ICYMI: Why special elections should make the GOP squirm, and no, Biden never promised a single term

New poll: Republicans say Trump's an even better candidate now than in 2020

How anyone can think Trump is a viable candidate, let alone a more viable candidate than in 2020 is truly mind-boggling.

Why special elections should have Republicans panicking 

Democrats are doing some serious overperforming.

Biden never promised a single term—and it would be stupid if he had 

Frankly, it doesn’t make sense for any president to announce they’re only seeking one lame-duck term.

Cartoon: Why I'm voting for Trump

It should always be based on payback.

'We will hunt you down': Steve Bannon heads to prison threatening revenge 

It seems lots of Republicans have revenge on the brain. 

Watch congressman nail GOP's double standard on Hunter Biden conviction 

It’s amazing how differently both sides of the aisle behave when only one believes in the rule of law.

Pennsylvania governor to Trump: 'Stop sh-t talking America' 

And less whining would be nice, too.

Hunter Biden is convicted, but the GOP is still big mad 

Nothing can satisfy these folks. (Well, maybe a Biden impeachment.)

DA who convicted Trump draws ire for daring to defend himself from GOP attacks 

So they forced the district attorney to defend his case and then attacked him for doing so? 

Paul Ryan still sucks 

He’s gone but we wish he was forgotten.

Biden wins again as Trump’s economic forecast turns out to be pure garbage 

Just another reason to not listen to a word Trump says.

Click here to see more cartoons.

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Hunter Biden is convicted, but the GOP is still big mad

You might think that Republicans would be thrilled that there’s now a convicted felon in the Biden family, but it’s still not enough for them. From wanting to take down the rest of the “Biden crime family” to calling Hunter’s conviction a Justice Department ploy to make it look like there’s not a “two-tiered system of justice,” the GOP is still angry and thirsting for revenge for Donald Trump’s conviction on 34 felonies.

Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, who can’t stop hilariously failing to impeach President Joe Biden, kicks it off with a tweet:

🚨STATEMENT🚨 Hunter Biden’s sweetheart plea deal was smoked out after scrutiny by a federal judge. Today’s verdict is a step toward accountability but until the Department of Justice investigates everyone involved in the Bidens’ corrupt influence peddling schemes that generated…

— Rep. James Comer (@RepJamesComer) June 11, 2024

Comer’s commentary reflects the sentiments of the Trump campaign

“Crooked Joe Biden’s reign over the Biden Family Criminal Empire is all coming to an end on November 5th, and never again will a Biden sell government access for personal profit. As for Hunter, we wish him well in his recovery and legal affairs,” a Trump campaign spokesperson said in a statement

But it wasn’t long until the campaign retracted its statement and reissued it without the well wishes for Hunter.

The “Biden crime family” and demands for prosecutions are a major theme among the GOP. 

“Now, it’s time to bring Hunter and the Biden Crime Family to justice for the allegations of influence peddling,” Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina tweeted.

“Hunter Biden’s firearm conviction is simply a smokescreen,” says Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana. “What I'm concerned about is how Joe, Hunter, and James Biden have been enriching themselves by trading away America's interests to our enemies.”

On the other hand, Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri is accusing the DOJ for not prosecuting Hunter hard enough. 

“Never forget DOJ tried to avoid this trial & verdict by giving Hunter a sweetheart plea deal. Until the judge exposed them,” he tweeted.

Then there’s the conspiracy theorists, like Stephen Miller, who accused the DOJ of “running election interference for Joe Biden.”

“That’s why DOJ did NOT charge Hunter with being an unregistered foreign agent (FARA) or any crime connected with foreign corruption. Why? Because all the evidence would lead back to JOE,” he tweeted.

Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, added to that, tweeting: “And yet Dems will now point to Hunter’s conviction as evidence that ‘there’s no lawfare.’” 

But Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia takes the cake for political paranoia: 

Hunter Biden’s guilty verdict is nothing more than the Left’s attempt to create the illusion of equal justice. Don’t fall for it.

— Rep. Andrew Clyde (@Rep_Clyde) June 11, 2024

There’s no small amount of cognitive dissonance about the rule of law in this crowd. Like Rep. Jason Smith of Missouri, who intoned that “today’s verdict is a step towards ensuring equal application of the law, regardless of one's last name.”

Except, of course, for the equal application of the law to someone named Trump. 

“The fix was in for this fake ‘trial’ - the George Soros-backed DA and a leftist judge worked to tilt the scales of justice against President Trump,” Smith tweeted

Then there’s the pathetic toadying for Trump from Freedom Caucus Chair Bob Good. 

“Hunter Biden is convicted of an actual crime. Donald Trump was railroaded by a political prosecutor and a biased judge,” Good tweeted

Trump has endorsed Good’s primary opponent. 

Yet no one in the GOP is complaining about a "rigged jury" or a “corrupt judge” in Hunter’s conviction. And neither are the Democrats.

“I've not heard a single Democrat anywhere in the country cry fraud, cry, fixed, cry, rigged, cry, kangaroo court or any of the many epithets that our colleagues have mobilized against the U.S. Department of Justice and our federal court system,” Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland said

Similarly, Biden has responded to the conviction with a dignified and loving statement in support of his son. 

"Jill and I love our son, and we are so proud of the man he is today,” Biden said. “So many families who have had loved ones battle addiction understand the feeling of pride seeing someone you love come out the other side and be so strong and resilient in recovery.”

As for the verdict? 

“I will accept the outcome of this case and will continue to respect the judicial process as Hunter considers an appeal,” Biden said.

Donald Trump was convicted on 34 counts of falsifying business records on May 30. What are potential voters saying about this historic news? And what is the Biden-Harris campaign doing now that the “teflon Don" is no more?

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Hunter Biden convicted of all 3 felonies in federal gun trial

Hunter Biden has been convicted of all three felony charges related to the purchase of a revolver in 2018 when, prosecutors argued, the president’s son lied on a mandatory gun-purchase form by saying he was not illegally using or addicted to drugs.

Jurors found Hunter Biden guilty of lying to a federally licensed gun dealer, making a false claim on the application by saying he was not a drug user and illegally having the gun for 11 days.

