Sep 11, 2023
As the House Returns to Session, Ranking Member Raskin Releases Statement on the ‘Overwhelming Failure’ of Republicans’ ‘Top Priority’ Investigation
Washington, D.C. (September 11, 2023)—Today, Rep. Jamie Raskin, Ranking Member of the Committee on Oversight and Accountability, released the following statement on the status of Republicans’ failed investigation of President Biden as the House prepares to come back into session:
“By August 2021, in the first six months of the 117th Congress, House Democrats had helped kickstart our nation’s economy with the American Rescue Plan and passed a budget with historic investments in working families. We went on to pass legislation to reduce drug and energy costs, address the climate crisis, bring jobs back to America, and rebuild our country’s infrastructure with groundbreaking laws like the Inflation Reduction Act, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Even in the first six months of the 116th Congress, when Donald Trump was in the White House, the House Democratic Majority delivered meaningful reform for the American people by working across the aisle to pass more than 20 bills that were signed into law, including funding to end a 35-day government shutdown caused by Trump and congressional Republicans, legislation to help veterans and victims of natural disasters, and landmark enactments preserving public lands for future generations.
“By contrast, the first MAGA-directed Congress is by far the most reckless and least productive in decades. After holding the American economy hostage by threatening to default on America’s financial obligations, House Republicans are now eagerly pushing the government to the brink of a shutdown. Instead of working on legislation to promote the common good or even just keep the government running, House Republicans are weaponizing their offices and exploiting congressional power and resources to promote debunked and outlandish conspiracy theories about President Biden. This is a transparent effort to boost Donald Trump’s campaign by establishing a false moral equivalency between Trump—the four time-indicted former president now facing 91 federal and state criminal charges, based on a mountain of damning evidence for a shocking range of felonies, including lying to the FBI, endangering national security by illegally keeping classified documents, and conspiring to subvert the U.S. Constitution—and President Biden, against whom there is precisely zero evidence of any wrongdoing whatsoever. To the contrary, Chairman Comer’s investigation has conclusively disproven the Republican allegations against President Biden.
“House Republicans constantly insist that they are investigating President Biden, and not his adult son. In that case, we can form an obvious judgment on their investigation: it has been a complete and total bust—an epic flop in the history of congressional investigations. The voluminous evidence they have gathered, including thousands of pages of bank records and suspicious activity reports and hours of testimony from witnesses, overwhelmingly demonstrates no wrongdoing by President Biden and further debunks Republicans’ conspiracy theories. Rather than admit this unavoidable truth about their failed investigation, House Republicans have mischaracterized, cherry-picked, and concealed evidence and recycled long debunked conspiracy theories originally peddled by Rudy Giuliani and Trump, all in humiliating subservience to Donald Trump’s petulant demand that they impeach President Biden.
“In the face of Republicans’ shameful perversion of congressional power and misuse of taxpayer dollars for this hopeless wild goose chase, Committee Democrats will continue to defend the truth, the rule of law, and the integrity of our Constitution and democratic institutions.”
Republicans have obtained enormous amounts of evidence as part of their probe. None of it shows any wrongdoing by President Biden; in fact, the evidence proves the opposite.
Chairman Comer has said over and over that his Committee is investigating Joe Biden, “Our investigation is of Joe Biden. It always has been.” As part of this investigation, Committee Republicans have received over 12,000 pages of subpoenaed bank records, reviewed over 2,000 pages of suspicious activity reports, and spent hours interviewing witnesses, including two former business associates of Hunter Biden.
Not only does this voluminous evidence fail to even suggest any wrongdoing by President Biden, but it in fact also proves the opposite. Specifically:
- None of the bank records Comer has released shows any payments to President Biden.
- None of the SARs the Committee reviewed alleges, or even suggests, any potential misconduct by President Biden, nor do the SARs show any involvement by President Biden in Hunter Biden’s financial or business relationships.
- Not one of the witness accounts provided to the Committee has shown any evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden, including accounts from two IRS agents and a former FBI Supervisory Special Agent, who were involved in the DOJ’s investigation of Hunter Biden.
