Tag: james comer
James Comer

'Political Huckster' Comer Is Exposed In Raucous Contempt Hearing

The fur was flying in a contentious hearing Thursday night as the House Oversight and Investigations Committee passed a resolution to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress. Democrats, with some help from GOP Chair James Comer, exposed the purely political motives behind this attack on Merrick and President Joe Biden over the White House’s refusal to turn over audio and video recordings from Biden’s interview with special counsel Robert Hur.

The White House claimed executive privilege on the Hur recordings, with counsel Ed Siskel saying in a letter to Congress that the GOP lawmakers had no legitimate legislative purpose and that their intent in getting the recording was obvious—“to chop them up, distort them, and use them for partisan political purposes.”

Comer proved exactly that Thursday just before the hearing, sending out a fundraising appeal—using his Oversight Committee title—declaring that “Biden and his advisors are terrified that I will release the recordings, forcing the media and Democrats to answer for the dismal decline of Biden’s mental state.”

The top Democrat on the committee, Rep. Jamie Raskin, blasted Comer in his opening statement. “I thought you were serious about the legal enterprise here and not just another political huckster calling hearings to make a buck.”

Democratic Rep. Jared Moskowitz of Florida provided a must-see “spirited reading” of Comer’s fundraising pitch, after pointing out that the hearing had been delayed so that GOP members could make a pilgrimage to Manhattan to attend Donald Trump’s hush money trial. He noted that the pitch came from “the desk of the Oversight Chairman,” adding “I’m not sure you can do that, but I’m not an ethics expert.”

It was downhill from Republicans after that, largely thanks to the antics of—who else—Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene who threw the process into chaos with a personal attack on Democratic Rep. Jasmine Crockett of Texas, jibing “I think your fake eyelashes are messing up what you’re reading.”

The ensuing fight lasted nearly an hour, with Comer struggling to regain order, and culminated in a vote on whether to allow Greene to continue to participate. It ended in a party-line 22-20 vote, with one exception: Greene’s arch nemesis Rep. Lauren Boebert voted with Democrats to muffle Greene.

To get a sense of how surreal the whole mess was, there’s this: “I just want to apologize to the American people,” Boebert said. “When things get as heated as they have, unfortunately, it’s an embarrassment on our body as a whole.”

The whole debacle, one Democrat suggested, was fueled by the booze certain members consumed before the hearing—and an audience of lawmakers drinking during it. One panel member claimed “we have some members in the room who are drinking inside the hearing room, who are not members of this hearing.”

The crass politics of Comer, the Greene chaos, the partying—it’s all a reflection on just how low the GOP has sunk. It’s also making Speaker Mike Johnson’s job that much harder. Because the hardliners are going to push him to hold a vote on the contempt resolution, and some of the more moderate—and vulnerable—Republicans don’t want to go anywhere near it.

Republican Rep. David Joyce of Illinois is one of them, telling Politico that Congress has “important” work to do “but going after the attorney general isn’t one of them.”

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

James Comer

Comer Seeking Book Deal On Failed Biden Impeachment

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.

James Comer

Hapless Oversight Chair Keeps Digging 'Dirt' On Biden

The Biden impeachment resolution the House GOP unanimously approved last December has hilariously collapsed (Russian moles, sawdust “cocaine”), but that’s not stopping the utterly inept Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, from throwing spaghetti at the wall to make something stick. The chair of the House Oversight Committee made it clear that his intention is to amass as much “evidence” of alleged wrongdoing as he can, with an eye toward setting up criminal prosecutions for a hypothetical Trump presidency.

“Since January 2023, we’ve launched investigations into President Biden’s border crisis, energy crisis, federal pandemic spending, federal agency telework policies, abuse of power at the FTC, the Bidens’ corrupt influence peddling schemes, the federal government’s efforts to combat CCP influence, and more,” Comer told Politico.

Those investigations, he promised, “will culminate in reports with our findings and recommended solutions to prevent government waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement.” Expect that to be as solid as all the previous work from him and his fellow MAGA zealot Rep. Jim Jordan, chair of the Judiciary Committee.

The “and more” Comer referred to includes such burning questions as the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic (which occurred under Trump) and the administration’s use of theStrategic Petroleum Reserve. Comer has made it clear that this volley of attacks is designed to generate criminal referrals.

“I want to hold the Biden family accountable. I believe the best way to hold the Biden family accountable is through criminal referrals. We’ve proven many crimes have been committed,” Comer told Fox News’ Trey Gowdy. “If the Merrick Garland Department of Justice will not hold this family accountable, then maybe if Trump is president, a Trey Gowdy Department of Justice can hold this family accountable.”

The Comer oversight overreach extends to a threat to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt if he doesn’t turn over the audio tapes of the interview special counsel Robert Hur conducted with President Biden in his classified documents probe. That’s after the disastrous hearing Jordan and Comer held last month, intended to show that Biden is too old and doddery to be trusted as commander in chief.

