(NewsNation) — The FBI will not hand over unclassified documents requested by the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability concerning President Joe Biden’s business dealings while he served as vice president, committee chairman Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., said on Tuesday.
“Today, the FBI informed the Committee that it will not provide the unclassified documents subpoenaed by the Committee,” Comer said. “The FBI’s decision to stiff-arm Congress and hide this information from the American people is obstructionist and unacceptable.”
FBI Director Christopher Wray recently failed to comply with a congressional subpoena requesting all 1023 forms containing the name “Biden.”
The demand for the 1023 forms is part of just one of many House GOP investigations into Biden and his family.
White House spokesperson Ian Sams has called the committee’s allegations in their investigations “unfounded, unproven, politically motivated attacks.”
Comer says he plans to speak with Wray over the phone on Wednesday about the documents, but says he will move to hold Wray in contempt of Congress.
“The Committee has been clear in its intent to protect congressional oversight authorities and will now be taking steps to hold the FBI Director in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a lawful subpoena,” Comer said Tuesday. “Americans deserve the truth, and the Oversight Committee will continue to demand transparency from this nation’s chief law enforcement agency.”
In a statement issued Tuesday, the FBI said: “The FBI remains committed to cooperating with the Committee in good faith. In a letter to Chairman Comer earlier today, the FBI committed to providing access to information responsive to the Committee’s subpoena in a format and setting that maintains confidentiality and protects important security interests and the integrity of FBI investigations. Last week, Director Wray scheduled a telephone call for tomorrow to provide additional details of the FBI’s extraordinary accommodation to satisfy the subpoena request. Any discussion of escalation under these circumstances is unnecessary.”
Contempt of Congress is when someone intentionally interferes with congressional action. A Congressional Research Service report says a witness must be voted in contempt by the committee seeking testimony or information. Then it is brought to a full vote before the House or Senate, depending on the classification of the committee.
In this instance, the matter would be voted on by the House Oversight Committee and presented to the full House. The House Oversight Committee has not yet voted or formally announced a vote on Wray.
If Wray is found to be in contempt of Congress, this would mark the first time an FBI director has faced such a charge. Each contempt of Congress count is reportedly punishable by one month to one year behind bars along with a fine of $100 to $100,000.