He faces up to 25 years in prison when he is sentenced by Judge Maryellen Noreika, though first-time offenders do not get anywhere near the maximum, and it’s unclear whether she would give him time behind bars.

Now, Hunter Biden and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, the chief political rival of President Joe Biden, have been convicted by American jurors in an election year that has been as much about the courtroom as it has been about campaign events and rallies.

Joe Biden has steered clear of the federal courtroom in Delaware where his son was tried and said little about the case, wary of creating an impression of interfering in a criminal matter brought by his own Justice Department. But allies of the Democrat have worried about the toll that the trial — and now the conviction — will take on the 81-year-old, who has long been concerned with his only living son’s health and sustained sobriety.

Hunter Biden and Trump have both argued they were victimized by the politics of the moment. But while Trump has continued to falsely claim the verdict was “rigged,” Joe Biden has said he would accept the results of the verdict and would not seek to pardon his son.

Hunter Biden’s legal troubles aren’t over. He faces a trial in September in California on charges of failing to pay $1.4 million in taxes and congressional Republicans have signaled they will keep going after him in their stalled impeachment effort into the president. The president has not been accused or charged with any wrongdoing by prosecutors investigating his son.

The prosecution devoted much of the trial to highlighting the seriousness of Hunter Biden’s drug problem, through highly personal testimony and embarrassing evidence.

Jurors heard Hunter Biden’s ex-wife and a former girlfriend testify about his habitual crack use and their failed efforts to help him get clean. Jurors saw images of the president’s son bare-chested and disheveled in a filthy room, and half-naked holding crack pipes. And jurors watched video of his crack cocaine weighed on a scale.

Hunter Biden did not testify but jurors heard his voice when prosecutors played audio excerpts of his 2021 memoir “Beautiful Things,” in which he talks about hitting bottom after the death of his brother Beau in 2015, and his descent into drugs before his eventual sobriety.

Prosecutors felt the evidence was necessary to prove that Hunter, 54, was in the throes of addiction when he bought the gun and therefore lied when he checked “no” on the form that asked whether he was “an unlawful user of, or addicted to” drugs.

Defense attorney Abbe Lowell had argued that Hunter Biden’s state of mind was different when he wrote the book than when he bought the gun — when he didn’t believe he had an addiction. Lowell pointed out to jurors that some of the questions on the firearms transaction record are in the present tense, such as “are you an unlawful user of or addicted to” drugs.

And Lowell suggested Hunter Biden might have felt he had a drinking problem at the time, but not a drug problem. Alcohol abuse does not preclude a gun purchase.

Hunter Biden had hoped last year to resolve a long-running investigation federal investigation under a deal with prosecutors that would avoided the spectacle of a trial so close to the 2024 election. Under the deal, he would have pleaded guilty to misdemeanor tax offenses and avoid prosecution in the gun case if he stayed out of trouble for two years.

But the deal fell apart after Noreika, who was nominated by Trump, questioned unusual aspects of the proposed agreement, and the lawyers could not resolve the matter.

Attorney General Merrick Garland then appointed top investigator David Weiss, Delaware’s U.S. attorney, as a special counsel last August, and a month later Hunter Biden was indicted.

Hunter Biden has said he was charged because the Justice Department bowed to pressure from Republicans who argued the Democratic president’s son was getting special treatment.

The reason that law enforcement raised any questions about the revolver is because Hallie Biden, Beau’s widow, found it unloaded in Hunter’s truck on Oct. 23, 2018, panicked and tossed it into a garbage can at Janssen’s Market, where a man inadvertently fished it out of the trash. She testified about the episode in court.

Hallie Biden, who had a romantic relationship with Hunter after Beau died, eventually called the police. Officers retrieved the gun from the man who inadvertently took the gun along with other recyclables from the trash. The case was eventually closed because of lack of cooperation from Hunter Biden, who was considered the victim.

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House GOP wants to prosecute Biden’s family days after Trump conviction

Republican Reps. James Comer, Jim Jordan, and Jason Smith announced on Wednesday that they are referring President Joe Biden’s son Hunter and brother James for "criminal prosecution" to the Department of Justice. The referral accuses Hunter and James of “making false statements to Congress.”

The announcement wasn’t exactly a surprise, as GOP hard-liners had already laid out a “payback plan” to help Donald Trump following his conviction last week on 34 felony counts. As Politico reported on Tuesday, the criminal referrals were something that Comer, Jordan, and Smith could push through without support from other House members, since even some of their fellow Republicans are skeptical of their stunt “investigations.”

Ever since gaining control of the House, Republicans have conducted multiple simultaneous inquiries into every member of Biden's extended family. The original plan was to gift Trump with a Joe Biden impeachment so that Trump could feel better about having been impeached (twice). But that plan fizzled out badly after the kangaroo court that went after Biden displayed hilarious levels of incompetence

Now the House GOP’s Turgid Trio has produced a sorry document riddled with debunked claims, half-truths, and outright lies.

The announcement blares that Comer & Co. have tracked millions of ill-begotten dollars to members of Biden's family, "related companies," and "business associates"—which actually means this was a game of Six Degrees of Separation in which Republicans claimed that every transaction, no matter how remote, was tied to "Chinese money.”

It seems unlikely that the public will be very interested in how unspecified entities did business with something called Rosemont Seneca Bohai, LLC, which also had business with Hunter Biden, and how Hunter may have mistakenly sent texts to the wrong person, which could be read as implying his father was present. Only he wasn’t.

Or how James Biden made money at his business and later repaid his brother for a small personal loan. The trio insists this was Chinese money because someone paid someone who paid someone who paid James Biden who paid back Joe Biden.

By that standard, isn’t it all Chinese money, or Russian money, or whatever anyone wants to claim?

Another charge against James Biden claims that someone named Tony Bobulinski remembered James being at a meeting that he said he didn’t attend. Not that his presence or absence at the meeting made a whit of difference—this was just all that Comer, Jordan, and Smith could find by combing through hours of testimony and looking for contradictions.

