It has become easy to view Rep. James Comer as the political equivalent of an especially painful hemorrhoid – he offers no particular purpose other than to cause unwarranted misery.
Comer, R-Tompkinsville — or is it Frankfort? Or, well, never mind — is tabbed to be the next chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee as a result of his zeal for pleasing the mounting number of crazies on the GOP side of that congressional aisle. He has, with the determination of a rabid dog, sought to make a name for himself over…here it comes…get ready…HUNTER BIDEN! and his laptop and his lucrative business dealings with a Chinese energy company.
Jamie has spent the run-up to the 118th Congress contorting himself in a manner that would fascinate the Indian Rubber Man, hoping to convince one and all that President Biden, father of the aforementioned Hunter, ran his son’s business interests in China like Mickey Cohen ran LA. This claim is made with barely an ounce of anything that can even be closely described as evidence. And he is planning committee sessions that he seems to think will rival the Watergate hearings once they convene.
So, bully for him.
Sadly, however, Jamie appears to have ever so slightly stepped out over his skis. He recently appeared on a podcast, Flyover Country with Scott Jennings, to explain, in his inimitable way, how the Bidens are leading the nation down the road to perdition. He asserts that the president has somehow been compromised because of the Chinese connection and that, after all is said and done, his committee will likely extend “referrals for criminal activity.”
But then he uttered this:
“When you talk about what the Biden family was doing, I’m not sure it was illegal.”
Now you may have heard at various times Comer referring to the “Biden crime family,” and how he accused them of acts so grotesque they’re paving a new sidewalk to ease their way into the entrance at Leavenworth.
Now he’s not even sure the Bidens broke any laws.
Comer subsequently recovered somewhat, insisting the sort of activities involved – Hunter taking millions from a Chinese energy outfit under the president’s fatherly eye – should be illegal and that Congress should make it so.
“I tend to think I can make a strong argument for the influence peddling being illegal,” he finally said. “But at the end of the day there needs to be no doubt.”
Now there’s a reasonable debate to be had regarding whether foreign businesses should be allowed to willy-nilly hire the relatives of powerful politicians to gain political favor. Fair enough.
But that makes the practice far from illegal currently. For one thing, as noted in a recent column, all of this activity occurred while President Biden was out of office. Hunter effectively had no influence to peddle.
And, also as previously noted, under the appliable law, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, foreign-owned companies are not prohibited from hiring or doing business with the family members of American politicians, even for the purpose of making hay while the sun shines. And the relatives of politicians are permitted to hop aboard the money train if they’re so inclined. Comer acknowledges the possibility that no laws were broken. Unless he can unearth a more useful statute to prove himself wrong, he’s up the creek.
Of course that doesn’t keep our boy from hurling all sorts of invective at those in his crosshairs, just like his old pal, former President Donald J. Trump. Back in October on FOX News Jamie proclaimed, “Hunter Biden’s committed serious crimes.” On Monday, in an enticing piece of nonsense on FOX’s Sean Hannity show, that repository for raw sewage: “There’s nothing like it in the history of America. We’ve never had a family that has influence-pedaled to this degree.”
Such idiocy is so rarely heard that we all should just sit back and admire it for a bit. Like a lumber yard fire.
Biden’s predecessor, Trump, basically ran his business empire, such as it is, from the Oval Office. His daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner, both worked in the Trump White House and, in so doing, pocketed between $172 million and $640 million, at least in part as a result of Ivanka’s business interest in her old man’s DC hotel, which drew patrons hoping to get on his good side.
Then there’s this from CREW, an investigatory website:
“In 2017, Ivanka’s business won preliminary approval for three Chinese trademarks on the same day that she dined with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago. In May 2018, Ivanka’s business was awarded ‘registration’ approval from the Chinese government for five trademark applications, with an additional one getting ‘first trial approval.’
The same week, President Trump announced he would try to save jobs at ZTE, the Chinese telecommunications giant closely tied to the government. A month later, Ivanka’s business got registration approval for three more Chinese trademarks, on the same day her father announced he’d lift sanctions against ZTE.”
So much horse manure from one Monroe County farmer. It’s impressive.
If the HUNTER BIDEN! Probe doesn’t provide him with the notoriety he so obviously deserves and covets now that he’s admitted it’s possible no laws were broken, our boy Jamie has plenty of tricks left up his sleeve. Just this week he expressed suspicions of a quid pro quo between Biden and Saudi Arabia to delay oil production cuts until after the mid-term elections.
“It appears that Joe Biden went on his hands and knees to Saudi Arabia and begged them to increase oil production before the election — which of course would drop the price of gasoline right before the election,” Comer said on some right-wing television abomination called “Just the News, No Noise.”
Reports of Biden playing footsie with the Saudis emerge from little more than thin air, based on a claim by the never reliable Saudi government trying to divert attention from the reality that reductions aid Russia in its war with Ukraine. The administration asked the Saudis to delay any action until the next OPEC meeting in hopes of using that venue to rewrite the script with some aid from other members of the cartel. Saudi Arabia moved ahead. Comer has, apparently, decided to side with the Saudis.
What this shows is House Republicans, and Comer in particular, can’t be trusted to honestly engage in any sort of oversight of the Biden administration. It’s all a political stunt with the GOP operating out of the old Newt Gingrich-Donald J. Trump book of dirty tricks, obfuscation, partisan warfare and, of course, lies that could only lead to further widen the divisions plaguing the country.
Being on the charitable side, here’s one more for you before we go.
Comer is hopping aboard the Twitter Express, maintaining that Biden, in his campaign and throughout his administration, has endeavored to bend the noted social media platform to his will, hoping to keep the spotlight off of Hunter’s laptop.
Don’t worry, Sherlock Jamie is on the case.
“It is election interference,” Comer said on Fox News “The only thing that has changed with respect to our Biden family influence-peddling investigation is the fact that there is more credibility as to why we in fact need to investigate the Bidens.”
A bit of a personal note on this. I used to be a newspaper reporter, better than some, worse than others. If I had a nickel for every time a politician or officeholder called me to complain or beseech me to kill a story, or called the editor with the same purpose, I could have retired to the beach on Cabo, sipping a mojito, decades ago.
Politicians requesting a story kill was a regular occurrence, I would say, in every newsroom in America. I would guess it still is. It was, and is, part of the game. If the paper, or in this instance, the social media site, caves, that’s on them, not on the person making the request.
This is not a story, unless you’re going to say the First Amendment doesn’t protect politicians who call and bitch at reporters.
Jamie is transforming into a MAGA hero right before our very eyes.
Kentucky should be so proud.
Jamie Comer, as Shakespeare might have said, “a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
Written by Bill Straug. Cross-posted from the Northern Kentucky Tribune.
The NKyTribune’s Washington columnist Bill Straub served 11 years as the Frankfort Bureau chief for The Kentucky Post. He also is the former White House/political correspondent for Scripps Howard News Service. A member of the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame, he currently resides in Silver Spring, Maryland, and writes frequently about the federal government and politics. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org