FBI Deputy Director Admits Redacting Mention of Joe and Hunter Biden Recordings in Document Shown to Congress

FBI Deputy Director Admits Redacting Mention of Joe and Hunter Biden Recordings in Document Shown to Congress
FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate speaks during a press conference at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington on Oct. 26, 2021. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate has admitted that the agency redacted parts of a document it handed over to Republican lawmakers last week that the GOP says contained references to alleged audio recordings between a Burisma executive and President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.

Abbate made the admission during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on June 13 while being questioned by Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.).

The hearing came after an FBI informant claimed in an unclassified FD-1023 form that the then-vice president was involved in a $5 million “bribery scheme with a foreign national in exchange for certain actions.” The informant alleged that another $5 million payment was also made to Hunter Biden.

Members of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee last week viewed the FBI informant’s report after the FBI initially declined their request, prompting a congressional subpoena.

Republicans said the unclassified document contained a redacted reference to the recordings, which allegedly include 15 phone conversations between the executive of Burisma Holdings and Hunter Biden, who sat on the board of the Ukrainian natural gas firm.

It also included two phone calls between the executive and then-Vice President Joe Biden, according to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).

The FBI informant alleges that the Bidens were involved in the alleged bribery scheme around 2015, however, the document only came to light earlier this year after a whistleblower notified Grassley about its existence. Grassley then informed House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) who is leading the House probe into the Biden family’s foreign business dealings.

Joe Biden Hunter Biden
President Joe Biden, with son Hunter Biden, arrives at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse, N.Y., on Feb. 4, 2023. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)

Redactions Made to ‘Protect Source’

Blackburn repeatedly questioned Abbate over the redactions during Monday’s hearing, which took place on the same day that former President Donald Trump appeared in a Miami court and pleaded not guilty to 37 counts of charges in the federal government’s classified document case.

Abbate defended the decision to limit what Republicans saw in the document while also dismissing Blackburn’s claims that the FBI has become politicized.

“Is your job to defend and shield Joe Biden or is your job to protect this country and the constitution of the United States? Which is it?” Blackburn asked, to which Abbate responded that the agency’s job was to “protect the country, keep people safe, and uphold the constitution of our great country … objectively.”

Explaining the redactions after initially attempting to skirt the question, Abbate stated, “We often redact documents to protect sources and methods.”

“I have no idea if there are voice recordings or not,” Abbate said, adding, “What I will tell you with respect to the document, the document was redacted to protect the source, as everyone knows—and this is a question of life and death, potentially.”

“I think it would be helpful when you came before us if you were willing to answer the questions, it would help to remove the perception that the American people have—they see you do it every day—and that is politicizing the FBI and using it against the American people who don’t happen to be named Biden, Clinton, or one of the elites,” Blackburn responded.

NTD Photo
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) questions Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, former head of security at Twitter, during a Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on Sept. 13, 2022. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

‘Where’s the Money?’

Following Tuesday’s hearing, Blackburn led a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland calling on him to appoint a special counsel to investigate any potential wrongdoing by Biden and his family in their business dealings.

The letter was co-signed by Sens. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and accused the Department of Justice of having “blatantly ignored the credible allegations of President Biden’s and his family’s corruption.”

The FBI informant claims that the owner of Burisma paid $5 million to Hunter Biden and $5 million to “another Biden” for the sole purpose of ousting Ukrainian prosecutor-general Viktor Shokin, who was planning to investigate Burisma Holdings.

Shokin was fired in 2016 following allegations of corruption, roughly one month after Biden threatened then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to pull $1 billion in guaranteed loans to Ukraine unless Shokin was immediately fired.

The informant also alleged that Hunter Biden was hired in 2014 to “make the problems go away” with Shokin.

Hunter Biden has been under federal investigation for alleged tax fraud, lobbying crimes, and money laundering since 2018. In December 2020, he confirmed that his business deals were being investigated but said at the time that he was “confident that a professional and objective review of these matters will demonstrate that I handled my affairs legally and appropriately.”

Meanwhile, President Biden has repeatedly denied allegations of bribery.

Questioned over the bribery allegations during a press conference with the UK’s Prime Minister at the White House on June 8, Biden responded, “Where’s the money? I’m joking. It’s a bunch of malarkey.”

The Epoch Times has contacted the White House for further comment.

Samantha Flom contributed to this report. 

From The Epoch Times

ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.