Comer Clarifies Claim That House Republicans Lost Track of Biden Informant

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The top Republican on the House Oversight Committee clarified on Monday that an informant the committee had lost touch with isn’t related to the committee’s demand that the FBI hand over internal investigative notes about President Joe Biden.

House Oversight Chair James Comer is leading an investigation of overseas business transactions by companies he alleges benefited Biden’s relatives during and shortly after the years that Biden was Vice President.

Comer has so far failed to show how Biden may have benefited from the payments or how any alleged business dealings by relatives may have impacted Biden’s policy decisions.

He has repeatedly blamed stonewalling by the Biden Administration for why his investigation hasn’t gotten more traction. Then, on Sunday, Comer made the unusual disclosure to Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo that his office has lost touch with an informant in the investigation.

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“Well, unfortunately we can’t track down the informant. We are hopeful the informant is still there,” Comer said, as he described his committee’s demand that the FBI give the committee an internal investigation note, known as an FD-1023, that Comer says contains an allegation of wrongdoing by Joe Biden when he was Vice President.

The remark led to widespread speculation that the missing informant was related to the Oversight committee’s fight with the FBI over handing over internal investigation notes and demands to know what actions, if any, the bureau took to investigate Biden. It also sparked unfounded conspiracy theories online that Biden’s allies had intervened to silence the informant.

Comer’s office clarified on Monday that the informant he lost touch with is unrelated to the FBI records the committee is requesting. Jessica B. Collins, communications director for the House Oversight Committee, told TIME in an email that “the whistleblower who has come forward about the FBI record alleging that then-Vice President Joe Biden engaged in a bribery scheme with a foreign national isn’t missing.” Comer “was referring to another whistleblower regarding the Biden family’s influence peddling schemes,” Collins wrote.

Comer told Bartiromo on Sunday that his committee staff is optimistic that they can reconnect with the informant. “We are hopeful that we can find the informant. Now remember, these informants are kind of in the spy business, so they don’t make a habit of being seen a lot or being high profile or anything like that. We have basic information with respect to what the informant has alleged and it is very serious. It all alleges that Joe Biden when he was Vice President was involved in a quid pro quo with a foreign country in exchange for foreign aid.”

House Republicans have spent months looking into business transactions by Hunter Biden and other relatives of President Joe Biden, but have been unable to show that dealings by Biden relatives with foreign nationals impacted decisions Joe Biden made as Vice President or as President. In a 36-page report released May 10 that cites bank records and financial transactions by Biden relatives, Comer and his GOP colleagues alleged a “pattern of influence peddling.” Comer and his fellow Republicans said they will continue to investigate.

House Democrats on the committee pushed back on the report. Without evidence of Joe Biden’s involvement, “Chairman Comer has resorted to crude guilt-by-association and innuendo smear tactics,” read a memo from Democratic staff on the committee.

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