In his quest to uncover evidence of corruption by President Joe Biden, House Oversight Committee chair James Comer (R-Ky.) has only managed to undermine his key allegations against the president, according to the committee’s top Democrat.
“Chairman Comer’s investigation has conclusively disproven the Republican allegations against President Biden,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said Monday in a statement accompanying a report summarizing the committee’s work so far this year.
It’s a scathing document that portrays the Republican investigation as a transparent effort to create a false equivalence between Biden and former President Donald Trump, who faces four criminal trials for conduct during and after his presidency.
The main corruption allegations against Biden are that he participated in his son’s business deals with foreign nationals and that as vice president he twisted U.S. foreign policy to benefit a Ukrainian gas company that employed his son as board member. House Republicans have said they may launch an impeachment inquiry against Joe Biden based on the Oversight Committee’s material.
“Mounting evidence reveals that then-Vice President Joe Biden was ‘the brand’ that his family sold around the world to enrich the Bidens,” a spokesperson for Comer said Monday. “Then-Vice President Biden spoke over 20 times by speakerphone with Hunter Biden’s foreign business associates, dined with corrupt oligarchs who funneled millions to Hunter Biden, had coffee with one of his son’s associates in Beijing, and may have engaged in a bribery scheme.”
Earlier this year, Comer and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) uncovered an FBI file indicating that a trusted source spoke to a Ukrainian oligarch who claimed to have bribed Joe and Hunter Biden. The source said the claim was characteristic of braggadocio among post-Soviet businessmen; Raskin has said FBI officials told him they assessed the material and found it not credible enough for a full investigation. (The bureau has declined to publicize its assessment.)
Devon Archer, a former business partner of Hunter Biden’s, gave Republicans their best material. He told the committee that Hunter Biden used his name and connections in Washington as a “brand” that could be valuable to potential clients. And Archer said Hunter Biden would occasionally put his dad on speaker phone when they were in the company of business associates. As a result, Comer and other Republicans claim the elder Biden routinely lied whenever he said he had no involvement in his son’s work.
But according to the transcript, Archer said the conversations he witnessed weren’t about business and that he never saw Joe Biden help his son’s business or Hunter Biden use his father to influence policy. Archer also said he had no knowledge of the Bidens receiving bribes from Ukrainian oligarchs, and that he was not aware of any effort by Hunter Biden to use his dad to get a Ukrainian prosecutor fired.
The latter claim ― that the Bidens corrupted U.S. policy toward Ukraine ― has been repeatedly debunked, including in sworn testimony by State Department officials. Those officials and ethics experts did say, however, that Hunter Biden’s foreign dealmaking created the appearance of a conflict of interest when his father was vice president.
Trump’s efforts to force Ukraine into announcing a sham investigation of the Bidens led to his first impeachment in 2019. Raskin said Republicans were pursuing the Ukrainian corruption allegation out of “humiliating subservience” to Trump.
“The voluminous evidence they have gathered, including thousands of pages of bank records and suspicious activity reports and hours of testimony from witnesses, overwhelmingly demonstrates no wrongdoing by President Biden and further debunks Republicans’ conspiracy theories,” Raskin said.