September 22, 2022

Grassley Statement at Markup on House Refusal to Move Police Week Bills, Lack of Independence for Hunter Biden Prosecutor

Prepared Opening Statement by Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee
Executive Business Meeting
September 22, 2022
 
I want to follow up on a matter I raised a few weeks ago. It saddens me to see news reports that House Democrats are rejecting the police week bills that passed the Senate with unanimous consent. These are good bills. One of them, fighting PTSD, which I lead with Senator Coons, supported mental health treatment for law enforcement officers and firefighters with PTSD. Officers face dangerous situations on a regular basis that leave them suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and this bill would have helped support them.
 
The Law Enforcement De-Escalation Training Act was designed to help train officers to de-escalate dangerous situations and avoid violence. The Strong Communities Act was designed to recruit and retain officers who would live in their home communities.
 
As for Invest to Protect Act, we did the courtesy of passing the House’s version of their police week bills. The House should pass the Senate version of Invest to Protect as well. I repeat—all of these bills unanimously passed out of the Senate—meaning no Republican or Democratic Senator objected to these bills in the Senate. We worked hard for months on getting everything across the finish line, including working with Senator Booker, who voiced some concerns in our markup. But the House Democrats decided instead to offer up a bunch of bills that they know will be dead on arrival in the Senate.
 
I thank Senator Durbin for reaching out to the House to try to move these bills forward, but unfortunately, they have chosen not to listen. I know many House Democrats who worked on these bills must be disappointed by this as well, but it is clear that certain extreme elements in their party can’t have a normal police week where we pass each other’s bills, and they were able to exert pressure to stand in the way of this legislation. I ask the House to reconsider this path. Police and firefighters need our support.
 
I’d also like to mention the Hunter Biden Special Counsel letter that Republican members sent to Attorney General Garland this week. The letter requests that special counsel protections and authorities be extended to U.S. Attorney Weiss. Senator Cornyn led the charge in getting that letter done. I thank him for his leadership in doing so.
 
On May 9 of this year, Senator Johnson and I wrote to U.S. Attorney Weiss. We asked him whether he’s acquired relevant records to fully advance the Hunter Biden investigation. We asked him if he’s received sufficient resources and support from the Justice Department to execute the investigation. We also asked him if he’s discussed the need for a special counsel to properly investigate the Hunter Biden criminal matter.
 
Attorney General Garland interceded and answered on his behalf. Although calling it an answer doesn’t do the letter any justice. It was another letter with just words on a piece of paper. Moreover, it showed that maybe U.S. Attorney Weiss isn’t as independent as he should be if the Justice Department proper answers on his behalf.
 
Now, there’s another reason why I joined Senator Cornyn’s letter. Whistleblowers have presented allegations to me that the FBI had ongoing investigative activity into Hunter Biden in advance of the 2020 election. The whistleblower disclosures to me relate to investigative activity and avenues of information that originated separate from the ongoing Hunter Biden criminal probe. And it related to potentially criminal conduct.
 
Special Agent Thibault and others at the FBI shut down that activity right before the 2020 election. So, I asked Director Wray the following,
 
“When the FBI receives potential criminal information relating to a matter that’s subject to investigation and prosecution by a U.S. Attorney, is it the FBI’s standard practice to share that information with the relevant U.S. Attorney’s Office?”
 
Director Wray said it was his expectation that the information would be shared.
 
Well, how can that information be shared if it’s shut down? The Justice Department and FBI have failed to answer that critical question. Therefore, as I’ve said publicly before, there’s a very real concern that the ongoing Hunter Biden criminal matter doesn’t include the full scope of facts and evidence.
 
The Justice Department’s and FBI’s failure to be transparent with Congress and the American people has cast a cloud over the Hunter Biden investigation. Simply put, how can the American people trust the results if the investigation doesn’t include at least all of the known information?
 

-30-