Image Credit: Gage Skidmore / CC
By Bethany Blankley [The Center Square contributor] –
On Monday, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said “the Biden Justice Department and FBI are playing games with the American people by hiding the FBI-generated 1023 document from Congress.”
He spoke on the Senate floor about how last week FBI Director Chris Wray was going to be held in contempt for refusing to produce a 1023 form that he told Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Sen. James Comer, R-Kentucky, about.
The FBI showed a redacted version of the 1023 to the committee, which alleges a bribery scheme between then-Vice President Joe Biden, his son, Hunter Biden, and an executive of a Ukrainian gas company whose board member was Hunter Biden. Both Grassley and Comer made the allegations public on May 3.
On the same day the redacted form was provided, the Justice Department announced it was indicting former President Trump for alleged mishandling of classified documents. Trump denies the charges.
Grassley pointed out that Attorney General Merrick Garland “signed off on prosecuting Trump for conduct similar to what Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton engaged in. Two standards of justice in this country will turn our constitutional Republic upside down. Thanks to the political infection within the Biden Justice Department and FBI, we’re well along the road for that to happen,” he said.
He also pointed out that Wray “placed redactions on a document that’s already unclassified” and the FBI “made Congress review a redacted unclassified document in a classified facility.”
“That goes to show you the disrespect the FBI has for Congress,” he said.
The 1023 states that a Ukrainian executive who allegedly bribed President Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, has 17 audio recordings of his conversations with them. There are reportedly 15 audio recordings of phone calls between him and Hunter Biden and two of him and then-Vice President Joe Biden. The recordings, Grassley said, “were allegedly kept as a sort of insurance policy for the foreign national in case he got into a tight spot. The 1023 also indicates that then-Vice President Joe Biden may have been involved in Burisma employing Hunter Biden.”
Grassley asked if the DOJ and FBI had investigated these allegations at all or just hid them.
A spokesperson for the House Oversight Committee for the Democrats told The Washington Post, when FBI agents provided the redacted form they “informed the Committee, in no uncertain terms, that this assessment was closed in August 2020 after it failed to identify sufficient evidence to justify further investigation.”
But Grassley argued the FBI “will use every resource to investigate candidate Trump, President Trump and former President Trump,” he said and “haven’t nearly had the same laser focus on the Biden family.”
He also pointed out that Special Counsel Jack Smith “has used a recording against former President Trump,” but the FBI isn’t doing the same with the president and his son.
He also said the American public and Congress needed to know the truth and that Congress must assert its “constitutional congressional oversight powers against an out-of-control Executive Branch drunk with political infection. Remember, Congress has received 1023’s in the past and they’ve been made public. So asking for this 1023 to be turned over to the American people to read is not unusual.”
He also said he wants “everyone to remember that I have read the unredacted version.”
On Tuesday at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, asked Paul Abbate, Deputy Director of the FBI, for a copy of the form and the 17 audio recordings. Abbate said he would “take back” the request to his superiors. Cruz said he was “stonewalling” and “destroying” the institution by weaponizing it against political opponents.
According to a recent ABC/Ipsos poll, a plurality of American voters believe the charges against Trump are politically motivated.
About the Author: Bethany Blankley is a writer at the Center Square, Patheos/Hedgerow, political analyst and former press secretary at Capitol Hill / NY / WDC. Follow Bethany on Twitter @BethanyBlankley.