The Republican controlled House of Representatives has rapidly proven that it has no real interest in governing and is utterly unfit to do so. Since assuming the barest of majorities, its concerted efforts to smear Democrats have fallen flat as they held hearings that produced little more than rancid allegations with no basis in reality.
Nevertheless, the Republican crusaders continue to pursue their political theatrics with casts of dubious characters as witnesses and fantastical stories as testimony. James Comer, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, leads the GOP’s Bogus Scandal Caucus with ludicrous hearings aimed solely at maligning President Biden and other Democrats.
On Tuesday House Squeaker Kevin McCarthy visited with his propaganda cohorts on Fox News to complain that FBI Director, Chris Wray, has declined to turn over a document that Comer seeks as part of his Biden persecution. McCarthy falsely insisted that he has jurisdiction over the FBI and demanded that they obey his dictate…
“I personally called Director Wray and told him he needs to send that document. Today is the deadline. So let me not tell just you, let me tell Director Christopher Wray right here, right now. If he misses the deadline today, I am prepared to move contempt charges against him.”
I have a message for FBI Director Christopher Wray: If he misses today's deadline to turn over subpoenaed documents to Congress, I am prepared to move contempt charges against him. pic.twitter.com/D3hyW3VIpX
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) May 30, 2023
McCarthy threatened Wray and the FBI with contempt of Congress if they don’t comply with his petulant demand, saying that “they are not above the law.” Which is particularly ironic considering that McCarthy himself failed to comply with a congressional subpoena last year that was issued by the Select Committee investigating the January 6th insurrection that Donald Trump incited.
To no one’s surprise, the FBI told Comer and McCarthy that they would not be providing the document in question. Consequently, Comer announced that his Committee “will now be taking steps to hold FBI Director Wray in contempt of Congress.” And you can bet that Wray is shaking in his boots. His boss, Attorney General Merrick Garland, is not likely to proceed with any legal action against Wray. And that’s not because of politics, but because there is no legal justification for it. For the record, the FBI rejected Comer’s original request weeks ago saying that…
“It is critical to the integrity of the entire criminal justice process and to the fulfillment of our law enforcement duties that FBI avoid revealing information — including unverified or incomplete information — that could harm investigations, prejudice prosecutions or judicial proceedings, unfairly violate privacy or reputational interests, or create misimpressions in the public.”
Wray also previously advised the Committee of “the importance of us protecting sources and methods and ongoing investigations.” And an FBI spokesperson told the Committee that “there are strict Justice Department guidelines about when that information can be provided outside of the FBI.” He further educated the GOP inquisitors that the document they seek (an FD-1023 form) is “used by FBI agents to record unverified reporting from a confidential human source.” He elaborated saying that…
“An FD-1023 form documents information as told to a line FBI agent. Recording the information does not validate the information, establish its credibility, or weigh it against other information known or developed by the FBI. The mere existence of such a document would establish little beyond the fact that a confidential human source provided information and the FBI recorded it. Indeed, the FBI regularly receives information from sources with significant potential biases, motivations, and knowledge, including drug traffickers, members of organized crime, or even terrorists.”
In other words, the GOP’s desired document might just be the dishonest ravings of a partisan player with a political axe to grind. It would be irresponsible to disseminate that information as it could defame others and irreparably damage reputations. Which is precisely why Republicans want it. It is their mission to defame and damage their political foes.
Wray knows that McCarthy and Comer cannot be trusted with unverified reports. They would just exploit them for political purposes. And their whining about not getting the information is brazenly hypocritical. During the course of their congressional hearings they have refused to provide information that would validate their accusations. They won’t even give that information to Democrats on the Committee, in violation of committee rules. Their sole objective is to attack Democrats in order to advance their own electoral prospects in the future. They have even said so explicitly…
UPDATE: FBI director Chris Wray agreed to allow access to the FD-1023 form. However, even after doing so, Republicans maintained their threat to find Wray in contempt of Congress.
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