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FACT SHEET: Lying About Witness Testimony Is Routine For House Republicans

Jan 19, 2024

Today, a lawyer who James Comer deposed for closed-door testimony yesterday blasted the Oversight Chair for issuing “cherry‐picked, out-of-context and totally misleading descriptions” of testimony. But this isn’t the first time Comer or House Republicans have been caught in lies about their investigations. Nearly every month last year, Comer was called out for overhyping and misrepresenting documentation obtained by the Oversight committee, ignoring and cherry-picking witness testimony that contradicted his claims, and even blatantly misrepresenting witnesses. Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan has similarly been called out for his lies and the lack of evidence supporting his investigations. 

House Republicans’ investigations are built on a foundation of cherry-picked phrases, claims that have been proven false, and accusations that are often the opposite of what they describe. This is just another example of their blatantly partisan agenda. 

TIMELINE: At Every Step of His Biden Family Investigation, James Comer Has Been Caught In Lies.

  • January 2024: A Committee Witness Called Out Comer For “Cherry‐Picked, Out-Of-Context, and Totally Misleading Descriptions” of Closed-Door Deposition. On Jan. 18, Hunter Biden’s close friend Kevin Morris gave closed-door testimony to the House Oversight Committee. After the deposition, Chair Comer released a press statement accusing Hunter of trading Morris “access to the Biden White House” in exchange for a small personal loan. In response, Morris’ lawyer blasted Comer’s lies, sending a letter calling out Comer’s “cherry-picked” statements, and demanded that Comer release the full, unedited transcript. As the lawyer reportedly said, “Morris testified that he never thought of Joe Biden’s campaign when loaning money to Hunter Biden and was ‘only focused on helping his client.’”
  • October – December 2023: Despite Evidence Indicating Otherwise, Comer Overhyped A Loan Repayment Between James Biden and President Biden – While He Was Out-of-Office. In mid-October 2023 Comer overhyped a transaction he discovered between James Biden and President Biden, tweeting, “We have found a $200,000 DIRECT payment to Joe Biden.” Fact checkers quickly debunked his claims, and despite receiving more than 14,000 pages of bank records as part of his Biden family probe, Comer failed to find a single transaction showing any evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden. Comer’s efforts to overhype the transactions drew mockery, with HuffPost calling the revelations a “dud,” and NBC News calling out the loan earmark as a “glaring flaw” in Comer’s allegations. Even Fox News, “largely steered clear of the latest bombshell.” In late December 2023, a trustee for Americore testified to the House Oversight Committee, reportedly telling the members that she possessed no knowledge that the president was directly involved in those dealings.
  • September 2023: Comer Blatantly Lied On Fox News About A Manipulated Text Message Between Jim Biden and Hunter Biden. During an interview on Fox News with Sean Hannity, Comer falsely claimed that he had evidence that James Biden was working with Hunter Biden on deals, summarizing a supposed text as “Don’t worry, I’ll work with your dad. We’ll finish those deals,” when in reality the text never mentioned any “deals.” Jim Biden’s response was in reference to a panicked series of texts from Hunter Biden about his parents refusing to pay his alimony. Comer’s source was not the messages themselves, but an unreliable “summary” of WhatsApp texts obtained by GOP witness and IRS whistleblower Joseph Ziegler. As independent fact checkers have stated: “That still is not proof that Joe Biden was in the room that day or that he talked with Hunter Biden about the details of his business deals or specific transactions.”
  • September 2023: Comer Mischaracterized Communications with the National Archives. In September, Oversight Republicans claimed that the Office of the Vice President colluded with Hunter Biden’s business partner on media responses, and Comer sent a letter to the National Archives demanding documents related to media outrage. Contrary to Comer’s claims that Hunter Biden’s business partners wanted to be seen as having the support of the White House, however, the key email in question included a statement explicitly stating that the Vice President “does not endorse any particular company and has no involvement with this company.” Comer then took to right-wing media to claim that the National Archives was “obstructing” oversight. During a radio interview with Republican billionaire John Catsimatidis, Comer claimed that “the National Archives is preventing us from having…specific Biden correspondence.” Comer’s Democratic colleagues quickly disproved this, however, revealing that the National Archivist sent Comer and Oversight Republicans a letter acknowledging the request and outlining the steps required by law to fulfill it.
  • August – September 2023: Comer Was Silent After IRS Whistleblowers Refuted His Claims About So-Called Interference With An Investigation. In September, Comer’s key IRS whistleblower allegations were been debunked by at least six other witnesses brought in for questioning by Oversight Republicans – including whistleblower Gary Shapley’s supervisor at the IRS’ Criminal Investigation division and the division’s director of field operations, three current and former FBI officials, and a longtime bookkeeper for the Biden family. These officials testified that Shapley’s claims are “false and misleading” and that they “don’t remember” hearing US Attorney David Weiss ever say that he lacked the authority to decide whether to bring charges against the president’s son, or that Weiss said he had been denied a request for special counsel status. Shapley’s supervisor also testified he recommended removing him from the Hunter Biden probe “to protect the integrity of the investigation” because he made “unsubstantiated allegations.”
  • June – August 2023: Comer Falsely Claimed Numerous Times that the Biden Family Took “Probably $20 Million” from Foreign Nations. His Documents Showed Less Than Half That Amount. For months, Comer has claimed that President Biden and his family took in $20 million from foreign sources. In June 2023, Comer took to Fox News at least twice to claim that the number would “exceed $20 million” or “top out at $20 million plus.” In July 2023, he claimed on Ted Cruz’s podcast it takes “probably $20 million” to buy a U.S. President, later noting “I feel like we’ll be able to hit the $25 million mark [from foreign nations to Joe Biden and family].” On Fox News, he claimed: “we think that we can find around $20 million to $30 million.” But the evidence shows otherwise; according to the Washington Post, “A close reading of the memos, however, finds that only about $7 million can be directly attributed to Biden family members, mostly Hunter, while the rest went to ‘associates,’ according to the memos.
  • July 2023: Comer’s Star Witness Failed To Prove That President Biden Did Anything Wrong. He Continued To Cite The Witness As Evidence. In late July 2023, a business associate of Hunter Biden appeared before the Oversight Committee to testify at the invitation of James Comer. For weeks in advance, Comer hyped the upcoming interview as bombshell testimony and declared the testimony evidence of a quid pro quo. But Archer’s testimony failed to produce a shred of evidence of a single conflict of interest of President Biden ever doing anything in connection or in relation to Hunter Biden’s business ventures. Yet Comer later hyped a portion of testimony by Hunter Biden’s business associate Devon Archer suggesting that Joe Biden supposedly joined Hunter on speakerphone while speaking with business associates up to 20 times – even though Archer’s testimony referred to approximately 20 instances over the span of a decade in which Hunter indicated Joe Biden was merely present, and Archer did not testify that President Biden was directly involved in business discussions beyond “the weather” and “fishing.” For months after the deposition, Republicans continued to point to the interview as justification for their impeachment probe, despite the lack of evidence.