That backfired when the Justice Department released the transcript of the Biden interview, which showed that Biden’s memory was not failing, and in fact Hur remarked on Biden’s “photographic understanding and, and recall of the house” in Delaware where documents were found. But Comer and Jordan—who have been given free rein by GOP leadership to continue to embarrass them all—are sure that they can find some nugget of a cover-up on the part of Garland in all of this.

Mostly, though, they want to help Trump in his revenge plots. So they’re just going to keep burrowing into the hole they’ve dug. They could quit while they’re behind, but the need to avenge Trump just won’t let them.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

GOP Oversight Chair Refuses To Probe Kushner's Mideast 'Influence Peddling'

GOP Oversight Chair Refuses To Probe Kushner's Mideast 'Influence Peddling'

Last year House Oversight Committee chairman James Comer acknowledged former President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House advisor Jared Kushner had “crossed the line” when he accepted $2 billion in foreign investment funds from the government of Saudi Arabia as he started up a private investment firm just months after leaving the White House.

Now, Rep. Comer (R-KY) says he will not open an investigation into any possible wrongdoing, Huffpost reports, despite top Democrats alleging Kushner engaged in “apparent influence peddling and quid pro quo deals.”

On Tuesday, the top Democrat on Comer’s Oversight Committee, ranking member Jamie Raskin, and Democrat Robert Garcia (D-CA), the ranking member on the Subcommittee on National Security, the Border, and Foreign Affairs, formally requested Comer “convene a hearing regarding Jared Kushner’s apparent influence peddling and quid pro quo deals involving investments in exchange for official actions and to examine the resulting threats to our national security.”

“This Committee cannot claim to be ‘investigating foreign nationals’ attempts to target and coerce high-ranking U.S. officials’ family members by providing money or other benefits in exchange for certain actions while continuing to ignore these matters,” Raskin and Garcia wrote. “We therefore urge you to work with us to finally investigate Mr. Kushner’s receipt of billions of dollars from foreign governments in deals that appear to be quid pro quos for actions he undertook as senior White House adviser in Donald Trump’s Administration.”

The American people are deeply concerned about these business dealings and Mr. Kushner’s apparent influence peddling. We must address

those concerns with a fair, impartial, and public process to understand the truth and to institute meaningful reforms to safeguard public confidence in our executive branch.”

The two Democrats in their letter say their “request comes in light of allegations that Jared Kushner is pursuing new foreign business deals, just as Donald Trump becomes the presumptive Republican nominee for the presidency. Last year, well before these new allegations came to light, Chairman Comer had already conceded that Jared Kushner’s conduct ‘crossed the line of ethics’ and promised that the Oversight Committee would ‘have some questions for Trump and some of his family members, including Jared Kushner.'”

Raskin and Garcia paint a picture of “Kushner’s pattern of profiting off of his time in the White House.”

Citing The New York Times (apparently this article), they write, “Jared Kushner was closing in on investments in Albania and Serbia, leveraging relationships he built during his time as a senior adviser in his father-in-law’s White House. Reportedly, Mr. Kushner is considering an investment on the site of the former Yugoslav Ministry of Defense.”

“Mr. Kushner is reportedly being advised by Richard Grenell, another former senior Trump Administration official who served as U.S. Ambassador to Germany and, concomitantly, as ‘special envoy for peace negotiations between Serbia and Kosovo.’ Mr. Grenell reportedly ‘pushed a related plan’ for redevelopment of the same site during his time in the Trump Administration.”

“In pursuing investment opportunities in Albania, Mr. Grenell and Mr. Kushner have been openly leveraging their relationship with Edi Rama, the Prime Minister of Albania. While Commander-in-Chief, President Trump received unconstitutional payments from Prime Minister Rama and other senior Albanian government officials who spent thousands of dollars at theTrump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., over three separate stays,” Raskin and Garcia write.

They also allege, “Mr. Kushner successfully overruled State Department officials, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, to make President Trump’s first foreign trip as President to Saudi Arabia. Mr. Kushner personally intervened to inflate the value of a U.S.-Saudi arms deal and to finalize the deal President Trump signed, which was worth $110 billion. Mr. Kushner

also provided diplomatic cover and support to the Crown Prince after the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi, an American permanent resident and journalist. Mr. Khashoggi’s murder was assessed by American Intelligence to have been approved by the Crown Prince himself.”

Despite their extensive allegations, Comer is refusing to open an investigation.

“Unlike the Bidens, Jared Kushner has a legitimate business and has a career as a business executive that predates Donald Trump’s political career,” Comer said, as HuffPost reports. “Democrats’ latest letter is part of their playbook to shield President Biden from oversight.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.