FBI deputy director dodges questions about Biden-Ukraine recordings

June 15, 2023
Matthew Boose

The FBI's second-highest-ranking official refused to answer Republican senators' questions Tuesday about an alleged bribery scheme involving President Biden and Ukraine.

Deputy director Paul Abbate was accused of "stonewalling" as he declined to clear up whether the FBI is in possession of audio recordings linking Biden with an executive from Burisma Holdings, the infamous Ukrainian company where Hunter Biden held a lucrative position.

Raising his voice at times, Abbate repeatedly rejected the claim that the FBI is politicized as Senators Ted Cruz (TX), Marsha Blackburn (TN), and Josh Hawley (MO) took turns peppering him.

"There are not two standards of justice, there is only one," Abbate said.

FBI stonewalling

But he was repeatedly unwilling to answer questions about the Bidens, which he dismissed with familiar bureaucratic jargon about "parameters" and "sources and methods." He said the source of the bribery allegations could even be killed but did not elaborate.

"The FBI has an unlimited hubris that you believe you are not accountable," Cruz said.

Abbate initially declined to confirm to Cruz whether an FBI file describing an alleged $5 million "bribery scheme" even exists. Moments later, Abbate acknowledged the memo was shared with the House Oversight Committee, which he cited as proof the FBI is not "stonewalling."

"So yes, you have the 10-23. Do you have the 17 recordings? Yes or no," Cruz said.

"I'm not going to get further into this," Abbate said.

"No idea"

The recordings were not mentioned in the FBI memo that the agency shared with House Republicans. Abbate was grilled about the omission by Blackburn, who accused the FBI of behaving like a "political cabal."

He said he has "no idea" if the recordings really exist, but he defended the FBI's decision to redact information that was given to members of Congress only after Republicans threatened Director Christopher Wray with contempt.

"The document was redacted to protect the source, as everyone knows — and this is a question of life and death, potentially," he said.

He confirmed to Hawley that the FBI memo is not classified, but he wouldn't commit to releasing it to the public.

A whistleblower told the Daily Mail that the Burisma executive has described Biden as "the big guy," a notorious alias associated with Biden that was mentioned in his son's e-mails.

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