tv House Oversight Committee Chair on Govt Waste Fraud Abuse CSPAN January 31, 2023 5:53am-6:59am EST
orange please have someone help you. and to shelter you. cleanup 1977 through 1980. thank you. host: that is robert in florida. the chair of the over sound house committee is going to do an interview to talk about his goals for the oversight and accountability committee. we take you to the interview right now already in progress. >> the most interesting interview. if you have questions and your here in the room you have note cards on your seat and you can give it to staff and pass it up to me. if you're watching online you can send it to email at headliners at press.org.
with polar in the subject line. we have a ton of questions already. we will be doing the best we can with questions we will get to as many as we can. if we did not get to do yours, know that we are sorry and we are trying hard. james comber is hoping to put joe biden under the hot seat. he has sent over 200 letters to groups requesting information on classified documents provided in president's home and undermining president biden's -- hunter biden's -- at the southern border. tomorrow they will be hosting former twitter executives on the block on hunter biden's laptop. and wednesday the panel will look into race -- waste fraud around federal covid funds. chairman comber has also pledged to investigate covid-19, and
last year spiking gas prices among a number of things it is an ambitious agenda. the role of the bird -- republican kentucky -- kentucky republican representative -- chairman comber has pushed back saying democrats have not done enough to investigate the federal government. noting that they gave the panel and f in oversight hearings. he says that nothing will be on oversight stationary unless it is available. please welcome me in welcoming chairman comber to the national press cup -- club. rep. comer: thank you for the invitation to be here. i am a big fan of most of the washington press corps. i hope that most of you that have interacted with me would agree that i am very assessable.
we try to be as transparent as both will. i believe that the press plays a major role in what we are trying to do to provide oversight. i will get into that in just a moment. very honored to be the new chairman of the house oversight committee. i believe with all my heart that we have a duty to get the backs of the american taxpayers. i think that is something that has been left out of the mix over the blast severally -- the past several years in congress. i want to be transparent with the media and everything that we are doing. i believe that the committee needs to get back to its primary mission and that is to root out waste in the federal government. that is why we have our first hearing this week on pandemic spending. there's been were warts, you all have seen -- there have been reports, you have all seen them,
where hundreds of billions of dollars of potential waste in stimulus spending, loan funds, and different parts of the pandemic dollars. that dates back three years and it covers two administrations. unfortunately, the last two years there's not been a single hearing and the oversight committee dealing with pandemic spending. even though we spent record amounts of money. that is very concerning i feel like we are two years behind in oversight. we will have to go back two years to get caught up in addition to providing the current oversight and future oversight. we will be very concerned about coveted spending, the border crisis, the energy crisis, one of the areas we will focus with the committee with respect to energy is rules and regulations.
obviously the energy commerce committees and the policy committee -- we are concerned about rules and regulations and determine the price tag. try to figure out with particular mandates cost be american taxpayer. and we are interested in prescription drug pricing specifically with the arm as he benefit managers we had a roundtable discussion last year that was informative. we were trying to get a bipartisan hearing unfortunately chairman maloney was not interested in doing that. so i think will have a lot of good substantive hearings that the oversight committee is supposed to do. hopefully, you will cover those and we can have a discussion about what we uncover. and a path forward to try to prevent further waste fraud and abuse and try to claw back some of the money that was misspent. that is the investigatory
committee. any committee needs a successful checksum balance. it is not just us doing that but also the media. i think we can work together to provide meaningful chips of -- checks and balance of this administration. i gave his example earlier when you go back to the republicans and the democrats were oversight of the committee the last four years. the last two years of the trump administration and the two years of the first two years of the biden administration. during the test -- last two years of the trump administration. the most transparent administration in the history of america, but compared to this administration pretty darn impressive, and fortunately. -- unfortunately. there were many secretaries that came before the house committee during those two years.
