Tuesday was an interesting day in Congress. Rep. Tim Burchett claims that Rep. Kevin McCarthy elbowed him in the kidney. Sen. Markwayne Mullin challenged Teamsters Union President Sean O’Brien to a fight. The dustup during a House hearing between Rep. Jared Moskowitz and House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer didn’t quite reach that level, but don’t sleep on it: On a semi-normal day in Congress, it would have been a remarkable brawl.
The subject was Comer’s reported business dealings with his own brother, a relevant topic given that his allegations against President Joe Biden center around a loan repayment to Joe Biden from Biden’s brother James. Comer insisted heatedly that there’s no there there when it comes to his own situation, but boy, he was defensive. Moskowitz said this:
“I’m happy to yield you some of my time today, Mr. Chairman, because I think you owe it to the American people to explain why you've gone on Fox News and told people that while the president was out of office, he had a loan with his brother, and in a way they were evading taxes. It has come out in the public that you also do business with your brother, with potential loans, and so since you have framed that and manipulated that with the American people, that Joe Biden did something wrong when he wasn’t in office, I just would like to know if you would like to use some of my time …”
“I would love, I would love it,” Comer answered. “You retweeted that story. Completely false.” Comer went on to offer his account of the interesting-looking financial dealings recently reported by The Daily Beast. It didn’t clear things up: At one point, Comer said, “That story that you tweeted also said I had a shell company. That is bullshit. You can come to Monroe County and look at all the land that is titled in that LLC.” About a minute later, after having insisted that the reporting was because “they’re so financially illiterate that you think because something says LLC it’s a shell company,” he said he’d “[n]ever loaned my brother money. Don’t have an LLC.” Maybe he misspoke and intended to say “didn’t have a shell company,” but … we don’t know, do we?
The two times Comer used the word “bullshit” in that diatribe suggest this issue is getting to him.
As Comer descended into personal insults, Moskowitz attempted to reclaim his time. Comer began yelling, “No, I’m not going to give your time back, we can stop the clock. You all continue to, you look like a Smurf here, just going around and all this stuff.” Clearly, a man fully in control of himself and not responding emotionally.
Moskowitz tried to break in, only to have Comer, hilariously, accuse him of Comer’s own primary means of public communication: “You continue to spew disinformation,” Comer shouted. Moskowitz (who, to be scrupulously fair to Comer, was indeed wearing a hideous blue plaid suit) started matching Comer’s volume.
“You have gone on TV and said the president did something illegal. You’re doing stuff with your brother. The American people have the same question. Why should they believe you? Why should they believe you? There’s a different rule for the president? There’s a different rule for you? Why should they believe what you’re saying, Mr. Chairman?” At this point, Moskowitz broke through over Comer, who had been shouting incoherently throughout. Moskowitz continued: “Why? You go on Fox News and say loans and deals are a way to evade taxes. We don’t know if that’s what you're doing or not. We don’t know. We’re supposed to take your word for it, but when the president—“
“Well, you’ve already been proven a liar, Mr. Moskowitz.”
“You’ve already been proven a liar.”
“Who’s proven that?” Moskowitz asked in a tone of amused disbelief. “You?”
“Yes.” Apparently, Comer thinks that when he denied the story, he was proving it false, which would explain something about his overall approach to evidence and investigations.
It went on from there. Comer shouted about an opposition-research camera crew in his hometown, with Moskowitz correctly noting in response, “This seems to have gotten under your skin. I think the American people have lots of questions, Mr. Chairman, and perhaps you should sit maybe for a deposition.”
“I will be happy,” Comer said, the pitch of his voice rising steadily. “I will sit with Hunter Biden and Jim Biden and we can go over our LLCs.”
The committee tried to get back to regular order, with Comer’s supposed blessing. Moskowitz got only as far into his remarks as “All I’m saying is that you may have done nothing wrong” before Comer interrupted, in petulant tones, “But you tweeted I did!”
After all the back and forth, Moskowitz finally got to his central point: Comer is constantly spreading innuendo and unproven allegations against Biden. “But when it happens to you, it’s fake news. And what I’m saying is, there should be the same standard. You said at the beginning of this hearing, ‘The Biden administration can’t have it both ways.’ Neither can you, Mr. Chairman.”
Yeah, boy. Whatever the truth of the reporting on Comer’s business dealings, and whatever else there is or isn’t left to discover, he really cannot handle the heat. That in itself is pretty interesting.