Maybe in some deep-cut version of “Fox & Friends,” Bobulinski is a star and Rosemont Seneca is on everyone’s tongue. But outside that pocket universe, all of this is simply malarkey, to borrow one of Joe Biden’s favorite terms.

This latest stunt is mostly an excuse for Comer and Jordan to grab air time and distract Fox News viewers with talk about the "Biden crime family" in hopes of making a false equivalence to Trump's very real felony conviction.

It’s a very, very, very good bet that Attorney General Merrick Garland won’t jump on these referrals, because the evidence is unimaginably weak and the document attached to the charges contains far more lies than any alleged wrongdoing by Hunter or James Biden. But for the Republican trio, that’s also a part of the plan.

Because when the DOJ rightly ignores these nonsense charges, they'll get to make fresh complaints about Biden, Merrick Garland, and the "weaponized" justice system.

It’s all hogwash. But doing all they can to ingratiate themselves with Trump is the House GOP’s No. 1 job, after all.

Donald Trump was convicted on 34 counts of falsifying business records on May 30. What are potential voters saying about this historic news? And what is the Biden-Harris campaign doing now that the “teflon Don" is no more?

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The Biden impeachment is a huge failure. The GOP is looking for a way out

After 15 months of trying to pull a Biden family crime spree out of thin air, lead impeachment zealot James Comer has watched his dreams of MAGA glory crumble into dust. Comer, the House Oversight Committee chair, told a Republican colleague that he’s ready to be “done with” the whole fiasco, according to CNN

“Comer is hoping Jesus comes so he can get out. He is fed up,” another GOP lawmaker said.

There’s just so much humiliation one man can take, I guess. The effort by Comer and co-zealot Jim Jordan, chair of the Judiciary Committee, to find dirt on President Joe Biden and his son Hunter has ended up with the two coated in mud. It’s become so pathetic that even Sean Hannity has stopped propping it up.

But how did it come to this? 

Start with the fact that a full year ago, even Comer had to admit that there wasn’t any evidence of Biden crimes. But that didn’t stop him and Jordan from plowing on and making it all more ridiculous. They brought in IRS whistleblowers who produced nothing but hot air. The biggest news story to come out of that hearing was extremist Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s porn stunt, displaying nude photos of Hunter Biden—not the usual C-SPAN fare.

Despite those early fiascos, then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy decided he’d try to save his own bacon by making the impeachment effort official. (The extent to which that didn’t work is a whole other story.) The first official hearing proved to be another complete farce

“Through the course of the day, not only did Republicans showcase their lack of interest in facts, they also demonstrated that they are absolutely terrified of anything that looks like a fact witness,” Daily Kos’ Mark Sumner wrote.

It didn’t get any better for Comer and Jordan. They were played by Hunter Biden when he showed up to testify on camera despite their efforts to do it in secret. Comer still plowed on with the hearings only to be embarrassed again in the infamous Russian mole and sawdust debacle. He then tried moving the goalposts, suggesting that impeachment wasn’t their goal after all. Rather, they were gathering evidence for future prosecutions in a would-be Trump administration, Comer claimed.

That was after they tried to pivot the story to a classified documents scandal, featuring a report on Biden’s old age, which was another total flop. They even tried to impeach a Cabinet secretary in another debasing disaster for Republicans.

All of which has served primarily to turn extremist Republicans against Comer for not working hard enough at impeaching Biden. 

“I feel like this was slow-rolled, and it’s been very frustrating for me as a new member because I feel like there’s way more that we could have done, and it just hasn’t been done in a timely fashion,” a frustrated GOP Rep. Anna Paulina Luna told CNN.

“I don’t even want to talk to you. … If you don’t think they were influence-peddling, there’s nothing to say. My God,” Comer responded to CNN. 

Officially, a House Oversight Committee spokesperson says that “the impeachment inquiry is ongoing, and impeachment is 100% still on the table.” Uh-huh.

All Comer has gotten out of this is the animosity of colleagues and showing himself to be a fool in front of a national audience. Oh, and the unearthing of a few of his own little scandals

The perfectly hilarious cherry on top of all of this? The Kentucky Republican’s dream of redemption.

“Comer, a five-term congressman, has another matter on his mind: ambitions to run for higher office one day,” CNN reports, “including potentially running for governor, according to lawmakers who have spoken to him.” 

Sure, dude. Sure.

RELATED STORIES:

The Republican ‘whistleblower’ hearing had everything … except evidence

The 5 best moments of the House ‘impeachment inquiry’ farce

GOP House digs for new Biden dirt as sawdust 'cocaine' and Russian moles fail

Everyone is picking on poor little Jimmy Comer

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Florida Democrat gives GOP a sarcastic taste of their own medicine

If Rep. Jared Moskowitz hadn’t won election to the House for Florida’s 23rd Congressional District, he might have been a roast master. Moskowitz has a special knack for mocking MAGA House Republicans, particularly Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, chairman of the House Oversight Committee.

On Wednesday, Moskowitz wanted to make a point about just whose bidding Comer was doing before heading into a hearing on “Influence Peddling: Examining Joe Biden’s Abuse of Public Office.” The hearing was yet another chapter in House Republicans’ failing and increasingly embarrassing attempt to use allegations about Hunter Biden’s business dealings to impeach the president.

Moskowitz showed up for the hearing wearing a mask of Russian President Vladimir Putin as he walked down the hallway. House Democrats have accused Comer and other Republican committee members of spreading Russian disinformation about the Bidens.

RELATED STORY: House GOP can’t wait to have hearings on how old Biden really is

.@RepMoskowitz wears Putin mask to hearing on Biden Family Business Dealing pic.twitter.com/jZdGcaImxO

— Howard Mortman (@HowardMortman) March 20, 2024

A reporter asked Moskowitz: “Congressman, can you explain what you are wearing?”

And acting in character, Moskowitz replied: “I just came to thank James Comer for taking all of our intelligence and using it in the committee. Maybe he can come see the technology in our grocery stores. Thank you.”

That reference to grocery stores was a dig at former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who, during his visit to Moscow to interview Putin, posted a widely mocked video in which he praised a Russian grocery store for its low prices.

