FBI Director Christopher Wray’s evasive responses last Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee have, in turn, generated a great deal of response, mostly about his evasiveness. Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson said he has “no faith” in the Justice Department to investigate Hunter Biden.
As we reported Friday, Wray blew off questioning about the FBI’s handling of Hunter Biden’s laptop with the usual old saw, “I can’t comment about ongoing investigations.” I assume he was including halfhearted, sham ‘investigations’ like that one.
The FBI may have wanted to bury that scandal, but House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy promises a real investigation. In fact, he told the NEW YORK POST, which broke the story in October of 2020 but was essentially silenced before the election, that it will “expand to U.S. intelligence agencies and chiefs who were almost certainly aware of [Hunter’s] foreign activities while his father was Vice President.”
He encouraged those who know anything to come in and talk. “If that’s not the case, there are times we will use the subpoena as well,” he said. That’s assuming the GOP takes the House this November; only the majority has subpoena power. This would also make McCarthy the new Speaker. Elections mean things!
McCarthy was speaking in particular about the 51 former intel officials who, 14 days before the 2020 presidential election, signed that now-infamous letter saying the laptop emails had all the “classic earmarks” of Russian disinformation. “Our experience makes us deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case,” they said. “If we are right, this is Russia trying to influence how Americans vote in this election, and we believe strongly that Americans need to be aware of this.”
Of course, the laptop was Hunter’s, and the emails are real. If anyone was trying to influence how Americans vote, it was the ones trying to dismiss the laptop and keep news of it from the public until after Election Day
The POST reports that when they reached out to those 51 individuals, “most ignored the inquiry and none apologized. A few [like James Clapper] even doubled down.”
McCarthy has plenty of questions he would ask them. “You cannot allow an intel community to utilize their name in an improper way without correcting,” he said. For the moment, he said, he’ll give Wray “the benefit of the doubt,” but they’ll be asking questions that demand honest answers, or else there will be “consequences.”
In anticipation of running the House committees, Republicans have already sent over 500 “preservation letters,” which demand that specific data and documents not be destroyed in the meantime. They also plant to subpoena Hunter Biden himself. And, no, this isn’t to target his father; they say that even if dad announces he’s not running again, they’ll be investigating just the same, as part of their oversight power.
THE FEDERALIST eviscerated Wray for his non-responses in a piece headlined “FBI Director Sets New Record for Lies, Dodges and Obfuscations To Avoid Slight Attempts at Congressional Oversight.” As writer Jordan Boyd reports, Wray actually managed to frustrate Senate Judiciary Committee members on both sides of the aisle.
By not addressing senators’ concerns, Wray “confirmed Republicans’ suspicions that the FBI does engage in political investigations.” Wray avoided giving specific answers about:
--- why the FBI is going around state laws to demand personal information from concealed carry permit owners
--- why they didn’t vet hundreds of Afghan evacuees who were on terrorist watch lists
--- how the spike in crime is related to crime rings operating across our compromised southern border
–- whether or not our border is secure
–- what actions the FBI took against pro-abortion activists’ violent attacks after the Dobbs decision
–- why his agency failed to address the harassment and violent threats against Supreme Court justices
And much more. Be sure and watch Ted Cruz’s masterful grilling of Wray concerning “symbols of millitia violent extremism” such as the Gadsden (“Don’t Tread On Me”) flag and the Betsy Ross flag. Wray also had to admit, under questioning by Cruz, the the FBI special agent in charge of the Detroit field office during the Gov. Gretchen Whitmer kidnapping debacle is now in charge of the DC office, overseeing the J6 investigation.
Here’s more about that stunning admission.
Wray REALLY equivocated when it came to answering questions about the Trump-Russia Hoax, refusing even to condemn those allegations. He also failed to answer Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn’s question about whether or not the FBI believes Hunter Biden’s laptop was Russian disinformation. He couldn’t even answer THAT?
As Brooke Singman at FOX NEWS reported, Wray did say that whistleblower allegations about the handling of Hunter’s laptop were “deeply troubling,” –- I have to wonder if perhaps the whistleblowing itself was the especially troubling part –- but did not address the larger pattern involving agents such as Tim Thibault regarding investigations into the Trump campaign. Sen. Johnson said, “It’s about time Director Wray acknowledges that the politicization of the FBI is ‘deeply troubling.’ Unfortunately, this has been obvious during his entire tenure as director, and he’s done nothing about it. I suppose better late than never, but I’m not holding my breath.”
(Note: Wray has said Thibault was recently removed from his supervisory role regarding investigations. However, we don’t know what role he continues to have at the agency.)
Margot Cleveland, also at THE FEDERALIST, has her own analysis of the questioning of Wray. She gets the distinct impression, based on Sen. Grassley’s questioning and Wray’s answers, that there is much more to the Hunter Biden scandal.
The U.S. attorney’s office in Delaware isn’t the only such office investigating Hunter. The Delaware office is looking into his foreign business in general, including with China, but the Pittsburg office, at then-AG William Barr’s direction, continues to review material related to Hunter’s alleged corrupt business dealings in Ukraine. The FBI may have withheld evidence, Cleveland says, and/or presented inaccurate information, to both offices.
Grassley’s questioning also suggests that the FBI wrongly classified a foreign human source with information about Hunter Biden as “disinformation,” Cleveland says, without any vetting or investigation. And it appears they failed to follow proper protocol in not sharing information with other agencies before so dismissing it.
Finally, Grassley really pressed Wray to commit to no retaliation against FBI whistleblowers, implying that a “culture of retaliation” at the FBI might be a concern. Perhaps Grassley is trying to reassure other whistleblowers that it’ll be safe to come forward. I’d say this has got to be the next step in cleaning house at the Bureau.
Cleveland’s analysis comes highly recommended, as her work so often does.