Hunter Biden’s lawyer explains exactly why Biden will only testify publicly

Hunter Biden’s offer to testify publicly before the House Oversight Committee left Republicans struggling to explain why they don’t want him talking publicly and are demanding a closed-door deposition. Their demands have not been compelling, and Biden’s lawyer reiterated that he will appear in public or not at all.

"As indicated in my November 28, 2023, letter, Mr. Biden has offered to appear at a hearing on the December 13, 2023, date you have reserved, or another date this month, to answer any question pertinent and relevant to the subject matter stated in your November 8, 2023, letter," Biden’s letter, Abbe Lowell, wrote in a letter to Oversight Chair James Comer.

Lowell did not mince words about why that is: "He is making this choice because the Committee has demonstrated time and again it uses closed-door sessions to manipulate, even distort, the facts and misinform the American public—a hearing would ensure transparency and truth in these proceedings."

This comes days after Comer tried to sell the public on a claim that he’d proven that President Joe Biden had profited from his son’s business dealings—because the son had repaid the father slightly more than $4,000 for a car loan.

That kind of wild misrepresentation of reality is exactly why Hunter Biden needs to do whatever it takes to avoid speaking to Comer behind closed doors. Comer is a brazen liar and no matter what Biden said in a private deposition, Comer would be on Fox News and Newsmax within hours, claiming he had proof that the president is corrupt. Only after a few days of headlines about Comer’s claims would the truth come out, at which point it would get a fraction of the media attention that the lies had gotten. That’s Comer’s plan. It’s how House Republicans are selling impeachment. All Hunter Biden can do is try not to feed into it.

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Markos and Kerry give their thoughts on what the country is facing in 2024. The Republican Party is running on losing issues like abortion and repealing the ACA—with no explanation of what they plan on replacing it with. Trump has a lot of criming to atone for, and the Republican platform remains set on destroying democracy.

A House Republican tells the truth about the push to impeach Biden

Most House Republicans keep pretending that there’s some noble basis for their drive to impeach President Joe Biden. He’s corrupt, they say, even as their bombshell evidence of that is that Biden’s son repaid him for a car loan. They’re just following the evidence, they say, glossing over the lack of evidence to follow. Not Rep. Troy Nehls. He’s being honest.

Nehls told USA Today that his reason for impeachment would be to give Trump “a little bit of ammo to fire back” at Biden in the 2024 presidential race. The ammo being “So what if I was impeached twice and face 91 felony counts. You were impeached, too!” It doesn’t get any more partisan than that.

After all of the protestations to the contrary from the 18 House Republicans in Biden districts pontificating, as Rep. Marc Molinaro recently did, about the House’s “fundamental responsibility of provide accountability to the executive branch” and tut-tutting about being “troubled by some of the behavior” from the White House, Nehls is telling the truth.

Republicans were gearing up to impeach Biden before they ever took control of the House, and they started hearings with that end in mind as soon as they could get their act together to do so. You can bet that if they’d found any real evidence of wrongdoing by the president, he’d have been impeached immediately. Instead, they’re heading into a vote for a formal impeachment inquiry armed with some loan repayments from Joe Biden’s son and his brother, repayments made when he wasn’t even in office. In the absence of any evidence of wrongdoing, they may try to impeach him for obstructing their investigation—presumably by not coughing up the nonexistent evidence they imagine he’s hiding.

And why are they so determined to get this done? It’s like Nehls said: to give Trump “a little bit of ammo to fire back.”

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Comer’s latest bombshell may be his worst dud yet

House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer dropped what was supposed to be a big bombshell on Monday. As he put it, “Hunter Biden's business entity, Owasco PC, made direct monthly payments to Joe Biden.” The response he was looking for was: “Direct monthly payments! Wow, sounds like evidence of corruption to me!” The response he got was: “Uh, that was car payments Hunter was making after his father got him a vehicle at a time when his credit was in the toilet. And it was three monthly payments of $1,380. And Joe Biden was not in office at the time.”