Another reporter then asked Moskowitz: “Congressman, don’t you think this behavior is kind of immature?”

Moskowitz did not reply and could be seen removing the mask as he entered the chamber.

Moskowitz’s masking was intended to draw attention to recent developments in the Biden impeachment inquiry when Republicans’ key witness, Alexander Smirnov, was arrested and accused of lying to authorities about a multimillion-dollar bribery scheme involving the Biden family’s business dealings in Ukraine. Then prosecutors revealed that Smirnov claimed extensive foreign contacts, including to officials linked to Russian intelligence, portraying him as part of an ongoing foreign plot to spread disinformation and interfere with U.S. democracy.

So far, the exhaustive and lengthy investigation by House Republicans has not turned up any substantial evidence showing that President Biden engaged in any wrongdoing.

All joking aside, Moskowitz can be serious too. This is what he said about the impeachment inquiry in February during a CNN Interview:

Moskowitz: When did James comer know this was false? And how long did he conceal that from the American people? Those are he'll questions we need to get to the bottom of. When did he find out that this was a lie.. and they were still using this information pic.twitter.com/uFA2AJlYEu

— Acyn (@Acyn) February 16, 2024

But Moskowitz, a member of the committee, often uses humor to make his point. After Smirnov’s arrest was revealed, Moskowitz mocked Comer with a gif of the “you sit on a throne of lies” line from the movie film “Elf.”

“The witness of the FD-1023 form was just indicted for making it all up,” wrote Moskowitz, who quoted a post by Comer where he cited an FBI form that documented Smirnov’s claims.

The witness of the FD-1023 form was just indicted for making it all up https://t.co/gEkZmTkTOG pic.twitter.com/wx0HA4y1Fl

— Jared Moskowitz (@JaredEMoskowitz) February 15, 2024

And back in November, when Moskowitz brought up allegations about Comer’s own business dealings with his brother, Comer said the Florida Democrat looked like a “Smurf.” To which Moskowitz responded on X: “Gargamel was very angry today.”

Gargamel was very angry today. https://t.co/aLMzok63g9

— Jared Moskowitz (@JaredEMoskowitz) November 14, 2023

During another hearing, Moskowitz expected that one of the Republicans on the committee might attack Hunter Biden for naked photographs reportedly found on his laptop, The Daily Beast reported. So he was prepared when Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia whipped out the nude photos of Hunter Biden at the January hearing. Moskowitz then held up an enlarged photo of Trump with his arm around convicted sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

He told Greene: "You come up here and talk about Hunter Biden’s behavior, and you’re so disgusted, but the guy that you all kneel to associates himself with a pedophile.” Moskowitz told The Daily Beast at the time that it’s the Democrats’ job to give the committee’s Republicans a “taste of their own medicine.”

“They’ve decided to turn it into Cirque du Soleil Oversight where literally, it’s just a total show,” Moskowitz said. “If that is the game that they are going to play, then game on.”

RELATED STORY: GOP seeks new way to attack Biden since impeachment scheme is a bust

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GOP seeks new way to attack Biden since impeachment scheme is a bust

Tuesday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing with special counsel Robert Hur showcased Republican desperation to find some way to attack President Joe Biden.

Despite the release of a full transcript of the interview between Hur and Biden that showed complaints about the president’s memory to be exaggerated, if not outright lies, many Republicans continued to pursue the Biden-so-old route. Texas Rep. Nathaniel Moran went so far as to suggest that Biden should be placed under guardianship for diminished mental capabilities

At the same time, committee Chair Jim Jordan was one of multiple Republican members who asked Hur to envision fantasy scenarios in which the president was 15 or 20 years younger. That was part of an extended, and sometimes laughably desperate, effort by Republicans to get Hur to say that somehow, somewhen, somewhere in the multiverse, he might have considered charging Biden. They did not succeed.

But the biggest reason for the Hur hearing wasn’t just to give a chance to alternate between asking whether Biden should be in a care facility or if he’s a criminal mastermind. The reason that the Republicans called in Hur is that their big impeachment scheme has fallen apart. Now they are madly searching for something, anything, that they can throw against the walls of the White House.

As Politico reported on Wednesday, the Republican plan to impeach Biden appears to be all but dead. That effort began as soon as Republicans had their hands on the machinery of the House, with Rep. James Comer chairing the House Oversight Committee running a parallel “investigation” with Jordan on the Judiciary Committee and Chairman Jason Smith on the Ways and Means Committee. It reached its ludicrous peak on Sep. 12, 2023, when then-Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy announced a formal impeachment inquiry in a blatant effort to hang onto his big office. That didn’t work.

By the time Hunter Biden made his way to a closed-door meeting of the inquiry on Feb. 28, 2024, it seemed clear Republicans were only spinning their wheels. Despite hundreds of interviews and thousands of documents, Republicans had produced nothing more than some truck payments, family loans, and a heavily debunked claim from an indicted foreign agent

However, as the Politico article notes, Republicans see it as a high priority to “antagonize the White House.”

It might seem that getting some legislation passed after a session in which Republican infighting resulted in just 27 bills escaping the House (that includes renaming some Veterans Affairs clinics and issuing a commemorative coin). But Republicans are convinced that demonstrating competence in governing doesn’t matter to their voters. 

So they are just going to throw crap against the walls of the Capitol in the hopes that some of it might stick.

Among the Republican Plan Bs under consideration are:

  • Sending criminal referrals for Hunter Biden to the Justice Department. 

  • Keep investigating, but save any announcements for closer to Election Day.

  • Just keep investigating and making false claims—because that’s worked so well so far.

There’s also a plan to sue the Department of Justice, though it’s not clear why. 

There’s even a suggestion that Republicans might do something that seems anathema to them so far—draft legislation. In this case, it would be legislation to tighten rules for financial reporting and foreign lobbying.

However, not only would this require them to break out a pencil stub and do the work they’ve resisted since taking control of the House in 2023, it would also mean drafting something that would pass the Senate. It could be exceedingly difficult to craft a bill on financial reporting that didn’t have a much bigger impact on Donald Trump than Biden. Ditto on issues of foreign lobbying.

