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Whistleblower disclosures allege FBI procedures not followed in Hunter Biden investigation, sources say

Multiple Justice Department whistleblowers have come forward to Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley as part of his ongoing investigation into the Biden family business practices, according to three sources familiar with the matter, including a former Justice Department tax official.  

The sources told CBS News the whistleblower disclosures raised concerns about the Hunter Biden investigation, with allegations including "irregular handling" of evidence and a claim that "standard investigatory procedures were not being followed," allegedly hindering the probe's progress.

More specifically, whistleblowers said that during the FBI investigation, derogatory evidence related to President Biden's son, Hunter Biden, was wrongly labeled as disinformation, when it could be or had already been verified. In some cases, they claimed derogatory evidence was placed in highly restricted systems that prevented other FBI investigators from reviewing it in the course of their related work.

In response to CBS News, the FBI said it had no comment. A spokesman for Grassley said the senator has a "long history of protecting whistleblowers ... regardless of political ideology," and added that his investigation into the Biden family's foreign business dealings — which he began in 2019 in his capacity as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee — "continues to turn up new information."

Some of the more recent disclosures relate to an internal FBI form known as an FD 1023. In a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Merrick Garland in early May, Grassley — now a ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee — and House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, said they wanted to know what information, if any, the FBI has about an alleged bribery scheme involving President Biden. At the time, the White House accused the lawmakers of launching an "unfounded political attack."

In the letter to Wray and Garland, the GOP lawmakers asked about the FD-1023 form, an FBI internal document that they said describes "an alleged criminal scheme involving then-Vice President Biden and a foreign national relating to the exchange of money for policy decisions."

Grassley and Comer said a whistleblower had provided information about the alleged scheme, and Comer issued a subpoena to Wray for the form. 

In their letter, the GOP lawmakers said they believed there is enough "specificity" in the allegation to determine whether it's true, but "it remains unclear what steps, if any, were taken to investigate the matter." 

In a letter to Comer dated May 10, in response to the subpoena, Christopher Dunham, acting assistant director for the FBI Office of Congressional Affairs, wrote that FD-1023 is a "form used to record unverified reporting from a confidential human source."

Dunham wrote that "the FBI regularly receives information from sources with significant potential biases, motivations, and knowledge, including drug traffickers, members of organized crime, or even terrorists."

"It is critical to the integrity of the entire criminal justice process and to the fulfillment of our law enforcement duties that FBI avoid revealing information — including unverified or incomplete information — that could harm investigations," Dunham argued.

"Thus, your request for a single FD-1023 report that you say includes a 'precise description' of an 'alleged criminal scheme' risks the harms that our confidentiality rules protect against," he went on. 

"...We would be pleased to coordinate with your staff to discuss whether and how we can accommodate your request without violating our law enforcement and national security obligations," Dunhmam's letter closes.  

Ian Sams, the White House spokesperson for oversight and investigations, also said in response to the GOP letter, "For going on five years now, Republicans in Congress have been lobbing unfounded, unproven, politically-motivated attacks against the President and his family without offering evidence for their claims or evidence of decisions influenced by anything other than U.S. interests."

He added, "When it comes to President Biden's personal finances, anybody can take a look: he has offered an unprecedented level of transparency, releasing a total of 25 years of tax returns to the American public."

A GOP aide told CBS News that Grassley had previously scheduled a call for Wednesday with Comer and Wray about the subpoena for the FD-1023 document. The FBI informed Comer Tuesday it wouldn't release it to the committee. 

Comer issued a statement saying, "While I have a call scheduled with FBI Director Wray tomorrow to discuss his response further, the Committee has been clear in its intent to protect Congressional oversight authorities and will now be taking steps to hold the FBI Director in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a lawful subpoena."

The FBI also said in a statement that the bureau had written to Comer and said it "committed to providing access to information responsive to the Committee's subpoena in a format and setting that maintains confidentiality and protects important security interests and the integrity of FBI investigations." The FBI added, "Any discussion of escalation under these circumstances is unnecessary."

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