GOP reconsiders whether anti-Biden evidence actually matters

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GOP reconsiders whether anti-Biden evidence actually matters

For months, congressional Republicans and their allies have gone to great lengths to manufacture a scandal that doesn’t appear to exist. To hear these GOP voices tell it, President Joe Biden was not only involved in his son’s business schemes, the Democrat also accepted alleged “bribes,” trading policies for cash.

Of course, the more Republicans try to substantiate these allegations with facts, the more they fail spectacularly. Indeed, it happened again yesterday, as GOP officials on the House Oversight Committee released documents showing that members of Biden’s family, and “associates” who know members of the president’s family, received money from foreign sources — a rather boring observation — while failing once again to make any meaningful connections to the president himself.

But as it turns out, that’s not all they said. CNN reported:

House Oversight Republicans laid out their intention to accuse President Joe Biden of corruption even without direct evidence that he financially benefited from Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings. … [S]o far, it appears the committee has not found any direct evidence that President Biden personally benefited from any of his son’s business dealings. Republicans are now insisting they don’t have to.

In his latest underwhelming release, House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer explicitly said Republicans simply don’t feel the need to “show payments directly to the President to show corruption.” Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida, another Republican member of the panel, soon after appeared on Fox News and pushed a similar line, suggesting the party’s case against the incumbent president would still have merit, even if Biden didn’t “take a dime.”

Or put another way, we’ve reached the stage in this faux controversy at which Republicans have begun to move the goalposts outside of the stadium. After months of talk about the president taking a “bribe,” and assurances about elusive proof, the GOP’s anti-Biden crusaders have begun arguing that it doesn’t matter if they never produce specific evidence to bolster their attacks.

A Washington Post analysis added, “[Comer’s] team tried to dig up this bribe that they have convinced their allies exists, without luck. So he issues a news release about the ‘Biden family’ and suggests that bribery claims don’t need actual proof and prepares for his next Sean Hannity interview.”

It took a while, but I think I finally have a handle on the trajectory of the Republicans’ case:

  1. We’ll produce evidence.
  2. We’ll probably find evidence.
  3. We hope there’s evidence.
  4. Evidence schmevidence.

I know there’s a group of conservative voters out there, hoping against hope that this investigation will generate a real anti-Biden scandal. Now is the time for those voters to start lowering their expectations.

Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer for “The Rachel Maddow Show,” the editor of MaddowBlog and an MSNBC political contributor. He’s also the bestselling author of “The Impostors: How Republicans Quit Governing and Seized American Politics.”

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