Here’s The Washington Post, apparently having lost all patience for Comer’s misleading claims. Headline: “Comer mischaracterizes Hunter Biden car payment reimbursement to his dad.” Opening paragraph:

As House Republicans move toward a floor vote to authorize an impeachment inquiry against President Biden, House Oversight Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) has again mischaracterized evidence of payments from Hunter Biden to his father.

It goes on like that, tying Comer’s claims on this story to his broader pattern: “Comer has consistently oversold or misrepresented the committee’s investigative findings as he has argued to initiate impeachment proceedings.”

Here’s a headline from the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal: “GOP Sees Skulduggery in Hunter Biden Paying His Father Back for Truck.”

As House Republicans move toward a floor vote to authorize an impeachment inquiry … this is probably not the kind of coverage they want that effort to be getting. What’s more, as Rep. Jamie Raskin noted, it's not even new. The Murdoch-owned New York Post reported those car payments in 2022.

Nonetheless, Comer got himself in front of a Newsmax camera Monday evening to try to make fetch happen. He was determined to make those car loan repayments look like evidence of corruption, no matter how foolish it made him look. (Extremely foolish.)

“You can loan people money,” Comer said. “If they pay you back, then you benefited directly.” I mean, you benefited in the sense that you did not lose the money, but you did not profit. That would be quite the redefinition of corruption: avoiding losing money on loans to family members.

Comer also said, “when my son needs help, or my daughter who’s in college needs it, I just give her money. Nobody ever pays me back.” And as we all know, if you personally do not expect your children in their teens or early 20s to repay you for a car, then no one could possibly expect their nearly 50-year-old son to repay them for a car loan. This stuff really shows the degree to which Comer is just blurting out nonsense without thinking things through. But let’s turn to some pictures to fully get the contrast here. Here’s Comer and his kids over the weekend:

Here’s Hunter and Joe Biden getting that truck for which Hunter paid his dad back:

Lordy, there are pictures

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 4, 2023

One of these is a picture of a grown-ass man, while the others show people of an age to pick up some lawnmowing or babysitting jobs for extra cash. Almost a year after Hunter and Joe Biden got that truck, Comer’s son—who is now taller than him—didn't reach his shoulder. Can Comer not see the difference between a teenager and an adult? Or is this just one more measure of his dishonesty?

The president must be thrilled at this latest evidence of “corruption.” Comer looks like such a lying partisan hack, the media is losing patience, and this is the story Republicans launched to propel themselves into a vote on an impeachment inquiry. This impeachment inquiry is going to increase public sympathy for Biden as he comes under one baseless, nasty attack after another. Republicans are going to remind us again and again that the president is a father who has loved and supported his troubled son through thick and thin—but also expected him to pay for his own vehicle as he was able. Joe Biden is the decent, compassionate father of an extremely troubled son, and Republicans keep trying to use that as an attack on him. This is not a course of action that’s going to benefit from more exposure and attention.

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White House has things to say as Speaker Johnson reverses course on impeachment inquiry

House Republicans are moving toward a vote on a formal impeachment inquiry as they continue to allege, without evidence, serious corruption on the part of President Joe Biden. The evidence has not gotten stronger since mid-November, when House Speaker Mike Johnson reportedly told so-called Republican moderates that there was “insufficient evidence” to move forward. The politics, however, have changed. Johnson’s move to keep the government from shutting down angered some extremist Republicans, and the expulsion of George Santos just after Johnson declared his opposition to expulsion did not make Johnson look any stronger. Giving the extremists a vote on an impeachment inquiry is an easy way for Johnson to try to shore up support.

The White House is vigorously pointing out the political calculations behind a vote on an impeachment inquiry. "Under fire for expelling George Santos, Speaker Johnson is throwing red meat to Marjorie Taylor Greene and the far right flank of the House GOP by pushing a full House vote on this illegitimate impeachment stunt," White House spokesperson Ian Sams told The Messenger.

"He admitted there is no evidence to justify it three weeks ago, but he’s doing it anyway — further proof that this whole exercise is an extreme political stunt, rather than a legitimate pursuit of the truth," Sams told The Messenger, excoriating Johnson and his flock for a "baseless smear campaign" that he said is "solely intended to satisfy their most extreme members."

