James Comer (R-Ky.), chairman of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, told a Fox News radio host that Attorney General Merrick Garland is working with the

WASHINGTON — Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) this week came up with a new excuse for why reporters keep writing he’s found “no evidence” incriminating President Joe Biden.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, Comer told a Fox News radio host, is “working with the Deep State who’s working with the liberal mainstream media to try to indoctrinate into people’s minds that there’s no evidence.”

Comer has griped about the media coverage of his impeachment inquiry all along, but describing it as a deep state conspiracy is new. It’s also telling, because it’s ridiculous and it shows his tendency toward exaggeration, which is why reporters are always pointing out that actually, he’s got no evidence.

And that’s why he’s so mad. 

To take one example, Comer complained Monday on Fox News that he had “proven” Biden received $250,000 thanks to global influence peddling by his family members cashing in on the last name he’d made famous. 

The committee revealed in October that it had obtained bank records showing two payments, one for $200,000 and another for $40,000, from James and Sara Biden, the president’s brother and sister-in-law, to an account connected to Joe Biden, in 2018. 

Comer trumpeted evidence of a “direct payment” to Joe Biden. He claimed it was dirty money James Biden only earned because his brother was in on the scheme.

But the checks said “loan repayment” on the memo line, and, as HuffPost reported at the time, other records in the committee’s possession suggested Joe Biden had previously sent the same sums to James and Sara Biden. So what it really looked like was Comer caught Joe Biden loaning his brother money at a time when he was flush with cash from his 2017 memoir. 

James Comer (R-Ky.), chairman of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, told a Fox News radio host that Attorney General Merrick Garland is working with the James Comer (R-Ky.), chairman of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, told a Fox News radio host that Attorney General Merrick Garland is working with the

Comer refused to accept that the money was a repayment, because the initial transfers from Joe Biden to his brother aren’t marked as loans, there is no written loan agreement, and no interest was charged. As Comer put it to HuffPost in November, “Loan my ass.”

Last month, lawmakers asked James Biden about the payments during a closed-door interview as part of the impeachment inquiry.

“I repaid two loans that I secured from my brother,” James Biden said, according to a transcript, adding that he needed the money for “outstanding bills that I had.” He said he knew he could ask his brother because of the millions he’d earned from his book. 

Republicans obtained bank records showing James Biden received $200,000 from Americore, a bankrupt health care company that hired him as a consultant, on the same day he repaid the same amount to brother. (As part of a settlement stemming from the firm’s bankruptcy proceedings, James Biden agreed to pay back $350,000 of the $600,000 the company paid him.)

Lawmakers also interviewed Carol Fox, America’s bankruptcy trustee, who said she had no evidence that Joe Biden had been involved in his brother’s work with the company, or that the two had even spoken about it. 

A staff attorney asked Fox if she had seen “anything where James Biden informed Americore that he was going to take the $200,000 that was purportedly a loan and give it to Joe Biden?”

Fox said, “I did not.” 

Regarding the $40,000 James Biden repaid his brother, Republicans have called it the “proceeds” of Hunter Biden’s $5 million deal with a Chinese energy conglomerate, arguing James Biden was only able to make the payment because weeks earlier he had received  $150,000 from his nephew, who said he paid him as a consultant on the project. And they’ve suggested Joe Biden knew where the money was coming from because he briefly met one of the Chinese nationals involved. Rob Walker, a former business partner of Hunter Biden’s, testified in a closed-door interview that Joe Biden met the executive at a group lunch in a Washington hotel.

Here’s the rub: Walker said Joe Biden popped in for 10 minutes, and the Chinese nationals present might have been impressed, but the elder Biden had a habit of checking in on his son, whose life at the time was falling apart under the weight of a crack cocaine addiction. 

“I think that from time to time he liked to lay eyes on his son who was in and out of sobriety,” Walker said. 

He told lawmakers he didn’t think Joe Biden “even really knew why they were there” and that the elder Biden said, “Good luck in whatever you guys are doing.” 

Several other former business partners testified to a similar pattern. Hunter Biden would get a call from his dad, and instead of leaving the room, he would put him on speakerphone, even if business associates were present, and Joe Biden would talk about the weather. None have said they observed Joe Biden actually talk business or express any familiarity with what his son or brother were doing. 

In his own deposition. Hunter Biden furiously rejected the idea he had funneled money through his uncle to his father.

“You’re acting as if there’s, like, a dollar here that somehow was traced all the way down to here to repay a loan that you guys say that my father made to him,” Biden told lawmakers. “All I know is this: My father was never involved in any of my business, ever. Never received a cent from anybody or never benefited in any way. Never took any actions on behalf in any way.”

On Fox News radio this week, Comer described the money Joe Biden received from his brother as part of the family’s global grift ― without even bothering to ridicule the idea that Joe Biden had previously lent his brother the money.

“This all revolves around Joe, because not only have we proven Joe got $250,000, a quarter of a million dollars of that money, but Joe met with all the people that were wiring the Bidens money, even though he lied and said he never met with any of them,” Comer said. “They’re bad people in bad countries who were being investigated for corruption.”

(Joe Biden has denied that he ever “discussed business” with his son and his son’s associates, according to Republicans’ own rundown of his past statements. Comer and his colleagues maintain that Joe Biden saying “good luck” to a family member’s business associate is tantamount to talking business with that person.) 

Comer went on to suggest all the money Joe Biden’s family members received amounted to foreign bribes. He did not mention that Republicans’ main bribery allegation against Joe Biden — that he received $5 million from a Ukrainian oligarch — evaporated last month when the Justice Department said an FBI informant with ties to Russian intelligence had made it up. It had been Republicans’ most compelling piece of evidence. 

In addition to calling the media part of a deep state conspiracy to defend Joe Biden, Comer lashed out at reporters who’ve traveled to his Kentucky district to report stories about his own use of Hunter Biden-style “shell companies” to make financial transactions. The reporters visiting Kentucky, Comer claimed, wore effete footwear and walked in a dainty manner. 

“They stand out like a sore thumb, they can tell when they get out of the car and see their little Gucci slippers that they’re not from my Red Wing boot-wearing hometown,” Comer said. “They waddle in there, you know, tiptoe in there to the court, and they do all these open records requests and they won’t do anything on Biden.”

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