The problem for Republicans is that Trump and his family did all the things they’ve been attributing to Biden and his family. Which would seem to make the legislative route difficult without netting the wrong fish.

Other options, like the idea of making a criminal referral on Hunter Biden, would be an obvious exercise in toothless grandstanding. But that hasn’t seemed to bother Republicans so far, so this is likely what they’ll do.

Republicans are reportedly so far away from mustering enough support for a Biden impeachment that even Speaker of the House Mike Johnson can see that such a move would fail. But they’re unwilling—and possibly incapable—of trying to dig their way back to respectability by passing legislation that addresses the nation’s needs.

So they’re going to sit among the ashes of their very fine impeachment inquiry and try to find something else ugly enough to please MAGA voters. So far, they’ve got nothing.

The Bulwark’s Sarah Longwell joins Kerry to discuss the State of the Union and what President Biden needs to do to soundly defeat Donald Trump in Novembe.

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Hunter Biden absolutely owned Republicans in his testimony

Ever since they launched their “investigation” into supposed misdealings by members of President Joe Biden’s family, Republicans have clamored to get Hunter Biden behind closed doors. On Wednesday, that finally happened, but those same Republicans can’t be too happy about the results.

Thanks to the insistence of Democrats on the House Oversight Committee, who didn’t want the results of this appearance buried along with 91 other transcripts that Republicans have refused to release, the full transcript of Hunter Biden’s six-hour deposition is now available. 

What it shows is by turns hilarious and infuriating. Republicans clearly have no evidence that President Joe Biden has ever done anything wrong in connection to his son or his son’s business. Hunter’s testimony only showed the tragedy of his experience with drugs, how far Republicans were willing to go to indulge conspiracy theories, and how trivial all Hunter’s business dealings were in comparison to something that really does deserve investigation: the $2 billion reward lavished on Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.

Hunter Biden was 2 years old when his father became a senator, and everything he had to say about his professional relationship could be summed up in one response that Hunter gave to a question by Rep. Jamie Raskin.

Transcript quotations have been slightly edited for readability. 

Hunter: There was one thing that we—that I was fully aware of my entire life, is that my dad was an official of the United States Government, and there were very bright lines that I abided to and that I was very, very cognizant of. And I made certain that I never engaged with my father in asking him to do anything on my behalf or on behalf of any client of mine.

Republicans spent a lot of the day repeating wild claims about Hunter’s business dealings and trying to get him to admit to at least some of the connections they have been alleging for months. That never happened. That single response by Hunter was never seriously challenged.

However, there were some satisfying exchanges, as when Hunter took questions from Rep. Matt Gaetz. Republicans have been claiming from the beginning that Hunter Biden had no value to the businesses where he worked beyond his last name, and Gaetz went right to this point.

Gaetz: What value did you bring to Burisma? 

Hunter: I would love to, again, read you the entirety of my resume.

Gaetz: No, that's the things you did before Burisma. I mean, when you were working at Burisma – 

Hunter: Well, that's the value that I brought to Burisma. The things that I did before, my experience, the vast experience that I had. I was on over 13 different boards. I was the chairman of the board of the largest humanitarian organization, that supports the largest humanitarian organization in the world. I was the vice chairman of the board of the largest national passenger rail system. 

Gaetz: Mr. Biden, I don't need you to go back through your resume.

Hunter: You just asked –

Gaetz. The question is, how did you deploy that experience for a million bucks a year for Burisma?

Hunter: How did I deploy that experience? By serving on the board in a transparent and ethical way, providing the best advice that I could give. Just like any other board member on any other company in any other organization, that's how you provide your value. And the value is your experience. The value is your ability to then transfer that experience into real-world action.

Like other Republican questioners, Gaetz failed to get an answer that handed him any ammunition he could use against Joe Biden or any reason for the farcical investigation to continue. 

But Gaetz got some extra special feedback as he tried to spin out a ludicrous conspiracy that Hunter was going to provide his father with an office at his company based entirely on an email in which Hunter expressed a desire to show off some empty office space to his parents. After Hunter pointed out that he had never provided any office space to Joe Biden, Gaetz pounced … Or at least, he thought he did.

Hunter: My dad never took an office space with me.

Gaetz. No, but you were contemplating it in this email.

Hunter: I contemplated a lot of things during that time.

Gaetz. And that's what—see, because earlier you say, "My father, firewall, had nothing to do with my business," and now you're contemplating giving him keys to your office to redeem yourself.

Hunter: How is contemplation … Let me ask a question. How is contemplation of something evidence of involvement? I alone contemplate. I contemplate that one day you and I are going to be great friends. Is that ever going to happen, Mr. Gaetz? I don't think so.

Gaetz also got some very direct pushback when he asked a question about Hunter’s drug use.

Hunter: Mr. Gaetz, look me in the eye. You really think that’s appropriate to ask me?

Gaetz: Absolutely.

Hunter: Of all the people sitting around this table, do you think that’s appropriate to ask me?

Other Republican representatives repeatedly asked Hunter whether he had received money from foreign governments, including China, Ukraine, and ... Romania? To all of these questions, Hunter firmly answered that he had never worked for or received pay from any foreign government. Unlike someone else.

Hunter: The question being asked, that you're stating, is that my father said that I never received any money from China, the Government of China. Unlike Jared Kushner, I've never received money from a foreign government. He –

Hunter was cut off in his response on this occasion, as he was on a second occasion when he tried to point out that Kushner flew to Saudi Arabia and “picked up $2 billion.” 

“No, no, no, no, no, no. Not ‘okay,’” Hunter replied after Rep. Harriet Hageman implied he had taken money from Romania. “I never worked for a country. I am not Jared Kushner. I never got money from a country. Not one foreign government ever gave me money, guys—none, zero, not one.” 

When it came time for questions from Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell, the back and forth showed just how small everything under investigation was when compared to what the Republicans refused to look into.

Swalwell: Did your father ever employ in the Oval Office any direct family member to also work in the Oval Office?

