Prepared Opening Statement by Senator Chuck Grassley
Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee
“Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation”
August 4, 2022
committee has a constitutional obligation to ensure that the FBI complies with
the laws we write and executes them according to our intent.
the performance of our constitutional duties, we seek answers and records from
the FBI. And, if Congress finds potential wrongdoing, we have an obligation to
the American people to make it public.
public’s business ought to be public. Transparency brings accountability.
last week, the Justice Department failed yet again to be transparent. The Department
failed to provide underlying information to support their assumption that a
jury wouldn’t convict FBI agents for botching the Nassar investigation. This is
also asked the FBI about the steps it’s taken to investigate Afghan evacuees that
are considered significant security concerns.
Senators Portman and Inhofe have done the same. The FBI won’t even tell
Congress which field offices are responsible for those security matters. How
does that make our communities safer?
based on the killing of Al-Qaeda’s leader this week, it appears that terrorist
group is still using Afghanistan as many of us, including Director Wray, have
feared. The FBI must provide Congress concrete information about the national
security and criminal risks that our communities may face with respect to evacuees
that weren’t vetted properly.
we all see, violence is a major problem in America today, with rates of violent
crime skyrocketing across the country. The start of this violent crime wave
began in 2020 as police nationwide were pulled off the streets. Some of the
main causes of this rise in violent crime are anti-police rhetoric and
de-policing efforts, progressive prosecution and bail reform.
crisis in policing is happening at the same time that progressive prosecutors
refuse to hold violent criminals accountable for their crimes. Witness after
witness in this committee has told us the bail reform movement helps to release
violent criminals who are arrested so they can go commit more crimes. Congress
must treat violent crime as a top priority.
week, I introduced the Combating Violent
and Dangerous Crime Act. The bill contains commonsense proposals to reduce
the spike in violent crime in the nation; proposals that would expand federal
prosecution options for offenses like murder, carjacking, bank robbery and
assault on police officers.
Justice Department and FBI must also make violent crime a top priority. However,
instead of doing so, the Biden Justice Department and FBI have focused on
intimidating parents who are concerned about how schools treat their children. For
example, it’s been reported that the FBI has labeled parents with threat tags
to track and investigate them.
to the crime wave, this administration’s failure to manage the border has been
a drug trafficker’s dream. The result? In 2021, we had over 100,000 drug
to our open border, drug traffickers are poisoning our streets and killing our
children. And they’re trafficking innocent victims with reckless abandon. This
administration is failing the people by not securing our southern border.
bias has also infected the FBI’s decision-making process. As Director Wray
aware, multiple Justice Department whistleblowers have approached my office
about that political bias. They are
patriots. They’ve got guts.
to whistleblowers, the FBI opened an investigation on the Trump campaign and
its advisors. The opening memo for this investigation is based in substantial
part on liberal news reporting. It’s also based on information derived from a
left-wing nonprofit. Based on allegations, Director Wray and Attorney General
Garland reviewed the memo and approved a full investigation.
as I’ve said in my letter, if the FBI is going to open an investigation you
have to do it the right way. It appears the right way wasn’t done. So, let’s
contrast this investigation with what the FBI has done with allegedly criminal
information received from numerous sources relating to Hunter Biden
put, the FBI shut matters down. In August 2020, an FBI Supervisory Intelligence
Analyst opened an assessment. This August 2020 assessment served as the vehicle
by which an FBI Headquarters team falsely labeled Hunter Biden information as
disinformation. As just one example to make my concerns clear, in October 2020,
an avenue of reporting on Hunter Biden was ordered closed. That Hunter Biden
information related to potential criminal activity.
to whistleblowers, the reporting was either verified or verifiable via criminal
search warrants. But, it was shut down on the basis of it being at risk of
disinformation. Based on allegations, the evidence didn’t support that finding.
let’s look at both these fact patterns. On the one hand, the FBI greenlit a
full investigation into Trump based on liberal news articles and information
derived from a liberal nonprofit. On the other hand, the FBI closed
investigative activity and sources that provided verified and verifiable
reporting on Hunter Biden.
Wray will have to explain to the committee – and the country – how he’ll manage
this mess and clean house.
conclusion, I’m going to make one last point. In August 2020, Senator Johnson
and I received an unsolicited and unnecessary briefing from the FBI. It
purportedly related to our Biden investigation but it had nothing to do with
briefing was done after the FBI received pressure from my Democratic colleagues
to do it. The contents of that briefing were later leaked in order to falsely paint
our investigation as advancing Russian disinformation. That briefing was held
the same month the FBI opened the assessment that was used to label Hunter
Biden information as disinformation.
of these events draws serious concern. Director Wray, simply put, the FBI’s
credibility is on the line, as are the principles that helped found and sustain
our great nation.