by MARGOT CLEVELAND
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, rarely asks a question to which he doesn’t know the answer. When the question concerns the politicization and weaponization of the FBI, you can bet some damning information rests behind his query.
So when Grassley asked on Thursday whether bribery was within the parameters of Delaware’s investigation into Hunter Biden, it likely means the FBI defined the scope of the federal investigation into the president’s son so narrowly that agents lacked the authority to properly probe a “highly credible” confidential human source’s reporting implicating the Biden family. Specifically, the CHS reported that Hunter and Joe Biden each received $5 million in bribes from the Ukrainian oil and gas company Burisma.
The Iowa senator posed his question last Thursday during the executive business meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee. After several exchanges between Republican members of the Judiciary Committee and Democrat Chair Dick Durbin over the question of what, if anything, the FBI had done to investigate the bribery alleged in the CHS’s FD-1023 report, Grassley interjected this query:
“In regard to U.S. Attorney Weiss, do we know if his job follows up on bribery, or is it just this tax stuff that we’ve been reading about? If it doesn’t include bribery, then he can’t do anything about investigating.”
And with those two sentences, Grassley revealed the initial answer Americans need to assess whether the DOJ and FBI sabotaged a criminal probe into the Biden family.
As Crossfire Hurricane and related sub-investigations established, when the FBI opens a full investigation, the “Electronic Communication” identifies the underlying suspected criminal offense. In the case of the investigation into the Trump campaign and connected individuals, Peter Strzok identified the Foreign Agents Registration Act as the relevant criminal statute. Further, the controlling Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide, or DIOG, stresses that “it is particularly important clearly to identify and document the law enforcement or national security basis of the Full Investigation.”
What law enforcement basis did the FBI identify in launching an investigation into Hunter Biden? Did the Electronic Communication list only tax offenses? Or maybe also money laundering?
The crime identified in the EC will determine the course of the investigation, and unless the FBI updated the basis for the investigation, agents will only undertake investigative techniques likely to uncover evidence relevant to the stated offense. Thus, Grassley questioned whether bribery was within the scope of the investigation being handled by U.S. Attorney David Weiss because if not, it is unlikely the allegations in the FD-1023 received any scrutiny.
Relatedly, congressional oversight committees should inquire whether, after Attorney General William Barr sent Delaware the FD-1023’s reporting of the alleged bribes to Hunter and Joe Biden, agents opened an assessment for bribery or considered bribery within the scope of the already-predicated investigation into Hunter Biden. If not, and if the FBI had defined the scope of the already-launched full investigation of Hunter Biden narrowly, agents’ hands would be tied. They could not conduct even the most rudimentary of investigative techniques to probe the CHS’s reporting.