Hunter: My father has never employed any direct family members, to my knowledge.

Swalwell: While your father was President, did anyone in the family receive 41 trademarks from China?

Hunter: No.

Swalwell: As President and the leader of the party, has your father ever tried to install as the chairperson of the party a daughter-in-law or anyone else in the family? 

Hunter: No. And I don't think that anyone in my family would be crazy enough to want to be the chairperson of the DNC.

Swalwell: Has your father ever in his time as an adult been fined $355 million by any State that he worked in?

Hunter: No, he has not, thank God.

Swallwell: Anyone in your family ever strike a multibillion-dollar deal with the Saudi Government while your father was in office?

Hunter: No.

Swalwell: That's all I've got.

A number of moments in the hearing are eye-rolling, and a number are heartbreaking. Hunter Biden never once shies away from explaining the devastating effect his addiction to drugs had on his life, how he struggled for recovery, and how he wanted to make his parents proud. Republicans constantly tried to get him to admit that his drug use made him worthless as a means of showing that he had no value to the companies he dealt with, but Hunter constantly refused to give them what he wanted.

In the end, two statements from Hunter Biden’s opening remarks may be the best representation of what this hearing was all about, and how despicable it is that this Republican smear campaign has gone on so long.

Hunter: You have built your entire partisan house of cards on lies told by the likes of Gal Luft, Tony Bobulinski, Alexander Smirnov, and Jason Galanis. Luft, who is a fugitive, has been indicted for his lies and other crimes; Smirnov, who has made you dupes in carrying out a Russian disinformation campaign waged against my father, has been indicted for his lies; Bobulinski, who has been exposed for the many false statements he has made; and Galanis, who is serving 14 years in prison for fraud. 

Rather than follow the facts as they've been laid out before you in bank records, financial statements, correspondence, and other witness testimony, you continue your frantic search to prove the lies you and those you rely upon keep peddling. Yes, they are lies.

And finally, Hunter Biden gave what might be the most important statement of the day, one that should resonate with anyone in any party.

Hunter: During my battle with addiction, my father was there for me. He helped save my life. His love and support made it possible for me to get sober, stay sober, and rebuild my life as a father, a son, a husband, and a brother. What he got in return for being a loving, supportive parent is a barrage of hate-filled conspiracy theories that hatched this sham impeachment inquiry and continue to fuel unrelenting personal attacks against him and me.

If the goal of the deposition was to make Joe Biden seem like an even better father, Republicans succeeded. 

🚨BREAKING🚨: Ranking Member @RepRaskin issued the following statement after Committee Republicans released the transcript from the deposition with Hunter Biden: https://t.co/gQHkCAGkmC pic.twitter.com/wzn878GLBq

— Oversight Committee Democrats (@OversightDems) March 1, 2024

Campaign Action

Hunter Biden appears for deposition

Hunter Biden appeared Wednesday on Capitol Hill for a closed-door deposition with lawmakers, a critical moment for Republicans as their impeachment inquiry into his father and the family's business affairs teeters on the brink of collapse.

“I am here today to provide the committees with the one uncontestable fact that should end the false premise of this inquiry: I did not involve my father in my business,” Hunter Biden said in an opening statement obtained by The Associated Press.

The deposition could mark a decisive point for the 14-month Republican investigation into the Biden family, which has centered on Hunter Biden and his overseas work for clients in Ukraine, China, Romania and other countries. Republicans have long questioned whether those business dealings involved corruption and influence peddling by President Joe Biden, particularly when he was vice president.

Yet after conducting dozens of interviews and obtaining more than 100,000 pages of documents, Republicans have yet to produce direct evidence of misconduct by the president. Meanwhile, an FBI informant who alleged a bribery scheme involving the Bidens — a claim Republicans had cited repeatedly to justify their probe — is facing charges from federal prosecutors who accuse him of fabricating the story.

Despite the stakes of their investigation, it remains unclear how much useful information Republicans will be able to extract from Hunter Biden during the deposition. He is under federal investigation and has been indicted on nine federal tax charges and a firearm charge in Delaware, which means he could refuse to answer some questions by asserting his Fifth Amendment rights.

The task of interviewing Hunter falls primarily to Reps. James Comer and Jim Jordan, the GOP chairmen leading the impeachment investigation. They first subpoenaed Hunter Biden in November, demanding that he appear before lawmakers in a private setting. Biden and his attorneys refused, warning that his testimony could be selectively leaked and manipulated. They insisted that Hunter Biden would only testify in public.

On the day of the subpoena, Hunter Biden not only snubbed lawmakers waiting for him in a hearing room — he did also while appearing right outside the Capitol, holding a press conference where he denounced the investigation into his family.

Both sides ultimately agreed in January to a private deposition with a set of conditions. The interview with Hunter Biden will not be filmed and Republicans have agreed to quickly release the transcript.

“Our committees have the opportunity to depose Hunter Biden, a key witness in our impeachment inquiry of President Joe Biden, about this record of evidence,” Comer, chair of the House Oversight Committee, said in a statement to The Associated Press. “This deposition is not the conclusion of the impeachment inquiry. There are more subpoenas and witness interviews to come.”

Hunter will be the second member of the Biden family questioned by Republicans in recent days. They conducted a more than eight-hour interview last week with James Biden, the president's brother. He insisted to lawmakers that Joe Biden has “never had any involvement," financially or otherwise, in his business ventures.

Looming large over the interview are developments on the other side of the country in Nevada, where federal prosecutors this month indicted an FBI informant, Alexander Smirnov, who claimed there was a multimillion-dollar bribery scheme involving the president, his son Hunter and a Ukrainian energy company. Prosecutors in court documents assert that Smirnov has had “extensive and extremely recent" contact with people who are aligned with Russian intelligence.

Smirnov's attorneys have said he is presumed innocent.

Republicans pressed the FBI last summer over the informant's claims, demanding to see the underlying documents and ultimately releasing the unverified information to the public. The claim was cited repeatedly in letters that House Republicans sent to impeachment witnesses.

