House Oversight Committee Democrats say Republicans’ Hunter Biden gambit jeopardises national security

11 months ago 77

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Democrats on the House Oversight Committee issued a memo saying that Chairman James Comer (R-KY) and Sen Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) release of an unclassified document related to their probe of Hunter Biden jeopardises national security.

Mr Grassley released what is called an FD-1023 form, which includes claims that a confidential informant made about President Joe Biden’s son Hunter’s work with Ukrainian energy company Burisma.

The informant claimed that they were told by officials at Burisma about their relationships with then-vice president Biden and his son Hunter. But top Republicans admit they cannot verify the claims in the form.

But a memo from the Democratic members of the committee characterised the claims, which were memorialised “second-hand” from Ukrainian Oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky, the owner of Burisma, to the FBI by a confidential source, as coming “years after the fact.”

Democrats on the committee, led by ranking member Jamie Raskin (D-MD), said that disclosing the document publicly “could eliminate or chill important collection, undermine the FBI’s confidential human source program, jeopardize investigations, and result in significant risk of physical harm to sources based on their historic and ongoing collection.”

“Chairman Comer’s and Senator Grassley’s decision to release this document further amplifies conspiracy theories at the cost of endangering the safety of FBI sources,” Democrats wrote in the memo, which was obtained by The Independent. “Furthermore, the allegations in the form have been debunked repeatedly, including by Donald Trump’s own Justice Department and Rudy Giuliani’s failed campaign to collect dirt on President Biden in Ukraine.”

The memo notes that Lev Parnas, the former associate of Mr Giuliani, Mr Trump’s attorney, said in a 10-page letter to Mr Comer that the form repeated false allegations as part of a “campaign orchestrated by Giuliani and Trump to dig up dirt on the Bidens, and to spread misinformation about them through various networks including government officials, journalists, and FOX News personnel.”

Mr Parnas wrote in his letter about his role in Mr Giuliani’s efforts to pressure Ukrainian officials to provide false information about Mr Biden’s call to oust Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin and say how it was part of a corrupt deal.

“This campaign included offers to exchange political or legal support from the Trump Administration for false statements regarding President Biden,” the letter said.

“Mr Parnas also described an effort to pressure Mr. Zlochevsky to make false allegations about President Biden by telling him he could be ‘an enemy or a friend of Trump,’” the letter said. “Mr. Zlochevsky’s written responses explicitly contradicted the Republicans’ theory and the statements attributed to him in the Form FD-1023.”

Specifically, Democrats noted how Mr Zlochevsky denied that anyone contacted the then-former vice president.

The Democratic memo also noted that, along with the confidential human source, senior Republican figures and members of the Justice Department during Mr Trump’s presidency debunked the claims.

It noted how then-attorney general William Barr warned “we can’t take anything we receive from the Ukraine at face value.” The memo also noted how Mr Grassley questioned the truthfulness of the allegations, but added he was “not interested” in the accuracy of the claims in the FD-1023.

The memo also excoriated Mr Grassley and Mr Comer for their release of the form, saying it revealed the names of several individuals in Ukraine whose identities the FBI wanted to keep secret. But the form released Mr Comer and Mr Grassley disclosed the names of officials the human source contacted.

“Chairman Comer’s and Senator Grassley’s decision to publicly release the form is in brazen disregard of the safety of FBI human sources and the integrity of its investigations,” the memo said. “Contrary to Republican messaging, the form provides no new or additional support for their corruption allegations against the President or Hunter Biden. Instead, its release merely seeks to breathe new life into years-old conspiracy theories, initially peddled by Rudy Giuliani, that have been thoroughly debunked.”

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