- Former business associates of Hunter Biden who have been interviewed by the Committee—Eric Schwerinand Devon Archer—explicitly stated that they have no reason to believe President Biden had any involvement in Hunter Biden’s business deals, much less any reason to believe President Biden took any official action on behalf of his son’s business ventures.
- Mr. Schwerin, who performed bookkeeping and other administrative tasks for then Vice-President Biden and therefore had access to his bank records, stated that he was not aware of any involvement by President Biden in the financial conduct of his relatives’ businesses, much less any transactions into or out of the then-Vice President’s bank account related to business conducted by any Biden family member.
- Two IRS agents who testified before the Committee affirmed that they do not have any evidence of political interference by President Biden or Attorney General Merrick Garland.
- The Former FBI Supervisory Special Agent interviewed by the Committee rejected Republicans’ claims that prosecutorial decisions by U.S. Attorney David Weiss or his team were the result of any political interference.
Chairman Comer says the biggest “smoking gun” that he has uncovered is the money Hunter Biden, a private citizen, received from international business dealings.
- However, not only has Chairman Comer been criticized by independent fact checkers—for misrepresenting Hunter Biden’s companies as “shell companies” when they in fact had “legitimate business transactions or investments” and falsely claiming that the Biden family received $20 million from foreign sources—public reporting has also confirmed that “the committee has not found any direct evidence that President Biden personally benefited from any of his son’s business dealings.”
Rather than owning up to the fact that the evidence in his “top priority” investigation has established no wrongdoing by President Biden, Chairman Comer has resorted to misrepresenting and distorting this huge body of evidence to make baseless and sensationalistic claims.
- Chairman Comer has repeatedly, and without evidence, asserted the falsehood that President Biden has inappropriately received foreign money: “We’ve got a President of the United States who’s taken millions and millions of dollars from bad people and bad countries around the world. […] We’ve got a President that’s compromised. We’ve got a President who has violated laws, who should be treated as a criminal. He’s the one that’s a criminal.”
- Chairman Comer blatantly misrepresented Devon Archer’s statements to the Committee, falsely assertingthat Mr. Archer “admitted that the Burisma executives were squeezing Hunter Biden to try to do everything he could to get the prosecutor Shokin fired, because they were going after their corrupt energy company. And lo and behold, a few days later, Joe Biden actually did that.”
- In actuality, Mr. Archer clarified that he was informed that then-Vice President Biden’s efforts leading an international coalition calling for the removal of corrupt Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin were “bad for Burisma” because Burisma had Mr. Shokin “under control.”
- As PolitiFact reported: “Archer testified that he had no reason to believe Shokin’s removal was because of anything other than the U.S. government’s anti-corruption policy in place at the time.” Further, “Archer said he was not aware of any wrongdoing by Joe Biden, he didn’t witness the Bidens discussing Hunter’s business, and that he’s not aware that any foreign policy was changed to benefit Hunter Biden—which goes against claims that Republicans have long made about the Bidens.”
- Chairman Comer and other Committee Republicans have falsely suggested that Mr. Archer’s interview “confirms” that President Biden was “involved” in his son’s business dealings.
- In fact, Mr. Archer established that over the course of his nearly decade-long business relationship and friendship with Hunter Biden, he never heard Hunter Biden discuss business with his father and never knew the President to be involved in, or knowledgeable about, Hunter Biden’s business activities.
- The Washington Post: “Devon Archer’s testimony was hailed as a central breakthrough in implicating Joe Biden. Instead, it has a top ally of Hunter Biden stating under penalty of perjury that Joe Biden was not involved in Hunter Biden’s business and that Biden’s trip to Ukraine in 2015 was not centered on protecting Burisma at all.”
- Chairman Comer has falsely stated that the alleged financial wrongdoing that Committee Republicans are investigating, including the information reportedly contained in certain SARs, implicate “the entire [Biden] family.”
- None of the SARs reviewed by Committee staff allege, refer to, or even suggest, any potential misconduct by President Biden, nor do they show any involvement by President Biden in Hunter Biden’s financial or business relationships.
- Chairman Comer has repeatedly lied by saying, “The Biden family received over $20 million from our enemies around the world.”
- The Washington Post fact checked this false claim and confirmed: “Only about $7 million can be directly attributed to Biden family members, mostly Hunter, while the rest went to “associates,” according to the memos. […] No evidence has emerged that any of these funds can be traced to Joe Biden himself.”
