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ROUNDUP: The Reviews Are In! James Comer’s First Evidence Free Impeachment Hearing Was An “Unmitigated Disaster”

Sep 28, 2023

James Comer held his first long-promised impeachment hearing and just like his past nine months of failure after failure, the hearing was an “unmitigated disaster” – according to a senior Republican aide. Comer’s fellow Republicans had more to say with one longtime Republican operative calling today’s House Oversight hearing “an amateurish clownshow.” A House Republican staffer called out Comer, saying “Comer and staff botched this bad.” Comer and House Oversight Republicans failed to produce a single shred of evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden and one of their own witnesses, Trump lackey Jonathan Turley, even said there was NO evidence to support impeachment. Once again, all MAGA House Republicans proved was that they care more about doing Trump’s bidding than helping the American people and protecting them from a GOP government shutdown.

The Independent: GOP Witness Admits No Evidence To Impeach Biden At First Impeachment Hearing. “But the GOP-led panel under leadership of chair Representative James Comer of Kentucky, failed to present anything other than the same worn and outrageous claims that have characterised their discourse on the subject since they seized control of the House in January. Not even a trio of friendly witnesses — all prominent right-wing commentators — could offer any new evidence or arguments in favour of impeaching Mr Biden, with the panel’s lead witness, a paid Fox News contributor and law professor called Jonathan Turley, even going so far as to echo Mr Raskin’s allegation that the GOP lacked ‘a shred’ of derogatory evidence against the president.” [The Independent, 9/28/23]

The New Republic: GOP Impeachment Fiasco Continues: They Turn Against Their Own Witness. “Representative James Comer on Thursday refused to let Democrats introduce testimony from one of his own star witnesses as evidence in the impeachment inquiry hearing into Joe Biden. […] Republicans released Archer’s testimony in August, and his comments completely debunk everything the GOP has claimed about Biden and his son. Archer repeatedly stated that Biden was never involved in his son’s business and Hunter never asked his father to step in. Archer said he was ‘not aware of any’ wrongdoing by the president, and said he disagreed with the allegation that Biden accepted a bribe. So it’s really no wonder Comer is desperate to keep that testimony out of public record.” [The New Republic, 9/28/23]

Roll Call: House Republicans Short On Evidence To Impeach Biden, Witnesses Tell Panel. House Republicans do not have enough evidence yet to justify an impeachment of President Joe Biden, two legal scholars told a congressional panel Thursday as lawmakers sparred over the basis for the GOP-led impeachment investigation. […] But for all the heated rhetoric, a Republican-called witness, Jonathan Turley, a legal scholar who has testified in previous impeachment inquiries, said he did not believe the current evidence would support articles of impeachment against President Biden. That’s something an impeachment inquiry would have to establish, he said.” [Roll Call, 9/28/23]

The Messenger: Republican House Aides Scorch Party’s First Impeachment Hearing. “After over three and a half hours of statements and questioning of witnesses at the House Oversight Committee’s first impeachment hearing on Thursday, a number of House Republican aides slammed the exercise, arguing GOP leadership ‘botched’ the strategy.Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, caught heavy criticism. ‘Comer and staff botched this bad,’ one GOP House aide told The Messenger. […] ‘So much confusing info from Republicans and Dems are on message,’the GOP House staffer said. ‘How can you not be better prepared for this?’” [The Messenger, 9/28/23]

The Daily Beast: Star GOP Witness Immediately Pours Cold Water On Biden Impeachment. Republicans’ long-shot attempt to impeach President Joe Biden got off to a rocky start Thursday, with their star witness, legal expert Jonathan Turley, outright saying he doesn’t see any evidence to support impeachment. […] Turley wasn’t the only GOP witness to say there’s no evidence to support articles of impeachment. Bruce Dubinsky, a forensic accountant called on by Republicans, said, ‘I am not here today to even suggest that there was corruption, fraud, or any wrongdoing. In my opinion, more information needs to be gathered and assessed before I would make such an assessment.’” [The Daily Beast, 9/28/23]

The New York Times: First Impeachment Hearing Yields No New Information On Biden. “The first hearing in House Republicans’ impeachment inquiry into President Biden featured their star witnesses testifying that they lacked proof that he committed impeachable offenses, multiple procedural skirmishes the G.O.P. majority nearly lost and, at times, nearly a dozen empty Republican seats. What it did not include was any new information about Mr. Biden’s conduct — or any support for Republicans’ accusations that he had entered into corrupt overseas business deals.” [The New York Times, 9/28/23]

