Grassley on FBI Weaponization: It's Like It's 'Out of Some Fiction Spy Thriller, But It Actually Happened'
GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa testified during a congressional hearing on Thursday that he experienced the political weaponization of the FBI firsthand, and it was “scarier than fiction.”
Grassley told the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government that the trouble began after he and Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin began investigating the overseas business dealings of President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden and brother James Biden starting in 2019.
Grassley was serving as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and Johnson as chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee at the time.
“What I’m about to tell you sounds like it’s out of some fiction spy thriller, but it actually happened. And it happened in our own government,” Grassley said Thursday.
“In the past few years, I’ve never seen so much effort from the FBI, the partisan media and some of my Democratic colleagues to interfere with and undermine very legitimate congressional inquiries. It’s because of a triad of disinformation and outright falsehoods,” he continued.
.@ChuckGrassley: “What I’m about to tell you sounds like it’s out of some fiction spy thriller. But, it actually happened…In the past few years I’ve never seen so much effort…to interfere with…legitimate Congressional Inquiries.” pic.twitter.com/RFHWmA784T
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) February 9, 2023
He cited the example of the FBI counterintelligence investigation called Crossfire Hurricane, launched against Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, which was deconstructed “piece by piece” and shown to be a “politically motivated investigation.”
He contended it was actually the Steele dossier, created by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee, that consisted of disinformation about Trump and Russia.
Grassley recounted his own experience with the bureau, which began after he wrote a letter to the Treasury Department in August 2019 about an overseas financial transaction involving the Biden family.
As the investigation proceeded, Democratic leadership and media outlets began to attack his and Johnson’s probe, the senator said.
“[House Intelligence Committee] Chairman [Adam] Schiff claimed without any evidence whatsoever that our oversight work was rooted in Russian disinformation,” he said.
Grassley noted that Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut wrote an Op-Ed in The Washington Post in August 2020 accusing Johnson of “perpetuating Russian disinformation in the U.S. Senate.”
Democratic senators, according to Grassley, insisted the FBI brief him and Johnson that month about Russian disinformation efforts related to Hunter Biden.
“Then, as we had feared, the contents of that briefing were later leaked to The Washington Post, even though the FBI had promised us confidentiality,” Grassley said.
“That leak outrageously and inaccurately connected that FBI briefing to our investigation in another effort to falsely label our good government oversight work as Russian disinformation,” he contended.
BOOM!@ChuckGrassley lays out how a FBI briefing was used to set up Chuck and Ron Johnson with the coordination of Democrats and media to trash their investigation.
He also drags Director Wray. pic.twitter.com/UTwy4WRoul
— Woke Societies (@wokesocieties) February 9, 2023
Grassley noted that The Wall Street Journal editorial board wrote an opinion piece in May 2021 titled, “The FBI’s Dubious Briefing: Did the bureau set up two GOP Senators at the behest of Democrats?”
They elaborated on what the Democrats did.
“In July 2020, the Democratic Members of the Gang of Eight — senior Members with access to intelligence secrets — had sent a letter and classified addendum to [FBI Director Christopher] Wray specifically citing the Johnson-Grassley probe into Hunter Biden as reason for an urgent briefing for Congress about foreign ‘disinformation.’
“That news was then leaked, in what was an obvious attempt to tar the work of the two Republicans.”
Grassley said the information Democrats sent to Wray included documents seeking to link his and Johnson’s investigation to Russian agent Andriy Derkach.
“To this very day, Director Wray refuses to provide Sen. Johnson and me — as constitutional officers — records relating to that briefing, including the alleged intelligence basis for it. Director Wray has consistently failed to perform duties required of his position,” Grassley said.
Democrats later introduced information obtained from Derkach into the congressional record, he further stated.
“Now think about that,” Grassley said. “After all the spears the Democrats were throwing at the two of us, in the end it was the Democrats who introduced Russian disinformation from a Russian agent into the investigative record as an exhibit — a foreign agent whom our own intelligence community warned was actively seeking to influence U.S. politics.”
In contrast, the senator stated, the Grassley-Johnson investigation was grounded in real records.
“We made public the contents of many Treasury records,” Grassley said. “Our report exposed extensive financial relationships between Hunter and James Biden and Chinese nationals connected to the communist regime — more precisely, Chinese nationals connected to the Chinese government military and intelligence services.”
He testified that FBI whistleblowers came forward to his office saying the FBI created an assessment in August 2020 that was used to discredit negative Hunter Biden information as disinformation, even though the bureau had had Hunter’s laptop since December 2019.
This assessment led to the investigation into Hunter to “entirely cease,” Grassley said.
“Other whistleblower disclosures to my office make 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 lawmaker added.
“These disclosures also allege that Joe Biden was aware of Hunter Biden’s business arrangements and may have been involved in some of them,” Grassley said.
Johnson also testified Thursday before the committee, saying, “Prior to the impeachment proceedings [of then-President Donald Trump in 2019], Hunter Biden’s obvious conflicts of interest in Ukraine became public, and Sen. Grassley and I began investigating. We didn’t target Joe and Hunter Biden; their actions demanded it.”
.@ChuckGrassley and I didn’t target Joe and Hunter Biden, their actions demanded it. pic.twitter.com/8Q6dqeJGr4
— Senator Ron Johnson (@SenRonJohnson) February 10, 2023
The Democratic House launched its impeachment against Trump because he had suggested to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that he look into the Bidens’ business dealings in the country.
Hunter Biden was paid $1 million a year to be on the Ukrainian energy company Burisma’s board of directors while his father was vice president and overseeing U.S. relations with Ukraine.
In January 2018, Joe Biden bragged at a Council on Foreign Relations meeting about an official visit he took to Ukraine in March 2016, during which he demanded then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko fire prosecutor Viktor Shokin or lose $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees. Shokin was investigating potential Burisma corruption at the time.
Grassley concluded his testimony before the weaponization committee by saying, “It’s clear to me that the Justice Department and the FBI are suffering from a political infection that — if it’s not defeated — will cause the American people no longer to trust these storied institutions. It will also threaten the American way of life.”
“Unfortunately, what you’ve heard from me, this story of government abuse and political treachery, is scarier than fiction. It really happened.”
A version of this article originally appeared on Patriot Project.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.