James Comer

Rep. James Comer

Screenshot from NBC-TV

The GOP-led House Oversight Committee's effort to impeach President Joe Biden is effectively over after its chairman, Rep. James Comer (R-KY), failed to find any smoking gun evidence directly tying Biden to any crime. Now, a Washington-based ethics watchdog group is accusing Comer of capitalizing on his unsuccessful impeachment saga.

In an official letter to the Office of Congressional Ethics, a nonprofit anti-corruption group is now requesting an update on whether the Kentucky Republican followed the law and requested prior approval for a book deal currently being negotiated with publishers.

"Throughout his entire investigation, Representative Comer has used his role as Chairman of the House Oversight Committee for personal and political gain. He has been a frequent guest on conservative news channels pushing conspiracy theories and lies about his investigation and has used this impeachment inquiry to fundraise for his campaign," read the letter from Congressional Integrity Project executive director Kyle Herrig. "The new reporting about a potential book deal is troubling as it appears Representative Comer is planning on using his unique position as Oversight Chair to turn a profit."

Herrig noted in his letter that under House Rule 25, members of Congress have to first have any members receive authorization from the Ethics Committee before they can reap financial rewards from copyright royalties like those for a typical book publishing contract.

"As Representative Comer continues to hold hearings and attempts to build the case to impeach President Biden, the American people deserve to know the extent to which he is benefiting financially," the letter continued. "It is clear already that he has a political motive to impeach the President and it should be revealed if he has a financial motive as well."

The New Republic reported that Comer has admitted that actual articles of impeachment are not likely from his committee, and that the most Republicans could expect would be a criminal referral to the Department of Justice. And while DOJ special counsel David Weiss is already investigating Biden's son, Hunter, for alleged tax-related crimes, an additional indictment of Biden himself is unlikely to emerge from any referral by the Oversight Committee.

"Recent reporting revealed that Representative Comer has been in talks with at least one publisher regarding a book on his impeachment inquiry into President Biden," Herrig wrote in his letter, adding that "Representative Comer and his Republican colleagues have spent the past 15 months relentlessly investigating the president and his family and failed to find any evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden let alone anything impeachable."

Comer's attempt to have Biden impeached was largely based on allegations within an FBI informant report in which Biden and his son were said to have solicited $10 million in bribes from the Ukrainian government. However, the author of that report, 43-year-old Alexander Smirnov, was later indicted for lying to the FBI about those allegations.

Smirnov was also subsequently indicted for attempting to flee prosecution. The disgraced former FBI informant was alleged to have had contact with "high-ranking" members of Russian intelligence agencies who sought to sow disinformation ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

Former Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), who left Congress last month after a surprise early retirement announcement, admitted Smirnov's indictment essentially rendered the GOP's efforts to impeach Biden fruitless.

"We were warned at the time that we received the document outlining this witness' testimony — we were warned that the credibility of this statement was not known," Buck told CNN host Caitlan Collins. "And yet, people — my colleagues — went out and talked to the public about how this was credible, and how it was damning. And how it proved President Biden's — at the time, Vice President Biden's — complicity in receiving bribes. It appears to absolutely be false and to really undercut the nature of the charges."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

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Lev Parnas

Former President Donald Trump with former Giuliani aide Lev Parnas

The House Republicans’ impeachment investigation into President Joe Biden was dealt another significant blow when former Rudy Giuliani aide Lev Parnas, known as his Ukraine “fixer,” during a televised hearing declared two current Republican lawmakers were “doing the bidding” of Russia.

Parnas testified that Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), who was present at the hearing as his name was mentioned, and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), “were doing the bidding for the Russians.”

The ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), asked Parnas, “At what point did Mr. Giuliani begin working directly with Russian agents and Russian assets? Individuals who would later become sanctioned by Donald Trump’s own Treasury Department for spreading propaganda and disinformation against Joe Biden.”

Parnas said, “probably around May, June of 2019.”

Parnas also said “absolutely,” when asked if he and Giuliani were “aware that these people were basically just doing the bidding of Vladimir Putin?”

“So he had no hesitation about spreading lies that were concocted by Russian agents?” Raskin asked.

“As long as it fit the narrative. Absolutely not,” Parnas answered.

“How were you and Giuliani able to take these false allegations peddled by corrupt officials and Russian agents and promote and amplify them here in the United States in our political system? Weren’t media groups skeptical of your claims?” Raskin continued.

That’s when Parnas dropped the bombshell.

“Most media groups I’d probably say all, except for Fox and a few other right-wing media groups, didn’t want to take any of the information and that aggravated Rudy Giuliani and John Solomon, him and other players. And the main group that was being pushed through was Fox, Sean Hannity and some other media personalities over there.”

“But then there was also other people that were doing the bidding for the Russian people, in Congress,” Parnas continued, “like Senator Ron Johnson, like Congressman Pete Sessions, that sits here right now there, was with me from the very beginning of this journey into finding, digging dirt on Joe Biden.”

(In 2019 The New Yorker's award-winning investigative journalist Jane Mayer reported, “no journalist played a bigger part in fuelling the Biden corruption narrative than John Solomon, who until last week was an opinion columnist and executive vice-president of The Hill, in Washington.”)

During his opening statement, Parnas also indicted Republicans.

“Everything was for the ultimate benefit of Donald Trump and thereby Vladimir Putin. Because the team’s investigations were centered around Biden and Ukraine, I was designated the point person in every matter they pursued,” Parnas said. “That is how that is how I know with certainty that these Biden stories are untrue then and are untrue now. Congressman Pete Sessions, then Congressman Devin Nunes, Senator Ron Johnson, and many others understood they’re pushing a false narrative.”

“The same goes for John Solomon, Sean Hannity, and media personnel, particularly at Fox News, who used this narrative to manipulate the public ahead of the 2020 elections. Sadly, they’re still doing this today as we approach the 2024 elections. We cannot separate this conspiracy from the Russian-Ukraine war because Trump has no intention to keep aiding Ukraine.”

“Without the support of the United States and NATO, millions in Ukraine will suffer and die. If we allow Russia to defeat Ukraine eventually that suffering will reach American shores. Today, I admit my own wrongdoings. I have been convicted of federal election campaign and fraud crimes and served my sentence. I do not hide that from reality. It is part of my truth. Despite rigorous attempts by those in power to silence me. I will be silenced no longer.”

The Lincoln Project’s co-founder, Mike Madrid, responded to Parnas’ opening statement: “Pete Sessions. Devin Nunes. Ron Johnson. Sean Hannity. Traitors.”

Calling Republicans “a national security risk,” political strategist Rachel Bitecofer wrote: “House Republicans knew their source was a Russian asset, the same House Republicans did the same thing during the Ukraine blackmail impeachment where intel told them their info was Russian disinformation but they used it anyway.”

Watch the videos at this link.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.