James Comer has decided against going directly into battle with the FBI; per the AP, “House Republicans pull back contempt charge against FBI director Wray over Biden doc”:
The Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday called off a vote on a contempt of Congress charge against FBI Director Christopher Wray, accepting a last-minute offer by the bureau to allow the full committee access to a confidential document of an unverified tip about President Joe Biden.
Rep. James Comer said in a statement that the committee is removing a contempt resolution against Wray from Thursday’s schedule after receiving an accommodation that would give the full committee access to the document…
The action that played out over the last month against Wray reflects a larger breakdown between Republicans and the FBI that has only intensified this year, with some conservatives talking openly about trying to defund the bureau.
It’s a rift that first opened during the Russia investigation of then-President Donald Trump and has only widened amid the FBI’s wide-ranging criminal investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol, which some Republicans view as overly zealous and politicized…
The FBI has called the contempt vote unwarranted considering the bureau had “continuously demonstrated its commitment to accommodate the committee’s request,” while protecting the safety of sources and the integrity of ongoing investigations.
But Comer had consistently said for the past month that the only way for the FBI to comply with the subpoena is to provide an unredacted copy of the document. It’s unclear what made him change course at the last minute…
Would it be irresponsible to speculate?…
Of course, that leaves a whole lot of GOP attention-seekers free to pursue their own interests, and they will not be ignored!!! For instance:
It’s not that an ongoing informant to American law enforcement would be at risk; it is, in Rep. Anna Paulina Luna’s (R-Fla.) presentation, that this was occurring because the secondhand information related to the Bidens, writes Philip Bump in Analysis. https://t.co/f5jA27jDeP
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) June 8, 2023
Rep. Luna’s highly embroidered biographical claims have been somewhat overshadowed by George Santos’ more sensational fiscal misdeeds, but she’s determined to get her little piece of the spotlight [gift (unpaywalled) link]:
… It does appear to be the case that the FBI expressed concern that, by making public an unredacted version of the interview, the safety of the confidential human source would be at risk. In a statement, Raskin suggested that the interview focused on “recycling stale and debunked Burisma conspiracy theories” — that is, allegations centered on Hunter Biden’s work in Ukraine. A source that could glean information from people in Ukraine or Russia would understandably be one the FBI would seek to protect.
Notice how Luna frames this, though: The informant would be killed if “unmasked” — “based on the info he has brought forward about the Biden family.” It’s not that someone who was providing information in an ongoing basis to American law enforcement (as this informant was) would be at risk; it is, in Luna’s presentation, that this was occurring because the secondhand information related to the Bidens…
“I think now it’s upwards of 3.3 million impressions just on Twitter alone,” Luna boasted about her tweet to former Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon on the Tuesday edition of Bannon’s fringe-right podcast. “Obviously that’s huge, because had it not been for social media I don’t know that this truth would be out there like this. I just simply put out a fact that came out of the briefing in Oversight.”
Not really, of course. She took a concern the FBI has been using about its source from the outset and framed it as being not about the source but about Biden.
As it turned out, though, that was perhaps the most defensible claim she made in her conversation with Bannon…
Bannon, somewhat surprisingly, asked what evidence she and her colleagues had.
“Because of the information that the FBI has,” Luna replied, “proving that he has received a $5 million payment from a foreign national while he was the vice president.”
She made the same claim on Fox News on Tuesday night. If the FBI has such evidence, however, it chose not to bring charges in the middle of 2020, a year when Barr’s boss was up for reelection. The more likely assumption is that Luna is simply exaggerating the narrative that Comer has been building for the past month…
Might be that Bannon’s running a little less flashy-fashy than usual because he’s got troubles of his own.
"Steve Bannon has been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., in connection with special counsel Jack Smith's investigation into Jan. 6 and former President Donald Trump's efforts to stay in office"https://t.co/KgCQVEDGOF
— Republican Accountability (@AccountableGOP) June 7, 2023
Speaking of Santos:
George Santos shows up today to join Steve Bannon at the event to call for the release from federal custody of Chinese billionaire Miles Guo. pic.twitter.com/k4CpvgJDiK
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) June 4, 2023
Guo finances Bannon’s show. Santos’s aide has connections to Guo.
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) June 4, 2023
Always another twist in the narrative!
US trial for exiled Chinese businessman Guo Wengui is set for April 2024
Steve Bannon's pal and biz partner Guo (aka Ho Wan Kwok & Miles Kwok) has been jailed since March for running a fraud conspiracy of over $1 billion dollars with financier William Jehttps://t.co/MtkZejaDqn
— Wendy Siegelman (@WendySiegelman) June 6, 2023