Today in ‘How the f--k did we end up here again,’ pidgin fan Sen. Chuck Grassley and the man who really wants to see Hunter Biden’s junk, Rep. James Comer, sent a joint letter to the FBI demanding information about a supposed “criminal matter” involving President Joe Biden and a foreign national. On a day when Donald Trump refused to testify in a trial where he is charged with rape, Republicans apparently need something to cheer them up, and that something is a trip back to the same empty well they’ve visited so many times before.
The letter sent to FBI Director Christopher Wray asks the agency to turn over documents supposedly revealed by a whistleblower. Separately, Comer sent a subpoena for an “unclassified FD-1023 form” that reportedly describes “an alleged criminal scheme involving then Vice President Biden and a foreign national” in a pay-for-play deal. Right-wing media seems to be pounding the idea that the pair is relying on a “protected whistleblower.” Which is a nice change, considering how Trump and his friends at Fox News felt about whistleblowers just a few years ago.
But the biggest thing that everyone seems to be ignoring is the date on these documents. Because, according to Comer, the form was filed with the FBI in June 2020. That would be while Donald Trump was still in the White House and the vice president was very much not Joe Biden. Which means that they’re accusing the FBI, headed by the Trump-appointed Wray, of sitting on criminal evidence about Biden a full five months before the election.
Apparently, no one can be trusted when it comes to the Deep State. Donald Trump reviewed multiple candidates and selected Wray to replace the outgoing James Comey. That was in 2017, and Wray was very much in charge when this form came in. Wray reported to Trump-appointed Attorney General Bill Barr. Beneath both of them was a hierarchy of Trump loyalists. Any one of the Republicans in charge of the FBI or Justice Department could have surfaced the claims in the filed form at any time in the final months before the election, and used it to fire a Comey-esque broadside into Biden’s election chances. Except they didn’t.
Which is probably because the whole thing was ridiculous. The summer of 2020 was a time when Barr was appointing a special prosecutor to go after everyone who had investigated Trump, Mike Pompeo was openly wining and dining Republican money guys at the State Department, Donald Trump was hiding in the White House bunker, and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman was being forced out of the military expressly for acting as a whistleblower. The idea that anyone in the DOJ or FBI would act to cover up something significant about a former vice president from the opposing party, when all they had to do was wave that form at their boss to secure infinite brownie points, is somewhere way beyond incredulous.
Whatever is on that form, a form that can be filed by anyone at any time, it was apparently so insignificant, or so unbelievable, that no one even bothered to even raise the idea that it could be used to help Trump.
Exactly what is on the form? It could be something from Rudy Giuliani’s follies in Ukraine. It could be more claims from a conservative porn film connecting Biden to China. Whatever it is, even Trump’s team couldn’t find a way to run with it.
We don’t know what’s on the form. What’s more, it’s clear that Grassley doesn’t know, either.
To Grassley’s credit, he was supportive of whistleblowers even when he had to swim against Trump and Fox News to make those statements. But of course, you have to take away that credit because of all the times Grassley decided that someone was “not a real whistleblower.” Which is exactly what he said about Col. Vindman.
Comer’s relationships with whistleblowers are more one-sided—as in, he’s always been against them. Out of all the legislation that has been put in place to protect whistleblowers over his eight years in the House, he has neither sponsored or voted for any of the bills.
But then, this 2018 article from The Hill might help to explain that attitude. The story involves a lawsuit in which Comer threatened a legislative staffer after the man reported allegations of sexual harassment to his superiors. Here’s just one of the things Comer had to say to the whistleblower in this case:
“Hey Brad, when the House finally fires your dumbass (which will be very soon) for being a lazy dumb shit, David Williams can help you find a job cleaning shit stains off the commodes at the Corner Pool Room in Burkesville. But I’m sure you won’t last long there because everyone hates you and you are dumb and lazy.”
That’s how much respect James Comer really has for whistleblowers. Oh, and the whistleblower he sent that message to really was fired. That whistleblower has been trying to get some restitution from the guys who did that to him ever since, without apparent success. That should tell you all you need to know about James Comer. Everything, except that he’ll do anything to try and create a “scandal” for Biden.
The fact that the actual form is certain to come to nothing doesn’t really matter. Republicans already generated the headlines they wanted, and that “secret form” will enter right-wing legend—right behind Hunter’s laptop.
Dimitri of WarTranslated has been doing the essential work of translating hours of Russian and Ukrainian video and audio during the invasion of Ukraine. He joins Markos and Kerry from London to talk about how he began this work by sifting through various sources. He is one of the only people translating information for English-speaking audiences. Dimitri’s followed the war since the beginning and has watched the evolution of the language and dispatches as the war has progressed.