Johnson has been consistent in publicly claiming that Republicans have a strong case against Biden, even as he admitted to members of his conference that there was “insufficient evidence.” Now, House Republicans are preparing to escalate their baseless inquiry and thereby escalate their harassment of Biden—leading into an election year.

The politics on an impeachment inquiry vote are clear, as former Speaker Newt Gingrich acknowledged, saying on “Fox & Friends,” “If you’re a Republican, do you really want to guarantee a primary opponent by voting against it?” Gingrich went on to offer up the regular Republican talking points, claiming that Biden is corrupt, but that sentence right there is going to be the basis for at least a few Republican votes on an impeachment inquiry—and with the razor-thin margin Republicans have in the House, that could be the decisive factor.

Republicans are set to move toward impeachment. But their evidence remains even thinner than their House majority, and many of them know it. Partisanship reigns above everything for them.

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So sad: Republicans fear ‘four years of revenge’ from Trump

Republicans have spent seven years enabling Donald Trump, but they’d like your sympathy and even pity as they deal with the consequences of that.

Trump says hateful, damaging things … and Republicans are expected to answer questions about whether they support that. I mean, can you even imagine having such a hard life? If only there had been anything congressional Republicans could have done to prevent this.

“I’m under no illusions what that would be like,” Sen. John Cornyn told Politico, referring to whether Trump will win the Republican primary nomination. “If it’s Biden and Trump, I’m gonna be supporting Trump. But that’s obviously not without its challenges.” Challenges like a mob storming the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overturn an election? Cornyn may see it as a challenge, but he didn’t see it as worth voting to convict Trump in his second impeachment. And if Cornyn is “under no illusions” but still sees Trump as simply “a challenge” despite the frightening agenda Trump’s own staff and allies are planning, then he’s complicit.

“We have a lot of people on our side that utilize Donald Trump for their political benefit,” Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.) said, people who “get really tired of answering questions about Donald Trump. And I don’t think that’s fair to the president. You don’t get the good without ... the whole package.”

They like big chunks of what Trump has done and wants to do. They just wish they could have it without all those pesky questions.

Other Republicans are afraid of retaliation. This is not a party filled with the most courageous people.

Still, Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) said plenty in the GOP dread Trump’s return to the political spotlight but “everybody is being more private about it.”

“I wouldn’t expect him to be different,” Simpson said, adding that many colleagues worry about “four years of revenge … we just have to wait and see.”

Again, if only there were anything they could have done to avoid ending up at this point. Who could have predicted that seven years of defending him, pretending not to have heard about his worst offenses, purging their party of his critics, and trying to help him overturn an election would end up with Trump poised to be the Republican presidential nominee again?

Even Trump’s critics within the party are trying to downplay the damage he does. Trump’s statements and social media posts are “almost a stream of consciousness,” according to Sen. Bill Cassidy, one of the Senate Republicans who voted to convict Trump in his second impeachment. According to Cassidy, the situation now is “analogous to when every day he would tweet, and 99 percent of the time it never came to anything.” Okay, but even if we take that 99% number as truth, the 1% helped incite a violent attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Even Sen. Mitt Romney, perhaps Trump’s strongest Republican critic in the Senate, is trying to fool himself or us about the damage Trump does. “He says a lot of stuff that he has no intention of actually doing,” Romney told Politico. “At some point, you stop getting worried about what he says and recognize: We’ll see what he does.” Hate speech is also damaging on its own, though. Inciting supporters to violence against political opponents or the media is a thing Trump is doing through what he says.

Republicans made Donald Trump. They kept propping him up, and they still do. They would deserve what they get at his hands—only he’ll be doing so much more damage to the rest of the country.

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The honeymoon is ending for Mike Johnson

House Republicans got rid of one speaker (with Democratic help) and then ran through most of their available candidates before successfully replacing him. They probably don’t want to do that again, at least until the memory fades a little, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to stop being fractured, ego-driven monsters whose go-to strategy is legislative vandalism. All of which is to say, current Speaker Mike Johnson came in with a warm glow of giddy Republican approval around him, but he’s already taking some pretty harsh criticism.

