House Republicans threatened contempt charges if the FBI director didn’t comply with their subpoenas. He caved, and they’re planning to punish him anyway.
Trump-appointed FBI Director Christopher Wray was given a choice.
He could compromise ongoing investigations, sources, and methods by letting the vengeance-seeking Congressional Republicans access a certain document pertaining to unproven allegations against the Biden family — or risk a contempt of Congress charge.
It turns out to have been no choice at all.
After he allowed Republican Members of Congress to view the document — but didn’t allow them to take possession of it — Representative James Comer says that the contempt hearings will begin on Thursday anyway, despite the fact that at least one GOP member who saw it admits it’s a nothingburger and that they don’t care whether the allegations are false.
Even when pressed on how he can justify this after Wray allowed him to access the document, Comer made excuses, insisting that he doesn’t have any reason to trust the FBI.
He failed to address what use the document would be if he doesn’t trust the agency that created it. He said:
“I’m supposed to take the FBI’s word that they’re investigating this?…You’re gonna write that the source is unverified or whatever, remember that the main reason they’re not wanting to make this public is that they’re concerned about the source.”
What the FBI’s acting assistant director of Congressional affairs Christopher Dunham actually said was that turning over such a document could “harm investigations, prejudice prosecutions or judicial proceedings, unfairly violate privacy or reputational interests, or create misimpressions in the public.”
Despite Comer’s efforts to twist that, there is no official word on whether the FBI is protecting a confidential source who relayed the allegation or an individual who initially made the allegation, or some other aspect of the investigation that would be compromised by the release.
What is clear, however, is that the agency bent over backward to simultaneously comply with Congressional demands and protect their work — and Comer is still going to take the opportunity to try and punish Director Wray for it.
If Congress does vote in favor of contempt charges, the next step would be to send them to the Department of Justice, which is unlikely to prosecute.
Watch Comer defend his plan below.
Reporter: “Why do you need the document at hand? You just got a chance to view it … Why move forward with contempt when the FBI says they’re cooperating in good faith?”
House Oversight Chair James Comer: “I’m supposed to take the FBI’s word that they’re investigating this?” pic.twitter.com/sgPhRaobwL
— The Recount (@therecount) June 5, 2023