go back to be two-year in the biden administration, there have been zero cabinet secretaries in front of the house oversight. zero. not a single one. i think that is a -- unacceptable and we need to hear from the cabinet secretaries. we have a spending crisis in america and an energy crisis. we will hopefully change that and the media will demand that this administration be transparent with congressional oversight. before i get into questions, i want to give you a brief glimpse of my way of thinking. again, i appreciate the way of thinking. i believe it plays a role in the process. there have been some features about me and some of the different newspapers around the country and a couple tv stations that talk about the fact i am from a family that was interested in politics they were
business, but they were very interested and active in the political process. i had a grandfather that was a state representative in tennessee and on the state board of education. both of my grandfathers were children -- were chairman of the republican county parties. my grandfather's name was kenneth which he was a state representative in tennessee. he loved richard nixon. but he was very close with howard baker. if you study history and remember the watergate hearings you know who howard baker was. he was a republican that asked the question during the hearings wetted the president no and when did he know it. my grandfather, in the late 80's, i was interested in politics as a kid and teenager. i would talk about politics with my granddad i was always interested. i would watch the news and read
the newspapers in middle school and high school. i was interested and eager to learn. he told me a story about howard baker coming back to tennessee to his very republican statehouse after the watergate hearing. at the republican base was very upset with him. they thought he was hard on nixon. they voice their opinion some people stood up in a party and said we don't think president nixon ordered that break-in. and he listened to everybody and then he answered saying, he may not have ordered it but he certainly lied about it and try to cover it up. and that is something we should never see happen with a commander-in-chief in our nation. that showed something that is always stuck with me.
i thought about that during the electoral college vote. my congressional district trump won by 54. i voted in the certified election because i felt like that was the right vote it was now the right political vote but i felt it was the right vote. the republicans that voted to certified i had -- the second was liz cheney after trump. so there will be a lot written that says the committee is partisan or whatever. i believe that i have demonstrated that i will do what i think is right and best. that does not mean to me that it's the right decision or that i would be right 100% of the time. but i am since here about doing the right thing. -- sincere about doing the right thing i'm an average guy with average ability at best. that is fed up with the process
in washington dc. i am fed up with pup -- the corruption and i am fed up with the excessive spending and i want to do something about it. that is my goal and what i hope to do with the house oversight committee. i think we could play a huge role in investigating this administration. i believe when you look at what we have with the investigation getting the most press obviously the biden family, we have evidence and we will continue to be transparent with that as we start hearings next week of where the family has taken millions of dollars from adversaries mainly in china. i think we need to determine what the money was for and who supplied it. that is the basis of the investigation. this is a problem. it is a problem that continues to get worse. if you listen to the liberals
and democrats complain they say what about jared kushner and all of that? i think there was a problem with the administration. if we don't do something about the influence we have it will probably just get worse. you saw on tv this weekend that high ranking military christians are concerned we could be at war with china. i did not know if we could be at war with china or not but if we have leaders of the administration that have been receiving millions of dollars from china i think it is worth investigating to see why they were paying that money and what they were getting in return for the investment. that is the basis of the investigation i look forward to working with y'all -- you all on our investigation. we work with congress to come up with proposed cuts there's a lot
of talk about the debt ceiling let me say this we will never default that will not happen that i do think we need to be serious about findings bending cuts. we can cut spending without cutting social security and medicare that is my wreath impromptu introduction. i will be happy to answer questions do i stand back here or do i sit down? >> i thought you would be more comfortable sitting down but you are free to stand up here. i think you're great in what you want to do with the committee and your perspectives on it i want to start with questions about the classified documents because that seems to be the story of the moment and it is dominating headlines. you said the number of letters to the white house and other organizations requesting numbers of pieces of organization the white house counsel roback said the white house counsel will reach out to your committee staff to enright -- arrange a time to discuss this meeting
