Top Republican says congressional investigations don’t have much credibility: ‘I blame Adam Schiff for that’

Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), who is expected to become chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee next year, said he blames Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) for what he sees as lowered credibility of congressional probes. 

Schiff chairs the House Intelligence Committee and sits on the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol — and the California lawmaker also led the first impeachment effort against former President Trump.

“I don’t believe congressional investigations have a whole lot of credibility right now. I blame Adam Schiff for that,” Comer told Punchbowl News in an interview published Wednesday. 

“But it’s also both parties to blame for investigations in the past. But I really want to change that,” said Comer.

The top Republican is among many in the party planning to take advantage of the GOP’s takeover of the House majority to investigate topics like the origins of COVID-19, the U.S.-Mexico border crisis, the country’s messy withdrawal from Afghanistan and President Biden’s son Hunter Biden and the family’s business dealings.

Comer is gearing up to take leadership of the House Oversight and Reform Committee from outgoing Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), who has been leading the panel in a probe into Trump’s mishandling of presidential records.

Comer told Punchbowl News that he won’t “abuse the subpoena ability” when he assumes the chair position, and that the panel will be “very selective” in issuing subpoenas.

 “So when you get a specific subpoena from Oversight when I’m chairman, then it’s going to mean something,” Comer said.

House passes bill strengthening whistleblower protections for federal employees

The House passed a bill on Thursday strengthening protections for whistleblowers in the federal government.

The legislation, titled the Whistleblower Protection Improvement Act, passed in a 221-203 vote. Two Republicans — Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.) and Nancy Mace (S.C.) — joined all voting Democrats in supporting the measure.

The bill seeks to prevent retaliation against federal employees who expose wrongdoings, including retaliatory investigations. Such wrongdoings can include breaches of the law, mismanagement, abuse of authority or actions that pose a danger to public health.

If the Office of Special Counsel determines that an inspector general referral was retaliatory, however, the measure would require that the special counsel make note of the discovery to the inspector general, who would use that information when deciding whether or not to open or continue an investigation.

Additionally, the bill calls for limiting the disclosure of the identity of whistleblowers, and clarifies that federal government employees — including the president, vice president and congressional lawmakers — are not allowed to hinder or strike back against a whistleblower who provides information to Congress.

“Today’s bipartisan passage of the Whistleblower Protection Improvement Act brings us one step closer to ensuring that any federal employee who steps forward to report wrongdoing is protected from retaliation,” Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), the sponsor of the bill and the chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, said in a statement after the bill passed on Thursday.

“Whistleblowers are the first line of defense to hold those in power accountable. Congress relies on whistleblowers to exercise our constitutional oversight responsibilities, safeguard taxpayer dollars, improve federal programs, and even save lives,” she added.

House passage of the bill came roughly four months after the Pentagon’s Office of Inspector General found that Army Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman — the brother of Retired Army Col. Alexander Vindman, who was a key witness in former President Trump’s first impeachment — was likely the target of retaliation from Trump officials.

“We found, based on a preponderance of the evidence, that the Complainant was the subject of unfavorable personnel actions from administration officials,” the office of the inspector general wrote in a statement.

The Vindman brothers raised alarm about Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in July 2019, which led to Trump’s first impeachment. The Pentagon’s report said Alexander Vindman told his concerns to his brother, and the pair then reported the worries to higher authorities.

Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), ranking member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, argued on the House floor Wednesday that the whistleblower legislation “is a step too far.”

“The whistleblower protection improvement act is a step too far and would help further entrench federal government employees in their job,” he said.

“Whistleblowers in the federal government are covered by some of the most comprehensive protections for employees in the country. Whistleblowers serve a valuable role in our government — especially under an administration like the Biden administration, which is subject to almost no oversight by Congress. But giving this bill a great title, Whistleblower Protection Improvement Act, does not and should not provide cover for the actual requirements and consequences of this bill,” he added.

Comer also referenced Trump’s first impeachment in his argument against the bill.

“In large part this bill is just an excuse to further idolize the people who pushed the sham impeachment against former President Trump,” he said.

Updated at 7:35 p.m.

Raskin launches bid to lead House Oversight panel

The race for the top Democratic seat on the powerful House Oversight and Reform Committee got more crowded on Friday when Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) entered the contest to replace the outgoing chairwoman, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.).

Maloney lost her primary race on Tuesday to Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), ending a 30-year career on Capitol Hill and opening up the top panel seat in the next Congress.