- Chairman Comer regularly lies about the business activities of Biden family members, for instance by claiming: “There are no legitimate businesses with the Bidens, not a single one. There’s nothing of these 20 shell companies that you can say produced a good or service.” Similarly, Comer has dishonestly claimed: “President Biden and his family have created 20 fake companies, 20 shell companies that all that we can tell on the House Oversight Committee over the past seven months is that their sole purpose was to take money from foreign nationals and launder it down to at least nine different Biden family members in their personal accounts.”
- A fact check by The Washington Post established that counter to Chairman Comer’s lies, “Virtually all of the companies (many of which now are defunct) had legitimate business interests. Others had clearly identified business investments.”
- Further, there is no evidence that President Biden had any involvement, whatsoever, with any of these companies.
- Chairman Comer, on multiple occasions, has lied about then-Vice President Biden’s email addresses and scheduling with his son, saying, “Joe Biden was using a pseudonym and he copied his son about a shady, shady transaction where Joe Biden was going to leverage American tax dollars to save his son’s butt. … Along the same time period, we found a pseudonym where he copied Hunter Biden and it would lead one to believe that this was Joe Biden’s way of copying Hunter Biden to say, okay, send it to the Burisma owners and tell them help is on the way, and five days later, Joe Biden flew to Ukraine to begin the process of firing the prosecutor in exchange for America tax dollars in the form of foreign aid.”
- A fact check by The Washington Post found this was a “whopper” of a false statement and gave Chairman Comer “Four Pinocchios” for his false “claims that Biden was sending a secret message to his son about how he was going to tell the Ukrainian president to fire the prosecutor—but the email was sent two months after the firing. Skeptics may doubt whether Hunter Biden was copied on the email for family matters, but it’s certainly not because of the nefarious purpose suggested by Comer.”
- The fact check also found Chairman Comer misrepresented then-Vice President Biden’s use of email aliases as unusual, pointing out it was a common and well-known government practice among high-ranking government officials to avoid having inboxes flooded with messages.
Lacking real evidence, the Republicans’ investigation has devolved into a voyeuristic and sensationalistic obsession with Hunter Biden that, by Chairman Comer’s own account, is “counter to a credible investigation.” Chairman Comer has even resorted to targeting President Biden’s granddaughter and baselessly accusing President Biden of laundering money through his grandchildren to evade taxes.
This is just a small sampling of Chairman Comer and Republicans’ near daily distortions of and straight-up lies about key allegations at the center of their probe. These falsehoods have become the defining hallmark of their failed investigation.
The central allegation of Chairman Comer’s baseless investigation, the Burisma conspiracy theory, was peddled by Rudy Giuliani and former President Trump to distract from Trump’s first impeachment in 2019.
- Trump and Rudy Giuliani pushed these debunked conspiracy claims when he was first impeached in 2019, then again during the 2020 election. Trump has returned to these fabrications as part of his reelection campaign, often explicitly seizing on the misinformation promoted by House Republicans’ fantasy-like investigation.
- Following Trump’s lead, in nearly every single one of Chairman Comer’s regular appearances on Fox Newsand Newsmax, the Chairman promotes the long discredited Burisma conspiracy theory first pushed by President Trump and the notorious fabulist Rudy Giuliani.
- Just a few weeks ago, Chairman Comer doubled down once again, claiming the Burisma conspiracy is “100 percent correct.”
- It was debunked by the testimony of witnesses in Trump’s first impeachment.
- It was debunked by the witnesses interviewed as part of Senate Republicans’ investigation in 2020.
- It was debunked by a 2020 assessment conducted by Donald Trump’s Justice Department and entrusted to a U.S. Attorney hand-picked by then-Attorney General Barr.
- It was debunked by Mykola Zlochevsky, the Burisma executive who allegedly partook in the bribery scheme, as evidenced by a document the Committee has had in its possession since 2019.
- Earlier this summer, the same narrative was debunked and ridiculed by former key Giuliani associate Lev Parnas in his astonishing 10-page letter to Chairman Comer, which Parnas offered to reaffirm under oathbefore the Committee.