have a range of time and will there be a meeting between you and the white house? >> no. what was the question? >> have they reached out? >> know they have not reached out. i would love to meet with the white house but it is -- the house oversight committee has jurisdiction over the national archives. so one of the things that i hope happened and there is no hurry on this right now it just needs to happen prior to this administration going out of office before the next administration comes into office we have to reform the way that documents are boxed up when they leave the vice president's office. this is something i think will be bipartisan legislative fix. we all agree that there is a problem when mar-a-lago was rated i went on tv and many
people criticize what i said but i said this is been a problem with many former presidents and five prep -- vice presidents. in the media says so is just for donald trump. now you see biden and pentz. so there is a problem there that no one is accusing anyone of unintentionally taking the documents home. i think a big part of what trump argued with the national archives from what i heard is that -- classified or wasn't. we will reform the process there have been people in the military telling me that we over classified documents documents that are labeled classified that should not have been. host: i know that's been a general complaint. rep. comer: we will work in a bipartisan way to come up with a legislative fix for this. but it depends upon -- somebody
needs to oversee all the documents that are going into the boxes to make sure they are not classified and if there is a problem, then they need to iron it out before it is put into the box and loaded on the truck. host: and there some concern about these documents got out in the first place. if you want classified document you have to go to a special room does there need to be a reform without presidents and vice presidents get access to the documents? rep. comer: possibly. those are questions we will ask the national archives don't have any answers until we look into it but supposedly there is a problem and we need to fix the problem and one would assume that the place to fix the problem is at the end of the administration. when everything is boxed up.
host: i know that this will be a little bit about process but i wonder if there will be perhaps repercussions. and oversight suggested to c-span the handling of classified documents is an impeachment. do you agree with that? rep. comer: it's impeachable if he was using the documents in a way that brought damage which there is no way -- no evidence that that happened but i think it is something that needs to be looked into. host: when you say looked into can you talk about that particular investigation and what you were looking for specifically? host: we are trying to be transparent with this -- rep. comer: layer try to be transparent with this but this family has made billion's of dollars from china if you look at the wire transfers the money was going from china then overseas then to pay both hunter biden and joe biden salaries for
consulting and we would like to know what that consulting was. i feel like china or anyone pays you millions of dollars they expect to get a return on that investment. i do not know what that return was and we will find out. this administration has had every opportunity to say yes, the president or john pierre or whoever they hired to be the investigator they can say this is legitimate work. they think hunter biden is a crackerjack lawyer and he deserves to be paid $80,000 from this legal services. and he knows more about energy policy and that's why we gave him $80,000 or they would claim that, then i think a lot of the problems would subside a little bit. but all they do is just roll their eyes at the audacity of
republicans to ask these questions. democrats ask a question of who schnur alongside saudi arabia i will say this on a what business he is in. i can go and seek apartments and complexes. i would say in the end of this investigation there is another legislative fix there are two fixes i think we can do in the oversight committee training is going on in the news right now that will be partners in which is the legislative fix on how documents leave the office of president biden were of following president. and a legislative fix on implementation. of what is acceptable and what is not inseparable. the odds are high that -- what is not acceptable. and but odds are high that in the future, -- most businesses are international now. when i was selling cattle i sold cattle to mexico. it is a global market now.