  • Comer Lied About Skipping The So-Called Bombshell Testimony That Contradicted His Unsubstantiated Allegations About President Biden. Comer himself could not be bothered to show up for Archer’s testimony despite hyping the upcoming interview for weeks in advance as bombshell testimony. Yet even Oversight committee staffers were unwilling to cover for Comer’s lies, refusing to say if Comer phoned-in and saying he was in “constant contact” with staff during the interview. One GOP source even said, “It was like following a general into battle, but the general decided to stay home instead of fight.”
  • July 2023: Comer’s Top Whistleblowers Testified That There’s No Evidence President Biden Interfered In IRS/DOJ Investigations Into Hunter Biden. Comer Ignored That Part. James Comer has spent the bulk of his investigation hyping up two IRS whistleblowers that he claimed had damning evidence about interference in Hunter Biden investigations. Despite his lofty claims, these two IRS whistleblowers – Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler – themselves testified, under oath, that neither President Biden nor his Attorney General interfered in the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Justice’s investigation into Hunter Biden. But Comer’s takeaways from the hearing failed to mention that, instead writing that “IRS whistleblowers provided evidence of the Justice Department’s politicization and misconduct in the Biden criminal investigation.”
  • May – July 2023: Comer and Senator Chuck Grassley Subpoenaed The FBI & Risked The Safety of Confidential Sources Over Already-Debunked Allegations. In early-May, Comer and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) published an open letter to the FBI announcing subpoenas for an unclassified document supposedly describing an alleged “criminal scheme involving then-Vice President Biden and a foreign national relating to the exchange of money for policy decisions.” When Comer and Grassley obtained the document, form FD-1023, and publicly released a redacted version in July – against the advice of intelligence officials who feared it would “unnecessarily risks the safety of a confidential source” – it ended up being an uncorroborated FBI tip. Worse still, the owner of Ukrainian energy firm Burisma, had already rebutted the uncorroborated bribery allegations back in 2019: “As part of the impeachment inquiry against then-President Trump, Congress learned that Mr. Zlochevsky, the Ukrainian oligarch and the owner of Burisma, whom Republican Committee Members appear to have identified as the source of the allegations memorialized in the Form FD-1023, squarely rebutted these allegations in 2019.”
  • June 2023: Comer Repeatedly Claimed That Bribery Allegations Had Nothing To Do With Giuliani. Oops– Rudy Says It Was All Him. In interview after interview with friendly right-wing hosts, James Comer claimed that supposed bribery allegations against Joe Biden have nothing to do with disgraced Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani. The only problem with Comer’s vehement statements? They are not true. Rudy Giuliani himself has taken credit for first raising the allegations. Giuliani has said during several Newsmax TV appearances that he alerted the Justice Department to the allegation. “The document they’re talking about, the $10 million bribe from Mykola Zlochevsky, it really is the tip of the iceberg,” Giuliani said on Newsmax on June 10. “That document was discovered because it was at least one FBI agent that went out and tried to corroborate what I gave them.”
  • June 2023: Comer Hyped So-Called Bribery Tapes. He Later Admitted… Not Knowing If They “Really Exist.” In June 2023, GOP Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Comer began hyping the potential existence of audio tapes supposedly proving President Biden accepted a $5 million bribe from a Ukrainian energy company during the Obama administration. Yet despite hyping these claims for weeks on end, Comer later admitted, “we don’t know if they are legit or not” during a Newsmax interview just five days later.
  • April 2023: James Comer Blatantly Misrepresented Whistleblowers, Then Refused to Produce Evidence Substantiating His Claims. For months, Comer talked to the press about four individuals he claimed were “whistleblowers.” Problem is – they weren’t whistleblowers and there were only two people. As Ranking Member Raskin wrote to Comer in a letter obtained by the Washington Post: “The two individuals your staff specifically identified as the individuals they understood to have been referenced during your March 6 Fox News interview, are not whistleblowers… your repeated statements about ‘four people’ suggest that either you have intentionally misrepresented the Committee’s investigative progress to your conservative audience or that key investigative steps have been deliberately withheld from Committee Democrats.”
  • February 2023: In His First Oversight Hearing As Chair, Comer Pushed a “Factually Unsupported Narrative” About The ‘Twitter Files’, Contradicting His Own Witnesses. After one of the GOP House Oversight Committee’s first hearings, newly minted Oversight Chair Comer pushed “a factually unsupported narrative about the federal government secretly colluding with Twitter,” despite “no real evidence to support this weighty and consequential claim.” One of the Republicans’ own witnesses, former Twitter Deputy General Counsel James Baker, told the committee, “I am aware of no unlawful collusion with, or direction from, any government agency or political campaign on how Twitter should have handled the Hunter Biden laptop situation.” Another witness, ‘Twitter Files’ author Matt Taibbi, could not substantiate Comer’s claims either: “there is no evidence – that I’ve seen – of any government involvement in the laptop story.
  • November 2022: During His First Press Conference, Comer Said He Had “Evidence of Federal Crimes.” His Report Failed To Name A Single Crime. During his first press conference after Republicans won a House majority in November 2022, Comer declared: “Committee Republicans have uncovered evidence of federal crimes committed by, and to the benefit of, members of the president’s family.” But when he released a 31-page interim report, reporters noted that it lacked evidence and declined to specify charges: “[the report] does not make specific allegations about the Biden family or their alleged crimes. Indeed, the report stops short of listing any of the specific crimes listed by Comer…it does, however, accuse the Biden family.” 
  • October 2022: Fact Checkers Called Out Comer For “Need[ing] To Get His Facts Straight” On Hunter Biden Claims. Weeks before the 2022 midterm elections, Rep. Comer made false and unsubstantiated claims about President Biden’s family on Fox News: “Hunter Biden committed serious crimes, as you mentioned, 150 suspicious activity reports. […] But yet the FBI did nothing about it.” Just days later, Comer got called out by independent fact checkers for lying to Americans about Hunter Biden. An investigative reporter wrote that Comer “needs to get his facts straight” after making numerous false and/or unsubstantiated claims about foreign business dealings.

