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Opinion – Bill Straub: James Comer’s empty talk about accountability; he has a lot of explaining to do

Rep. Jamie Comer loves to talk about accountability. He loves accountability so much he even learned to spell it. It’s all accountability all the time with Jamie, here, there and everywhere. He even changed the name of the congressional panel he chairs to the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability.

Slick move.

Comer, R-TheFrankfortHook, has consistently spent the past 13 months holding President Biden, according to the preponderance of testimony before his own committee, accountable for sins he didn’t commit. Jamie, under marching orders from the GOP MAGA crowd, is searching for even the slightest reason to impeach Biden, thus providing Republicans and his political godfather, former President Donald J. Trump, with a leg up on the November election.

The NKyTribune’s Washington columnist Bill Straub served 11 years as the Frankfort Bureau chief for The Kentucky Post. He also is the former White House/political correspondent for Scripps Howard News Service. A member of the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame, he currently resides in Silver Spring, Maryland, and writes frequently about the federal government and politics. Email him at williamgstraub@gmail.com

In order to accomplish that goal, our sweet boy Jamie has lied about what witnesses said about Biden during the course of a misbegotten impeachment probe. He has smeared him without evidence, telling that pissant Sean Hannity, for instance, that “Joe Biden was working for the Chinese,’’ and making constant reference to the “Biden Crime Family’’ with the sole purpose of defaming the entire clan.
Despite mounting evidence that he wasn’t so much barking up the wrong tree as finding there is no tree to bark up, Jamie has continued his feckless, often-comical pursuit. Now we have reached the point in our saga where – and catch this, folks, it’s a lulu – the public learns that Jamie, the living embodiment of Clem Kadiddlehopper, has been relying to a substantial degree on the false accusations of an erstwhile FBI informant, one Alexander Smirnov, who, it turns out, was taking direction from the Kremlin.

That’s right. Jamie is, at best, a Russian stooge, a lackey for Vladimir Putin. The boy might just be a Russian asset.

And he thinks Biden should be impeached.

According to prosecutors who have indicted him for lying to the FBI, Smirnov falsely accused Biden and his son, Hunter, of accepting bribes amounting to $5 million each from a Ukraine energy company, Burisma, to supposedly provide it with some sort of protection against an official investigation. Hunter was serving on the company board at the time.

That helped launch the congressional probe into what Comer Pyle lustily refers to as the Biden Crime Family. Now Smirnov is on record saying at least some of the false information he delivered came from Russian intelligence officials who were trying to undermine the Biden presidency.

In other words, Jamie became a useful idiot. At least he was considered useful by someone this time.

Now a normal person, steeped in logic, might consider bidding a hasty retreat in the face of such humiliation. Not Jamie Comer, by God. He’s plowing ahead, trying to establish that Biden was heavily involved, indeed, the mastermind, behind a series of admittedly dubious foreign business ventures involving his son Hunter and, to a lesser extent, the president’s brother James.

Comer is convinced that Biden knew about, was intimately involved in and somehow benefitted financially from his son’s dealings with outfits connected to rogue governments like China and Russia, citing Biden’s occasional attendance at dinners involving Hunter and his business associates as proof positive of the president’s nefarious scheming.

The problem is Hunter’s various business partners and associates have testified before the House Oversight and Accountability Committee that the president wasn’t involved in his son’s endeavors and never got involved. The lone exception was some dude named Tony Bobulinski (not to be confused with the old Angels pitcher who chased after Mamie Van Doren) who said – without providing any proof whatsoever – that the president was involved in his son’s transactions.

Dismissing Hunter’s other business associates who testified to the contrary, Comer praised Bobulinski as “the one honest, credible guy involved with the Bidens.’’ Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-MD, the committee’s ranking member, said Bobulinski “did not provide any evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden, nor did he provide any evidence at all that President Biden was involved in his family’s business dealings.”

This has never been, and never will be, an honest, above-board investigation into President Biden undertaken by Comer and his committee. Given the Smirnov revelation, Raskin has demanded the entire, indecent kerfuffle be drawn to a close. It was never about seeking the truth. Comer entered the affair with the steadfast intent of establishing, by hook or by crook, that Biden was perpetrating some horrendous crime upon the nation, facts be damned. When he utterly failed to turn up any hard evidence of presidential deviousness and the God-honest truth failed to meet his desires, he simply made stuff up and crowed that he proved his point and saved the good, ol’ USA.

At no point is there any reason to believe Comer honestly believed Biden was embroiled in wrongdoing. If so, having heard testimony from all those involved, and secure in the knowledge that he has been hoodwinked by a Russian asset, he would have given up the ghost long ago. He’s no Javert, who at least knew Valjean stole a loaf of bread and maintained the law is the law. Comer has hounded Biden for no perceptible reason, he’s committed no high crime or misdemeanor. Comer is after him for dirty, immoral political reasons.

And that’s all you need to know.

Jamie loves accountability, he’s stated ’til the cows come home that he’s just keeping Biden accountable. But who’s watching the watchman? Who’s holding Jamie Comer accountable for the corrupt and despicable way he’s handled this entire sordid mess? He has defamed and sought to soil the reputations of honorable individuals and has, in a relatively short period of time, become the poster boy for everything that’s gone wrong and daft in this country.

Comer has proved himself a fool and a dishonest broker. He is undermining the home nation he was elected to preserve. In a just world he, not President Biden, would be held accountable for the damage he is doing to the body politic. But the good people of the First Congressional District, which now stretches from the mighty Mississippi to the state capital, is unlikely to give him his just deserts. Mores the pity.

House Republicans have proved over the last few weeks they’re willing to impeach federal officials of a Democratic bent, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, without so much as a hint of scandal or wrongdoing. They’re all likely to consider pulling the same scam on Biden, to enhance the chances of the Orange-tinged idol, the golden calf that is Trump.

Selling his soul to help get a rapist elected president of the United States of America. Now that’s something Jamie can explain to his grandkids.

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