Apparently, our week of GOP debunkery continues on today's BradCast. I have a feeling we may be at it for quite some time, as Republicans are just getting started with their crash and burn majority control of the U.S. House. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]
On yesterday's program, we shared a few clips from interviews this week with the new Republican Chair of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. James Comer of Kentucky. He explained why he was dead set on his committee investigating the connection between classified documents found by Joe Biden's aides at his Delaware residence (and immediately returned to the federal government) and concerns about "influence peddling" by the President and his family. That, despite any actual evidence to support the allegations.
Comer also made clear he had no interest in his Committee investigating the former President, despite the hundreds of classified documents he'd stolen from the White House (and refused to return, with many still missing) and mountains of evidence of influence peddling by Donald Trump and many of his children, including son-in-law Jared Kushner who received $2 billion from the Saudis just after Trump left office.
There was one point Comer focused on, however, in an effort to buttress his case. "There's one email that's been identified that is suspicious, that we want to look into," he explained. "We want to make sure that this one email that was on Hunter Biden's laptop wasn't one of the classified documents" found at Biden's residence in DE.
This claim seems to stem from an allegation first published by a New York Post columnist, apparently. GOP Senators have also been citing the same claim of late. Sen. Ron Johnson (WI) recently argued on Fox Business that an email from 2014, said to have been found on what Republicans have long claimed to be an "abandoned" laptop from the President's son contained "a very detailed analysis of what's happening in Ukraine." Sen. Ted Cruz (TX) alleged on a podcast that information in the email "could easily have come from a classified briefing."
Washington Post's Glenn Kessler examined the allegation and the evidence today. He found that the facts stated in the 22-point email said to be from Hunter actually lined up with information that was not only on the public record at the time, but published by major news outlets just weeks before the date of the email. "Laptop email suggests Hunter Biden read newspapers, not classified documents," Kessler's headline reads today. He awarded "Three Pinocchios" to the claims from Johnson and Cruz, as echoed by Oversight Committee Chair Comer on Sunday.
At the same time, Hunter Biden, after years of staying quiet about all of this, appears to now be pushing back. His attorneys recently sent legal letters to Fox "News" and Tucker Carlson, for example, demanding they retract and apologize for what the letters characterize as defamatory statements. They've also sent letters seeking criminal investigations by both state and federal authorities into the dissemination of his personal data by folks like Rudy Giuliani in the run-up to the 2020 election, making clear that while some of the data discovered was his, he neither authorized its public release, nor dropped off an allegedly abandoned laptop at a repair shop, as the GOP story, initially spread by Giuliani, goes.
Much more on all of the above today. But if Republican members of Congress believe that House investigations into this sort of stuff is what voters want them to do, after months of campaigning on claims of out-of-control crime, record inflation, high gas prices, etc., they are likely very wrong. At least according to a new report on focus groups of independent voters in Wisconsin, Virginia and Texas.
Next up today, we share some of the remarks by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from the House floor today before a vote by House Republicans to remove her from the Foreign Affairs Committee based on comments they regard as anti-Israel four years ago. In truth, the move by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy --- who was finally able to scrounge up the minimum number of votes needed to remove her (all Dems voted in her favor) --- was clearly revenge for Democrats removing Reps. Marjorie Taylor Green (GA) and Paul Gosar (AZ) from their committee assignments during the last Congress. That, after they each posted violent threats against Democrats. (For example, Green promoted a comment from a supporter calling for the assassination of then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Gosar posted a video in which he is depicted as decapitating Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Biden with a ninja sword.)
Then, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as Big Oil profiteers announce all-time record profits after a year or two of inflating gas prices; and the Biden EPA announces some very good news for longtime opponents of what would have been a toxic mining project in a pristine part of Alaska.
Finally today, a programming announcement for The BradCast! We will be moving to a four-day-a-week, Monday through Thursday schedule (with rebroadcasts scheduled for Friday) for the foreseeable future. While there are no emergencies, as noted on the program, there are several reasons for this change. Catching up on some long overdue health issues (physical, emotional, mental) is just one of them. We're fine. But, after moving from a weekly to a daily schedule back in early 2015, in order to cover the 2016 elections, and then staying with that schedule thanks to the "surprise" ending of that election, and then continuing on through four years of Trump and a years-long pandemic...well, we've got a lot to catch up with here and hope you will both understand and forgive us for our need to take Fridays off for a while. Perhaps even permanently. (Feel free to leave any complaints in the comments section below, however!)
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)