“He continues to play games,” Rep. Max Miller told Politico. “We are talking about a man [who] 30 days ago said that he was an anti-CR guy. We are talking about a man 30 days ago that was anti-Ukraine funding. ... It shows me he was never really morally convicted in his positions to begin with.”

Miller was an ally of ousted Speaker Kevin McCarthy, so he may not have been inclined to give Johnson as much benefit of the doubt as some. But going on the record to call a speaker from your own party a “joke” whose strategic decisions and shifting positions have been “disgusting,” “fucking dumb,” and “a slap in the face to every Jew” is an unusual move. It suggests that Miller isn’t worried about retaliation.

Rep. Andy Biggs was one of the eight Republicans who voted to boot McCarthy. He is, like Johnson, on the far right of the House Republican conference. Talking to Politico, he rated Johnson in grade-school report card terms as “needing improvement” and “unsatisfactory results.”

Rep. Chip Roy, also on the far right, rated Johnson’s performance as “plummeting.”

Johnson continues to have allies, and many on the far right of House Republicans continue to see him as one of their own. There’s no talk (yet) of replacing him, and he’s shoring himself up through his continuing support for impeaching President Joe Biden. But it’s significant that the biggest thing Johnson did to anger his fellow Republicans is … try to keep the government open for a few more months. The Freedom Caucus has grudgingly conceded they need to go along with the basic effort to keep the government from shutting down, but that doesn’t mean they’re happy about it, or with the guy who got them here.

Right now, Johnson is trying to walk the line between extreme enough to keep the Freedom Caucus and its ilk happy but not so overtly extreme that he completely blows up Republican chances next November. He’s getting away with it, but like every other recent Republican speaker, it’s clear that he’s not leading his party so much as trying to thread one needle after another without stumbling into a full-on rebellion. And many members of his party continue on unchanged by the experience of McCarthy’s ouster and the ensuing chaos. Their egos and determination to get attention by causing trouble will never take a rest.

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McCarthy privately claims he told Trump ‘F**k you’ after McCarthy’s ouster

Rep. Kevin McCarthy and Donald Trump have a long history of having each other’s backs to the extent that two such soulless, transactional people ever do. But that broke down when Trump didn’t come to McCarthy’s aid as he was on the way to being voted out as speaker of the House, the first speaker ever ousted in that way. Rep. Matt Gaetz, who initiated the motion to vacate the chair, even publicly claimed that Trump supported his move against McCarthy. McCarthy had reason to be frustrated and angry—and The Washington Post reports that McCarthy claims he vented that frustration to Trump directly. (Emphasis on McCarthy claims.)

McCarthy and Trump reportedly had a call weeks after McCarthy’s ouster in which Trump made clear that he had made an active decision not to bail McCarthy out, because he was angry that McCarthy hadn’t gotten Trump’s two impeachments expunged and hadn’t endorsed him yet for the 2024 Republican presidential primary, sources told the Post:

“F--- you,” McCarthy claimed to have then told Trump, when he rehashed the call later to other people in two separate conversations, according to the people. A spokesperson for McCarthy said that he did not swear at the former president and that they have a good relationship. A spokesperson for Trump declined to comment.

It is totally believable that Trump’s ego is so fragile he let McCarthy twist in the wind over impeachments not being expunged and an endorsement that McCarthy did plan to make later. It is less believable—though not entirely unbelievable—that McCarthy said “Fuck you” to Trump, but totally typical that McCarthy was reportedly saying one thing in multiple private conversations and then having a spokesperson deny it.