- In his recent interview with the Committee, Mr. Archer became the latest witness to debunk this exhausted conspiracy theory, explaining his understanding that “Shokin being fired was a ‑‑ was not good, because he was like under control as relates to Mykola [Zlochevsky, Burisma’s owner].”
- Addressing years-old, second-hand bribery allegations in an unverified 2020 FBI Form FD-1023 tipsheet, Mr. Archer explicitly stated that he would disagree with anyone concluding from the 1023 form that Joe Biden was bribed by Zlochevsky, dismissing the allegations as the kind of brag, exaggeration, and fib that are common among Ukrainian businessmen. The confidential human source who originally reported the information to the FBI in 2020 himself noted it was not unusual for Ukrainian business executives to brag and show-off and that he could not offer any opinion as to the veracity of the allegations he was relaying.
- Even Fox News’s own internal research unit, known as the “Brain Room” determined these attacks to be “disinformation.”
Unfazed by this overwhelming evidence of the truth, Chairman Comer has simply been urging America to drink from the badly contaminated well of conspiracy theories poisonedby Giuliani, Trump, and foreign agents advancing the interests of the Kremlin and the Chinese Communist Party. And just as President Trump has demanded, Chairman Comer has then used those conspiracy theories as ‘evidence’ in his probe and as a basis to threaten to withhold funding for Ukraine’s defense against the Russian invasion, even shockingly going so far as to call Ukraine an “adversary of the United States.”
In fact, much of the Republicans’ investigation consists of regurgitating old and disproven information and misrepresenting it as new evidence.
- Committee Republicans have argued that Hunter Biden was compromised by Elena Baturina, the wife of a former mayor of Moscow. This narrative was undermined by independent reporting years ago, including by the Washington Post, CNN, and more recently, by Mr. Archer, who said in a transcribed interview that Hunter “was not involved” with that transaction.
- Discussing some of the bank records that Republicans have touted as significant evidence, Sen. Ron Johnson admitted this spring, “There’s really no new information […] this was all out there since before the 2020 election.” Sen. Johnson also made clear that these allegations are years’ old, “We laid this all out in our September 2020 report, then followed up by a November 2020 add-on report.”
- Committee Republicans attempted to pass off Hunter Biden’s legal work on behalf of Romanian businessman Gabriel Popoviciu as new evidence. However, that work, which Hunter Biden performed while he was counsel at the law firm Boies Schiller, has long been known, and there is no evidencewhatsoever that President Biden took any official actions or was influenced in any way by his son’s representation of Mr. Popoviciu.
- Committee Republicans have sought to characterize a wire transfer from a Kazakh businessman used to purchase a sports car for Hunter Biden as a damning revelation, but this was already evaluated as part of the 2020 Senate investigation as well as the investigation by the Delaware U.S. Attorney’s office. And, yet again, Republicans have identified no link between this transaction and President Biden.
- Committee Republicans have repackaged old information about the business relationship between Hunter Biden, a private citizen, and a Chinese energy company, and presented this as evidence of wrongdoing. Not only is there no evidence President Biden had any involvement in this business association, it took place between the Obama and Biden Administrations, at a time when President Biden held no public office.
- Committee Republicans have also touted a $3 million transfer in March 2017 to Robinson Walker LLC, that they report was shared between Hunter Biden, James Biden, and their business partner James Gilliar. This transaction, which does not involve President Biden, is neither new nor evidence of wrongdoing, and was made public in 2020.
Earlier this year, Bill Hemmer pointed out to Chairman Comer that, “It’s been five years, and what do we have for it?” Hemmer later answered his own question, “Nothing just yet.”
Republican pundits, from Fox News’s Steve Doocy to MAGA extremists and former Trump advisors Sebastian Gorka and Steve Bannon, as well as congressional Republicans, including members of the Oversight Committee, have conceded that Chairman Comer’s investigation has failed to produce any evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden and have called into question the credibility of Chairman Comer’s allegations and the integrity of pursuing an impeachment inquiry.
