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Bill Straub: Here we go again, and hold on for the ride, Jamie’s got the chair, gavel, and no issues

It was that celebrated native Kentuckian, Judge Roy Bean, “the law west of the Pecos,” who purportedly notified one woebegone defendant appearing in his kangaroo court, “You’ll get a fair trial followed by a first class hanging.”

That appears to be the philosophy adopted by Rep. Jamie Comer, R-Whereverhehangshishatishishome,” who has assumed the chair of the newly named House Committee on Oversight and Accountability now that Republicans have assumed control of the 118th Congress, vowing to provide President Biden with a fair shake in the never-ending investigations he plans to undertake before going all “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” on him.

During an appearance on Meet the Press on Sunday, our boy appeared to take umbrage at a question posed by the host, Chuck Todd, asserting that the planned probes might wind up being viewed as “more partisan than professional.” A shocked Comer replied, “I think the only people that see this as a partisan investigation are the media and the hardcore Democrats.”

“Are you kidding me!” he exclaimed.

Well, no.

The NKyTribune’s Washington columnist Bill Straub served 11 years as the Frankfort Bureau chief for The Kentucky Post. He also is the former White House/political correspondent for Scripps Howard News Service. A member of the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame, he currently resides in Silver Spring, Maryland, and writes frequently about the federal government and politics. Email him at williamgstraub@gmail.com

Now remember, Jamie has spent the past year or so constantly citing references to the “Biden crime family.” He’s on record maintaining the president “lied” when he insisted he was not involved in the foreign business interests of his wayward son, Hunter Biden, a man Comer publicly identified as a “threat to national security.”

Comer, as a matter of fact, has never hidden his judgment that Joe Biden has been compromised as a result of his son’s lucrative dealings with the likes of China, Russia and Ukraine. In a statement released in November, Comer said:

“The Biden family business model is built on Joe Biden’s political career and connections with Joe Biden as the ‘chairman of the board.’ Biden family members sold access for profit around the world to the detriment of American interests. If President Biden is compromised by deals with foreign adversaries and they are impacting his decision making, this is a threat to national security.”

Now, comments and statements like these – and there are plenty more — might ease concerns about “partisan investigations” in some backwaters but not in a nation where justice is supposed to mean something. His utterances don’t bolster confidence that the target of this inquiry is going to experience anything other than being railroaded. Comer is going to unscrupulously throw the kitchen sink at the White House for nothing but partisan advantage with an eye toward the 2024 elections.

Appearing on Fox News in October, Comer said, “Look, this Biden family investigation’s only going to ramp up in a Republican majority. There are a lot of questions that Joe Biden is going to have to answer with respect to his son and his brother’s influence peddling that’s happened over the past decade. So, all of this together, I put the odds of Joe Biden even seeking the Democrat nomination, very, very low.”

Republicans have used this playbook before. During the administration of former President Barack Obama, with the GOP controlling the House, the strategy was to conduct all investigations all the time, with anything dealing with policy taking a backseat.

Kara Voght described it this way in a recent edition of Rolling Stone:

“Their work began in earnest with an investigation into Obama’s management of Operation Fast and Furious, a George W. Bush-era program that had permitted illegal gun sales in order to track Mexican drug cartels. In September 2011, the House Energy and Commerce Committee dug into the bankruptcy of Solyndra, a solar-panel manufacturer that had received a $535 million loan guarantee from the Energy Department. The committee hauled then-Energy Secretary Steven Chu into Congress for more than five hours of testimony. Then, a year later, Islamic militants attacked the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, leaving three Americans dead. The attack spurred ten separate GOP-led investigations into the Obama administration.”

None of these probes produced any real evidence of wrongdoing. But that was never the purpose.

The idea now, as then, is to roil the waters. Rather than approach an issue as a simple policy difference or an error in judgment, modern Republicans treat every discrepancy as if it were the result of nefarious intent on behalf of Democrats, resulting in drawn out hearings, threats, subpoenas and vows of impeachment.

In this instance, the GOP “theory” has Biden playing footsie with various evil empires to line the pockets of his son, which is a laugh considering the conduct of his predecessor, Donald J. Trump.

One of the Hunter Biden-foreign country relationships under Comer’s microscope, for instance, involves Russia, where Biden fils once made a buck or two, naturally leading to the GOP conclusion that his daddy simply has to be sidling up to the giant Eurasian Bear. The fact that this theory is patently ridiculous on its face – Biden is behind the effort sending billions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine to wage a war against the very nation he’s allegedly siding up to – belies any claim.

The incongruity should be apparent to everyone with a second-grade education. Not Jamie. And what does that tell you?

Comer is trying to camouflage the true intent behind his worthless probe by infusing the word “accountability” into the discussion at every opportunity. Her has gone so far as the rename the panel he chairs as the Committee on Oversight and Accountability.

It’s become something of a cliché, but Jamie using the word “accountability” in every other sentence he drawls can become a new drinking game. You hear Comer invoke “accountability” or one of its variants, take a shot. Kentucky’s bourbon industry will be most pleased. Believe it or not, he has been introducing the word in his statements almost as frequently as he drums up HUNTER BIDEN’S LAPTOP!

He’s fooling no one. It’s obvious whatever PR creature he calls on for advice has told him to make this about accountability, hiding his true calculation — politically advantageous positioning while simultaneously throwing a monkey wrench into any Democratic initiatives. It’s really the equivalent of Dean Smith’s old four-corners offense – if you’re holding the ball, the other team can’t score.

There’s one interesting facet to this mess. Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-MD, will serve as the ranking member on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee. Raskin is, unfortunately, battling cancer at this moment. Regardless, he is the sharpest member of either party in the lower chamber, a nationally recognized constitutional scholar

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