but there needs to be more disclosure law. if a family member gets a loan we need to know if it's illegal or not and at the least the media should know what the terms of the loan are. so when i look at him he is in the real estate business but what business hunter biden end? i have a problem with that. host: to be clear when you say the chinese government is cutting a check to hunter biden when you mentioned the chinese government is sending a check to hunter biden is that reference -- rep. comer: we know he is getting $80,000 a month from burisma. nobody disagrees with that. host: and that was looked into by the senate? rep. comer: yes. but i do not think it has been
thoroughly looked into it there is concern that joe biden played a role in that i don't know if he was or not but i will look into it it is something that needs to be looked into. with china this is why we need the ink records but we have this suspicious activity report to know that there were many wire transfers from chinese energy companies into llcs that were then being transferred directly to biden family members. the money did not come directly from china to biden, and went from china to llcs affiliated with hunter biden and joe biden. what we want to do with the committee hearings is bring people in and let them tell us what -- and the american people undergrowth what they have been telling us the purpose of those wire payments and what they were. one reason why hunter biden that so many anchor violations 150
plus suspicious activity reports that janet yellen continues to block public access to was that the bank feared there was money laundering going on because there were so many transfers. if it's not money laundering why are you trying to hide it from the media? host: we know that there were suspicious activity reports we know there was the 150 but it you also look at the suspicious activity reports in the fiscal year of 2022 the crs system has 3.6 million that were filed. and of those about 4% have any law enforcement inquiry. and i want -- understand you want this to be accurate. is there a concern or complaining to the suspicious activity reports when reality -- in reality the activity reports do not have any chrome limit --
criminal element to them. rep. comer: i was very involved in the banking industry you look for suspicious activity i agree with what you said and talking about over classified documents we need suspicious activity reform. i think that is something that we will look into because i believe there are too many suspicious activity reports there are so many that the bank examiners do not have time. there overwhelmed. but i would say if there are no big deal why would they not let us have access to them? because i would tell you i would find it very surprising that a bank would file a suspicious activity report on the son of a -- in less they were pretty certain that there were some type of major violation with that. host: i can understand the need of wanting to see the documents
but it is almost how do you unveil the premature nest. trying to not imply that just because we know something that then -- rep. comer: we have seen enough to know that there is a problem. and we had a sheet that we gave out to the media if you do not get it let me give it i will get it to you. host: what is the timeline for this we are talking about two separate investigations one with the hunter biden. rep. comer: it is really one rather than two. the reason i am concerned about the biden documents is because there is some reason that china is sending so much money to the different biden interest. i do not think they are doing it out of the kindness of their heart. china is an adversary you have the high-ranking military officials saying this weekend
that they fear into years we will be at war with china. republicans and democrats both on sunday shows yesterday confirmed that they believe that is high probability. they are still intellectual property. they manipulate the currencies and have created a competitive advantage in manufacturing to the u.s.. we are at their mercy and technology. we just passed a bipartisan bill to create a china task force. even those in the senate realize that this is a problem. so when you see the country has donated so much money to the biden company. shouldn't someone look into that to make sure that everything is in order and that is what we are doing. host: i want to ask a little bit in regard to the justice department because at this point they have a special counsel looking into biden and trump.
and i was wondering how you see your role with other side -- oversight being different from the justice department's. rep. comer: i don't think they ever accomplish anything i think hard cord republicans would say they had high hopes but i don't think either one of those amounted to anything. [indiscernible] it is a way for to shield the media and congressional investigators from having access to information. i do not like special counsel's and i do not think one should have been called after mar-a-lago for four biden either. i think that is something that we can provide with congressional oversight. like i said in my initial comments, to have credible, efficient oversight, it takes
both the congress and the media. i think there's a lot of people in the media that have in their minds that all of this is conspiracy theories. that this is like the election fraud stuff and things like that, but this is completely different. i do not know what would happen if this were trump, but i do think that people have given -- given the bidens that they have turned a blind i this. this is a problem that has nothing to do with the president sons drug abuse or anything like that i do not care about that that is not an issue the issue is that they've taken a significant amount of money from our adversaries or consulting. i want to know what kind of consulting they were doing. it is hard for me to believe that these countries would pay them this much money without receiving something in return. host: are you planning on asking
hunter biden to appear before the oversight committee? rep. comer: right now we just want the bank reports. the reports were made to health everyone communicate about suspicious foreign transaction. if you will do a major interaction with a foreign bank they will usually write a suspicious activity report so they protect themselves so at the end of the day if you do get a suspicious activity report it is not always mean there's a problem. so i do not understand why they will not let us have the suspicious activity reports. maybe the media should ask for terry yellen did you ever let vaccine blotters -- doubters look at those files?