- Live on Fox News, Steve Doocy has repeatedly questioned Chairman Comer’s inability to point to “any evidence” that shows President Biden is compromised, that any policy was ever influenced, or that any crime was committed, even stating: “You don’t actually have any facts to that point. You’ve got some circumstantial evidence […] And the other thing is, of all those names, the one person who didn’t profit is—there’s no evidence that Joe Biden did anything illegally.” Last week, Doocy explained: “The Republicans in those districts that Joe Biden won, they’ve got to be able to say, look, I voted for it because look at this. It shows that there was corruption, actual corruption, not just bank records, but things that show that laws were broken. So far, Comer and company have not been able to put that together.”
- Former Trump official Sebastian Gorka tweeted that, “Comer is failing in his efforts to investigate” President Biden, called Chairman Comer’s supposed findings, “crap—he’s reporting stuff that we knew 2 years ago,” and said that Chairman Comer’s Biden probe is “pathetic.”
- Breitbart editor Emma Jo-Morris criticized Chairman Comer for promoting bribery allegations against President Biden even though he has “not shown [proof] to the public,” while Steve Bannon also lambasted Chairman Comer for failing to provide evidence to support his bribery allegations, saying of Chairman Comer, “You’re not serious. It’s all performative.”
- Rep. Ken Buck argued, “This is impeachment theater. We right now are starting the appropriations process.” Rep. Buck added, “I don’t think it’s responsible for us to talk about impeachment,” and described Speaker McCarthy as using impeachment as a “shiny object” to distract Members and “the public.”
- Rep. Buck has also said, “They are looking to see if there is a connection with Joe Biden. […] Right now, I’m not convinced that that evidence exists. And I’m not supporting an impeachment inquiry” as well as, “I do not think that evidence has been presented, and I don’t think there’s a need to have an impeachment inquiry.”
- Rep. Don Bacon acknowledged that Republicans have failed to prove any wrongdoing by President Biden, “If you wanna get any progress in the Senate, you’re gonna have to show not potential wrongdoing, but wrongdoing. I don’t think we’re there yet.” Rep. Bacon also said that he thinks “we need to have more concrete evidence to go down” the impeachment inquiry path.
- Sen. Ron Johnson conceded that Republicans have not found any “direct evidence” or “hard proof” of wrongdoing by President Biden.
- Sen. Lindsey Graham said of Chairman Comer’s bribery allegations, “If you ask me, ‘Is Joe Biden the type of guy who would take a $5 million bribe?’ My answer is, based on my experience, no.”
- Sen. Shelley Moore Capito said, “I don’t know what the basis of this call for impeachment is. It just sounds like a lot of noise to me.” Sen. Capito also responded “I do not” when asked if she thinks there is evidence to support an impeachment.
- Sen. Mitt Romney acknowledged, “I haven’t seen any evidence” that meets the “constitutional test for impeachment.”
- Kris Kolesnik, former senior counselor and director of investigations for Sen. Grassley, wrote that Chairman Comer and Chairman Jim Jordan “struggle mightily with the concept of credibility.”
- Terry Sullivan, a former advisor to congressional Republicans, said in regard to impeachment, “I would caution Republicans on this. Going after Biden seems like a really poor decision.”
- Maura Gillespie, a former House GOP leadership aide, and other veteran senior GOP congressional aides argued that “rather than caving to mounting pressure from conservative hardliners demanding to impeach President Joe Biden, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and his lieutenants should focus on issues that affect everyday Americans.”
- Rep. Chuck Edwards, a Republican Member of the Oversight Committee, admitted: “I’ve heard over and over that President Biden has not been implicated or proven for any wrongdoing here, and I acknowledge that for now.”
- Rep. Nick Langworthy, a Republican Member of the Oversight Committee, “tried to defend the GOP investigation into Joe Biden’s alleged corruption—only to end up admitting that they still don’t have any proof.”
- Rep. Mike Lawler said, “The question me [sic] right now is, the investigations, are they producing enough facts and evidence that warrant taking it to the next step? […] I don’t think it’s there at the moment.”
- Rep. Tony Gonzales criticized some of his conservative colleagues’ impeachment calls as being a distraction from “real issues” important to the American people, “The people back at home in my district are worried about inflation, worried about the border, their kids being safe in school — you know, real issues.”
