I’ve thought about writing about this for several days now. One of the things that got reported and fell down the priority tree of news stories last week was James Comer’s House Oversight Committee’s super-special report “proving” President Biden and his entire family were up to their eyeballs in criminal financial dealings. Leading up to the report’s being published all kinds of promises were made about all the “proof” they had. None of the GOP’s witnesses in the little watched public hearings had jack. Neither did “witnesses” behind closed doors – although Comer channeled Trump with claims of a mass of FBI agents begging to testify. Since Democrats aren’t stupid they took part in all this and made sure some of them were in on closed door portions of the hearings. (If there’d been anything they’d have found a way to “prep”) So in the end Wednesday’s report landed with a thud and in part because Democrats knew it was a nothing burger and did a little debunking ahead of time.
Again, since Comer couldn’t produce any witnesses or evidence at public hearings I was rather doubtful about there being any “there” there. But boy did we hear hype about a whistleblower who “really, honest guys had the goods.” And that all would be revealed “soon.” (Sound familiar?) Comer again said as much, trying to break through the “Is that all there is?” noise with a comment about it only being an interim report. Somehow I doubt I was the only one who had thoughts of Lucy & Charlie Brown and the football, with the real life versions of Trump and his idiot lawyers like Sydney Powell and Rudy G. not to mention good ole Mike Lindell promising the REAL evidence was coming “soon.” (a couple of weeks became a running joke – that’s ongoing I might add)
Again I want to note that Jamie Raskin pointed out ahead of the release that Comer was promising goods he didn’t have, that the committee hadn’t learned anything behind closed doors that was illegal. No evidence was found Biden family members had coordinated with Joe Biden to enrich themselves (or him) with illegal or even sketchy foreign dealings. On the contrary. Like family members of other high officials some family members went out and made not just a living but sometimes a very, very good one on their own. Comer of course wasn’t pleased about Raskin poking holes in the sail and causing it to lose wind, but like other Republicans he knew the important thing for MAGA (and Trump) was to make the allegations. To raise money. With the hope that the stamp of the House Oversight Committee on the top of the page would provide everything the GOP needed for attack ads.
In less than a single news cycle the report got panned so badly (even by some conservative journalists/outlets) as being rather less than compelling and not the least bit “chock full of proof.” So, for the most part the news moved on. Oh, Comer and his cronies tried to make a big deal about how damning their report was for the President and his family. They huffed and puffed and frankly “fluffed” like some poor assistant on a porn set ordered to literally “raise the dead” by getting a corpse who’d just dropped dead of a heart attack “up” to complete a a scene. In the end however they had no evidence of any crimes, and certainly not enough to embarrass themselves by making a criminal referral to DOJ that everyone not MAGA Republican would laugh their a$$es off about. Even the “ethical” “issues” were, for reasons I’ll get in to in a moment questionable.
The whole thing reminded me of all those lawsuits Trump’s people filed over the 2020 election. Remember all the hype about “there were reports!”, or a Trump favorite “people said” and so on. And boy did they, with an ever compliant or gullible (or both) media get tons of airtime and column inches to shout their “case” from the rooftops. But when it came time to actually stand in a courtroom and present enough to a judge that he/she would agree there was at least a minimum standard of admissible evidence to allow a case to proceed had nothing. Zip. Zero. Even Trump appointed judges (and SCOTUS) pretty much treated them like an all-star NBA center on a playground against some trash talking chump trying to shoot over them, and swatting the ball into another zip code & saying “get that weak sh*t outa here punk!”
Call me weird, or cynical or whatever but I find it amusing (if also sickening) that these a$$hats will say all manner of stuff – until they are sworn in and under oath whether in court proceedings or Congressional ones. In both instances once sworn they are subject to “the pains and penalties of perjury.” And when that happens all these Trumpies suddenly are oh so careful about what they are willing to allege!
Still, Comer and his KKKrew thought they could hang their hats on SARS with the name Biden on them. For those who don’t know SARS stands for Suspicious Activity Report, something filed with FinCen (Financial Crimes Reporting Network) to track potential criminal financial activity like money-laundering (in particular but there’s other stuff too). The thing is, over time changes to banking/financial institution laws has resulted in a huge increase in such reports. As the link indicates 10k of activity in a day can trigger an SAR. So can other things, like earnings in foreign countries and regular business transactions. Keep in mind that people with citizenship in one country, or businesses based in one country but doing business in another are subject to tax laws in both countries. Fun fact – sometimes individuals/businesses will go ahead and file a SARS with supporting documentation themselves, just to save themselves the trouble of having to respond to subpoenas down the road. A sort of “get it out of the way cuz it’s all legal” type move.