host: going back, who are you thinking about who needs to tell the committee at this point? i will widen it biden and hunter. rep. comer: that's a good question i think anyone that was in business with the bidens that were on these accounts that were partners in these llcs, i think they need to tell everyone exactly what the business was. you've got 2 million or 3 million-dollar dollar wires from this company that is affiliated with the chinese communist party what exactly what service were you providing? it was not real estate, there was not any manufacturing of anything. what were they doing? what business did they have? what was joe biden doing to make $45,000 a month consulting? he is not a lawyer, hunter is a lawyer is he doing legal work?
i don't know. host: so you don't think at this point that hunter biden will come before a committee? rep. comer: i don't know our first meeting is next week we will talk with individuals there's a lot of misconceptions about the laptop and we will talk about that of why did they have the twitter files and the fbi was lying to twitter and even zuckerberg said this as well he implied this in an interview that the fbi was implying to them that the laptop had his information and it's concerning that the fbi had the laptop why were they doing that? that was during trump administration. i'm not saying that was biden that was trump's idea. so why would they say that that was russian disinformation? you know there was a forensic audit on the hard drive and they
said it was legitimate. the new york post the fourth biggest newspaper in america they are an incredible organization and they have since done reporting on the hard drive. so we will start with a hard drive because there is a lot of evidence on the hard drive that would suggest that joe biden knew very well what his family was involved in even though he said he never met with these people there are pictures of joe biden with these people and walks of him meeting with these people and emails. hunter biden texting and saying thanks for setting up the meeting with your dad. this is what we want to investigate we want to make sure our national security is not compromised because china is an adversary. host: let you will not talk with hunter biden? rep. comer: we will see where it
leads us. maybe nothing is they are we will see. this is not the mueller report or special accounts we are looking at specific natural transactions from chinese interest directly into the biden family and we are concerned about the university of pennsylvania, delaware, and the significant amount of money that china has sent those universities. host: they sent money to a lot of universities. rep. comer: and there is a problem there's a problem in academia where there are there -- there is a suspicion that some of the chinese students are stealing our technology and research and development. they are stealing our intellectual property this is something the fbi was supposedly looking into. host: is it dangerous to throw that around if you do not have hard evidence suggesting that? rep. comer: every university
administration official in america and the labor committee as well this is something that has been talked about in educational labor for a long time to i think it is something that needs to be investigated. host: and i wanted to mention because you met with elon musk and he was in washington dc. could you give is the gist of your conversation and do you think you are republicans will need doing a lot of investigation into things like big tech like twitter and i know that it was the heated hearing tomorrow is mostly focused on twitter -- or something else. rep. comer: the hearing that is this week is focused on something else and twitter is next week. i think that -- the reason we are having twitter employees in is because we are starting in the laptop and if you are in the media you should be concerned that a federal agency was coming in trying to suppress a doric
from legitimate news sources. if this were a blog this would be different but this was the new york post. and who is to say that the pendulum does not flip and then you have a republican president that comes in their ultra right ring -- right wing and they have individuals to go in and suppress liberal free speech? this should be a concern in the media that the federal government was playing a role in suppressing free speech. if the government genuinely thought that that laptop was russian disinformation then that is a different story. but the problem is the fbi had the laptop. and that is very concerning to me and should be to the media as well because it could very easily flip and you could have conservatives running these government agencies that
suppress liberal speech. what i consider liberal speech. so this is something that needs to be investigated. host: i wanted to ask in general about your committee you said earlier you really want to be substance based. you have, first of all committee hearings in general you often do not have a serious debate about -- five minutes -- and you haven't have a lot of big personalities on your committee marjorie taylor greene aoc and others who are not afraid to speak up and get controversial. how are you planning on structuring your committee in a way that is not going to just be political feedback? rep. comer: i will decide on what hearings we have we will start with covid spending surely we can agree that covid spending needs to be looked at.