- An anonymous GOP lawmaker offered the following assessment to CNN: “There’s no evidence that Joe Biden got money, or that Joe Biden, you know, agreed to do something so that Hunter could get money. There’s just no evidence of that. And they can’t impeach without that evidence. And I don’t I don’t think the evidence exists.”
- In a memo, Chairman Comer’s own staff begrudgingly conceded that they had no evidence of “direct payments to Joe Biden,” contradicting the Chairman’s own claims to the contrary.
Despite the contention from many of his fellow Republicans that an impeachment inquiry would lack any basis in fact, Speaker McCarthy has said that an impeachment inquiry is nevertheless necessary for Republicans to uncover the evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden that they baselessly insist exists—effectively admitting that any such inquiry would amount to nothing more than a wasteful ‘second bite at the apple’ to try to find support for a theory that Senate Republicans’ 2020 investigation and Chairman Comer’s own investigation have already disproven.
In essence, Speaker McCarthy has likewise admitted that such an inquiry would be nothing more than a taxpayer-funded, opposition research fishing expedition for the sole benefit of the Trump campaign.
Rather than acknowledging that the voluminous documents they have reviewed—including over 12,000 pages of subpoenaed bank records, over 2,000 pages of SARs, and hours of interviews with witnesses—have produced no evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden, House Republicans—once again shifting their focus when their previous allegations come up empty—are advancing a false claim of “obstruction” to justify an impeachment inquiry.
Chairman Comer has made meritless accusations that his investigation has been the victim of “obstruction” by the Biden Administration.
- This false narrative has been contradicted by Chairman Comer’s own statements touting the vigor and comprehensiveness of his investigation: “Every subpoena that I have signed, as Chairman of the House Oversight Committee over the last five months, we have gotten 100% of what we requested, whether it’s with the FBI or with the banks or with Treasury.”
- Even Steve Bannon has emphasized the emptiness of Chairman Comer’s claims of obstruction saying, “Comer, you’ve got the power.”
The truth is that Chairman Comer has collected and reviewed an extraordinary volume of materials as part of his investigation. Chairman Comer does not lack evidence—he has substantial evidence, but it shows no wrongdoing by the President and undermines the false GOP allegations.
The Biden-Harris Administration has bent over backwards to accommodate Republicans’ often ridiculous and transparently political demands.
- When Committee Republicans demanded that the FBI produce an unverified tipsheet, a Form FD-1023 containing allegations that have been repeatedly debunked, the FBI brought the form to the Hill, repeatedly, for all Members of the Committee to see. Senior FBI officials also provided several informational briefings.
- When Committee Republicans issued a broad request to the Treasury Department for any Suspicious Activity Report mentioning Hunter Biden and other members of the President’s family, as well as several other individuals and entities, the Treasury Department promptly complied and made them available. Chairman Comer himself, along with a number of Republican Members of the Committee, reviewed these materials and tweeted about their review outside the Treasury building.
- Republicans’ claims of “obstruction” appear to be based on documents they never requested from the White House or Administration.
- Just last week Chairman Comer made false claims of obstruction and referred to “government agencies that are refusing to turn over valuable information like the National Archives.” The Archivist has been working with Chairman Comer to identify and provide the requested documents in accordance with the Presidential Records Act.
- Chairman Comer’s claim of “obstruction” rings especially hollow when compared to the deliberate, across-the-board stonewalling of congressional investigations by the Trump Administration—a point on which Chairman Comer and his Republican colleagues have been conspicuously silent.
The fact that Republicans are now resorting to false and absurd claims of “obstruction” because they have been unable to find any evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden further demonstrates that this impeachment effort is entirely illegitimate and that Republicans are misleading the American people about the facts and wasting our tax dollars.
Republicans’ probe is a transparent effort to weaponize Congress to do Trump’s bidding.
It is clear that Republicans’ unfounded investigation and baseless impeachment effort amounts to nothing more than using taxpayer dollars to help reelect Donald Trump, who, over a year and a half ago, was already demanding that House Republicans investigate President Biden and help him “kick the Biden crime family out of the White House in 2024.” Former President Trump has recently made his demands more explicit, threatening Republican House Members who refuse to impeach President Biden with retaliation at the polls, “Impeach the bum or fade into oblivion. They did it to us.”