Like Comer, Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan Has A Long Record of Lies. Journalists have long questioned whether anything Jordan says can be taken at face value. As the Washington Post noted in October 2023, “It’s worth quickly noting how time has only further undercut the impeachment probe that Jordan so energetically champions. The first hearing was Sept. 28, at which legislators heard from witnesses who admitted they had no factual claims about wrongdoing to present. There have been no further hearings over the following 20 days and none scheduled.”

  • May 2023: Jordan Blatantly Misrepresented So-Called FBI Whistleblowers Involved In His Investigation. In May 2023, Jordan claimed one of his whistleblowers was suspended from the supposedly weaponized FBI, allegedly despite performing his job dutifully, including conducting case related research. But according to the FBI, Jordan’s so-called whistleblower refused to actually do his job by refusing to conduct open-source research into a Jan. 6 suspect’s potential engagement with criminal activity or terrorism.
  • March 2023: Jordan’s Own Staffers Expressed Doubt About A Lack of Evidence. Just months into his investigations, Jordan’s own investigators and former staffers expressed concerns about flimsy documentation. Some have claimed investigations are “doomed to fail” and others believe Jordan simply “isn’t delivering.” 
  • February 2023: Fact Checkers Debunked The Premise Behind Jordan’s First Hearing Into the So-Called Weaponization of the Federal Government Months Prior. Jordan’s first hearing as chair of the select subcommittee on the so-called weaponization of the federal government accused the FBI of targeting conservative parents who spoke up at school board meetings. Yet the entire premise of the hearing was always based on a falsehood – as early as April 2022, fact checkers flagged that the Attorney General never labeled school board attendees “domestic terrorists.” Other fact checkers also noted that there was no evidence that a 2021 Justice Department memo directing federal law enforcement to hold meetings about criminal threats against school officials mentioned parents at all, pointing out that the memo merely created a “threat tag” to track threats of violence, labeling Republican claims “false.”