(Bloomberg) -- A House committee plans to vote on a contempt of Congress resolution against FBI Director Christopher Wray on Thursday, escalating a Republican-led inquiry into President Joe Biden’s actions as vice president.
The dramatic move comes as Comer asserts Wray is refusing to fully comply with a subpoena to turn over an unclassified FBI-held document or documents that, Republicans say, link Biden to a $5 million “bribery scheme” involving an unnamed foreign national.
If a majority of the Oversight Committee agrees to hold Wray in contempt, the measure would be sent to the full House for a floor vote and a likely referral to the Justice Department.
The FBI said in a statement on Monday that had “demonstrated its commitment to accommodate the committee’s request, including by producing the document in a reading room at the US Capitol.”
“The escalation to a contempt vote under these circumstances is unwarranted,” the bureau said in the statement.
Earlier: Biden Staffs Up for GOP Probes That Threaten to Cloud 2024 Run
A spokesperson for the Justice Department declined to comment. A White House spokesman, Ian Sams, said in May that the effort to get the document was part a Republican campaign of “lobbing unfounded, unproven, politically-motivated attacks against the president and his family without offering evidence for their claims.”
Justice officials are unlikely to prosecute Wray, but an extended civil court battle between two branches of government could ensue.
Representative James Comer of Kentucky, the committee’s chair, announced the Thursday hearing after, he said, the FBI refused in a briefing Monday to hand over a “confidential” source document.
“It’s not real complicated. We want the document,” he said, adding that the committee would vote on Thursday.
“The confidential human source who provided information about then-Vice President Biden being involved in a criminal bribery scheme is a trusted highly credible informant who has been used by the FBI for over 10 years and has been paid over six figures,” Comer said.
Both Comer and Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the committee’s top Democrat, were able to confirm in the FBI briefings Monday the document does exist, both indicating they had, in fact, been given some access to all or parts of it.
In a statement Monday evening, Raskin said the document detailed the FBI informant’s discussions with the bureau “about conversations he had with individuals in Ukraine.”
“The source, who has been described as highly credible by the FBI, told the FBI he could not provide any opinion on the underlying veracity of the information provided by these Ukrainian individuals,” Raskin said in the statement.
He said Attorney General William Barr, who served in the Trump administration, looked at the same information and “found no evidence to corroborate” accusations that had been made by Rudy Giuliani, an ally of then-President Donald Trump.
Raskin added that the FBI had warned Comer that releasing the document publicly “could place the confidential human source in grave danger and undermine the integrity of FBI programs and investigations going forward.”
Earlier, Raskin called the document “second-hand hearsay.” The FBI’s informant, he added, wasn’t directly involved.
Speaking to reporters later Monday, Speaker Kevin McCarthy said the issue was that all members of the Oversight committee — not just the chairman and the ranking member — should have access to the document.
“Everybody on that committee has the responsibility of oversight,” McCarthy said, saying if that does not happen the contempt effort will move forward.
“At the very least they all have to see it,” he said.
--With assistance from Chris Strohm.
(Updates with Raskin, McCarthy comments, starting in 12th paragraph.)
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