“Credible.” That’s the word that Rep. James Comer, Sen. Chuck Grassley, and other Republicans have used again and again when referring to an unnamed informant behind their supposed probe into what Comer charmingly calls “the Biden crime family.” This mysterious source wasn’t just at the heart of the purported investigation. At a press conference back in May, Comer made it clear that this man and his claims were the entire results of their four months of looking under rocks and chasing down conspiracy theories.
However, after leveling absolutely unsupported statements about “a criminal scheme involving then-VP Biden,” Comer’s conference fumbled to a halt with the admission that his one and only witness to this scheme had disappeared. “Well, we’re hopeful that we can find the informant,” said Comer on Fox News. “Remember these informants are kind of in the spy business.”
As it turns out, Comer was absolutely correct about one thing: His missing informant was in the spy business. As in he’s a spy. For the Chinese government. And an international dealer in illegal Chinese weapons.
For months, Republicans in both the House and Senate have claimed that their secret informant would provide evidence of a “quid pro quo” deal in which Biden agreed to affect U.S. policy in exchange for some kind of payoff. Details, including country, policy, and payoff, to come at a later date.
The fact that their single informant was in the wind didn’t stop Comer, Grassley, and others like Sen. Ron Johnson from wearing a path between Fox News and Newsmax as they confidently repeated his claims about a supposed deal in which Biden solicited some form of bribe.
But the one man really at the core of the Republican case against Biden, such as it is, turns out to be Gal Luft. And “highly credible” is not the phrase most people would use to describe him. “International criminal” might be one good alternative. So would “Chinese spy.”
A dual citizen of the United States and Israel, Luft is the founder and executive director of the think tank Institute for the Analysis of Global Security as well as other organizations that now appear to be extinct. He’s been featured as an energy expert on numerous television shows, including an appearance on CNBC last year where he argued against restrictions on allowing Russia to sell oil.
On Monday, Luft was charged with multiple counts of illegally trafficking Chinese arms to Libya, the UAE, and Kenya; lying to FBI agents; and being an unregistered agent of the Chinese military.
And it’s not as if Republicans didn’t know this. The whole reason Luft was missing when it came time to testify back in May was not that he was involved in “spy stuff,” it was that he was deeply engaged in “crime stuff.” That’s because Luft had skipped bail in Cyprus to avoid being extradited over the same charges that were filed on Monday.
The reason for Luft’s disappearance was never all that mysterious. He was on the lam from the law, dodging charges that included the unlicensed sale of armored vehicles, anti-tank weapons, grenade launchers, mortar rounds, automatic rifles, bombs, rockets, and “strike” drones. And for lying to the FBI about his activities when he was caught.
However, to give the Republicans some credit, Luft really did have messages with evidence showing that people had taken kickbacks from Chinese defense firms in order to line their own pockets while making illegal sales. Messages like this one:
“[The Chinese Defense Exporter] will provide 10 percent commission to us for all business conducted in the country. Best Gal." The attached letter was a letter to the Ministry of Defense of Kenya from the Chinese Defense Exporter, which described itself in the letter as a "state-owned international defense company authorized by the Chinese government."
So Luft was illegally transporting and selling arms from a state-owned Chinese defense company and cutting in defense officials in Kenya, and himself, on some sweet corruption. The only thing missing from this is any evidence that comes within a million miles of President Joe Biden.
That’s not to say there were no corrupt U.S. officials involved. Because there were. What got Luft charged as an unregistered agent of the Chinese government wasn’t his peddling of arms around the world. It was this:
Specifically, LUFT agreed with others to … covertly recruit and pay, on behalf of principals based in China, a former high-ranking U.S. Government official, including while the former official was an adviser to the then President-elect, to publicly support certain policies with respect to China … in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
If that’s at all confusing, Luft agreed to “covertly recruit and pay” an adviser to Donald Trump to get him to support policies favorable to China. The document does not identify that adviser beyond the fact that he was a “former high-ranking U.S. government official” (Michael Flynn. We all think it was Michael Flynn, right?), but there’s one thing that is absolutely clear: It was not either Hunter Biden or President Joe Biden.
None of this was a problem for Republicans. Luft actually reappeared for some days at the end of May, at least to the extent that he provided an interview with the New York Post where he claimed that he had to go on the run because it was “impossible” for him to get a fair trial in Washington, D.C. They stopped hiding the fact that this international arms trafficker and Chinese agent was their big witness weeks ago.
On Sunday, Johnson went on Fox News where he took a break from advocating for Vladimir Putin to not only claim that Luft should be “granted immunity,” but provided an incredible glimpse into the cobwebbed depths of his brain.
According to Johnson, Luft was such a good citizen that when he heard the corrupt Joe Biden was running for president, he just had to tell the FBI all about it, “So he met with two prosecutors from the Southern District of New York and four FBI agents in Brussels for two days in March of 2019,” except “one of the prosecutors from the Southern District of New York is the same prosecutor that prosecuted Patrick Ho, the money launderer that paid Hunter Biden a million dollars to defend him,” and “in that trial, he prevented the name of Bidens from being brought into court,” and “also, one of the FBI agents was the same agent then that signed the subpoena from the Hunter Biden laptop.”
So … good citizen Luft ran to tell the FBI about Biden over a month before Biden announced he was running, and the FBI under the Trump-appointed Christopher Wray, and the Department of Justice under then Trump-appointed Attorney General William Barr, saddled Luft with FBI agents and Trump-appointed U.S. attorneys who were magically in the pocket of Joe Biden, even though Biden was at that time a private citizen with no power at all. Then these bad FBI agents and bad U.S. attorneys worked together to suppress what Luft had told them.
Johnson followed his statement up with what might be the greatest pitch ever—if you’re a guillotine salesman.
Johnson: “We need the majority in the Senate, so I can be chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.”
That’s what this is all about. Convening a new “Committee of Public Safety” so that they can rain some good old-fashioned terror down on the nation. Permanently.
But even Johnson’s turn as would-be Robespierre isn’t quite so much fun as Comer’s appearance on Newsmax last Friday.
The only ones who should feel like fools are those who believe Republicans ever thought they had actual evidence against Biden. Or those who believe they care about whether there’s any reality behind their case. If it takes backing a spy working for Chinese state-owned arms manufacturers to further their attacks on Biden and campaign to weaken the FBI, Republicans will go there enthusiastically.
And Fox News is happy to go with them, even as Comer repeats Luft’s claims as if they are proven, instead of allegations.
Chairman Xi thanks you, Rep. Comer.