After Rep. James Comer and Sen. Chuck Grassley released an FBI document containing debunked Biden bribery claims, Rep. Jamie Raskin took apart the Republicans.
Raskin said in a statement provided to PoliticusUSA:
As the antics and pratfalls continue to multiply, it’s now clear that Chairman Comer threatened to hold FBI Director Wray in contempt over a document that Senator Grassley already had in his possession and Chairman Comer had already viewed. Now Chairman Comer and Senator Grassley are disseminating these unverified claims without the critical context provided by the FBI in a briefing to Chairman Comer and myself because, as Senator Grassley admitted, they do not care about the accuracy of these allegations, evidently just their political utility.
This FBI document released by Republicans records the unverified, secondhand, years-old allegations relayed by a confidential human source who stated he could not provide ‘further opinion as to the veracity’ of these allegations. Even Senator Johnson recognized these allegation may have been fabricated out of thin air.
The version of the document released by Republicans makes clear that the source of the information is Burisma’s owner, Mykola Zlochevsky. As I noted in a letter to Chairman Comer last month, Mr. Zlochevsky was at the center of a pressure campaign by Rudy Giuliani in 2019 and 2020 on behalf of then-President Trump, during which Mr. Zlochevsky was interviewed and directly denied these allegations. He stated unequivocally that no one at Burisma had ‘any contacts’ with then former Vice President Biden or his representatives while Hunter Biden served on the Burisma board, and he denied that former Vice President Biden or his staff ‘in any way’ assisted Mr. Zlochevsky or Burisma.
Furthermore, Lev Parnas, a central participant and co-conspirator in Giuliani’s efforts to dig up dirt on the Bidens in Ukraine and to spread disinformation against Joe Biden, wrote to Congress and offered to testify under oath that, based on his firsthand knowledge, there has ‘never been any factual evidence’ to support these bribery allegations, ‘only conspiracy theories,’ which have been ‘proven false many times over.’ He asked Chairman Comer to confront the reality that there is no evidence for these claims and to call off the Committee’s ‘wild goose chase.’
Releasing this document in isolation from explanatory context is another transparently desperate attempt by Committee Republicans to revive the aging and debunked Giuliani-framed conspiracy theories and to distract from their continuing failure to produce any actual evidence of wrongdoing by the President—even at the cost of endangering the safety of FBI sources.
Republicans Are Desperate
The clock is ticking. The 2024 presidential election is quickly approaching and the effort to find a scandal to hang on President Biden has come up empty. As Ranking Member Raskin pointed out, Republicans are desperate. Their hearings into Joe Biden and relentless pushing of Hunter Biden conspiracy theories have gotten them nowhere. The non-conservative press sees through what Republicans are doing, and there are growing signs that even conservative media is starting to get bored with being fed a relentless dose of conspiracy theories with no evidence.
A junk food diet of conspiracy the truth is out there fluff is not cutting it anymore, so Grassley and Comey have gotten desperate and have released a document that is secondhand hearsay that was already found not to be credible by the Trump DOJ.
Republicans continue to show that they have nothing. Comer and Grassley are hoping that if they keep pushing the conspiracies loud enough and long enough, they will eventually catch on.
It hasn’t happened yet, and with the election season set to kick off in a matter of months, Republicans in Congress are running out of time and are facing the reality that their Biden scandals are a bust.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association