WASHINGTON – Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley released an unclassified document Thursday that Republicans claim is significant in their investigation of Hunter Biden as they delve into the financial affairs of the president and his son, and revive previously debunked claims of wrongdoing.
Grassley of Iowa has been working alongside House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., as Republicans deepen their probe of President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, ahead of the 2024 election. Comer had issued a subpoena for the document from the FBI.
While lawmakers on the Oversight Committee have already been able to partly review the information, this is the first time the full document — which contains raw, unverified information — is being made public. Called an FD-1023 form, it involves claims a confidential informant made in 2020 about Hunter Biden's alleged business dealings when he served on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma. Top Republicans have acknowledged they cannot confirm whether the information is true.
“The American people can now read this document for themselves," Grassley said.
The document adds to information that had widely aired during Donald Trump's first impeachment trial, which involved Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani's efforts to dig up dirt on the Bidens ahead of the 2020 election. It was also the subject of a subsequent Department of Justice review that Trump's Attorney General William Barr launched in 2020 and closed later that year.
Grassley's office said the FBI told the senator the document was related to an ongoing matter.
White House spokesman Ian Sams said Thursday, “It is remarkable that congressional Republicans, in their eagerness to go after President Biden regardless of the truth, continue to push claims that have been debunked for years."
“These claims have reportedly been scrutinized by the Trump Justice Department, a Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney, and a full impeachment trial of the former President that centered on these very issues, and over and over again, they have been found to lack credibility,” he said. “It’s clear that congressional Republicans are dead-set on playing shameless, dishonest politics and refuse to let truth get in the way.”
In the four-page document, the confidential informant claims to have been involved in various meetings some years earlier, in 2015 or 2016, with officials from the Burisma energy company looking to do business in the United States. The informant claims being told by Burisma officials about their relationship and dealings with Hunter Biden.
One company official said they kept Hunter Biden on the Burisma board because they believed through “his dad” it could protect them from all kinds of problems, the informant claimed.
In another instance, a top company official suggested payment of $5 million to each of the Bidens as the company sought to have Ukraine's prosecutor general at the time, Viktor Shokin, removed from office, according to the document.
Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the Oversight panel, said the document released by Republicans “records the unverified, secondhand, years-old allegations" that were already shown to be not true during the 2019 impeachment hearings.
After lawmakers reviewed a redacted document in June, Raskin had said “Congress thoroughly reviewed and debunked" similar allegations that Giuliani had made.
“As the FBI explained, the allegations were also thoroughly investigated by Donald Trump’s own Justice Department,” Raskin wrote. That assessment was closed in August 2020 after eight months of investigative efforts, he said, and “found insufficient evidence” to warrant further investigation.
But Comer said Thursday: “The American people must be able to read this record for themselves. I thank Senator Grassley for providing much needed transparency.”
Grassley said while the FBI had released a redacted version to lawmakers, he was able to provide a fuller document because whistleblowers made it available to him.
Comer’s panel held a hearing this week with two Internal Review Service whistleblowers who have claimed Justice Department interference as they tried to probe Hunter Biden’s financial affairs. They said they were unaware of the document.
The Justice Department has denied the whistleblower claims. Department policy has long told prosecutors to take care when bringing charges with political overtones so close to an election.
A recovering addict, Hunter Biden pleaded guilty last month to misdemeanor charges over his finances after years of failing to pay taxes. Republicans have denounced the agreement with federal prosecutors as a "sweetheart deal."
The top prosecutor in the case, U.S. Attorney David Weiss in Delaware, has said he is willing to testify before the House panel once he is legally able to share information with Congress without violating the longstanding department policy of discussing an ongoing investigation.
Testimony from Justice Department officials could come after Hunter Biden appears for his plea hearing next week.