I was travelling throughout Iowa meeting with constituents, I kept my eye on
news reporting out of Washington, D.C.
seen a lot of bad reporting in my time. The events that occurred starting on
April 30 are up there at the top of bad reporting.
Washington Post, New York Times and NBC all had to retract their reporting
about Russian disinformation warnings given to Rudy Giuliani.
in the Washington Post article, my and Senator Johnson’s investigation into the
Biden family’s financial dealings was tethered to Russian disinformation
reporting was based on anonymous current and former U.S. officials.
the Washington Post still hasn’t figured out how to read a Senate report.
staff also spent many hours talking with the Post the day before the story
ran. My staff gave them the following,
which the Post completely ignored in their article:
Sen. Grassley’s report with Sen. Johnson
relied on Obama-era U.S. government records and information from a Democrat-aligned
U.S. lobby shop, which employed Telizhenko while representing the corrupt
Ukrainian gas company Burisma.
never received a defensive briefing related to his oversight of the Biden
family’s foreign business ventures. Discussions with the FBI and Intelligence
Community were initiated by requests from Democrats, as is detailed in Section Ten
of the report.
The FBI and members of the Intelligence
Community indicated last year that there was no reason for the committee’s
investigation to be halted, even with knowledge of Telizhenko’s limited
involvement (see report page 59).
The report and its underlying transcripts
further reveal that Telizhenko had deep and longstanding
relationships with Obama State Department officials, National Security Council
staff and left-wing lobbyists. The transcripts also illustrate that material
created by Derkach was introduced by Democrats, not Republicans, and it
was quickly rejected by an expert witness as disinformation (see Minority
Exhibit J and George Kent’s response to Minority staff regarding that exhibit).
Following a classified letter authored by
Democratic leadership, portions of which were later leaked and reportedly
referenced Derkach, Democrats again sought an FBI and Intelligence Community
briefing, which was provided in August of 2020. At that briefing, the FBI stated that it’s not attempting to “quash,
curtail, or interfere” in the investigation in any way. (see report, page 59). That’s not the sort of direction
provided at a defensive briefing.
Obviously, we didn’t rely on any of this
for the report’s findings on Hunter Biden’s and James Biden’s extensive
financial entanglements with questionable foreign nationals, including some
connected to the communist Chinese government. Subsequent to the report, the
public has also learned that Hunter Biden is under
criminal investigation relating to his financial
Given Telizheko’s longstanding
ties to Blue Star Strategies and Obama administration officials, are you
similarly asking them whether they played into some Russian-pushed narrative?
Given that Democrats introduced the Derkach material, are you
similarly asking them whether they played into some Russian-pushed narrative?
all this information and long phone conversations, the Post opted for unnamed
sources rather than on-record comments from my staff.
the Post should work on putting more “investigating” into their so-called
“investigative reporting,” instead of focusing on false Russian disinformation
example, maybe spend some time investigating the Biden family’s ties to Chinese
nationals connected to the communist regime’s military and intelligence
addressed these Russian disinformation issues at length in my committee report
with Senator Johnson as well as right here on the floor of the Senate three or
four times over the course of many months, maybe stretching into more than a
going to do this again even though I’ve got better things to do. If you want every detail, read Section 10 in
our September 23, 2020, report.
On July 13, 2020, then-Minority Leader Schumer, Senator Warner,
Speaker Pelosi and Representative Schiff sent a letter, with a classified
attachment, to the FBI to express a purported belief that Congress was the
subject of a foreign disinformation campaign.
The classified attachment included unclassified elements that
attempted – and failed – to tie our work to Andriy Derkach, a Russian agent.
That document falsely accused us of potentially receiving
material from Derkach. It was pure speculative nonsense that the liberal media
ran with as the truth. Those unclassified elements were leaked to the press to
support a false campaign accusing us of using Russian disinformation.
Then, during the course of our investigation, we ran a
transcribed interview of George Kent.
Before that interview, the Democrats acquired Derkach’s materials.
During that interview, they asked the witness about it. He stated, “What you’re
asking me to interpret is a master chart of disinformation and malign
At that interview, the Democrats introduced known disinformation
into the investigative record as an exhibit. More precisely, the Democrats
relied upon and disseminated known disinformation from a foreign source whom
the Intelligence Community warned was actively seeking to influence U.S.
July 16, then-Ranking Member Wyden and Peters wrote a letter to me and Senator
Johnson asking for a briefing from the Intelligence Community on matters
relating to our investigation.
July 28, 2020, Senator Johnson and I reminded them that the FBI and relevant
members of the Intelligence Community had already briefed the committees in
March 2020 and assured us that there was no reason to discontinue the
August 2020, subsequent to these Democrat-led letters, Senator Johnson and I
had a briefing from the FBI on behalf of the Intelligence Community. However, in
that briefing, the FBI discussed matters that were already known and completely
irrelevant to the substance of our investigation.
FBI also made clear that it was not attempting to – and these are the FBI’s
words – “quash, curtail, or interfere” in the investigation in any way.
talk about an FBI briefing warning us that our investigation into the Biden
family’s financial and business associations was connected to Russian
disinformation is complete nonsense. No such briefing ever happened.
investigation was based on Obama administration government records and records
from a Democrat-aligned lobby shop, Blue Star Strategies. If those records
amount to Russian disinformation then that means the Obama administration dealt
in disinformation every day.
brings me to the ultimate point I wanted to bring to attention today. The FBI
assured me that the August 2020 briefing – which was a pointless briefing that
shouldn’t have happened – would remain confidential.
was concerned that the substance of the briefing, or at least elements relating
to it, would leak, and I knew that once it was, the briefing would be
misreported and used to paint our investigation in a false light.
exactly what happened last week.
the Washington Post failed, the Wall Street Journal got it right in its May 4,
2021, editorial titled, “The
FBI’s Dubious Briefing.” That
editorial began this way:
the FBI set up two Members of Congress for political attack under the guise of
a ‘defensive briefing’? It’s possible, and Senators Ron Johnson and Chuck
Grassley are rightly demanding answers.”
May 3, Senator Johnson and I wrote to FBI Director Christopher Wray and
Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines asking to meet with them to
discuss the August 2020 briefing.
need answers, and we need answers now.
did the FBI and Intelligence Community brief us? Who made the decision?
the briefing, the FBI didn’t even show us what intelligence product formed the
basis of the briefing. I’ll tell you this, even without seeing any paperwork, we
were already aware of everything they talked about that day and it was
unconnected to the substance of our investigation. I asked the FBI whether they
had any new intelligence to share and they didn’t give us a single new
item. So, as far as I’m concerned, the
briefing was totally unnecessary.
on the timeline of events, it appears the briefing was done because the
Democrats wanted it done. Which means it
was a political decision.
Wall Street Journal ended its piece saying:
the FBI was pressured, duped, or actively political, the bureau has again
landed in the center of a partisan fight. Mr. Wray might ask how that keeps
FBI and the Intelligence Community have a lot of explaining to do. We already
know that under Comey the FBI used intelligence briefings as surveillance
operations against Trump and his team. Did the FBI and Intelligence Community also
misuse the briefing process against Congressional members?
Director Wray and Director Haines can answer that and so far they’ve failed to
do so. Their credibility and professionalism are on the line.