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The GOP impeachment inquiry leader’s casual lies

When Representative Adam B. Schiff (Democrat of California) was censured by the House earlier this year, one of those who supported the motion was Representative James Comer (Republican of Kentucky).

Schiff was criticized by the Republican majority – which included all 213 votes in favor of the measure – for allegedly spreading disinformation and taking advantage of his committee chairmanship, a position of “extreme trust.” This set a precedent that Comer might eventually regret, given his own propensity to exaggerate information.

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On Wednesday, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee appeared on Newsmax for an interview about his committee’s efforts to assess the business activity of President Biden’s son, Hunter, and any possible connections to the president himself . During the interview, Comer made a number of claims that were not supported by publicly available evidence, contradicted by other parties, or blatantly false.

The basis for the discussion was House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)’s announcement Tuesday that he was authorizing an impeachment inquiry targeting Biden. Comer’s committee will help take the lead in the investigation, prompting Newsmax host Rob Finnerty to ask for an update on what is likely to happen next.

“Well, we’re more than likely headed to court,” Comer responded. “We requested the bank statements of Hunter Biden and (the president’s brother) Jim Biden early on, and obviously we never received a response. We’ll ask them again this week.

A few hours later, Father Lowell, Hunter Biden’s lawyer, sent a letter to Comer disputing this assertion. According to Lowell, Comer wrote to Hunter Biden in early February requesting information. Lowell responded the next day, offering, according to Lowell, “to sit down with you and your staff, including the ranking member and his staff, to see if Mr. Biden has any information that could inform a legitimate legislative purpose and be useful to the Committee. .”

“You never responded to that offer,” Lowell continued. In a statement given to Politico, an Oversight Committee spokesperson said Lowell was “splitting hairs” and that “Hunter Biden did not provide these documents and communications.”

On Newsmax, Comer predicted the case would end up in court. Then he continued:

“We have already argued that his family was receiving more than $20 million from bad people living in countries hostile to the United States,” he said. “And we don’t know why. Joe Biden has never said exactly what his family did to earn a cent of that $21 million.

The Washington Post fact-checking team evaluated the “$20 million” claim, determining that less than $8 million went to a member of Biden’s family, largely Hunter Biden. The assessment of partners as “bad people” in “bad countries” is certainly subjective; for what it’s worth, at least some of the money came from a Ukrainian company.

Comer and his allies have for some time relied on the idea that Hunter Biden’s work was nebulous. This is doubly useful, because it implies both that he simply received money for another reason and as a way to differentiate his efforts from the international negotiations of Donald Trump’s family. But Comer heard what Hunter Biden did in at least one case. His former business partner Devon Archer testified that Hunter Biden, then working for D.C.-based Boies Schiller, was initially hired by Ukrainian energy company Burisma to serve as legal counsel before joining the board.

In an email to Archer, Biden wrote that he thought the two men “could actually have real value here: developing relationships, bringing American expertise to the company, providing strategic advice on policy and the assessment of geopolitical risks”. It is certainly not a question of building branded hotels, but it is not unheard of.

On Newsmax, Comer then discussed two messages in which the payments to Joe Biden were discussed in vague terms. The watchdog’s president probably assumed, correctly, that viewers would be familiar with the references, although it’s unclear how significant they might be.

The host then asked Comer why he didn’t just subpoena Hunter Biden to testify.

“Hunter Biden is more than welcome before the committee if he wants to clear his name,” Comer said in his response. “If he wants to come out and say, you know, these weren’t 20 shell companies, they actually did something.”

This too has been explained. Comer and other Biden critics like to refer to a number of companies created by Hunter Biden and his partners as “shell companies,” mainly because it seems sketchy. But The Post evaluated these companies and determined that most — but not all — had clear legitimate goals.

The host and Comer discussed the utility of issuing a subpoena to Hunter Biden. Eventually, Comer returned to the position of president.

“What we found out over the last few weeks is that (Hunter Biden) was communicating with the government about Ukraine policy,” he said, “which is a huge problem for Joe Biden.”

It is not clear what Comer is referring to. It may be the allegation he made on Newsmax last month that Joe Biden was sending his son coded advice, an allegation that The Post completely debunked. It’s more likely that he’s referring to an exchange between a Biden associate and a member of the then-vice president’s communications staff about how each planned to respond to reporters’ questions about Hunter Biden’s work in Ukraine. Categorizing this as Hunter Biden talking policy to the government is, to say the least, a stretch.

Detailing all of this can certainly seem tedious or nitpicky, especially since similar allegations are made regularly by others. But – as Comer indicated with his vote targeting Schiff – it is important that elected leaders make honest representations of what they have learned and not falsely characterize their opponents.

It is fair to question Hunter Biden’s business activity and assess any ties to the president. One would hope, however, that the results of these assessments will be presented accurately – including exculpatory findings, such as Archer’s insistence that Joe Biden was not involved in their business efforts.

This might make the Newsmax appearance less popular, but so be it.


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