The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

White House slams ‘despicable’ suggestion Beau Biden should have been indicted

Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) criticized a Trump-appointed U.S. attorney for not prosecuting President Biden’s late son when he was still alive

Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) speaks during a House Committee on Oversight and Accountability hearing on Feb. 8. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)
4 min

Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) criticized a Trump-appointed U.S. attorney for not prosecuting President Biden’s late son when he was still alive, a notion the White House slammed as “despicable.”

Comer, the chairman of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, suggested Monday on a right-wing podcast that U.S. Attorney David Weiss had sat on his hands when it came to campaign finance investigations of the Bidens. Weiss was appointed by President Donald Trump to serve as the U.S. attorney for the District of Delaware in 2018, and had previously prosecuted Christopher Tigani, a Biden donor who was sentenced in 2012 for illegally funneling contributions to campaigns.

Weiss is now supervising a federal investigation of the president’s younger son, Hunter Biden. In October, The Washington Post reported that federal agents believed they had gathered sufficient evidence to charge him with tax crimes and a false statement related to a gun purchase, but it would be up to Weiss to decide whether to file such charges.

On Monday’s episode of the podcast “The Great America Show with Lou Dobbs,” Comer suggested without evidence that Joe Biden and his elder son, Beau Biden — the former Delaware attorney general who died in 2015 of brain cancer — should have been indicted along with Tigani.

“This U.S. attorney had had dealing, had an opportunity to go after the Bidens years ago. In fact, it was Beau Biden, the president’s other son, that was involved in some campaign donations from a person that got indicted as well,” Comer told Dobbs. “But, you know, nothing ever happened. So I don’t know much about this U.S. attorney [Weiss] other than he’s had an opportunity to investigate the Bidens before and he chose not to. We all know that he’s just been silent for a long time.”

Beau Biden, then Delaware’s attorney general, recused himself from the investigations into his father’s campaign donations. A subsequent report by a special prosecutor found no credible evidence that the Bidens had been aware of Tigani’s fraudulent campaign reimbursements.

When asked Wednesday about Comer’s comments, White House communications director Kate Bedingfield called it “appalling.”

“It’s despicable. And frankly it says quite a lot — none of it good — about Jim Comer,” Bedingfield said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “The president is going to continue to focus on moving forward his agenda … I think for the American people to hear something like that from Congressman Comer, they’ll assess what that says about him. I would say what that says about him is pretty despicable.”

Biden has frequently invoked his late son and his grief over his early death, often saying that Beau should have been the one running for president in 2020. On Wednesday, Bedingfield said the president had learned to “tune out” certain things during his time in public office.

“Obviously for anybody, for any parent watching right now, to hear somebody speak about your deceased child that way, an attempt to smear your deceased child, any parent would agree that’s a horrific thing to do. And of course that sort of thing weighs on the president and his family,” she said.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Comer’s comments were “incredibly ugly and inappropriate.”

“Instead of House Republicans focusing on attacking the president and his family, why don’t they actually focus on what the American people put them in office to do, which is to … actually put forth pieces of legislation or put forth policies that’s going to make a difference in their lives,” Jean-Pierre told reporters.

Comer, who assumed the Oversight Committee gavel when Republicans took over the House this year, has said he would aggressively investigate the president and his family — though he has usually focused on Hunter Biden, the younger son.

Last month, the House Oversight Committee sent its first request for documents related to the Bidens’ foreign business dealings, which was immediately rebuffed by Hunter Biden’s attorney. The request for documents appeared focused on business deals that Hunter Biden and his uncle pursued with a Chinese energy conglomerate.

The Post examined that business arrangement in a story last year, finding that over the course of 14 months, the Chinese company and its executives paid $4.8 million to entities controlled by Hunter Biden and his uncle.

The Post did not find evidence that Joe Biden personally benefited from or knew details about the transactions with CEFC, which took place after he had left the office of vice president under President Barack Obama and before he announced his intentions to run for the White House in 2020.

Matt Viser contributed to this report.