- Before the 118th Congress even started, Chairman Jim Jordan was already promising that Republican-led investigations would “frame up the 2024 race, when I hope and I think President Trump is going to run again. And we need to make sure he wins.” Chairman Comer, for his part, assured Fox News viewers last year that impeaching President Biden was already “on the table.”
- Republicans have said themselves that they “aren’t interested in whether or not the accusations against Vice President Biden are accurate or not.”
- Chairman Comer has admitted the Committee’s investigations are aimed at propping up Donald Trump’s reelection efforts: “You look at the polling and right now Donald Trump is 7 points ahead of Joe Biden and trending upward. Joe Biden is trending downward. […] The American people are keeping up with our investigation, and they realize something is wrong here.”
- These statements register an historical echo of House Republicans’ weaponization of the House Select Committee on Benghazi in the 114th Congress to attack former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and explicitly to hurt her campaign for President.
Independent reporting has confirmed that, “Not only are Trump, his aides and close allies regularly apprised of Republicans’ committee work, they also at times exert influence over it.”
- This is a “familiar playbook” for House Republicans, “who have been quick to try to use their congressional majority—which includes the ability to launch investigations, issue subpoenas and restrict funding—to defend the former president and offer up some counter programming amid his mounting legal battles.”
- Republican representatives have even proposed using the appropriations process to defund prosecutions of former President Trump.
- Rep. Andrew Clyde, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, announced in August plans to introduce amendments to the Senate’s Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies fiscal 2024 appropriations bill that would “prohibit any federal funds from being used in federal or state courts to prosecute major presidential candidates prior to the 2024 election.”
- Other Trump allies, including Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, and Andy Ogles have communicated their intent to take similar steps.
- Recently, Rep. Greene asserted that, “I’ve already decided I will not vote to fund the government unless we have passed an impeachment inquiry on Joe Biden.” The MAGA playbook is to shut the government down unless the failed probe of President Biden is turned into an impeachment drive on Trump’s behalf.
Republicans’ use of congressional resources to help elect Trump is part of a pattern dating back many months.
- Throughout the 118th Congress, Chairman Comer has only released the full transcripts of transcribed interviews on days when Trump was arraigned or indicted—once after ignoring Ranking Member Raskin’s calls to release a transcript for an entire month, and in another case, broke with Committee practice, rushing out a transcript in just three days without affording the witness’s attorney a reasonable opportunity to review it.
- Chairman Comer has also impeded investigations that have uncovered actual evidence of corruption. Upon taking the Committee gavel, he allowed Trump’s personal attorneys to act on behalf of the Committee and relieve the former President’s accounting firm, Mazars, from its obligation to produce additional financial records pursuant to a Committee subpoena and a court-supervised settlement agreement.
- In a now familiar pattern of political reprisal against law enforcement authorities who investigate or charge Donald Trump, we know from New York Times reporting that congressional Republicans—interfering in a state law enforcement proceeding—announced an investigation of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg after Trump’s attorney wrote a letter demanding Chairman Jordan do so, in light of growing speculation Mr. Bragg was about to indict the former President.
Following news of a plea agreement between Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney David Weiss and Hunter Biden in the DOJ investigation in Delaware, Trump took to Truth Social to baselessly attack the DOJ, writing, “Wow! The corrupt Biden DOJ just cleared up hundreds of years of criminal liability by giving Hunter Biden a mere ‘traffic ticket.’ Our system is BROKEN!”
- On cue, Republican Members quickly parroted Mr. Trump’s attack. Speaker McCarthy claimed that the plea agreement was the result of “the two-tier system in America,” and stated: “If you are the president’s leading political opponent, the DOJ tries to literally put you in jail and give you prison time. But if you are the president’s son, you get a sweetheart deal.”
- This claim has been conclusively refuted by witnesses before the Committee, including a former FBI Supervisory Special Agent who rejected Republicans’ claims of political interference and two IRS agents who testified before the Committee and affirmed that they had no evidence of political interference by President Biden or Attorney General Merrick Garland.