Some (many in fact) people’s and businesses are at a way, WAY different level than say you or I would be if we had a regular, even upper middle class paying job and worked overseas for a year or two. So, in addition to in most cases dealing with tax laws of at least two countries payments, transactions back and forth easily meet the SAR requirement. Globalization has resulted in an explosion of SARs and it jumps significantly with each passing year. Overwhelmingly a quick check shows most are of legitimate transactions for perfectly legal business stuff and/or payment for the kind of expertise to lawyers/consultants that rate huge fees. Including a lawyer (say Hunter Biden for example) or consultant openly working for a person or entity in another country. Someone who’s services cost an awful lot (millions even) on the open market regardless of who’s providing said services.
So my reaction to no actual laws being cited as being broken, and the main takeaway being a batch of SARS along with promises of bombshell testimony from a whistleblower “soon” I flashed back to a Wendy’s advertising campaign from back in the 1980s. For those too young to remember Wendy’s wanted to tout that their burgers were bigger than Mickey D’s or BK’s. Each ad featured and elderly lady, sometimes with friends complaining about “big bun Inc.” and a burger that didn’t come anywhere near close to being as big as the bun. All bread and no meat if you were. And the tagline, which became a thing nationally that went beyond fast food was “Where’s the Beef?”
I’m glad I waited till today to write about this because it gets better. Or worse. Depends on how you want to look at it.
Look, we again heard a couple dozen or so FBI agents had talked to Comer’s committee, but as Congressman Raskin already pointed out none of that was in public testimony. We’re not talking about national security stuff here so one wonders why none of it was made public! You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes (much less an even greater investigative mind like George Santos!) to deduce none of them had anything to say, at least on the record that even looked bad for the Bidens, much less was criminal. And those droves of other agents so eager to testify? Who are they? No one seems to know. Comer and his fellow GOPers aren’t naming any names there either. Why, it’s almost like GOPers on the Oversight Committee have gone to all this trouble and came up with, wait for it – NOTHING!
But… There’s the whistleblower! He/She will blow the lid off the whole thing! Honest! Funny thing though. I don’t remember who but one of the Democrats on the committee got Comer to admit on the record and on camera that they hadn’t provided any transcripts, or even notes, even redacted ones from interviews with this “whistleblower” to Democrats. Or even there were any in the first place. What the hell? Just what went down? Did they sit back and knock back beers like Breski Brett Kavanaugh and his buds “Squi” & others who nicknames I forget? A session of “how but THIS?” Which repeating myself makes one think for all the hype in the end, for all their breathless anticipation from their precious whistleblower they’ve got NOTHING!
Still I had in the back of my mind that Comer, knowing there was a possibility that his Committee was shooting blanks with its report and that journalists would agree with Democrats that was the case he might, might have had just a little bit and that he decided to go old-school. As in save the proverbial “Big One” for the Sunday morning talk shows. That instead of the standard “two weeks” like we’ve always gotten from Trump, Lindell et al he’d pop his anti-Biden nuke this morning. Turns out he more or less swallowed a grenade after pulling the pin!
Comer admitted his “bigly” “whistleblower” was relying on corroboration from an informant.
Who is nowhere to be found!
That’s right folks. Comer’s Bigly Gun has no shell to fire. It’s looking like something from a Road Runner cartoon – a cannon that doesn’t shoot a cannonball but instead pops out a red flag that says “Boom.” Seriously, how do you lose your witness? One who you’ve been counting on. One who we assume you’d have had your staff talk to/vet and been keeping safe and sound, hidden away? How the hell does Comer lose track of this person? Even Maria Bartoromo had a “Say What?” reaction!
“Where’s the Beef”
Hell, we are past that at this point. Like the folks with tales to tell about election fraud in 2020 making claims to Trump’s minions was one thing, but appearing in court or even signing affidavits that if presented as evidence in court, even in an initial hearing would expose them to perjury charges was something else entirely. (Keep in mind, Trump’s lawyers like Rudy, Sydney and others made a lot of claims even on courthouse steps but knew better than make the same claims once a judge gaveled in proceedings and saying those same things would get them sanctioned. And worse.
So what we have at this point is a lot of accusations. About as much smoke you’d get from a struck match that doesn’t light up. And no fire at all.
One can debate the ethics of how family members of elected/appointed officials choose to be employed and the Biden’s aren’t (nor should they be) exempt from folks taking a look. But with the time and money that’s been invested (and the GOP was preparing for this and Gym Jordan’s crap fest for most of last year in anticipation of re-taking the House) in being able to flaunt proof of criminal activity by multiple members of the Biden family including President Biden himself. And to put in in mob parlance like Trump fantasizes about sometimes, “They got nuttin!”
Where’s the Beef?
It’s just my own opinion but it seems to me that a Trump masticated, only partially digested chunk of “hamberder” turd in his fake gold toilet has more substance than the House Oversight Committee’s “beef.”