by Margot Cleveland
The Delaware U.S. attorney’s office received a detailed briefing that established the FD-1023 implicating Hunter and Joe Biden in a Ukrainian bribery scandal was not Russian disinformation and was not sourced to Rudy Giuliani, according to a transcribed interview of former Pittsburgh U.S. Attorney Scott Brady. Yet the Delaware U.S. attorney’s office seemingly ignored the work undertaken by the Pittsburgh office and acted with willful blindness to the evidence implicating the now-president and his son.
Last Monday, Brady sat for a transcribed interview before the House Judiciary Committee. Over the course of some six hours of questioning, the committee elicited testimony revealing the Pittsburgh office’s diligence in tackling the task given by former Attorney General Willam Barr: to screen evidence presented to the Department of Justice related to Ukraine.
The public has known for some time, thanks to Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and IRS whistleblowers, that the Pittsburgh-based U.S. attorney’s office had provided the Delaware office information about an FD-1023 that summarized a “highly credible” confidential human source’s reporting that Hunter and Joe Biden pressured Ukrainian energy company Burisma to pay them each $5 million in bribes.
More recently, IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley revealed that Delaware Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) Lesley Wolf had refused to accept a briefing from the Pittsburgh office until ordered to do so by Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General (PADAG) Rich Donoghue. According to Shapley, Wolf wanted nothing to do with the Pittsburgh-based U.S. attorney’s office because she believed that no information from that office could be credible, having, in her mind, originated from Giuliani.
However, the FD-1023 was unconnected to Giuliani. And Brady’s testimony, a transcript of which The Federalist has reviewed, confirms the briefing to Wolf made that point clear. Brady testified that in briefing Wolf, his lead AUSAs told her the FD-1023 “was from a credible CHS that had a history with the FBI, and that it was not derived from any of the information from Mr. Giuliani.” Further, in the briefing, the Pittsburgh AUSAs informed the Delaware U.S. attorney’s office they believed the FD-1023 had indicia of credibility that merited further investigation.
Brady’s testimony also revealed many other facets of the briefing. For instance, Brady explained it was “a substantive briefing” of the information his team had screened and had concluded was credible — or had some indicia of credibility — and which they “thought would be of interest to them or that they should investigate further…” Brady reiterated that in the briefing, the Pittsburgh AUSAs shared information they had vetted that they believed “required further analysis, further investigation, including using the tools of a grand jury,” and that included the FD-1023.
While the focus of many of the questions concerned the FD-1023, Brady confirmed the October briefing to the Delaware U.S. attorney’s office included other materials too. Brady did not elaborate on what other evidence his team gave U.S. Attorney David Weiss’s team. Though from Brady’s testimony, it appears his office also screened evidence that suggested the potential involvement of the Ukrainian PrivatBank, so that seems like one possibility.
The Judiciary Committee also elicited testimony from Brady that during the briefing, the Pittsburgh U.S. attorney’s office detailed the investigative steps they had taken. “What we were doing was, as a part of the briefing, giving them the investigative steps that we had taken within our limited ability to corroborate the information provided by the CHS,” Brady explained.
While Brady’s attorney would only allow him to speak at a high level about the investigative steps, even from an elevated perch the summary makes clear the briefing should have impelled the Delaware U.S. attorney’s office to action.
Among other things, in screening the evidence, Brady’s team looked to corroborate information in the FD-1023 — for instance, relating to travel and the purchase of a North American oil and gas company by Burisma. In explaining their screening process, Brady noted they could look at public financial filings and media reports, including foreign reporting they had translated.
Brady also confirmed that the Pittsburgh FBI office obtained travel records of the CHS and that they “interfaced with the CHS’s handler about certain statements relating to travel and meetings to see if they were consistent with his or her understanding.” What they were able to identify, Brady testified, was consistent with the CHS’s representations in the FD-1023.
The Pittsburgh-based team of prosecutors also identified many potential witnesses related to Ukrainian corruption, Brady testified, with some in Ukraine and others in the United States. Brady explained his investigators interviewed some state-side witnesses, confirming that the screening process went much beyond interviewing Giuliani.
Significantly, Brady explained that in screening the evidence, his office vetted the FD-1023 and the CHS “against known sources of Russian disinformation.” To conduct that analysis, his team worked with the Eastern District of New York. “It was found that it was not sourced from Russian disinformation,” Brady told the House Judiciary Committee.
Also important was Brady’s reference to being tasked by Barr to coordinate with the “intelligence services,” which resulted in the Pittsburgh U.S. attorney’s office “interfacing” with intelligence agencies to vet the evidence that was eventually relayed to Delaware.
As Brady put it, we “developed work streams through discussions with other, either components within DOJ or other federal agencies to run certain things to ground.”
Not only did the Pittsburgh U.S. attorney’s office give the Delaware office a summary of the information screened, investigative steps taken, and corroborating evidence, but Brady’s team identified investigative leads for Weiss’s office.