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James Comer Is Changing into a Headliner within the GOP’s Efficiency Politics

Home Oversight Committee Chair James Comer has emerged as one of the vital highly effective Republicans in Kevin McCarthy’s Home majority, and has performed a number one position in marquee investigations into President Joe Biden and his household. However an enormous takeaway of the New York Occasions’ illuminating profile of the Kentucky congressman is how little he, personally, appears to truly imagine in his act—and the way open he’s concerning the diploma to which this efficiency is for the good thing about Donald Trump’s true believers. “,” Comer instructed the Occasions’ Jonathan Swan and Luke Broadwater of the anti-Biden conspiracy theories he has helped legitimize in latest months, “the client’s at all times proper.” 

Comer, to be clear, is as right-wing as they arrive. He’s anti-LGBTQ+, anti-choice, and pro-border wall—a self-described “Trump man” who has been an unabashed apologist for the previous president. In different phrases, he’s not some reasonable who put his finger to the wind and shifted proper; he’s an precise conservative. However, as Swan and Broadwater notice, Comer nonetheless appears to inhabit the truth that Trump has lengthy inspired his supporters to desert: he voted to certify Biden’s 2020 election win, and appears to have privately expressed misgivings concerning the private fealty to Trump that the MAGA base anticipated of him. “He was mortified by Trump,” former Democratic Consultant John Yarmuth, additionally of Kentucky, instructed the Occasions. “He used to say he was so pissed off as a result of each weekend he would go dwelling and there could be individuals who would beat up on him about not defending Trump sufficient.”

Nonetheless, Comer has embraced that position of Trump’s guardian from his perch on the Oversight Committee: Whereas downplaying obvious misdeeds by the previous president and suffocating investigations into him, the chairman has gone on the assault towards Biden, probing the president’s dealing with of categorised supplies and poring over his funds and people of his son, Hunter Biden. Not solely is he—like Jim Jordan, chair of the Judiciary Committee and a panel investigating the so-called “weaponization of the federal authorities”—basically working to Benghazi Biden; he’s proven a proclivity for making unfounded strategies about Biden and different Trump foes. Comer has repeatedly advised Biden was “compromised by international {dollars} and affect,” and even implied that there was a connection between Biden’s mishandling of delicate supplies and a diamond Hunter Biden acquired from the CEO of a Chinese language vitality conglomerate. “Our nationwide safety may very well be in danger,” Comer instructed Fox Information’ Maria Bartiromo in January. “Effectively, is that this treason?” the host requested him. 

“It’s very regarding,” he replied. “We’re not going to let up.”

And Comer hasn’t. On Monday, he and two different GOP committee leaders—Jordan and Home Administration Chairman Bryan Steil—despatched a letter to Manhattan District Lawyer Alvin Bragg, accusing him of participating in an “unprecedented abuse of prosecutorial authority” if he brings prison fees towards Trump, which the previous president stated he expects this week. “If these stories are correct, your actions will erode confidence within the evenhanded utility of justice and unalterably intrude in the middle of the 2024 presidential election,” Comer, Jordan, and Steil wrote, demanding the DA seem earlier than Congress. “In gentle of the intense penalties of your actions, we anticipate that you’ll testify about what plainly seems to be a politically motivated prosecutorial choice.”

It goes with out saying that Congress ought to act as a test on the opposite branches of presidency; Biden, his administration, and prosecutors aren’t above oversight. However there’s an apparent distinction between oversight and categorically dismissing fees that haven’t even been filed but as being “motivated by political calculations.” Oversight offers in info and proof. Comer, alternatively, focuses on innuendo and intimation. 

Which may maintain him within the good graces of the hardliners on his committee, like Marjorie Taylor Greene, who instructions extra affect than he does. “It’s exhausting for a coach to inform LeBron James what he’s doing unsuitable,” as Comer put it to Swan and Broadwater. It may additionally doubtlessly assist him notice his broader political ambitions, which can embody the Kentucky governorship he missed out in 2015 on following allegations that he abused his school girlfriend and took her to obtain an abortion, regardless of his public anti-choice stance. (Comer has denied the accusation, however seemingly acknowledged to the Occasions’ that he was behind a leak geared toward discrediting the story.)

However there’s additionally apparent hazard in cosigning Trumpian conspiracy theories; wielding his committee as a political weapon towards the previous president’s opponents; and feeding his base with what he himself described as “QAnon stuff” A few of it could be efficiency, but it surely fosters the sort of local weather by which the Capitol may be overrun by insurrectionists—and far of the GOP, as Comer put it to the Occasions, is “rooting for the rioters.” 

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