NBC News: House GOP’s Impeachment Witnesses Say There’s No Evidence Yet That Biden Committed A Crime. “Some Republicans were also unhappy about how the hearing went. A senior GOP aide told NBC News that Comer’s strategy of feeding Fox News impeachment stories is not working and ‘we are losing the media narrative game to the White House right now.’ ‘Calling witnesses that say the opposite of your narrative on impeachment is equally a bad strategy,’ the aide said. Another Republican aide who works for a lawmaker who supports the impeachment inquiry described what he saw of the hearing as ‘boring’ with ‘no bombshells.’” [NBC News, 9/28/23]

Fox News’ Neil Cavuto: “None Of The Expert Witnesses Today Presented, Yet, Any Proof For Impeachment.” “For the better part of six hours, I have been following these hearings, save an hour off to do my Fox Business show earlier today. I don’t know what was achieved over these last six plus hours […] None of the expert witnesses today presented, yet, any proof for impeachment.” [Fox News, 9/28/23]

  • Fox News’ Neil Cavuto: “The Promise Of Explosive Testimony And Incontrovertible Proof Did Not Materialize Today.” The promise of explosive testimony and incontrovertible proof did not materialize today. Now to be fair I was off an hour today doing my Fox Business show and I might have missed it, but I went back and looked at what was said and done during the noon hour to one pm Eastern time and it turns out no such evidence was presented.” [Fox News, 9/28/23]

Senior GOP Aide: “Picking Witnesses That Refute House Republicans Arguments For Impeachment Is Mind Blowing. This Is An Unmitigated Disaster.” “NEW: Frustration in the GOP over 1st impeachment hearing, as the GOP witnesses undercut their narrative &say [sic] no evidence of crimes. ‘Picking witnesses that refute House Republicans arguments for impeachment is mind blowing. This is an unmitigated disaster,’ said senior R aide.” [Melanie Zanona (CNN), Twitter, 9/28/23]

Longtime GOP Operative: Today’s Hearing Is “An Amateurish Clownshow” That Would “Never Have Happened” Under Former Speaker Pelosi. “If you were wondering how GOP types are receiving the @GOPoversight hearing today, the answer is: Not so well. One longtime operative tells me @RepJamesComer’s hearing is ‘an amateurish clownshow’ & says such a poorly-run hearing would ‘never have happened’ under @SpeakerPelosi.” [Andrew Feinberg (The Independent), Twitter, 9/28/23]

Senior GOP Aide: “Comer Has Lost Control.” Senior GOP aide weighs in on Comer’s hearing so far: – Comer has lost control, allowing Dems to land attacks – witnesses Comer selected have disputed House GOP arguments on the impeachment inquiry – has failed to attract mainstream media attention RE more damning evidence.” [Jacqueline Alemany (The Washington Post), Twitter, 9/28/23]

House GOP Staffer: “Comer And Staff Botched This Bad.” “Another House GOP staffer tells me ‘Comer and staff botched this bad.’ Tells me the information presented by Republicans has been ‘confusing’ and Democrats are ‘on message.’ ‘How can you not be better prepared for this?’” [Stephen Neukam (The Messenger), Twitter, 9/28/23]

Democratic Committee Member: GOP Colleagues Are In “Freak Out” Mode After Turley Admitted There Was Not Evidence For Impeachment. “Just caught up with Rep. Garcia who told me there was palpable surprise from GOP members in the room when Turley said this. They’re in a bit of ‘freak out’ mode now, he said, because Turley was supposed to be one of their ‘star witnesses.’” [Ali Vitali (NBC News), Twitter, 9/28/23]

MSNBC Host: Committee Democrats Were “Straight Up Eating Comer’s Lunch.” “Raskin and AOC just straight up eating Comer’s lunch here.” [Medhi Hasan (MSNBC), Twitter, 9/28/23]

GOP Lawmaker: “I Haven’t Watched Or Listened To A Moment Of It. There’s A Shutdown Looming.” “Some GOP are not even paying attention, as Congress is on the brink of a shutdown. Some GOP members remain skeptical of the push. “I haven’t watched or listened to a moment of it,” said another GOP lawmaker. There’s a shutdown looming”” [Annie Grayer (CNN), Twitter, 9/28/23]

BONUS: James Comer Refused To Admit Our Fact Sheet on Trump’s Foreign Business Dealings. “Republicans have not sent any letters, requested any information, or announced any hearings on potential investigations into the Trump family’s influence peddling and corruption. And there is plenty of evidence clearly showing that Trump profited off his name and connections while he was in office—we have laid out all the evidence at as part of a monthslong, six-figure campaign demanding that Comer and Republicans investigate Trump family corruption and influence peddling. If Comer actually cared about potential influence peddling and corruption, he would be investigating these potential conflicts of interest instead of baseless political stunts.” [Congressional Integrity Project, 5/10/23]