Many GOP lawmakers say they have yet to see evidence of the “high crimes and misdemeanors” required for impeachment, despite alleged efforts by members of the Biden family to leverage the last name into corporate paydays domestically and abroad.

But the Republican chairmen leading the impeachment effort remain undeterred by the series of setbacks to their marquee investigation. Jordan, the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, said last week that the informant's indictment “does not change the fundamental facts” that the Biden family tried to benefit off the family name in several overseas businesses.

And Comer told Fox News on Tuesday that Smirnov was never “a key part of this investigation."

Both Comer and Jordan have insisted for the past year that their investigation and inquiry is focused solely on Joe Biden and what actions, if any, he took while as vice president or president to benefit his family. But at nearly every turn, their probe has had a consistent and heavy focus on Hunter Biden. Several lines of inquiry have been opened into Hunter's international business affairs, his artwork sales and even his personal life and on-and-off battle with addiction.

Meanwhile, Hunter Biden has no shortage of legal headaches off Capitol Hill as he faces criminal charges in two states from a special counsel investigation. He’s charged with firearm counts in Delaware, alleging he broke laws against drug users having guns in 2018, a period when he has acknowledged struggling with addiction. Special counsel David Weiss filed additional charges late last year, alleging he failed to pay about $1.4 million in taxes over three years.

He has pleaded not guilty in both cases.

Campaign Action

15 times Ted Cruz shamelessly pushed GOP’s false allegations about Biden

We know Texas Sen. Ted Cruz isn’t unintelligent. Nor does he lack sophistication. After all, the guy graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. So he obviously knows the difference between clear proof of corruption and a sketchy accusation unsupported by the evidence—just as he knows the difference between an authentic Cancun marg and a bottle of premixed Chi Chi’s margarita drink he picks up at Citgo on his way home from the airport.

But being a Republican these days means pretending to be ignorant of basic realities, like whether a guy who campaigns as a dictator will govern as a dictator, or whether unsupported and unconfirmed accusations of bribery are real or simply part of a psyop conducted by a hostile foreign power that’s already attacked our elections twice.

Well, guess what? The obvious conclusion that even people who went to Cornell or Trump University could have arrived at on their own is, in fact, the correct one. The big Biden bribery allegation that congressional Republicans have been flogging for the better part of a year—and which was based on an unverified FBI form from 2020 that even the Trump administration declined to act on—was invented by a comrade with clear ties to Russian intelligence.

Weird, huh?

PBS Newshour:

A former FBI informant charged with making up a multimillion-dollar bribery scheme involving President Joe Biden, his son Hunter and a Ukrainian energy company had contacts with officials affiliated with Russian intelligence, prosecutors said in a court paper Tuesday.

Prosecutors revealed the alleged contact as they urged a judge to keep Alexander Smirnov behind bars while he awaits trial. He’s charged with falsely reporting to the FBI in June 2020 that executives associated with the Ukrainian energy company Burisma paid Hunter and Joe Biden $5 million each in 2015 or 2016. The claim has been central to the Republican impeachment inquiry in Congress.

[...]

Prosecutors said that during an interview before his arrest last week, Smirnov admitted that “officials associated with Russian intelligence were involved in passing a story” about Hunter Biden. They said Smirnov’s contacts with Russian officials were recent and extensive, and said Smirnov had planned to meet with one official during an upcoming overseas trip.

But wait! Ted was so sure these allegations were real, he repeated them ad nauseam. And yet they’re not remotely true. What is true is that Donald Trump—the guy who implied Ted’s wife was heinous—has thousands of financial conflicts of interest that make him, prima facie, unfit to serve as president. These have been sitting out in the open this whole time, and yet Ted seemed more interested in a single, completely made up allegation about the guy who didn’t go out of his way to humiliate Ted and his family.

Weird how the world works sometimes, huh?

Unfortunately for Ted, we’ve collected some receipts, and they make the plucky Harvard Law School grad look pretty dopey. 

Here’s a chronological rundown of some of Ted’s most shameless Biden hits from the past year:

1.

The facts are simple—an informant told the FBI they had evidence that Joe Biden was involved in a $5 million bribery scheme involving a foreign country. Today, top House Oversight leaders will see the documents. More on the latest episode of #Verdict! https://t.co/zhqceE5A1R

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 5, 2023

Well, the facts weren’t that simple after all—though Ted knew his voters were, so that’s why this tweet happened.

2.

As you can see, June 2023 was a big month for bullshit, as Ted just kept piling on:

We have learned of credible evidence that Joe Biden received a $5 million bribe from Burisma, the Ukrainian natural gas company. Now we’re told there is evidence of that on audio tapes. These are allegations of serious misconduct. pic.twitter.com/XXUnSvTsKT

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 13, 2023

There are tapes! That no one has heard or can find! And no one claims anyone is being peed on in any of them—so they must be real! What more could you possibly need?! Impeach!

3.

But wait! Ted’s interrogation of Deputy FBI Director Paul Abbate was a CRUZ MISSILE! YouTube confirms it.

This clip is really rich—especially in retrospect. His fake anger no doubt sent a fake tingle down Lindsey Graham’s fake spine.

Yes, why won’t the FBI talk about totally unsupported, unvetted “intelligence” about Joe Biden that the Trump administration decided not to follow up on during Trump’s pitched 2020 election battle with the former vice president? And why aren’t people lining up at FBI offices to make unsupported allegations that Ted is The Zodiac Killer? Because apparently that would be more than enough to convince Republicans to call a hearing.

4.

Now, in case you didn’t notice from that first tweet above, Ted basically launched an entire true crime podcast about the GOP’s false bribe allegation. It’s as if all 10 episodes of “Making a Murderer” had been based on something a Russian money launderer thought he’d overheard at a Green Bay Applebee’s.

So here’s a bit of Ted’s podcast: He brings up the already debunked accusation that Biden pushed to remove Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin, to help the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, which had connections to Biden’s son Hunter. In reality, Biden pushed to remove Shokin—as part of a unified U.S. government response—because he wasn’t investigating corruption. 

Enjoy!

