Last week, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) shocked Washington D.C. and the media when he publicly released an unclassified internal FBI document that outlined a trusted informant's unverified allegations of a bribery scheme involving then-Vice President Joe Biden and a wealthy Ukrainian oligarch.
That document is devastatingly damning for President Biden, and while the White House scrambles to deny the informant's allegations, Sen. Grassley has come under critical attack by Democrats, the media, and even a former top aide, according to The Hill.
However, the 89-year-old Iowa senator is unlikely to care about the criticism he has received, and it is noteworthy that many Republicans have praised him for his unilateral decision, in the interest of "transparency," to release the document the FBI tried to suppress for months.
On July 20, Sen. Grassley released a lightly redacted copy of an FBI FD-1023 form that detailed the recollections in 2020 of a trusted and credible informant's prior multiple conversations from 2016-2019 with Mykola Zlochevsky, the founder and CEO of Ukraine's Burisma energy firm, which employed Hunter Biden for several years in a lucrative position on the company's board of directors.
According to the informant, Zlochevsky alleged being coerced into a $10 million bribery scheme -- $5 million apiece to Hunter and then-VP Joe Biden -- in exchange for their help in ending a corruption investigation into him and Burisma by Ukraine's top prosecutor, who Joe Biden admittedly got fired by threatening to withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees for the country's government at that time.
"For the better part of a year, I’ve been pushing the Justice Department and FBI to provide details on its handling of very significant allegations from a trusted FBI informant implicating then-Vice President Biden in a criminal bribery scheme," Grassley said in a statement accompanying the release. "While the FBI sought to obfuscate and redact, the American people can now read this document for themselves, without the filter of politicians or bureaucrats, thanks to brave and heroic whistleblowers."
"What did the Justice Department and FBI do with the detailed information in the document? And why have they tried to conceal it from Congress and the American people for so long? The Justice Department and FBI have failed to come clean, but Chairman Comer and I intend to find out," he added in reference to House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-KY), who had joined Grassley in pressing the FBI for months to release the document.
Sen. Grassley's release of the FBI document was met with furious denouncements from Democrats, including Rep. Jaime Raskin (D-MD), the ranking Democrat on the Oversight Committee, who issued a fiery press release that decried Grassley's move and Republican investigations against the Biden family more broadly while also dubiously asserting that the information contained in the document had previously been checked out and debunked.
The Hill noted that Oversight Committee Democratic staffers also issued a memo to fellow Democrats that excoriated Grassley and Comer for acting "in brazen disregard" for the "safety" and "integrity" of FBI sources and investigations, and similarly asserted that the document's bombshell information did nothing more than "breathe new life into years-old conspiracy theories" that had already "been thoroughly debunked."
Perhaps the worst attack of all against Grassley came from a former top aide of nearly 20 years, Kris Kolesnik, who told The Hill that he would have advised the senator not to release the FBI document and accused his former boss of ignoring prior standards and practices with regard to remaining nonpartisan when dealing with whistleblowers and government informants.
Yet, The Hill further noted that Sen. Grassley has not backed down in the face of the harsh criticism he has received, and according to a statement from his current spokesman, Taylor Foy, the Iowa senator stands firmly by his decision to publicly release the document that the FBI and Biden administration and their Democratic allies so furiously sought to keep hidden from the American people.
"He maintains an impeccable reputation for shining a light on facts that the bureaucracy would prefer to keep hidden," Foy said of his boss. "Grassley’s Biden investigation stems from government employees who are concerned that politics has infected the nation’s premier law enforcement agencies. Ignoring these claims would be a failure of Sen. Grassley’s constitutional oversight responsibility."
"Shying away from legitimate oversight because of fear of the political implications, as Mr. Kolesnik suggests, is exactly the type of cowardice that results in a runaway, unaccountable bureaucracy," he added. "That’s no legacy anyone who values oversight should pursue, and Mr. Kolesnik should know better."
Another former Grassley staffer, Michael Zona, told The Hill of the senator, "People willing to analyze his oversight history know that when he says something, you should pay attention because he’s not one to shoot from the hip." He further stated that Grassley "usually knows a lot more than what he says," and added, "Pay attention to what he’s saying or doing because he’s probably ahead of the curve."