- Chairman Comer has openly discussed his efforts to interfere with Hunter Biden’s ongoing criminal matter and, indeed, has repeatedly taken credit for a federal judge’s decision not to immediately approve Hunter Biden’s plea agreement, stating at a July 26, 2023, hearing: “I think that you’re seeing our investigation that’s shined a light on the many wrongdoings of the Biden family has picked up a lot of credibility today, because now we see that there are a lot of crimes that this family’s committed and that played out in court today.”
When former President Trump’s indictment for willfully retaining classified documents became imminent, Chairman Comer fabricated a reason to hold FBI Director Wray in contempt of Congress.
- Despite Wray’s extensive efforts to accommodate Chairman Comer’s subpoena, the Chairman inexplicably moved to hold Director Wray in contempt of Congress because the FBI, based on plainly reasonable concerns about the safety of its confidential human sources and integrity of its investigations, did not give Chairman Comer an unredacted, physical copy of a single document—a document that Senator Grassley already had in his possession and Chairman Comer had already viewed.
- Also in obedience to Trump, Chairman Comer has repeatedly attacked the FBI and the DOJ as they investigate and prosecute former President Trump for jeopardizing national security by retaining and lying to the FBI about classified documents and attempting to undermine American democracy by overturning the 2020 presidential election, calling for FBI funding to be “significantly cut,” Director Wray and AG Garland to be ousted, the entire FBI be “dismantled,” and their budget held “hostage.”
House Republicans’ probe into the Biden family and baseless attacks on President Biden are a transparent and desperate attempt to distract the American public from the unmatched and pervasive corruption of President Trump and his Administration.
- In stark contrast to the fact that Republican investigations have demonstrated no evidence of any wrongdoing by President Biden, there is overwhelming evidence that President Trump personally and repeatedly committed crimes while in office and used the power of the presidency for personal gain.
- On CNN, Chairman Comer said that he would investigate “Trump and some of his family members including Jared Kushner” and later acknowledged the billions of dollars Jared Kushner received from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf monarchies—including a $2 billion investment by a Saudi sovereign wealth fundonly months after leaving the White House— “crossed the line of ethics.” Chairman Comer even conceded, “I don’t disagree with the Democrats and their criticism of the previous administration.”
- Yet, despite his professed concerns about presidential corruption, instead of investigating President Trump and his Administration, including the 500 LLCs that President Trump refused to divest from and used to receive millions of dollars from foreign governments while President, Chairman Comer has allowed Donald Trump’s attorneys to speak on behalf of the Committee to block the production of financial documents related to those very foreign payments.
- Despite claiming, “I’m not defending Kushner,” Chairman Comer has also allowed Jared Kushner to ignore and defy Committee Democrats’ request for documents for over a year and recently rejected Ranking Member Raskin’s request that he issue a subpoena to Mr. Kushner’s investment fund to compel their compliance.
- Chairman Comer candidly told the New York Times that, despite his agreement with criticism of self-dealing in the Trump Administration, investigating the Trump family is “politically unsustainable.”
- Congressional Democrats, as well as state and federal prosecutors, have set forth overwhelming evidence of the endemic corruption of former President Trump and his Administration, which was unprecedented in American history in both scale and frequency. Yet congressional Republicans have continued to empower Trump while he calls for “the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution” and promises to weaponize the federal government against his political opponents and their families.
Over the past eight months, congressional Republicans’ have consistently taken to right-wing cable television to make wild and baseless accusations about President Biden while distorting the actual evidence in the Committee’s possession and concealing it from the American people. Republicans have used this strategy to consume congressional resources for months, desperately and repeatedly shifting their focus among baseless theories and false ‘evidence’ of wrongdoing by President Biden.
The truth is that the mountain of evidence Republicans have gathered and reviewed shows no wrongdoing, in any respect, by President Biden. Republicans’ lust to move forward with an impeachment inquiry on the basis of this utterly failed investigation is a transparent effort to boost former President Trump’s reelection prospects and distract from the overwhelming evidence of his criminal and corrupt conduct during his term of office.
If House Republicans vote to open an impeachment inquiry in the absence of any evidence of wrongdoing, let alone the “high crimes and misdemeanors” required under the Constitution, they will once again be enabling former President Trump’s efforts to subvert American democracy and achieve his desired “termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution” in order to return to power and avoid being held accountable for his pervasive crimes and corruption.