With 34 days to go until the November election, Democrats sought during Wednesday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing with former FBI Director James Comey to denounce the probe into FBI’s mishandling of “Crossfire Hurricane” as ‘old news’ while scoring their own fresh political barbs.
But the talking points backfired on them when an attempt to smear President Donald Trump with vague innuendo led Comey to agree that Democrat nominee Joe Biden would pose a security threat due to his family members’ well-documented foreign conflicts of interest.
Several senators—including Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.—asked private citizen Comey to speculate on a recent New York Times report that cast aspersions on Trump’s finances.
Experts have since noted that the Times‘s supposed bottom lines—that Trump underpaid in taxes and faced a massive amount of loan debt—were both misleading when taking into account his actual portfolio of real-estate holdings and other assets like branding agreements.
Nonetheless, Comey played along with the attempts to suggest that Trump posed a threat to national security as a result of the unspecified, hypothetical risk that he might be compromised by a foreign entity.
No evidence exists—despite Democrats’ relentless efforts to find it—that Trump’s pre-presidential business deals had been used as leverage to influence his policies.
But Comey acknowledged—presumably based on his vast prior human-resources experience —that Trump’s level of debt might cause him to think twice about granting a security clearance to a new hire, if not a duly elected president.
Following Blumenthal’s grandstanding, Graham used his power as chair to interject a significant counterpoint: that Trump is not the only candidate with potential financial entanglements.
“Just to follow up on some of Sen. Blumenthal’s questions—uh, would you be concerned about a counterintelligence threat or compromise if a candidate’s family member was receiving millions of dollars from a corrupt company in the Ukraine?” Graham asked Comey.
He went on to raise some of the other serious allegations raised about Hunter Biden in a recently released report from the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.
Although the report drew extensively from witness testimony, recorded evidence and documents to expose millions of dollars in foreign government payoffs that Biden’s family members accepted during his time as vice president, Democrats have repeatedly dismissed it.
During Tuesday night’s debate, in fact, Biden deflected from Trump’s efforts to grill him over Hunter’s corrupt business ties by falsely insisting the evidence had been “discredited.”
But Comey effectively discredited Biden’s dubious dismissal, confirming that he would be concerned by it.
“If I were still in the FBI, I would be concerned about any effort to exert leverage over a government official, potential government official or someone close to them in an effort to influence them,” he said.
Blumenthal attempted to retort by suggesting that the Biden allegations were made up and irrelevant.
“The question you just raised is a hypothetical relating to a non-government—current non-government—official,” he huffed, while ignoring the fact that the abuses happened during Biden’s term as vice president with the Obama administration.
“What we have here and what the records reveal quite starkly is that the president of the United States—our commander in chief—is vulnerable to leverage, manipulation and even possible blackmail,” Blumenthal continued.
Graham responded by validating Blumenthal’s right to make his point before adding, “The point I was making is very real. It’s not a hypothetical. These things happen.”