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Why James Comer’s many false claims should make the GOP nervous

If House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer’s crusade against President Joe Biden had merit, why does the Republican keep saying things that aren't true?


The fact that House Republicans haven’t uncovered any evidence of wrongdoing against President Joe Biden should probably have a meaningful effect on their impeachment crusade. Leading GOP officials apparently disagree.

In fact, House Republican leaders held a press conference on Wednesday, claiming that their gambit had merit, and suggesting that the political world should take their efforts seriously, despite the fact that the entire endeavor appears to be a woeful partisan sham.

At the press conference, House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer told reporters that he and his colleagues have “revealed” that the Democratic president “received $40,000 in laundered China money in the form of a personal check from his sister-in-law.”

A Washington Post analysis explained soon after, “It is hard to imagine a more obviously dishonest claim.” According to the Post:

The failure to note that this was very credibly a repayment of a loan, as though Joe Biden is morally culpable for how his brother earns money to pay him back. And the assertion that this is “laundered China money,” as though, first, this money is proved to have been from that energy-company payment and, second, that it was filtered through some nefarious process to hide the source.

The Post’s analysis added that the Kentucky Republican “must know on some level this assertion is at least a stretch, if not willfully false.”

Complicating matters, of course, is the frequency with which Comer has been caught peddling claims that fall apart under scrutiny.

Circling back to our earlier coverage, Axios reported in September, for example, that Comer “has repeatedly exaggerated and distorted the findings of his investigation into the Biden family.” The report added that the Republican has “at times undermined his credibility” by “overstating his committee’s findings.” The same week, a Washington Post analysis took a closer look at comments Comer made during a conservative media interview, concluding that he made “a number of claims that were unsupported by publicly available evidence, contradicted by other parties or obviously false.”

The closer one looks, the worse the larger story appears. Comer has been caught telling tall tales 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.

The Oversight Committee chairman’s detractors were recently able to discredit one of his claims by pointing to his own earlier rhetoric. In another instance, he was caught peddling obviously false assertions about the FBI in a fundraising appeal.

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

There’s no great mystery as to why the GOP congressman hasn’t been able to stick to the truth. He’s spent nearly the entire year trying to uncover anti-Biden evidence, and he’s come up empty. Many in his own party have made clear, publicly and privately, that they are "not happy" with Comer’s failures.

And so, it appears the Oversight Committee chairman has embraced easily discredited claims — in part to justify his work, and in part to smear a Democrat who doesn’t appear to have done anything wrong.

But it’s not just Democrats who should find this annoying. Congressional Republicans are relying on Comer to handle this investigation responsibly. They’re counting on him, not only to go after the president, but to keep them informed about the probe’s findings.

The fact that Comer can’t stick to the truth should probably make the GOP quite nervous.

This post updates our related earlier coverage.