WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday overruled a vote on a contempt of Congress charge against FBI Director Christopher Wray, accepting a last-minute offer from the office to allow the entire of the committee to access a confidential document of an unverified tip on President Joe Biden.
Representative James Comer said in a statement that the committee was removing a contempt resolution against Wray from Thursday’s schedule after receiving an accommodation that would give the full committee access to the document.
“Allowing all members of the Oversight Committee to review this file is an important step toward oversight of the FBI and its accountability to the American people,” the Kentucky Republican said.
The action that unfolded last month against Wray reflects a larger rift between Republicans and the FBI that has only intensified this year, with some conservatives talking openly about trying to defund the office. It’s a loophole that first opened during Russia’s investigation of then-President Donald Trump, and has only widened amid the FBI’s extensive criminal investigation. on the January 6, 2021 insurrection on Capitol Hill, which some Republicans view as overzealous and politicized. .
The FBI made the final push to stave off the contempt vote on Wednesday, offering to give every lawmaker on the oversight committee access to a redacted version of a confidential document alleging a bribery scheme involving the vice president of the time, Joe Biden, and a foreign national. . That’s according to a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to discuss it publicly and who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.
It was unclear until Wednesday night whether Comer would accept the offer even though House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said that would be enough.
The FBI called the vote an unwarranted contempt since the bureau had “continuously demonstrated its commitment to meeting the committee’s request,” while protecting the safety of sources and the integrity of ongoing investigations.
But Comer has always said the only way the FBI can comply with the subpoena is to provide an unredacted copy of the document.
FBI officials have already shown a redacted version of the multi-page form to Comer and Rep. Jamie Raskin, the committee’s top Democrat, during a 90-minute briefing Monday. The office described the briefing as an “extraordinary accommodation” where the two men were able to take notes on the document and ask questions.