Anti-abortion bills aren’t the only thing Republicans are launching to set the tone for their time in control of the House. They’re also following through on their promise to use their government oversight powers to target Hunter Biden, a man who is not in any way a part of the government. And while part of what they want is information on financial transactions, they’re also extremely interested in something a little more personal and less commonly a concern for Congress.
Oversight Committee Chair James Comer is calling former Twitter executives in for a public hearing on why, in the runup to the 2020 elections, Twitter suppressed sharing of some information from a laptop allegedly belonging to Hunter Biden. Some of that was emails ostensibly hinting at involvement by Joe Biden in his son’s business dealings. But a lot of it—a lot of what trolls really wanted to spread all over Twitter, and what Elon Musk’s pet “Twitter files” guy Matt Taibbi was outraged had been suppressed—was, uh, intimate photographs of Hunter Biden. Dick pics, to be precise. And those pictures were being posted in a concerted campaign led by a Steve Bannon associate.
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Twitter was, reasonably enough, trying to block the nonconsensual posting for political reasons of naked pictures of a public figure’s adult son. And sometimes, the company learned about the posting of those pictures (and videos) from the Biden campaign. Musk and Taibbi think this is some kind of giant scandal, and Comer seems interested in furthering those claims. He’s calling for Twitter’s former head of legal, policy, and trust, Vijaya Gadde; former head of trust and safety, Yoel Roth; and former deputy general counsel, James Baker, to appear at a public hearing the week of February 6.
”Your attendance is necessary because of your role in suppressing Americans’ access to information about the Biden family on Twitter shortly before the 2020 election,” the letters to the former executives read.
Comer, not at all coincidentally, is the same guy who, as ranking member on the oversight committee, released a memo trying to defend Washington Commanders team owner Dan Snyder on the rampant sexual harassment in his organization, including in that memo pictures of some of the victims of that harassment that their lawyers described as “sexualized and salacious photographs of former cheerleaders.”
”Our clients are both humiliated and incensed by the GOP’s reckless dissemination of these photographs in an official Congressional document,” attorneys Lisa Banks and Debra Katz wrote in a letter to Comer. “They also feel retaliated against by Republican Committee members who have apparently chosen to embarrass them publicly for coming forward. There was simply no legitimate reason for GOP members to have done this, and it has caused our clients additional and unnecessary pain.”
So here’s a guy who recently put “sexualized and salacious photographs” in one official document, and now he’s asking why Twitter didn’t allow the posting of nude photos of a man without his consent as a political weapon against the man’s father. There’s a pattern with Comer, and it’s pretty gross. Additionally, a former college girlfriend has alleged that Comer abused her physically and mentally, and drove her to get an abortion.
Comer doesn’t just want dick pics, to be fair. He’s also looking for evidence—or something he can fudge into the appearance of—financial wrongdoing that involves the president. No one seriously contests that Hunter Biden’s career has been helped by being the son of a prominent man, and few people argue that he has consistently made good choices in business or life. But all of the reliable information indicates that his father has stayed the hell out of it. Just as Donald Trump tried to damage Joe Biden’s electoral chances in 2020 by blackmailing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to announce an investigation into the former vice president surrounding his son’s business dealings in Ukraine, House Republicans now want to damage Joe Biden’s presidency and his 2024 electoral chances by creating the appearance of corrupt involvement in his son’s business dealings. It’s the same basic attack.
Comer has sent Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen a letter demanding to see bank activity reports relating not just to Hunter Biden but to James Biden, the president’s brother, along with other Biden family associates. Banks use suspicious activity reports, or SARs, to flag questionable transactions. Sounds, well, suspicious, right? Prepare to hear a lot about any such reports Republicans can turn up. But here’s the thing: Most SARs don’t come to anything. A bank raises a question, and it turns out there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for what looked problematic.
In November, after Comer talked about SARs at a House Republican press conference held specifically to announce plans to target Hunter Biden, Oliver Willis offered important context. Although Comer claimed, in an October One America News Network interview, “I came from a banking background, and I can tell you, nobody ever gets a suspicious activity report,” the reality is that “A report the [Treasury Department] submitted to Congress said that in 2021, 2.8 million reports were filed, and 3.5 million reports are expected in 2022. The department also anticipates over 3.6 million reports for the 2023 fiscal year. According to the Bank Policy Institute, only about 4% of SARS lead to a follow-up by law enforcement, and ‘a tiny subset’ of those investigations result in arrests or convictions.”
Willis added, ”In Comer's district alone, over 62,000 reports were filed between 2014 and 2022, averaging one filing for every 12 people in the district.”
There is a massive avalanche of nastiness on the way, and it’s not just washing over the Biden family. We’re all going to be subjected to lies and innuendo and possibly even dick pics—remember that Comer has a history of using “sexualized and salacious photographs” in official documents—all being put out by Republicans with the intention of making it difficult for the president to govern, by causing him personal pain about the persecution of his beloved son who is in recovery from addiction, by distracting him from his work, by creating a line of relentless attack to be deployed whenever convenient. It’s gross. It’s typical Republican behavior.
House Republicans just defended a powerful man by retaliating against his victims
Let's look at the case against Hunter Biden and his laptop: A photo essay