McCarthy is never the most reliable source on his own interactions with Trump. Everything he says is bound up in his own ambition and reputation management, and his dramatic stories often change. For instance, following the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler described a phone call between McCarthy and Trump during the attack in which McCarthy pleaded with Trump to call off the mob, only to be told, “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.” McCarthy reportedly yelled at Herrera Beutler for making that public, saying, “You should have come to me! Why did you go to the press? This is no way to thank me!” McCarthy and Herrera Beutler then denied reports that he had yelled at her until she was in tears, but the reporting on that meeting “was verified by a primary source and multiple lawmakers who heard the account firsthand from McCarthy.” McCarthy lied one of those times, in other words.

Former Rep. Liz Cheney also offers another eyebrow-raising McCarthy-Trump story in her new book:

“Mar-a-Lago? What the hell, Kevin?” Cheney asked, per CNN.

“They’re really worried,” he replied, according to her book. “Trump’s not eating, so they asked me to come see him.”

“What? You went to Mar-a-Lago because Trump’s not eating?” Cheney said.

“Yeah, he’s really depressed,” McCarthy added.

Yes, Donald Trump was depressed and the only thing that could make him feel better was a visit from Kevin McCarthy.

These two deserve each other. They are seething balls of ego and ambition, only caring for what the people around them can do for them. The thing is, Trump is better at it. He’s more shameless, more dangerous. McCarthy is always a little—and sometimes more than a little—pathetic. And these days, as ex-speaker, he’s barely even relevant except as a symbol of his party’s ongoing disgrace.

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Hunter Biden called James Comer’s bluff. Now Comer is flailing

Hunter Biden wants to testify to the House Oversight Committee in public, not behind closed doors. He’s watched as his associates have given private depositions only for Republicans to leak misleading and outright false accounts of their answers, and the president’s son doesn’t seem interested in being a victim of that process. Hunter Biden’s offer to testify publicly has James Comer, the chair of the Oversight Committee, talking fast and offering a lot of excuses. A closed-door deposition, Comer insisted to Sean Hannity Tuesday night, “is for all practical purposes public. We will release the transcripts.”

But not before Comer and his buddies go out and set the narrative about the deposition by lying about it.

There’s a reason Hunter Biden might want the world to see his answers live. In late July, his former business partner Devon Archer gave a closed-door deposition. Within hours, Comer and House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan were on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News, with Comer claiming, “Today, we saw Joe Biden has lied to the American people. He knew exactly who his son was getting those millions and millions of dollars of wires from, and he spoke to them, and he spoke to them often.” Days later, under pressure, Republicans released the transcript of Archer’s deposition, and, of course, it showed nothing of the sort.

Talking to Hannity on Tuesday night, Comer pretended he hadn’t spent months lying his inflated head off about everything related to the “investigation.” Comer constantly spits out numbers of pages of documents that the committee has obtained, dollar amounts of money paid to people associated with Hunter Biden, and accusations that President Joe Biden has in some way been receiving that money—without any evidence at all of that final, critical point.

“Everyone knows that if you have a credible, substantive investigation, you have depositions, you have transcribed interviews, then you bring in people for committee hearings,” Comer told Hannity. “I’m not doing this for entertainment. This is a credible investigation.”

(Pause to laugh.) A credible, substantive investigation, he says. (Helpless laughter.) Man, if you have to repeat “credible investigation” like that on friendly ground like Hannity, you are giving something away.

“This will be a very transparent investigation, as it has been from the very beginning,” he added. Transparently partisan, for sure. But again, we’ve watched as Comer and other Republicans have lied and obfuscated and manufactured baseless claims about the president. We know better—but Republicans are relying on having Hunter Biden give a private deposition that they can twist and set a false narrative on before they release the transcript and only a few people bother to read the whole thing.

Tuesday on Newsmax, Comer again claimed his reasons for wanting a closed-door deposition were very serious investigative ones, complaining that a hearing doesn’t offer the opportunity to dig into the documents “without filibustering, without interruption, without going five minutes back and forth.” But then he said something that got to the real issue, complaining about “[Reps.] Jamie Raskin and Dan Goldman and little Moskowitz jumping up and down.” (Here's why Rep. Jared Moskowitz is apparently living rent-free in Comer’s head these days.)

