Representative James Comer, from Kentucky, has been appearing on television to suggest that his fellow Republican investigators in the House Oversight Committee have uncovered a significant bribery scheme led by President Joe Biden and his family. However, his claims have been roundly debunked by Glenn Kessler, the Fact-Checker for The Washington Post, who fund that Comer’s assertion doesn’t align with the content of the committee’s internal documents.
Writing in his Washington Post column, Kessler noted that the committee’s memos, which reference a collection of bank records and witness statements, are written with a partisan manner, selectively ignoring or downplaying conflicting information. He observed an intriguing pattern in which the memos use cautious language that is often hedged.
Yet, once made public, Comer and other Republican lawmakers employ exaggerated language on platforms like Twitter or conservative media, stretching far beyond the actual content of the memos. Over time, these memos’ portrayal on right-wing media outlets becomes detached from the factual contents in the reports.
“The memos themselves have careful language that is often hedged. However, once they are public, Comer and other GOP lawmakers, including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), go on Twitter or speak to conservative media using hyperbolic language that goes well beyond what the memos say until eventually the description of the memos on right-wing outlets becomes untethered from the documentation in the reports,” Kessler wrote.
For instance, Kessler highlighted that Comer claimed on Fox Business that the Bidens had established over 20 shell companies to funnel money from foreign sources into their personal bank accounts. However, Kessler clarified that the memos do not suggest most of these companies are shells; instead, the majority appear to be legitimate enterprises.
Comer and his associates have also frequently stated that the “Biden family” received $20 million in payments from international deals. However, Kessler’s analysis of the memos reveals that only around $7 million can be directly attributed to members of the Biden family, primarily Hunter Biden, while the remaining funds were received by “associates.”
The concrete evidence resulting from these investigations is notably limited. For example, Republicans highlighted an interview with Devon Archer, a long-time associate of Hunter Biden. Yet, when the interview transcript was released, it contradicted the narrative, as Archer mentioned that he had never witnessed Joe Biden participating in business dealings with his son, and that their frequent phone conversations were simply those of a concerned father checking on his son’s well-being.
Subsequently, it came to light that Comer, who promoted the interview as a groundbreaking revelation, had not even attended the session. Although he has attempted to deny this fact, it undermines the credibility of his claims.
Kessler concluded that while Republicans are pursuing the case with vigor, Comer’s tendency to overhype the findings of the investigation weakens the credibility of his assertions. Kessler awarded Comer’s claims about shell companies and payments a rating of Three Pinocchios, suggesting that Comer would be more credible if he adhered to verifiable facts.