FBI Director denies knowledge of Biden bribery tapes

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 02: FBI Deputy Director Paul M. Abbate speaks at a news conference at the U.S. Department of Justice on May 02, 2023 in Washington, DC. Alongside Attorney General Merrick Garland, Abbate updated reporters on the department's investigative operation targeting fentanyl and opioid traffickers on the Darknet. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
FBI Deputy Director Paul M. Abbate speaks at a news conference at the U.S. Department of Justice on May 02, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

OAN’s Noah Herring
12:56 PM – Wednesday, June 14, 2023

FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday denying any knowledge of a potential audio recording revealing a “criminal bribery scheme” between a Ukrainian businessman and then-Vice President Joe Biden.

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“I have no idea if there are voice recordings or not,” Abbate told Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) on Tuesday during questioning before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) accused the FBI of redacting information on the recordings from an informant file that alleged a $5 million bribery scheme, which was opened up to the House Oversight Committee members to read last week. 

Grassley alleged that there were 15 tapes detailing Joe and his son Hunter being bribed from 2015 to 2016 by a Ukrainian businessman who has kept them for “insurance.”

“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,” Abbate said, describing the blacked-out information in the bureau’s FD-1023 report.

Mykola Zlochevsky, the Ukrainian businessman who owns Burisma, was the “foreign national” involved in the reported “criminal bribery scheme” that is detailed in the FBI form. In that form, Zlochevsky referred to Joe Biden as the “big guy” during a conversation that was recorded several years before the June 2020 date of the bureau document, according to sources familiar with the FBI record. 

Blackburn swiftly fired off questions, pressing Abbate on the FBI’s redaction of the FD-1023.

“Why did you decide to conceal the information in that revelation to the House Oversight Committee? Why did you redact all of that pertaining to the phone calls?” Blackburn asked, while Abbate dodged the question. “You chose not to reveal that the calls were there, and Sen. Grassley found it out anyway — is that accurate? You chose to redact it — yes or no?”

“We often redact documents to protect sources and methods,” Abbate said.

“So you chose to redact the fact that there are 17 voice records, two of those with the now-president, you chose to redact that and not to give that to House Oversight,” Blackburn argued. “Is that accurate?”

Abbate responded by continuously denying any knowledge of the audio files. 

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) also drilled Abbate with questions, asking “Is it true that the FBI has a report making those allegations.”

“I’m not going to comment on that, senator,” and, when asked why, he added “I’m just not going to comment on information we’ve received, investigations, or ongoing matters,” Abbate responded.

“Do you owe an obligation to the American people to be candid about evidence of corruption by the president of the United States?” Cruz asked.

“This is an area that I’m not going to get into with you, senator,” Abbate answered.

The document allegedly describes how the Bidens were paid bribes to carry out interests of Zlochevsky, who hired Hunter Biden to serve on the board of directors for Burisma. Joe Biden reportedly pushed to out Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Viktor Shokin, who was fired in 2016 for $5 million in return. 

When asked about knowledge of the tapes on Tuesday, President Joe Biden stopped, turned, and smirked, chuckling as he left the room, according to The New York Post.

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