Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) gave a Senate floor speech Tuesday afternoon calling out the DOJ and FBI about their handling of the FBI FD-1023 Form from July 2020 he recently made public that contains explosive allegations of bribery against then Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter involving the Ukrainian energy firm Burisma.
Grassley accused the FBI of “obstructive conduct” by redacting information in the version of the FD-1023 shown to Congressmen regarding the alleged phone call recordings of Joe Biden, text messages and financial records about the bribery scheme.
Grassley also spoke about news reports that the FBI and DOJ dragged their heels investigating the allegations even though parts of the information in the FD-1023 had been confirmed. Grassley noted that in a recent phone call with him and Rep. James Comer (R-KY), FBI Director Christopher Wray said the FD-1023 was credible and was part of an ongoing investigation. (The IRS investigators in the Hunter Biden case recently testified they did not know about the FD-1023 until it was made public this summer–after they had been pulled off the case.)
Grassley asked, “Did the Justice Department and the FBI follow normal investigative process and procedure to run the information down or did they sweep this information under the rug?”
Text of Grassley speech as prepared:
Today, I’d like to address the unclassified FBI-generated 1023 form that I made public last week.
This is the 1023 that Director Wray refused to admit existed until I and Chairman Comer told him that we had read the document.
The FBI provided a highly redacted version to the House Committee on Oversight, and in the process ignored the Senate access to that document.
That version redacted references to the alleged audio recordings between then-Vice President Biden, Hunter Biden and the foreign national. It also redacted references to text messages and financial records that allegedly exist to prove the criminal act was done.
Those redactions are obstructive conduct by the [FBI].
Why? Because this was an unclassified document. It’s not even marked “Law Enforcement Sensitive.” And, by the way, Justice Department and FBI leaks exposed the source well before the 1023 became public.
Now, there’s been allegations in the media that this 1023 consists of unverified information. That didn’t stop the media’s breathless reporting for years about the unverified and very famous Steele Dossier. But, the Justice Department and the FBI haven’t told us what they did to investigate the 1023 document. So since the FBI hasn’t told us anything about their investigation of the 1023, how does the media know it’s unverified?
From what I’ve seen, much of the media reporting has missed the essential question: did the Justice Department and the FBI follow normal investigative process and procedure to run the information down or did they sweep this information under the rug?
Several media outlets have interviewed law enforcement sources with knowledge of the 1023 who start to answer that question.
One law enforcement source reportedly said, “This was a confidential human source that had a long relationship with the FBI, had given information that was used in multiple other investigations unrelated to Burisma or the Bidens.”
That law enforcement source said there was a “fight for a month” to get the FBI handler to re-interview the FBI source.
That re-interview was necessary because a separate 1023 mentioned Hunter Biden. And that re-interview ultimately produced the 1023 that I made public last week. When seeing that, my first question was – why the fight to re-interview the FBI source?
Then, the law enforcement source said, “we got that report back and we’re like, holy smokes, this is something.”
News reports also show that Justice Department and FBI personnel were able to validate some claims in the 1023 report without compulsory process.
For example, a news report quotes a law enforcement source, “There were multiple meetings alleged overseas. Some of the confidential human source’s claims were corroborated against the confidential human source travel records, and contemporary knowledge from the handler about him attending meetings with Zlochevsky and other people present.” The news report also notes that public records also validate some of the 1023 claims, including Zlochevsky’s efforts to buy into the American energy market.
A separate news report based on a law enforcement source with knowledge says that Weiss’s team was briefed on the validations. This begs the question, what did the investigators do to investigate?
Well, it’s been reported that a law enforcement source believed U.S. Attorney Weiss was reluctant to pursue leads because of political sensitivities. More precisely, the Weiss team was concerned about investigating because it would involve then-presidential candidate Biden. Well, that didn’t stop the Justice Department when Trump was a candidate the first or second time.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a July 25, 2022, letter I wrote to the Justice Department and FBI. That letter talked about the FBI shutting down verified and verifiable investigative avenues into Hunter Biden separate from the ongoing U.S. Attorney Weiss investigation and the 1023. It’s clear that even if information is verified, the FBI has shut it down in the past if it relates to the Biden family.
Now, former Attorney General Bill Barr has said that the 1023 was credible enough to be passed on to Delaware for “further investigation.” He’s also said that a review was done to ensure the 1023 wasn’t disinformation before passing it on.
Director Wray likewise informed me and Chairman Comer of its credibility, noting that it’s relevant to an ongoing investigative matter. This all took place in the phone call that Comer and I had with Wray. He also didn’t say that it’s part of Giuliani’s information and he didn’t tell me and Comer that it’s the product of any disinformation.
Accordingly, I want to make clear what my oversight focus is and will be: holding the Biden Justice Department and FBI accountable to explain to the American people what they did to investigate and what they found. To do that, congressional oversight must focus on the Justice Department and FBI investigative process and whether U.S. Attorney Weiss’s scope includes bribery.
Congress and the public must get answers to these questions: What did the Justice Department and FBI do to investigate the information contained in the 1023? Did the Justice Department and FBI follow normal investigative process and procedure or try to sweep it all under the rug because of political bias? More precisely, did the FBI and DOJ seek to obtain the evidence referenced in the document? Did DOJ and FBI seek to interview individuals relating to the 1023? If not, why not? If so, one way or the other, what did they find?
We’re in July 2023 and we’re talking about a June 2020 document. The FBI can easily answer those questions. The fact that they haven’t indicates to me that the Justice Department and FBI haven’t followed normal investigative protocol.
Congress must also find out the true extent to which the August 2020 assessment created by Brian Auten was used to shut down Biden family investigative leads. For example, we know that the FBI had at one time over a dozen sources who provided potentially criminal information relating to Hunter Biden. Did the August 2020 assessment shut any of them down?
In conclusion, as we prepare to celebrate National Whistleblower Day, let’s not forget the only reason why Congress has been able to make this information public is because of brave and very patriotic whistleblowers who’ve approached my office.
Remember this: to-date, the Justice Department and FBI have not disputed any of their allegations. Further, remember this: that includes information relating to this 1023 that I’ve made public, and some of this information goes back to October of last year. And in that period of time, the Department of Justice and the FBI haven’t disputed any of that information. And a perfect chance for Christopher Wray, Director of the FBI, to do that would have been with that telephone conversation that he had with Chairman Comer and me.
Giving you all this information, that ought to tell you something about what the FBI’s up to [and] what the DOJ’s up to. (Ad lib ending to floor speech): And the information I’ve given you today ought to tell you that there’s plenty out there in the media and the media should not be questioning whether or not this information in the 1023 has any validity. I yield the floor.
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