May 31, 2023

House GOP Moves to Hold Wray in Contempt

The FBI director has repeatedly refused to cough up a document allegedly implicating Joe Biden in a bribery scheme.

If there isn’t already a joke about being held in contempt of Congress, there ought to be.

Given the way that our nation’s legislative branch comports itself these days — spending like drunken sailors, writing 2,000-page laws that no one ever reads, and abdicating its duties to the whims of the executive branch — it seems that a feeling of strong contempt for the institution is only natural, perhaps even desirable.

We’ll show ourselves out.

Having said all this, we appreciate House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer’s announcement yesterday that he’ll move forward with contempt-of-Congress charges against FBI Director Christopher Wray — a smarmy, simpering pencil-pusher if ever there was one.

At issue is Wray’s repeated refusal to turn over to Congress an informant file that allegedly implicates Joe Biden in a $5 million bribery scheme involving a foreign national. Comer, a Kentucky Republican, had set Tuesday as a final deadline for delivering the document, and the FBI made it clear that it had no intention of complying. And so, contempt. As Comer put it:

Today, the FBI informed the Committee that it will not provide the unclassified documents subpoenaed by the Committee. The FBI’s decision to stiff-arm Congress and hide this information from the American people is obstructionist and unacceptable.

While I have a call scheduled with FBI Director Wray tomorrow [Wednesday] to discuss his response further, 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.

The term “contempt of Congress” doesn’t appear in the Constitution, but its principle is long held. “Each house of Congress has power, through its own process,” said Supreme Court Justice Willis Van Devanter in the 1927 McGrain v. Daugherty case, “to compel a private individual to appear before it or one of its committees and give testimony needed to enable it efficiently to exercise a legislative function belonging to it under the Constitution. This has support in long practice of the houses separately, and in repeated Acts of Congress, all amounting to a practical construction of the Constitution.”

As for Wray and his rotten and unrepentant bureau, they tried to placate Comer and his committee with half-measures and phony claims of cooperation: “The FBI remains committed to cooperating with the Committee in good faith,” said the bureau yesterday, shortly after Comer’s statement. “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.”

Translation: Kindly pound sand, House Republicans.

As National Review reports, Comer subpoenaed the document after Republican Senator Chuck Grassley’s office was made aware of it in an FBI-generated whistleblower form. The form, referred to as an FD-1023, “allegedly outlines a scheme involving the exchange of money for policy decisions and is said to have been ‘created or modified’ on June 30, 2020.”

In a letter to Wray and Attorney General Merrick Garland, Biden’s justice-obstructing wingman, Grassley and Comer wrote: “It has been alleged that the document includes a precise description of how the alleged criminal scheme was employed as well as its purpose. Based on the alleged specificity within the document, it would appear that the DOJ and the FBI have enough information to determine the truth and accuracy of the information contained within it.”

Republicans in both houses appear unified, and they should be. Oversight of the executive branch is one of the legislative branch’s constitutionally prescribed duties.

“Let me tell Director Christopher Wray right here, right now,” said House Speaker Kevin McCarthy yesterday during a TV appearance, “if he misses the deadline today, I’m prepared to move contempt charges in Congress against him. I personally called Director Wray and told him he needs to send that document. Today is the deadline.”

McCarthy continued: “We have jurisdiction over this. He can send us that document. We have the right to look at that — Republicans and Democrats alike in that committee. And if he does not follow through with the law, we will move contempt charges against Christopher Wray and the FBI. They are not above the law.”

So, what’s next? It’s hard to say. But Rule of Law isn’t in an especially good seat. As columnist Michael Goodwin writes: “Republicans can pass their contempt citation, but it’s up to the Justice Department to turn contempt into a prosecution. And anybody who thinks Attorney General Merrick Garland is going to prosecute Wray for shielding the Biden family hasn’t been paying attention.”

True enough. But that doesn’t mean House Republicans shouldn’t continue to do everything they can to expose the Biden Crime Family.

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