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False claims from GOP’s James Comer start to catch up with him

It’s a problem that James Comer keeps making untrue claims about Joe Biden. The motivation behind the Republican's deceptions makes that problem worse.


As House Republicans move forward with their evidence-free impeachment inquiry targeting President Joe Biden, a small handful of members will be taking the lead — both in the investigation and as the public faces of the partisan endeavor.

Among them is Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer. For the GOP, that isn’t good news.

The principal problem with the Kentucky Republican’s recent work is that Comer has failed spectacularly to uncover any evidence of wrongdoing against Biden, despite months of effort. He’s periodically made bold promises and issued hyped findings to great fanfare, but in each instance, Comer’s revelations have been embarrassing flops.

But there’s a related problem: Comer hasn’t just been failing, he’s also been lying.

Axios reported overnight, for example, that the Oversight Committee chairman “has repeatedly exaggerated and distorted the findings of his investigation into the Biden family.” The report added that the Republican congressman has “at times undermined his credibility” by “overstating his committee’s findings.”

A Washington Post analysis came to the same conclusion.

On Wednesday, the House Oversight Committee chairman appeared on Newsmax for an interview about his committee’s efforts to evaluate the business activity of President Biden’s son, Hunter, and any possible connection to the president himself. Over the course of the interview, Comer made a number of claims that were unsupported by publicly available evidence, contradicted by other parties or obviously false.

Both the Post and Axios reports are worth your time, and they go into more detail than I will here. The bottom line is unavoidable: Comer, in his zeal to smear the president, has simply pushed claims that are at odds with reality, and which crumble under scrutiny.

To be sure, the GOP lawmaker is overseeing a complex probe, and it’d be understandable if he occasionally flubbed a detail or two over the course of his many appearances in conservative media. But we’re not just talking about sporadic and incidental Comer misstatements.

Rather, at issue is the Republican’s willingness to repeatedly tell tales he ought to know aren’t true — about everything from banking records to the National Archives, Burisma to imagined code words, Devon Archer’s testimony to the circumstances surrounding Comer’s participation in the Archer interview. This week, the chairman’s detractors were able to discredit one of his claims by pointing to his own earlier rhetoric.

Comer started overhyping his findings a while ago, and his willingness to play fast and loose with the facts seems to be getting worse.

But nearly as important as the Republican’s dishonesty is his motivation. Comer seems painfully aware of the fact that he hasn’t been able to deliver a coherent case against the president, not because of a lack of effort, but because the evidence simply doesn’t support his partisan crusade.

And so, it appears the Oversight Committee chairman has embraced “alternative facts” — in part to justify his work, in part to besmirch a Democrat who doesn’t appear to have done anything wrong, and in part to satisfy his party’s demands.

As the impeachment inquiry process advances, and Comer takes center stage, it will be important to keep this rhetoric record in mind.