and we can see if there were massive amounts of fraud abuse. or waste. and if so we will see if we can claw those back see if there is anyone that intentionally took the money or ms. spend the money or made bed decisions about the money. we will also hold hearings with respect to the withdrawal from afghanistan. we just learned that the group cigars is very frustrated because they were created to be and inspector general type watchdog over a lot of the spending that was going on in afghanistan and this administration is not working with them i think you will hear from certain i gps that say this administration is not working with them. we have got to have oversight of this administration or any other. i think for all the problems that the media expressed about the trump administration not
being compliant or whatever, again we had 39 high ranking trump officials in front of the oversight appeared -- committee during period and during the biden administration we had zero. we asked dhs to allow us to have for border patrol -- at the investigation next week. i wanted to have a big political hearing that was full of red meat. we would have victims families that lost their lives in finnell -- fentanyl. but we asked border patrol offices in del rio and el paso where the worst offenses with respect to illegal border -- border crossings were occurring is to have been be part of a committee to say what is the problem this is a priority trying to secure the border and we need to hear from people on
the front lines as to what is your advice? you are fighting this battle every day what can we do? host: let me ask in line with that i was covering congress and it was the trump administration there were other cases of congress asking the white house to say hey, we would like to talk to this person in the white house delayed or they are not coming is there something that congress can do in a bipartisan manner to strengthen your ability to oversee the executive branch? rep. comer: i do i really do. host: are you working on that? have you had conversations with them about it? rep. comer: i think of the media demands this then they will. i can sense a change in the press briefings with jean-pierre. they are not puppies and rainbows anymore. and i think the media sees this administration is not being transparent. with respect to the biden
mishandling of classified documents, i personally do not believe we would ever deal with that -- had ever saw that if an investigative reporter with cvs had not broke that story. this administration told us they had misplaced those documents like pants did, but biden did not do that. it was november 2 when apparently the lawyers apparently turned the documents into the national archive. it was more than 60 days later before cvs group the story. -- cbs broke the story when was the biden administration tell the people they had those documents? so there are a lot of questions i think everyone has about different things going on in the biden administration with the border, covid spending, the origination of covid. host: is there not a
bipartisan effort for there to be strengthening of the congress? rep. comer: i've been chairman for two weeks. i think we have asked for reasonable evidence and administration to come the witnesses tomorrow for the covid hearing inspector general horwitz and some from gao and someone from the secret service fraud division. that should be a bipartisan hearing. we are having the general counsel from the national archives coming in for a trans -- transcribed interview. anyone who wants to be there can be there we will have an hour then they will have an hour it goes like that. i do not think they have done anything irrational so far with respect to oversight. i think if we are asking for reasonable things and can explain why we are asking for those things i hope that the media will try to hold this administration accountable and be transparent.
joe biden said he would be the most transparent president in american history i did not think he is anywhere near the status level right now. host: we have a question for the oversight. rep. comer: the election fraud would come under the house oversight committee. there will always be members on both sides that bring that up i know jamie raskin has what many in the media will believe that -- the bush election and the bush more election. so, at the end of the day, we have our plateful with excessive spending and public corruption. i do not think that is something we will ever look into.
host: in regard to covid-19 and looking into some of the regards with that. what is your thought is there legislation that congress needs to pass to bring back lines? what action can the committee take? rep. comer: we are concerned about unemployment insurance. it is a bad deal that -- when you have shut down. a normal unemployment rate for estate would be 3% up to 7%. all of a sudden it is early percent. so the states were overwhelmed and then you had extended unemployment. it just was right for fraud. and we will see there was massive fraud with unemployment claims. and you had the loan -- that was a bipartisan bill passed in the
administration i do not think history be kind to the pbp program i think it will eventually be viewed in the same manner that the big bank bailouts were when people found out we are a lot of that money was going. we are going to try to get started and that and try to be informative about how much was wasted. and see again that is why we have the secret service fraud division they have clawback a minimal amount of money but is there way we can help them get more? there's a lot of covid money that has never been spent out there and that is something that will play a role we talk about debt ceiling negotiations and spending cuts they are still a good amount of covid dollars that are unspent in various accounts throughout the federal government. host: can you talk more about how that money will play into this? obviously we are looking into needing to act on this around
june or july. it seems like it would take longer than that? rep. comer: we will not default, but republicans are going to fight for spending cuts and i think the american taxpayer should be thankful that somebody in this town realizes that you cannot continue to spend a trillion dollars a year more than you bring in. host: is there somewhere specific you are looking to make the spending cuts? at this point i've heard not social security or medicare. many of those in your department do not want to cut military spending. rep. comer: everything that social security and medicare including defense. host: you're looking at fraud abuse so you're looking at specific programs. rep. comer: this is something where congress has gone for decades on a spending spree.
