Tuesday, July 23, 2024

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Did James Comer Peddle Russian Disinformation in Failed Impeachment Bid?

As Biden Impeachment Crusade Falters, Accusations Swirl of GOP Ties to Russian Influence.

James Comer

After over a year of heated rhetoric and unfounded smears against President Joe Biden, the Republican impeachment effort appears to be fizzling out into a desperate scramble by its chief proponent, Representative James Comer. Despite spearheading the probe and insisting the Biden family was guilty of corruption, Comer and his GOP allies have produced no concrete evidence of wrongdoing by the president.

With the prospect of actual impeachment articles looking increasingly unlikely, Comer is now shifting his narrative in a clear face-saving move. “It’s clear that Democrats will choose their party over their country and the truth at every turn. They should be ashamed of themselves,” the Kentucky Republican wrote in a recent fundraising email. “That’s why I am preparing criminal referrals as the culmination of my investigation.”

This represents a stark pivot from Comer’s originally stated goal of impeaching and removing Biden from office through a House vote. Just two weeks ago, he told Fox News that “accountability … looks like criminal referrals” to the Department of Justice. But that fallback plan relies on the highly speculative scenario of Donald Trump regaining the presidency in 2024 and then instructing the DOJ to prosecute Biden based on Comer’s referrals.

“When President Trump returns to the White House, it’s critical the new leadership at the DOJ have everything they need to prosecute the Biden Crime Family and deliver swift justice,” Comer wrote, making clear his long game strategy.

The shift comes on the heels of a disastrous House Oversight Committee hearing where Comer’s key witnesses—including convicted fraudster Jason Galanis and Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas—failed to provide any smoking gun evidence against Biden. When pressed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the witnesses could not point to a single specific criminal act committed by the president.

“At this point, the story is not the fact that the basis of this impeachment inquiry is wrong. The story is why it’s proceeding anyway. Why is this committee proceeding based on false charges?” Ocasio-Cortez pointedly asked during the hearing.

Indeed, cracks have been showing within Republican ranks on the viability and wisdom of pushing for Biden’s impeachment. “I have yet to see any evidence that would warrant the rise to impeachment,” Rep. Mike Lawler, who initially voted to open the inquiry, admitted last week.

The Biden camp has maintained its composure throughout the probes, with the Justice Department stating it has already “provided documents to Congress, including a copy of the President’s interview transcript” related to the investigation by special counsel Robert Hur. A DOJ spokesperson added that Hur testified before Congress for over five hours and provided his report with no redactions.

As ranking Oversight member Jamie Raskin summed it up, the Republican impeachment crusade has devolved into a “comedy of errors” that has now “jumped the shark.” With their purported evidence failing to materialize and their majority appearing tenuous, Comer’s efforts may have amounted to little more than “an attempt by Republicans to run a version of their Benghazi strategy on Biden,” as one report put it.

However, polls indicate most voters don’t see grounds for impeaching Biden. And only 16% of voters told Pew Research they are following the proceedings “very closely”, likely reflecting Trump’s existing base. As such, the protracted Republican probes may have simply preached to the MAGA choir while inadvertently highlighting their own lack of substance and the resiliency of the impeachment cases previously brought against Trump.

Faced with unrelenting partisan attacks, Biden has emerged unscathed, a testament to his administration’s determination to stay focused on governing amid the rhetorical firestorm. While Comer scrambles for an “exit strategy,” the president can take solace in the American people’s apparent recognition that the impeachment fervor was a controversy manufactured for political purposes, not rooted in facts.

In the end, the spectacular collapse of James Comer’s impeachment crusade raises deeply troubling questions about his true motives and allegiances. By relentlessly pushing baseless allegations against President Biden that originated from dubious foreign sources, including known Russian intelligence assets, Comer has revealed himself to be little more than a partisan hack willing to undermine American democracy for political gain. 

The fact that many of the unsubstantiated claims Comer peddled have been traced back to Russian disinformation campaigns raises the chilling possibility that he knowingly acted as a mouthpiece for the Vladimir Putin’s agenda. If so, Comer’s actions represent a profound betrayal of his oath of office and the trust of the American people. 

As the dust settles on this shameful smear campaign, Congress must thoroughly investigate the extent to which Comer and his allies may have been compromised by foreign influence. And any elected official who has prioritized doing Russia’s bidding over upholding their sacred duty to the Constitution must face accountability.