evidence has emerged that Biden’s decisions were influenced by his son’s arrangements, although Hunter Biden’s business dealings have sparked GOP investigations from both sides of the Capitol since before his father’s election.
Comer wrote in a letter to Wray that accompanied the subpoena that his ongoing investigation “will inform the committee of potential legal remedies that the committee is exploring,” including requiring financial disclosures from presidents, vice presidents and their family members.
The GOP barrage will provoke fierce pushback and skepticism. Both Comer and Grassley have long led the Biden investigations: Grassley and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) questioned Hunter Biden ahead of the 2020 election, prompting accusations from Democrats and even some fellow Republicans. The danger of spreading Russian disinformation.
As Republicans regained the House majority earlier in the year, Comer has conducted a lengthy investigation — mostly behind the scenes — that has so far focused on Hunter Biden and other Biden family members. He is expected to hold a press conference later this month after the Treasury Department gave him access to “suspicious activity reports,” a term that does not imply wrongdoing but is often used in law enforcement investigations.