Comer presses pause on Wray contempt vote after full panel gets access to document

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House Oversight Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) pressed pause on Wednesday night on his push to hold FBI Director Christopher Wray in contempt of Congress, after the bureau agreed to grant all committee members access to a document containing an unverified tip about potential wrongdoing by President Biden.

The House Oversight committee was previously set to convene for a business meeting on Thursday to vote on holding Wray in contempt.

Comer and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the panel, both had an opportunity to view the document on Monday. However, the Kentucky Republican vowed to move forward with the contempt vote against Wray for failing to physically turn over the document in response to a subpoena.

The FBI has now agreed to allow all committee members to review the document in person and receive a briefing, Comer said on Wednesday. He and Raskin will also have the opportunity to review two additional documents referenced in the initial tip form.

“Americans have lost trust in the FBI’s ability to enforce the law impartially and demand answers, transparency, and accountability,” Comer said in a statement. “Allowing all Oversight Committee members to review this record is an important step toward conducting oversight of the FBI and holding it accountable to the American people.”

Wray, who was appointed by former President Trump, has recently found himself at the center of Republican lawmakers’ battle with the FBI, which they have accused of improperly targeting conservatives.

Raskin said in a statement on Wednesday that the FBI had offered “yet further accommodations” to committee Republicans “in the spirit of good faith.” However, he accused Republicans of “attempting to distort” the contents of the document.

He and Comer came away with vastly different conclusions after viewing the document on Monday.

Comer said the document is part of an ongoing investigation and suggests that Biden may have accepted a bribe during his tenure as vice president, while Raskin said the FBI did not advance the investigation after determining it did not warrant follow-up.

The Maryland Democrat reiterated on Wednesday that the claim originally stemmed from former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, who alleged that Biden and his son were involved in a corruption scheme in Ukraine. 

Raskin said the document itself contains “second-hand allegations” from a confidential source. The investigation was reportedly closed in August 2020.

“These facts lead us to an obvious conclusion: that after months of investigating Mr. Giuliani’s allegations, the Trump Justice Department concluded that the evidence failed to justify further inquiry,” Raskin said. “Despite repeated confirmation by the FBI, Committee Republicans prefer to ignore the facts that undermine their false narratives.”

“As Republicans’ investigation into President Biden has uncovered no evidence of wrongdoing, they continue to attempt to discredit and dismantle the FBI to help prop up Donald Trump’s poll numbers,” he added.

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