If Joe Biden took official action that benefited Burisma after depositing $5 million, Joe Biden should be charged & prosecuted for bribery. That is the most grave allegation against a president that we've seen in our lifetimes. #Verdict https://t.co/vJGPoxxZCh pic.twitter.com/FLfKElvEKM

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 14, 2023

5.

And here’s Ted demanding that Joe Biden release the bullshit evidence that would make him look corrupt to people who have no clue—i.e., any and all Trump supporters—because that’s just good government.

Democrats don't want a hearing on the allegations against Joe Biden. If the allegations are false, you know who could disprove them? Joe Biden. He could call for evidence to be released publicly, but the FBI is stonewalling instead. #Verdict https://t.co/ErPhbZC29d

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 15, 2023

6.

And here he is plugging that same bullshit podcast episode the very next day. This time he demanded that the fake whistleblower give his fake testimony so the American people could decide for themselves what’s real and what isn’t. The same American people who made the inventor of spray-on hair fabulously wealthy. 

What should come next with the allegations against Joe Biden? This alleged whistleblower should testify in front of Congress on national television so the American people can hear his allegations & assess if he's telling the truth. #Verdicthttps://t.co/ErPhbZC29d

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 15, 2023

7.

And—ugh—another tweet with more unsupported innuendo. And another plug for that same podcast episode. Ted must have been super proud of this one.

Why the hell is the FBI hiding the possible existence of evidence that Joe Biden accepted a bribe? Why did they redact the allegation that there may be 17 tape recordings? #Verdict https://t.co/ErPhbZC29d

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 15, 2023

8.

And yet another plug for the podcast. But wait! This one’s for a different episode. Though the bullshit smells the same.

Don't forget to catch the latest episode of #Verdict, where we follow the money & examine what every prosecutor, reporter, or anyone interested in the truth should be asking—did Joe Biden take a bribe? Tune in wherever you get your podcasts! https://t.co/jKjIN10WTW pic.twitter.com/ZrwX8vSEDf

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 17, 2023

9.

Of course, Ted was dead certain that a former vice president and household name couldn’t have possibly made millions from book deals and speaking gigs. After all, only Newt Gingrich and Dick Cheney can demand such gaudy fees.

The Daily Mail:

'You're looking at a tax return that has $10 million in cash that came from a mystery source,' Cruz said on Friday during his podcast, Verdict with Ted Cruz.

Biden's two S corporations, CelticCapri Corp and GiaCoppa Corp, reported income of $9,490,857 and $557,882 respectively in 2017, Biden's first year as a private citizen after decades in federal elected office as a senator and the vice president.

That money, which Biden says is from book deals and speeches, was then remitted to Biden and his wife primarily as 'distributions' rather than salary, according to CNBC.

10.

And here’s Ted plugging his nonsense podcast again, pointing out that there’s something fishy about the relative of a high-ranking government official making $5 million at a law firm and not, say, $2 billion from a bloodthirsty Saudi murderer, as God and the Founding Fathers intended. 

Nobody would pay Hunter Biden to represent them in a lawsuit. Nobody would pay him for legal work. If he can make $5 million at a law firm in America, it is purely because he's selling access to the “Big Guy.” #Verdict https://t.co/HxCxWbv3S4

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 3, 2023

11.

And here’s the bullshit FD-1023 form itself! READ this! It’s an allegation! For realz! Why didn’t the Trump DOJ follow up on this when it first came to their attention? We may not know for another several months, when this whole thing blows up in Ted’s beard. 

READ this. This is serious, credible evidence that Joe & Hunter Biden solicited & received a $10m bribe from a foreign national. (1) why didn’t FBI fully investigate? (2) why is corporate media ignoring? https://t.co/jGBsj767Cf

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 21, 2023

12.

Explain yourselves, FBI! Why aren’t you publicizing incendiary claims of corruption with no basis in fact? Well, what if we told you they’re based on dubious sources and support a wild, already debunked theory that plays into the hands of an enemy authoritarian regime? Would that change your mind?

With the grave allegations that Joe Biden took a bribe from a foreign national for official favors, the FBI owes the American people complete candor. If they found these allegations to be false, they need to come forward and explain. #Verdicthttps://t.co/HKrwnB91iT

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 24, 2023

13.

Yeah, well, it’s not true, so ...

If it is true that the oligarch who owned Burisma paid Hunter & Joe Biden $10 million for an official act, then both are guilty of bribery. On the latest episode of #Verdict, we break down all the explosive allegations in the FBI’s form FD-1023. Tune in! https://t.co/fwEzuTu81j

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 25, 2023

14.

Meanwhile, based on this now-debunked claim, Ted thought President Biden should be forced to share a prison cell with his son—which would be particularly cruel, as Hunter prefers to make toilet gin and Joe would naturally insist on making toilet mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Newsweek: 

Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas said President Joe Biden should "share a cell" with his son Hunter Biden as more findings are released by the House.

Speaking with Sean Hannity on Fox News, Cruz said the "evidence is growing and growing" that Hunter Biden sold "official favors from his father Joe Biden."

[...]

"Bribery is paying someone something of value in exchange for an official favor. Joe Biden has confessed to it in a video interview," Cruz said after Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley released an FD-1023 document containing a confidential FBI informant's unverified claim that the Biden family made a Ukrainian oligarch pay them $10 million. Newsweek has been unable to verify that any such video exists.

In other news, Newsweek has been unable to verify that every pumpkin pie Ted Cruz has served since Thanksgiving 1989 was made from the earwax of his murder victims. 

15.

Aaaannnddd … more innuendo ...

What could Hunter Biden possibly do to earn $5 million from a Chinese company? He had no skills, & no one pays a crackhead $5 million for his talent. The only thing he could have sold was favors from his father. We discuss this corruption on Verdict.https://t.co/RcCse5vQ6i

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) November 3, 2023

I wouldn’t pay Hunter Biden to sit on a board, but I might pay to watch him fight Ted Cruz in Vegas. Or someone would, anyway. Probably not a Putin-connected Russian national, though. Ted’s far too useful to Russia to come to that sort of end.

Check out Aldous J. Pennyfarthing’s four-volume Trump-trashing compendium, including the finale, Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, at this link