The Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee said he will seek to hold FBI Director Christopher A. Wray in contempt of Congress, rejecting Wray’s offer to allow lawmakers to view an internal bureau document in a secure location instead of handing the document to the committee in response to a subpoena.

Wray spoke by phone Wednesday with the panel’s chairman, Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., about the committee’s demand for a form submitted by a confidential informant containing unsubstantiated allegations about President Biden and his family. Wray also spoke in a separate call with the committee’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Jamie B. Raskin of Maryland.

FBI Politics

FBI Director Christopher Wray, speaks at the FBI Norfolk Field Office on Feb. 15, in Chesapeake, Va. John C. Clark/Associated Press

FBI officials told Comer this week that Justice Department policy prevents them from giving the document to the committee because it could compromise a confidential source and dissuade others from bringing sensitive information to law enforcement agencies in the future. Wray said he could make a redacted version of the form available for review, but the lawmaker was not satisfied.

“We have been clear that anything short of producing these documents to the House Oversight Committee is not in compliance with the subpoena,” Comer said in a statement. “If the FBI fails to hand over the FD-1023 form as required by the subpoena, the House Oversight Committee will begin contempt of Congress proceedings.”

The FBI issued a statement as well, saying that Wray gave Comer “an opportunity to review information responsive to the subpoena in a secure manner to accommodate the committee, while protecting the confidentiality and safety of sources and important investigative sensitivities . . . The FBI remains committed to cooperating with the Committee in good faith.”

A contempt vote would be the most significant confrontation between House Republicans and federal law enforcement since Republicans took control of Congress in January.


Comer and other GOP lawmakers, including Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, have accused the FBI and the Justice Department of being biased against conservatives and failing to properly investigate allegations against Biden and his relatives.

At the same time, however, Comer has struggled to present substantive findings in his investigation. Comer has raised questions about business dealings between foreign entities and Hunter Biden when his father was vice president. But Comer has presented no evidence of illegal activity or any direct link to the elder Biden.

The showdown with Wray is over an FD-1023 form, used to record information from a person the FBI considers to be a “confidential human source.” In this case, Comer said, the form included allegations that as vice president, Biden received money from a foreign national in exchange for favorable policy decisions.

The FBI declined to discuss the allegations, which are unverified and have not resulted in any criminal charges. In a statement, the bureau said that revealing “unverified or possibly incomplete information: could harm investigations or put informants at risk.

“An FD-1023 form is used by FBI agents to record unverified reporting by a confidential human source,” the statement said. “Documenting the information does not validate it, establish its credibility, or weigh it against other information verified by the FBI.”

Comer has said he learned about the allegations from a whistleblower whom he declined to identify but has described as “very credible.”


People involved with the investigation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss it, have said that Democrats on the committee believe Comer is using the term “whistleblower” to avoid sharing information on the individual more widely with congressional investigators seeking to verify the claims.

After speaking with Wray on Wednesday, Raskin issued a statement that criticized Comer for rejecting the FBI’s offer to review an unsubstantiated document, noting that Comer has claimed in public interviews to have already reviewed the form without the FBI handing it over.

“It is increasingly clear that Committee Republicans have always planned to hold Director Wray in contempt of Congress to distract from the obvious fact that they do not have evidence to support their unfounded accusations against President Biden,” Raskin said.

Any effort to hold Wray in contempt would be voted on by Comer’s committee, and then by the full House. A vote could be brought to the House floor as early as next week.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., indicated in a Fox News interview earlier this week that he was prepared to move the contempt charges against Wray if he did not meet Comer’s deadline.

“We have jurisdiction over this,” McCarthy said. “He can send us that document. We have the right to look at that . . . They are not above the law.”

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