Rep. Elise Stefanik sounded a similar note in a Wednesday interview with Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business. “In an open public hearing, you see the Democrats turn this into a charade.” In other words, you see the Democrats push back. Stefanik also showed how fully the fix is in despite no evidence of corruption by the president. “This is not about Hunter Biden,” she said. “This is about Joe Biden and whether or not he is compromised. I believe he is fully compromised, and I believe that as we continue uncovering evidence, we will see that this is the greatest political corruption scandal of our lifetime.”

Republicans are trying to sound like Very Serious Investigators as they push for that closed-door deposition. But this comes after Comer and others have spent months showboating on Fox News and Newsmax, building a baseless public case about the president’s alleged corruption. They have nothing to show for it but partisan talking points, as we see when they subject themselves to questioning by nonpartisan reporters. Nothing about this is “a credible investigation,” and what they’re really worried about is Hunter Biden testifying publicly and putting that on view for the whole world.

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Here’s how inherently partisan the House impeachment inquiry is

The early weeks of House Speaker Mike Johnson’s tenure are seeing a predictable outbreak of “moderate” Republicans saying they sure hope that the impeachment inquiry that former Speaker Kevin McCarthy launched against President Joe Biden will “go where the evidence goes” and rely on “an orderly and fair process.” Those quotes are from Reps. Don Bacon and Doug LaMalfa, respectively, who will provide invaluable cover for Johnson as he works to get the media to buy into his Very Smart Constitutional Lawyer persona. But a Washington Post article on the impeachment dynamics under Johnson contained maybe the most damning possible passage on Johnson’s approach.

But in this week’s private meeting with moderates, Johnson appeared to agree with Republican lawmakers who argued that since Biden’s polling numbers have been so weak, there is less of a political imperative to impeach him, according to Bacon and others who attended the meeting.

I’m sorry, but how is that a passing mention in a story largely focused on how Johnson “has taken a more reserved tone, both publicly and privately, urging members to conduct a thorough and fair investigation with no predetermined outcome”? If Johnson’s “more reserved tone” is based on feeling that it’s no longer politically important to impeach Biden, that’s not a sign that he’s prioritizing being “thorough and fair”; it’s a sign that he’s proceeding from an entirely partisan starting point!

Before he became speaker and decided that his play was looking like a serious guy by getting the media to ignore that his constitutional law work was anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ+ extremism, Johnson promoted House Oversight Chair James Comer’s baseless allegations against Biden. “The things that the evidence is leading us to, the allegations that are very serious and have been made in the mounting evidence stacking up to show is the causes that are listed right there in the Constitution,” he said in late September. “So we have no choice. Why are Democrats ignoring it purely for partisan political purposes?” Also in late September, he stood on the House floor and railed against the media for correctly observing that the impeachment inquiry “may be weakest in history” and was “the most predictable impeachment investigation in American history.” It goes on. “One thing that remains clear: The list of credible allegations that Joe Biden engaged in bribery schemes continues to grow,” he tweeted in early October. “The Constitution specifically lists bribery as a cause for impeachment. We can't have a President that is bought & paid for by foreign adversaries.”

Sure, Johnson gave lip service to following the evidence from time to time, but he regularly promoted Comer’s wildest allegations against Biden as truth, and presented impeachment as the logical and necessary outcome, the constitutional responsibility of the House for such corruption. And now the reporting shows that if, as speaker, he is backing off a little, it’s not just because he has decided it’s important to look like a statesman but also because he thinks impeachment is currently less important from a partisan standpoint, based on the polling.

This is who Mike Johnson is. The media needs to actually pay attention, rather than reporting such massively damning information as if it were a ho-hum scenario not worthy of extended comment.

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The band is back together, and it is a glorious day as Markos and Kerry’s hot takes over the past year came true—again! Republicans continue to lose at the ballot box and we are here for it!

