Comer, along with Senate Budget Committee ranking member, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), subpoenaed form FD-1023 that has the word "Biden" on it. Comer then told Fox host Sean Hannity that they wanted any document saying Biden "and the words 'five million dollars.'"
It's because they have very specific allegations. The Republicans claim that Biden was bribed. The two men sent a press release about the letter and their subpoena. Fox has thus mentioned Biden and "bribe" or "bribery" more than 100 times since then.
But for over a month, Comer has been unable to produce any information or documents to prove it, Bump explained. Comer and Grassley say it's because the FBI is standing in their way. But in a statement to Hannity, the FBI gave a statement:
“Releasing confidential source information could potentially jeopardize investigations and put lives at risk,” it explained. “The FBI remains committed to cooperating with Congress’s oversight requests on this matter and others as we always have.”
Hannity was shocked and appalled. He complained, “Well, then hand it over,” skipping the statement's first sentence saying they won't release anything that is part of an ongoing or open investigation.
Bump looked at other FD-1023 forms to explain that they have a header with information about the agent's name doing the interview, the time and place, the source reporting, which has all of the details involved, and the agent's signature.
"In other words, it is a document that records an allegation and little else," wrote Bump. "That’s the argument the FBI used to reject the request to release it in the first place."
An allegation isn't an investigation, nor is it anything confirmed. It's simply the allegation.
“An FD-1023 form documents information as told to a line FBI agent. Recording the information does not validate the information, establish its credibility, or weigh it against other information known or developed by the FBI,” Bump quoted FBI acting assistant director Christopher Dunham saying. “The mere existence of such a document would establish little beyond the fact that a confidential human source provided information and the FBI recorded it.”
Comer told Fox that he asked the FBI what they did to investigate the claim. The answer is the same as what they told Hannity. They don't reveal anything from an open investigation.
The GOP leaders say the FBI is intentionally refusing to work with them. They're correct. The FBI intentionally informed them they don't reveal information involving ongoing investigations. It isn't new.
Meanwhile, there's no additional information that something is happening beyond what the House Republicans claim.
Comer indicates that there is an informant, which Bump explained folks should be wary of given his "reliability in discussing such an informant is shaky; in the Bartiromo interview, he claimed that the informant was 'missing,' but then his staff clarified that he was talking about someone else." Still, it gave enough speculation that allowed Fox a full day of conspiracy theories.
A few weeks ago, Fox hosts complained Comer didn't have anything.
"There exists a transcript of what was alleged by the whistleblower; Comer told Hannity earlier this month that he’d read such a document. It has not been provided to Democrats on the committee," Bump explained, noting that the House rules require that such information be given to both sides.
“[I]n an effort to maximize innuendo on Fox News and dodge accountability, Chairman Comer has continued to insist he has secret evidence that he has concealed from Committee Democrats and the American public,” said the Democratic spokesperson. “These tactics reflect Republicans’ willingness to weaponize the Committee to achieve their political ends instead of engaging in responsible oversight.”
Bump closed his piece by saying that there's no more information now than there was a month ago when Comer and Grassley made their first allegations.