Republicans are threatening to hold the notoriously evasive Christopher Wray in contempt for refusing Congress' lawful requests for a memo about a "criminal scheme" involving the Bidens.
Wray offered to let lawmakers see the document at FBI headquarters in a phone call Wednesday with James Comer (R-Ky.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Ia.), but the Republicans said they aren't taking the contempt threat off the table.
Republicans had given Wray a Tuesday deadline to satisfy their weeks-old subpoena for the document, which allegedly describes in detail a quid pro quo between Biden and foreign actors during his vice presidency.
Prior to Wednesday's phone call, the FBI had dismissed contempt threats as "unnecessary," while describing its so-called "accommodation" as "extraordinary."
But Comer said Republicans "have been clear that anything short of producing these documents to the House Oversight Committee is not in compliance with the subpoena."
“If the FBI fails to hand over the FD-1023 form as required by the subpoena, the House Oversight Committee will begin contempt of Congress proceedings,” Comer said.
A contempt charge is basically a formal rebuke. The threat reflects growing frustration with an agency that has often thumbed its nose at oversight from Congress, which unlike the FBI is elected by and accountable to the people.
Comer has warned Republicans may find Wray in criminal contempt, a drastic step that would require the approval of Biden's Justice Department, which seems doubtful.
The FBI has defended its caginess with familiar talking points about protecting sources, but Grassley dismissed the excuses as hypocritical given the constant leaks coming from the agency.
"While the FBI has apparently leaked classified information to the news media in recent weeks, jeopardizing its own human sources, it continues to treat Congress like second class citizens by refusing to provide a specific unclassified record," he said.
Wray "confirmed what my whistleblowers have told me pursuant to legally protected disclosures: the FBI-generated document is real, but the bureau has yet to provide it to Congress in defiance of a legitimate congressional subpoena," Grassley added.
Congress has long shown reluctance to rein in the FBI and intelligence community, perhaps wary of Chuck Schumer's infamous warning to Donald Trump: "you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you."
Are Republicans finally growing a spine, or is this more tough talk that voters have come to expect?