Raskin's decision to seek the spot pits him against two other, more veteran Oversight Democrats — Reps. Stephen Lynch (Mass.) and Gerry Connolly (Va.), who launched their candidacies on Wednesday.

Democrats have traditionally favored seniority when choosing top committee spots, which would seem to place Raskin at a disadvantage in the race.

Still, the three-term congressman has built a sturdy national profile in his short time on Capitol Hill, leading the House's second impeachment of former President Trump after last year's attack on the U.S. Capitol, and now playing a high-profile role in the investigation of the attacks.

A former professor of constitutional law, Raskin is now making the case that his legal background makes him the best candidate to lead the Democrats on the Oversight panel.

"We are still in the fight of our lives to defend American constitutional democracy and—by extension—political freedom and human rights all over the world," Raskin wrote Friday to his fellow Democrats in a letter obtained by The Hill.

Donald Trump Just Endorsed Two Democrats For Congress

Donald Trump used his Truth Social media platform to make a pair of peculiar endorsements of New York Democrats Dan Goldman and Representative Carolyn Maloney for congressional primaries held later this month.

Goldman, who served as lead majority counsel in the first impeachment inquiry and lead counsel to House Managers in the subsequent impeachment trial of the former President, was first up.

And Trump wasn’t going to let a little thing like repeated failure in the impeachment cases sway him from ‘endorsing’ Goldman in his primary for the 10th Congressional District.

“Lawyer Dan Goldman is running for Congress, NY-10, and it is my great honor to Strongly Endorse him,” Trump wrote.  I do this not because of the fact that he headed up the Impeachment Committee and lost, but because he was honorable, fair, and highly intelligent.”

The former President went on to ‘praise’ Goldman for “working so tirelessly to stop ‘Trump.'”

“He was not easy to beat, but winning against him made me realize just how very talented I am!” the sarcasm-laced post concluded.

RELATED: Trump Celebrates Liz Cheney’s Brutal Defeat: ‘Now She Can Finally Disappear’

Trump Issues ‘Endorsement’ for Democrat Rep Carolyn Maloney

Former President Trump also offered an ‘endorsement’ for Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who is facing fellow Democrat Rep. Jerry Nadler in New York’s 12th Congressional District primary.

“A vote for Carolyn Maloney in NY-12 is a vote for the future!” he declared.

“On the other hand, Jerry Nadler is likewise a hard driving man of the people, whose energy and attention to detail is unlike anyone else in Congress,” added Trump. “He is high energy, sharp, quick-witted, and bright.”

Hmm … He’s definitely right. Here’s video of Nadler in action.

I mean, who else could have pulled off such a stealth, yet high-energy departure off stage, using their quick wit to distract from whatever was happening with his pants at the time?

“You can’t go wrong with either,” Trump added, “but Carolyn Maloney is the better man.”

RELATED: Liz Cheney Lost: Here Are 10 Times She Embarrassed Herself As An Anti-Trump Fanatic

Their Responses Were Just as Hilarious

Of course, being robots programmed only to get votes, unable to detect sarcasm and unwilling to ignore Trump’s ‘endorsement,’ both Democrats had to scramble and issue a statement distancing themselves from the former President.

“Last week Donald Trump attacked Dan Goldman, who led his impeachment. Now he’s pretending to endorse Goldman. True to form, Trump is trying to meddle in an election,” the Goldman campaign fired back.

“This is a pathetic attempt at fooling Democrats who are far smarter than Trump is, and it’s clear that only one candidate in NY-10 is living rent-free in Trump’s head,” the statement continued, unaware that Trump was clearly living rent-free in Goldman’s head.

“Buckle up Donald. Dan’s coming for you,” it hilariously warned.

Maloney meanwhile, also had to issue a statement knowing that Democrat voters aren’t, as Goldman suggests, all that bright and capable of seeing through Trump’s sarcasm.

“This is laughable and I reject any endorsement from Donald Trump,” she tweeted. “Trump doesn’t respect women. He instigated the attacks on January 6th and claimed that the 2020 election was a big lie.”

“Thanks, but no thanks. I’ll pass,” she added.

Maloney, who is the Oversight Committee Chair, joined Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) in a letter to Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines.

That letter seeks a national security damage assessment on the documents seized from Mar-a-Lago.

The congressional primaries in New York will be held on August 23rd.

Now is the time to support and share the sources you trust.
The Political Insider ranks #3 on Feedspot’s “100 Best Political Blogs and Websites.”

The post Donald Trump Just Endorsed Two Democrats For Congress appeared first on The Political Insider.