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James Comer gets into testy exchange with reporter about lack of evidence in Biden probe

House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer got into a testy exchange with reporters as Hunter Biden gave testimony behind closed doors as part of the Republican House impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.

Mr Comer had been asked about the lack of evidence that the probe has so far unearthed to support claims that Mr Biden used his political influence to help enrich himself and his family.

“We have evidence that Joe Biden met with the Chinese officials. We've had several people already testify that,” Mr Comer said on Wednesday, arguing that payment to Mr Biden from his brother James was “influence peddling”.

“Does anyone in here question whether that was influenced peddling?” he asked to the room at large.

“I question it because there’s no evidence that Joe Biden did anything...” Ryan Nobles of NBC News started to say.

“He got $200,000 from it,” Mr Comer interjected as Nobles tried to question him further.

“No, listen, look, you can you can defend Joe Biden all day long ... you can be on his legal defence team, Kevin Morris will probably pay your legal bills,” Mr Comer told Nobles.

A Hollywood attorney, Mr Morris lent Hunter Biden money to cover a multi-million dollar debt to the Internal Revenue Service. An attorney for Mr Morris said last month that staff working for Mr Comer lied to him when they asked that Mr Comer not selectively leak portions of his testimony given during a deposition.

Mr Comer claimed that Mr Biden got $200,000 from Americore, a claim not backed up by the evidence.

“What we said over and over and over, Joe Biden took $200,000 directly from Americore Health,” Mr Comer insisted.

“Do you have a problem that Joe Biden’s lied about? Do you have a problem that Americore Health hooked investors?” Mr Comer asked Nobles.

“I’m asking you, what specific action did he take as an elected public official,” Nobles started to ask.

Mr Comer interrupted and adopted a mocking tone as the reporter continued.

“Okay, calm down, calm down, it's okay. It's okay. All the angry liberals ... they’ll be alright,” Mr Comer said.

The Independent reported earlier this month that excerpts from transcripts of previous interviews conducted as part of the probe bolster the Democrats’ assertion that Mr Comer and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan have turned up nothing against Mr Biden thus far.

One witness, Carol Fox, was questioned about her work overseeing the liquidation of Americore Holdings, a company for which Mr Biden’s brother, James Biden, worked as a consultant in 2018 and 2019. James Biden’s work has figured prominently in the probe because he used some of the funds he was paid by the company to repay a loan his brother had made to him some months before.

Ms Fox told investigators that she had no evidence that Mr Biden had anything to do with the company or discussed it with his brother.

Asked if it would be “fair to say” that she had “no firsthand knowledge at all concerning President Biden,” Ms Fox replied: “That would be correct.”

CNN anchor Dana Bash said on Wednesday that “there aren't any facts that they have, that they can back up with any evidence. It's all innuendo, rumour, political allegation at this point.

“Just one other example. The sort of very thin accusation that they had was that ‘oh, we have these checks that Hunter Biden and the President's brother James wrote to the President, and those are pieces of evidence that show that the President was involved in some scheme that we're not really sure about’,” she added.

“We have two cheques, Joe Biden received two payments. We found this through subpoenaed bank records – two payments,” Mr Comer argued on Wednesday, making a further allegation that Mr Biden is guilty of “money laundering”.

Bash said the Republican inquiry “looks like the wildest of goose chases”.

A friend and business associate of James Biden, Joseph Langston, previously told the committee that as far as he knew, President Biden “had no involvement whatsoever in his business ventures with James” and “received no money from any of those ventures”.

He further explained that the “mere notion” of involving President Biden in any business venture was “categorically unacceptable” to James Biden and his wife, Sara Biden.

While Mr Langston has loaned James and Sara Biden money in the past — loans which Republicans have sought to portray as attempts to curry favour with President Biden — he told the panel that his decision to loan money to the couple was made “out of friendship to James Biden” only.

“None of the Bidens ever suggested to me that, hey, you can take this relationship – or we’ll participate with you in taking this relationship and using it as leverage in any matter of business, money, politics, nothing, that I knew of,” he said.

He also strenuously denied that President Biden ever received any financial benefit from business ventures which Mr Langston had entered into with James Biden, telling the panel that he would never have suggested any such arrangement because it would have been “shot down immediately”.