if congress is as strong as president biden claims now is the time to tighten the belt. kennedy was the first president and my understanding to operate a debt deficit and his rationale was in tough times we may have to spend more than we take in but in good times we will pay that back. well, there's never been a payback. maybe one or two years in the -- clinton administration when the economy was on fire and we close the balanced budget but this is out of control. and covid made it extremely worse we've got to get serious about trying to live within our means. again, this puts us at further disadvantage to china they are sitting on a surplus and we have a $30 trillion debt so we got to get serious about cuts and i hope we are successful at the end of the day and trying to, with meaningful compromises on
spending cuts in the future. host: we also had a question you mentioned that they use the word mismanagement i believe this is in reference to biden's handling of the classified documents and the question is do you consider it a consequence of malice or an aptitude? rep. comer: i don't know we will ask the national archives their opinion tomorrow and i am sure the biden administration have an explanation as to what they had. when mar-a-lago was rated, -- raided, we heard from trump people that they were communicating with the national archives and the argument was over whether or not these documents were indeed classified. i did not know if that's true or not i will try to find answers tomorrow. when the biden center where they found the first batch at the biden center, i didn't -- i
wasn't alarmed, i just thought it was ironic that the president was quick to call donald trump irresponsible for his mishandling of classified documents but then he had the same thing happen. once we find out it is in multiple locations including his house where his son live which i am confident was an influence on that, it takes it to a whole different level of concern. with respect to trump, pam and i are friends she went on cnn last night. she says well, you know, are you not investigating trump's mishandling of documents? and i said there is a special counsel and i am confident that the special counsel is looking into everything. host: so you wouldn't ask about the biden documents but it plan -- seems like your going to ask the national archives about trump's documents what was in them and how they got there.
rep. comer: i will try to explain this the best we can we or our investigating the biden family. we learned that they have classified documents in multiple locations. we are concerned if that is part of the influence. i do not know i'm not saying it is or isn't. host: but you also mentioned as far as the trump family goes that there is also perhaps -- rep. comer: if someone can bring me evidence that trump was using documents or was influencing handling with inside information we will investigate that. that i believe donald trump has been investigated for the past six years for just about everything imaginable and now there is a special counsel that is coming around, a second special counsel that is investigating his mishandling of classified documents and probably everything else. i read in the paper today that
they are looking into his political action in the committee i don't know if that had to do with the mishandling of classified documents but at any rate, donald trump has been investigated and continues to be investigated with by, this is the only congressional investigation. host: but there are other investigations including the one with hunter biden that has been on for years now. rep. comer: i think there's been a thorough job done investigating the president's son. they did not have subpoena power or the ability to bring in people undergrowth to depose them or anything like that. we do and i plan on doing that. host: on using the subpoena power? rep. comer: we are investigating the president. this is not hunter biden this is the president. host: but he is a key player.
