Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and Chuck Grassley have sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray, demanding an update on the investigation into possible violations regarding the sale of aborted fetal tissue by Planned Parenthood and its partners in the biomedical research industry.
According to a press release, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Graham (SC) and his predecessor Grassley (IA), current chairman of the Committee on Finance, wrote to Barr and Wray Tuesday, seeking an update on the federal investigation that was supposedly launched in 2017.
“Preventing the illegal sale of human fetal tissue remains a priority for the Committee,” the letter stated. “In furtherance of the Committee’s ongoing oversight of this issue, the Committee asks that you answer the following questions no later than July 2, 2019.”
Graham and Grassley requested answers to these questions:
- Has the FBI taken any action on the criminal referrals submitted by then-Chairman Grassley?
- If the FBI has taken action, please provide an update to the Committee.
- If the FBI has not taken action, please explain the justification for not doing so.
- Are there any other investigative updates related to this matter that the FBI can share with the Committee at this time?”
In December 2017, Stephen Boyd, Justice Department assistant attorney general for Legislative Affairs, formally requested unredacted documents from the Senate Judiciary Committee’s investigation into allegations that Planned Parenthood and its partners in biomedical companies engaged in the sale of the body parts of aborted babies for profit.
Boyd wrote in the letter obtained by Fox News:
The Department of Justice appreciates the offer of assistance in obtaining these materials, and would like to request the Committee provide unredacted copies of records contained in the report, in order to further the Department’s ability to conduct a thorough and comprehensive assessment of that report based on the full range of information available.
“At this point, the records are intended for investigative use only—we understand that a resolution from the Senate may be required if the Department were to use any of the unredacted materials in a formal legal proceeding, such as a grand jury,” he added.
In September 2017, the FBI’s assistant director of the Office of Congressional Affairs sent a letter to Grassley informing him the agency was in receipt of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s criminal referrals of Planned Parenthood and its partners in the fetal tissue procurement industry.
“We can confirm the Criminal Investigative Division (CID) of FBI Headquarters received your referrals and sent them to the relevant FBI field offices for review and whatever action is deemed appropriate,” the FBI’s Gregory Brower also wrote to Grassley in June 2017.
In his correspondence, Brower apologized to Grassley “for the delay in responding to [his] inquiry” and indicated receipt of the chairman’s letter, dated April 24, to both former FBI Director James Comey and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions “concerning criminal referrals [he] made on December 13, 2016, to the FBI and Department of Justice.”
Both the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives conducted expansive investigations into Planned Parenthood and its partners in the biomedical procurement industry. The investigations concerned allegations of the sale of fetal body parts for profit that arose from an undercover video series exposé by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), led by journalist David Daleiden.
However, both the Senate and House investigations involved extensive analyses of documents from biomedical companies and Planned Parenthood that were obtained independently from the video exposé.
The Senate Judiciary Committee referred Planned Parenthood to both the FBI and the Justice Department for investigation and possible criminal prosecution.
“I don’t take lightly making a criminal referral,” Grassley said in 2016. “But, the seeming disregard for the law by these entities has been fueled by decades of utter failure by the Justice Department to enforce it.”
“And, unless there is a renewed commitment by everyone involved against commercializing the trade in aborted fetal body parts for profit, then the problem is likely to continue,” the former Judiciary Committee chairman said.
The sale or purchase of human fetal tissue is a felony punishable by up to ten years in prison or a fine of up to $500,000 (42 U.S.C. 289g-2).
Based on its findings, the Judiciary Committee’s Majority Staff Report concluded that Planned Parenthood’s partners in the biomedical procurement industry paid the abortion chain’s affiliates for the body parts of aborted babies “and then sold the fetal tissue to their respective customers at substantially higher prices than their documented costs.”
Planned Parenthood and its political and media allies have continued the narrative that the extensive video footage produced by CMP documenting the alleged haggling over the sales of aborted baby body parts was “deceptively edited.”
However, in January, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals vindicated CMP, debunking Planned Parenthood’s smear that the videos were manipulated.