This is what happens when a House Republican gets tough questions on Hunter Biden subpoenas

 House Republicans have now subpoenaed Hunter Biden and James Biden, President Joe Biden’s son and brother, as part of their ongoing and so far fruitless effort to connect the president to any kind of corruption at all. Republicans have been on this for nearly a year in an investigation involving thousands of pages of documents and multiple witnesses, but they keep pretending that if they harass Biden and his family a little more, they’ll find something. Because we’re talking about Republicans, they’re definitely not worried about hypocrisy, but they can still look bumbling, confused, and all-around bad, as Rep. Greg Murphy showed when faced with a tough barrage of questions from CNN’s John Berman.

Berman set Murphy up with a simple question, referring to those subpoenas to Hunter and James Biden: “Will you vote to hold them in contempt” if they don’t respond? “Absolutely, absolutely, why would they not be, what do they have to hide?” Murphy responded, oozing relaxed confidence.

He didn’t seem ready for the follow-up: “Why have you changed your position on holding people in contempt of Congress? You voted against holding Steve Bannon in contempt.”

BERMAN: If Hunter & Jim Biden don't respond to subpoenas, will you hold them in contempt? GREG MURPHY: Absolutely B: Why did you change your position? You voted against holding Bannon in contempt M: It's different when someone is in office B: What office was Hunter Biden in?

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 9, 2023

Murphy’s response made no sense right from the start. “Well, I think it’s a little bit different when you have the president of the United States, when you have somebody who’s not an elected official, you have the president of the United States was selling his influence, his son was ...”

This kicked off an extended back and forth, with Berman trying to pin Murphy down on who the heck the elected official in question was, given that neither of the people who has been subpoenaed is an elected official. Asked about contempt of Congress for people who don’t respond to subpoenas, Murphy only wanted to talk about the president—who has not been subpoenaed.

At one point, Berman stopped Murphy to press on the fundamental problem here: “I’m sorry, who are you saying is in elected office here when you’re talking about holding people in contempt of Congress for being nonresponsive?”

Murphy: “Well, tell me what office Steve Bannon was in.”

Berman: “Well, tell me what office Hunter Biden is in.”

“No, I’m not talking about Hunter Biden,” Murphy said, in a conversation that was entirely about his vow to vote to hold Hunter Biden in contempt of Congress if he didn’t respond to a subpoena. “I’m talking about Joe Biden, the president of the United States.”

“You haven’t subpoenaed him,” Berman responded. “I’m asking if Hunter Biden or Jim Biden, the brother and son of the president, who are not elected officials, if they’re not responsive, will you hold them in contempt?”

“Think about this, John,” said Murphy, who was obviously not thinking about anything but how to fit his talking points into this inconvenient line of questioning. “If you’ve seen the facts, the facts that have occurred, we’ve seen that there’s been influence-peddling.” Then, having delivered that line that was not an answer to the question being asked, he dived back into his canned and baseless accusations against the president. Who has not been subpoenaed.

Berman tried to pull it back on track by again pointing out that Murphy had voted not to hold Bannon in contempt.

“Yeah, but was Steve Bannon related to the president of the United States?”

“No, he was a former employee of President Donald Trump, and the other people who you did not vote to hold in contempt literally worked for the former president, Donald Trump.”

House Republican totally makes a fool of himself on CNN

— Acyn (@Acyn) November 9, 2023

Murphy blathered about Hunter Biden “using the Biden brand,” which he insisted was “an entirely different standard, John, and you know it.” Well, yes, we all know that the different standard here is that Biden is a Democrat and Republicans are determined to drag him down even without evidence of corruption.

“I just, no, I don’t, I’m actually still confused,” Berman responded. “We’re talking about private citizens, and my question to you is if they are not responsive to the subpoena would you hold them in contempt. You say yes for Hunter Biden. You voted no for Steve Bannon, and then you talk about there’s a different standard for elected officials but neither of them are elected.”

Just to be clear, Murphy’s stated, albeit muddled, position is that it’s more relevant to subpoena people who happen to be related to a president than people who worked for a president in his official capacity. But trying to discern a logic beyond the partisan witch hunt is kind of pointless, because that’s the only there there. They want to get Joe Biden, and since they haven’t been able to find any evidence he’s corrupt, they’re going to use “Biden family” to muddy things. 

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