In testimony before the House Judiciary Committee’s first hearing on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) detailed how a “triad” of partisan media, FBI, and Democrats used disinformation from a Russian agent to smear their investigation into Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings.
In addition to Grassley, the committee on Thursday heard from Senator Ron Johnson (R- Wis.), Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), former U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, former FBI agent Thomas Baker, Professor Jonathan Turley, and former FBI agent Nicole Parker.
“In the past few years, I’ve never seen so much effort from the FBI, the partisan media, and some of my Democrat colleagues to interfere with with and undermine very legitimate congressional inquiries,” Grassley said at the beginning of his testimony.
As one glaring example of this, Grassley cited the FBI’s corrupt Crossfire Hurricane investigation that sought to torpedo Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign for president, and when that failed, hobble his presidency and punish his associates.
“Bit by bit, piece by piece, it’s been deconstructed and shown to be a politically motivated investigation,” he testified.
The senator said that the most recent example of the “triad at work” involved their attempts to undermine his and Sen. Johnson’s investigation into Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings, which began in August of 2019. At the time, Grassley was the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Johnson was chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.
“On July 13 of 2020, then-Minority Leader [Chuck] Schumer, Senator Warner, then-Speaker Pelosi, and then-Chairman Schiff sent a letter with a classified attachment to the FBI. That letter expressed a purported belief that Congress was the subject of a foreign disinformation campaign.”
The letter, Grassley noted, specifically targeted his and Johnson’s investigation into the Biden clan’s shady business dealings.
The classified attachment, Grassley continued, contained unclassified elements that were leaked to the press regarding a Russian agent named Andriy Derkach who was supposedly feeding Russian disinformation to Johnson.
The Wisconsin senator said at the time that he’d never heard of the person until they brought it up.
“Of course, it was pure nonsense, but the irresponsible media portrayed this all as the truth,” Grassley testified. And congressional Democrats used the false narrative in an effort to thwart Grassley and Johnson’s investigation.
“Chairman Schiff claimed without any evidence whatsoever that our oversight work was rooted in Russian disinformation,” Grassley recalled. The senator noted that their oversight work was actually rooted in official U.S. government and Obama administration records.
Next, as part of the Democrats’ aggressive disinformation campaign, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) wrote an oped in the Washington Post accusing the Republicans’ investigation of “perpetuating Russian disinformation.”
Then, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and ranking member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)tried to offer a resolution in the Senate condemning their investigation into the Biden crime family.
“They, in a sense, were basically calling us Russian stooges,” Grassley stated. He added that the Democrats’ effort violated Senate rules and was “appropriately shut down.”
Under pressure from Democrat members of the “Gang of Eight”—senior lawmakers with access to intelligence secrets—the Republican Senators on August 6, 2020 received an FBI briefing on foreign “disinformation” that Grassley says was irrelevant to their investigation. Details from the briefing were immediately leaked to the Washington Post, which used the info to smear their investigation.
The Post suggested that Johnson had ignored FBI warnings and thus may have been manipulated by the Kremlin. The Wall Street Journal in May of 2021 speculated that the bureau may have “set up” Grassley and Johnson at the behest of Democrats.
The two Senators became more concerned when the ensuing briefing by the FBI turned out to be what they described as “not specific” as well as “unconnected to our investigation.” (Their report was based on U.S. government documents.) They specifically expressed to the FBI during the briefing their concerns that it would be “subject to a leak” for partisan gain. Which is exactly what happened last week, despite the FBI’s promise to the Senators of confidentiality.
After the briefing, Johnson and Grassley sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray demanding to know the reason for it, and never received an answer.
Still bitter, Grassley complained that the FBI had wrongly done the “Democrats’ bidding” in that instance.
He said another example of a Democrat/Media disinformation campaign involved George Kent, former State Department Deputy Assistant General.
Grassley explained that while he and Johnson had conducted a transcribed interview with Kent. During the interview, according to Grassley, Democrats asked Kent about information they had acquired from Derkach, their Russian agent source, and Kent shot it down as disinformation.
“In the end, it was the Democrats who introduced Russian disinformation from a Russian agent into the investigative record,” Grassley declared, adding that the Senate Intelligence Committee had already warned them that this agent was seeking to influence U.S. politics.
“It was not me or Senator Johnson, not our staff—it was the Democrats who inserted disinformation from the Russians into our official record,” Grassley noted. “The partisan media and Democrat leadership ought to be ashamed of themselves for the fake information that the spread about our investigation.”
The senator noted that “in the end,” the Democrat/media/FBI triad was unable to thwart their investigation, and on September 23, 2020, they released their first Biden investigation report. The pair released their second report on the Bidens in November of 2020, after the election.
“Our reports exposed extensive financial relationships between Hunter and James Biden and Chinese nationals connected to the Communist regime,” Grassley stated.
After they lost their majority status in 2021, Grassley said the Senators continued their investigation into the Biden clan’s corruption.
“We acquired authentic bank records that substantiated the findings of our previous two reports that financially linked Hunter Biden and James Biden to entities and individuals connected to the Communist Chinese regime,” he said. “We also acquired business records with Hunter and James Biden’s signatures alongside those same Communist Chinese nationals.”
Grassley said the records showed that companies linked to the Communist regime had wired payments to the Bidens.
“In three floor speeches, we made those bank records public and asked this question to our partisan detractors: “Are these official bank statements Russian disinformation?” he said.
The two senators shared the potentially criminal activity with David C. Weiss, U.S. Attorney for the United States District Court for the District of Delaware, but never got a response.
Grassley said that as he and Johnson have continued their investigation, they have been approached by multiple FBI whistleblowers. Among the allegations, he said, is that “the FBI created an assessment” on the Biden allegations in August of 2020, the same month of the dubious FBI briefing on foreign disinformation.
“According to these whistleblowers, that assessment was used by FBI headquarters to improperly discredit negative Hunter Biden information as disinformation,” Grassley stated.
“As a result, this scheme allegedly caused investigative activity [at the Bureau] to entirely cease,” he lamented.
“It’s been further alleged to me that in September of 2020, the same month Sen. Johnson and I released our first report, FBI headquarter personnel began placing their analysis of the credibility of reporting related to the Biden family in what I have been told is a restricted access sub-file..” he continued. “Further allegations to my office involve FBI personnel at the Washington Field Office who improperly ordered information to be closed by the FBI related to Hunter Biden’s potential criminal conduct in October 2020—just before the election—even though it was verified, or it was verifiable.”
Grassley said other whistleblower disclosures to his office have “made clear that the FBI has within its possession very significant, impactful, and voluminous evidence with respect to potential criminal conduct by Hunter and James Biden.”
The whistleblowers also allegedly told the the senators that “Joe Biden was aware of Hunter Biden’s business arrangements and may have been involved in some of them.”
Grassley said they are “still not sure what’s been done with this information, but the FBI’s track record doesn’t create much faith that the information is going to be followed up on.”
“It’s clear to me that the Justice Department and the FBI are suffering from a political infection,” the senator testified, “and if it’s not defeated, it will cause the American people to no longer trust these storied institutions.”