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UPDATED ROUNDUP: GOP Clown Car: James Comer and Jim Jordan Admit They Have No Proof Whatsoever of So-Called Bribery Tapes

Jun 16, 2023

This week, James Comer and Jim Jordan let it slip that they actually have no proof whether the so-called cataclysmic tapes of President Biden admitting to bribery exist. MAGA Republicans including Senator Chuck Grassley, and Reps. Comer and Jordan have spent weeks hyping up an audio recording that they claimed would put the nail in the coffin and justify their bogus investigations into President Biden, but just as you would expect, their smoking gun turns out to be nothing but a dud. Comer and Jordan continue to prove that their investigations are nothing more than a big fat failure of a clown show. They have zero credibility to conduct such investigations and prove they have the wrong priorities. 

CNN: ‘Maybe They Don’t Exist’: Republicans Question Legitimacy Of Alleged Audio Recordings Of Biden Bribery Scheme. “Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa claimed on the Senate floor earlier this week that the foreign national who allegedly bribed then-Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter has 17 audio recordings of their conversations but questioned whether those tapes even existed in an interview with CNN days later. ‘I don’t even know where they are. I just know they exist, because of what the report says. Now, maybe they don’t exist. But how will I know until the FBI tells us, are they showing us their work?’ Grassley said Thursday. And Grassley is not the only Republican questioning the validity of the supposed tapes.” [CNN, 6/15/23

Daily Beast: Republicans Admit They ‘Don’t Know’ if Biden Bribery Tapes ‘Really Exist’. “Yet, while top GOP lawmakers have breathlessly promoted these purported tapes as an absolute bombshell proving the corruption of the president and his family, they’ve simultaneously acknowledged that these recordings may not exist at all and could be ‘just a bluff.’… ‘Well again, we don’t know really if the tapes exist, we just don’t know that, whether this was just a bluff on the part of whoever the executive was,’ the Wisconsin lawmaker said on Wednesday… ‘We don’t know for sure if these tapes exist,’ House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) told radio host Chris Salcedo on Tuesday. House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY), who has been the driving force behind the Biden investigations, also admitted on Tuesday that ‘we don’t know if they are legit or not.’” [Daily Beast, 6/15/23

Salon: “We Don’t Know”: Republicans Admit Biden Bribery Tape They’ve Hyped For Weeks May Not Actually Exist. “Several Republicans admitted this week that they don’t know if there are actually recordings of President Joe Biden accepting a bribe as they have suggested, HuffPost reports.On Monday, Sen. Chuck Grassley revealed that the 2020 tip the FBI received indicated a foreign national, who claimed to have bribed Biden with $5 million, has tapes of himself talking to Biden during his vice presidency. The audio was presented as a new development about the FBI tip, which Republicans learned of last month and have since demanded be made public. But, according to HuffPost, ‘the uncertainty over whether the recordings actually exist is a reminder that while the tip came from a credible career informant, the informant’s source is someone else, and the underlying information, audio and all, remains unverified hearsay.’ Legislators ‘don’t know if they’re legit or not, but we know that the foreign national claims he has them,’ House Oversight Committee Chair Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., said of the tapes on Newsmax Tuesday.” [Salon, 6/15/23

The Messenger: Republicans See ‘So Much Smoke’ in Biden Probe – But They’re Still Searching For Fire. “The House Republican investigation into President Joe Biden and his family is surrounded in smoke — accusations of a bribery scheme, alleged recordings of the president and claims that he should be ‘hauled out of the White House in handcuffs.’ But for all the haze around their probe of the Bidens, the GOP has so far been unable to point to any fire that directly implicates the president in wrongdoing. Instead, the tactic by Republican leaders has been to play up the possibility that Biden acted criminally, while continuing to search for evidence that proves their claims. ‘There’s so much smoke, it’s hard to imagine there’s not an overwhelming amount of fire,’ Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.), a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, told The Messenger.” [The Messenger, 6/15/23

Newsweek: Comer Admits Nobody Has Heard From Alleged Biden Informant for Three Years. “Speaking to Hannity, Comer said that the tapes came from an oligarch who is a high-ranking member or owner of Burisma. He added that the tape is alleged to show Joe Biden accepting a multimillion dollar bribe, which the president used ‘as an insurance policy.’ When asked by Hannity if he has any contact with this alleged Burisma source, Comer replied: ‘Unfortunately, nobody’s had any contact with him for the last three years. ‘You know, the MSNBC makes fun of me when I said that there are a lot of people that were involved in the Biden shenanigans that are currently missing,’ Comer said. ‘But, with respect to this oligarch, we think we know where he is. He just hasn’t been seen in public in a long time, but we’re following the money.’ Comer previously told Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo that they ‘can’t track down’ a key informant in the Biden investigation.” [Newsweek, 6/16/23

Washington Post: Republicans Keep Spilling Cold Water On Their Biden Bribery Allegations. “It was not, however, an effective legal counterpoint, given the flimsiness of what’s been alleged. And you don’t have to take our word for it: A number of Republicans allied with Trump have similarly noted that the allegations are nothing more than that… ‘We don’t know,’ Johnson replied. ‘Sen. Grassley’s never said that they exist.’ Instead, he continued, Grassley had simply said that the source said he’d heard they exist. ‘We don’t know, really, whether the tapes exist. We just don’t know that, whether this was just a bluff on the part of the — you know, whoever the executive was,’ Johnson said.” [Washington Post, 6/15/23

