At the same time, they acknowledged they don’t know if the allegation will pan out.
House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) called on the FBI to hand over a document reflecting an unverified whistleblower tip relating to Biden’s time as vice president.
“The information provided by a whistleblower raises concerns that then-Vice President Biden allegedly engaged in a bribery scheme with a foreign national,” Comer said in a press release. “The American people need to know if President Biden sold out the United States of America to make money for himself.”
The Oversight Committee issued a subpoena, or formal legal request, for the Justice Department to hand over an FBI document produced in June 2020, while Biden was running for office against then-President Donald Trump.
In the release, Grassley conceded that the allegation remains unconfirmed.
“What we don’t know is what, if anything, the FBI has done to verify these claims or investigate further,” Grassley said, adding that the Justice Department has shown a recent pattern of “botching politically charged investigations.”
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, noted in his own press release Wednesday that Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani had collaborated in 2019 and 2020 with a member of the Ukrainian parliament ― whom the Treasury Department later identified as a Russian spy ― to promote allegations of corrupt dealings by Biden in Ukraine.
“Given Chair Comer’s commitment to ‘dismantle’ the FBI, it’s no surprise that he would rely on these unverified tips to attack President Biden in one more baseless partisan stunt,” Raskin said.
It’s not clear that the Republican source is connected to Giuliani or Russian agents, as Raskin suggested.
“They can suggest anything they want to,” Grassley told HuffPost on Thursday. “For four or five years I’ve made accusations by speech, by letter, by phone call, and all that stuff, and never once has it been challenged.”
Grassley pointed to the case of Timothy Thibault, a former FBI assistant special agent in charge of the bureau’s Washington office. Thibault resigned last year after the senator raised questions about the agent’s partisan social media posts and whether Thibault suppressed an investigation into the president’s son, Hunter Biden. (FBI Director Christopher Wray has said the investigation into the younger Biden, which reportedly relates to tax fraud, is being run by the Baltimore field office.)
As for Joe Biden, Wednesday was not first time that Comer accused the president of involvement in criminal activity. Comer has previously sought to tie Biden to allegedly corrupt businesses dealings by his son.
“Committee Republicans have uncovered evidence of federal crimes committed by and to the benefit of members of the president’s family,” Comer said in November, shortly after Republicans won control of the House in the midterm elections. “The Biden family’s business dealings implicate a wide range of criminality.”
A number of other Republicans appeared on Fox News to weigh in on the latest supposed criminal evidence, backing the allegation despite the scarcity of details.
“There is documentation that the FBI has, and I just say again to those Democrats out there screaming about how ‘Joe Biden is innocent, Joe Biden hasn’t done anything,’ well fine, then show us what you know,” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) told Fox News’ Lawrence Jones.
“Show us what the evidence is in the allegations, don’t be afraid of what the facts are,” Hawley said.
Comer, earlier this year, described investigating the Biden family as akin to “tracking a bleeding bear through a snowstorm.”
He, along with Grassley, wrote in their letter on Wednesday that it was unclear whether the FBI ― or the DOJ ― took steps to probe the matter, although the pair referred to the document’s specificity as enough to confirm whether the allegations are true.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) also spoke of “evidence” to Fox News’ Sean Hannity and implied Biden could face impeachment due to the scheme.
“It doesn’t have to be a high crime or misdemeanor, because the Constitution specifies that impeachment lies for treason, bribery, or other high crimes or misdemeanors,” he said.
Grassley, meanwhile, also cautioned on Fox News that people “gotta wait” for more information on any details, while Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said it’ll be up to Republicans to acknowledge whether the allegations turn out not to be credible.
“For going on five years now, Republicans in Congress have been lobbing unfounded, unproven, politically motivated attacks against the President and his family without offering evidence for their claims or evidence of decisions influenced by anything other than U.S. interests,” the statement said. “That’s because they prefer floating anonymous innuendo, amplified by the megaphone of their allies in rightwing media, to get attention.”
The Justice Department confirmed it received the letter while the FBI noted that it received the letter and subpoena, The Hill reported. Both agencies declined to comment more on the topic.