The New Republic: GOP Senator Admits Biden Bribery Tapes Might Not Exist After All. “Republican Senator Chuck Grassley admitted that he doesn’t actually know if the audio recordings that he said reveal Joe Biden accepting a bribe even exist. Republicans have spent all week accusing the president of accepting a bribe from Ukraine (conveniently at the same time Donald Trump was arrested for stealing and hiding classified documents) and referring specifically to a set of recordings that prove their claim. The GOP learned about these supposed recordings as part of the House Oversight Committee’s months-long investigation into the Biden family, which has yet to produce any actual evidence linking Biden to wrongdoing.” [The New Republic, 6/15/23

Washington Post: The GOP ‘Bribery’ Allegations Against Biden Remain Transparently Thin. “It also fairly obviously undercuts Grassley’s point. If there were recordings, that would seem to suggest that the FBI would have even more grounds to move forward with a probe — without appearing to have done so. Grassley is arguing that, given the breadth of allegations from the executive, it’s bizarre that the FBI didn’t investigate. The more obvious conclusion is that the claims were not the smoking gun Grassley is presenting. Even Comer pumped the brakes on it. He was asked, during an interview on Newsmax, if the recordings were ‘legit.’ He confirmed that the recordings were mentioned in the 1023 — but ‘we don’t know if they’re legit or not’ and that they were simply claimed to exist by the executive with whom the FBI source spoke.” [Washington Post, 6/13/23

HuffPost: Republicans Acknowledge Biden Bribe Audio Might Not Exist. “The audio purported to be a compelling new detail about the FBI tip, which Republicans have demanded be made public since learning of it last month… Speaking about the recordings on Newsmax Tuesday, House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) said lawmakers ‘don’t know if they’re legit or not, but we know that the foreign national claims he has them.’… ‘We don’t know for sure if these tapes exist,’ Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said on ‘The Chris Salcedo Show’ Wednesday when asked if Republicans would consider impeaching the president… ‘We don’t know really if the tapes exist, we just don’t know that, whether this was just a bluff on the part of, whoever the executive was, I think it was Mykola Zlochevsky, the CEO of the… the corrupt oligarch,’ Johnson said.” [HuffPost, 6/15/23

Punchbowl News: Top Republicans Skeptical About Alleged Biden Bribery Tapes. “We asked the Kentucky Republican how confident he was that these audio recordings between the Bidens and the Burisma executive actually exist… ‘I don’t know that I can answer that right now,’ Comer told us. ‘I would talk to Grassley about it. All I know is it was in the form. That’s all I can say. But the FBI didn’t mention it when they briefed on it.’ Comer isn’t the only Republican steeped in the investigation world that is urging caution on the alleged tapes. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who authored a Senate report on Hunter Biden along with Grassley, told a radio host this week that the claims of tapes should be considered ‘with a grain of salt.’ ‘This could be coming from a very corrupt oligarch who could be making this stuff up,’ Johnson said on the Vicki McKenna Show. ‘You have to suspend your judgment until you know more.’” [Punchbowl News, 6/15/23

Newsweek: Republican Admits Biden Tapes Might Not Be Smoking Gun. “The source of those claims, Grassley said, was reportedly a redacted FBI FD-1023 form that members of Congress are seeking the public release of—a sort of ‘tip sheet’ that reportedly contains allegations from a ‘credible’ foreign source directly linking the Bidens to crimes. Whether the recordings exist, however, is a place few Republicans seem willing to go… And in an interview on Newsmax on Tuesday, Kentucky Representative James Comer left some room for reasonable doubt around the existence of any audio recordings involving the Bidens—only that someone the FBI interviewed claimed they existed. ‘I can confirm they were listed in the 1023 that the FBI redacted,’ Comer said on the program. ‘We don’t know if they’re legit or not, but we know the foreign national claims he has them.’” [Newsweek, 6/13/23

Newsweek: More Republicans Cast Doubt on Joe Biden Tapes’ Legitimacy. “Several Republican lawmakers are pumping the brakes on the controversy surrounding the alleged audio recordings of President Joe Biden speaking with a Ukrainian executive who supposedly bribed Biden several years ago… But according to a senior law enforcement official who spoke with NBC News, the accusations contained in the FD-1023 were reviewed by the FBI and a Trump-appointed U.S. attorney when the report was first made in June 2020, and the claims were deemed unsubstantiated. Republicans themselves are also cautioning to take the information contained in the FD-1023 with heavy skepticism, including House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, who said during an interview with Newsmax Tuesday, ‘We don’t know if [the tapes are] legit or not.’” [Newsweek, 6/14/23

Independent: Biden Chuckles When Asked About Bribery Allegations From Time As Vice President. “​​Appearing on Newsmax, Mr Comer was asked if the recordings are ‘legit’. ‘We don’t know if they’re legit or not,’ he said, mentioning that the executive who spoke to the FBI source claimed that the recordings were real. On Fox News, Mr Grassley was asked if the document is ‘damning’ for Mr Biden. ‘There’s accusations in it, but that’s — it’s not for me to make a judgment about whether these accusations are accurate or not,’ he said.” [Independent, 6/15/23