rep. comer: he is a witness and a person of interest in the investigation. host: i think we are nearing the end of time i want to switch topics to a couple of oh -- other areas the oversight committees -- we have a question about the show up act returning to roll employees to the office do you have any plans to investigate federal telework policies and the argument that it helps or not. rep. comer: we just want the employees to come back to work and i am proud to say this is a bipartisan bill that mayor bowser supports. you will not hear me say it often that we are on the same side of the same issue but we are on this there is a significant amount of the federal workforce that is still not coming to work because of covid and we believe they need to go back to work. we are not picking on federal employees, what this does is bring back the -- there will always be used -- always be
workers -- teleworkers were of various reasons but we wanted to go back to pre-pandemic levels. were not saying anyone can -- no one can do telework but we will -- we want the levels to go back to what they were before covid because we believe there are a lot of employees that have taken a vantage of the situation. and there are so many real estate places that are empty and it is having a negative impact on the economy. if we will not use the buildings for federal workers, than the federal government may look at doing something different with the buildings. that is something that mayor bowser said could be used for housing. i do not think we need to sit on expensive buildings and pay the utilities on them if we will not have federal workers coming to work. host: are you worried that you will miss out on some of the best potential workers because
they want to work in their own location? rep. comer: we just want the numbers back to where they were in pre-pandemic levels. host: also we are wondering if you are planning in it oversight to tyre nichols death. the stuff that was released with police beating a man. rep. comer: i would say it is falling under judiciary. if any. host: will you guys have an overlap. it makes your committee interesting than it gives you -- rep. comer: we have a lot of oversight to do in respect to wasteful spending. i would say we have the bandwidth to do a lot of investigations and probes and we will but that is something that would be another committee. one of the roles that mccarthy asked me to play is to make sure that each committee has an oversight subcommittee. and to make sure that the subcommittees have plenty of work to do as well.
there are a lot of things we will do in partnership, the oversight committee, we have the biggest staff a staff will of investigators. so we will help other committees that are investigating different things that fall in their legislative jurisdiction. we want to make sure we are working together and we do not want to overreach into other committee areas of jurisdiction. but with respect to that, i would assume that would fall under judiciary. host: you are friends with chairman jim jordan. would you encourage him to use his powers of the judiciary committee to look into that? rep. comer: i'm not a member. jim -- i encourage him to work with me on the stuff that we are looking into with oversight but i stay out of his business in judiciary. host: so you don't think it's necessarily something we should be looking into? rep. comer: i've not thought
about it honestly. i was asked about it and certainly it is terrible and there are bad police officers and politicians and may need to be held accountable. i am confident the police officers will be held accountable. you asked my opinion. i think we need to have data and to share the data with police forces all around the u.s. on officers that are written up for excessive force. because there's a shortage of police officers right now and what happens a lot in kentucky anyway is that police officers will start out in one police force and then they will move around a lot to make more money or maybe they did not get along with the police or whatever, but there was a lot of turnover with respect to law enforcement people. so we need to make sure that wee need something that says i work this many years and another
police force. we need to make sure someone is doing the background and reference chance -- checks and making sure that there was nothing controversial with appellees but again, i am not an expert on that issue. host: i want to touch on the origins of covid-19. that is something republicans have already started looking into. do you expect the subcommittee on the pandemic to hold its first subcommittee on hearing of the origins. and do you have a specific line of questioning? rep. comer: yes and this will be a big focus by the select committee. it is appointed by the select speakers. it will be housed in the oversight committee and it will be like a subcommittee, but i would point -- appoint committee meeting numbers -- members. i have the subpoena power. but dr. nguyen strong will be the chairman of that select committee.
-- this is something every american deserves answers for. i begged to have committee hearings on the origination of covid-19 based on the information we were getting in work busting for the in rh and cdc and different government agencies especially when you look at the tax dollars that were going into the equal health funds. and this is a personal interest in the whole covid-19 ordeal and they never would have those bipartisan's and i could never understand why because no republican is accusing democrats of starting covid-19. we are wondering if covid-19 started in the wuhan lab. nobody is saying that was started by a democrat but for any reason -- whatever reason there were no bipartisan hearings on the origination of
covid. one of the things that was said that he wants to do is hope that maybe as bipartisan as possible it should be bipartisan that hopefully this will be a select committee by january 6. and hopefully this will be bipartisan because no one is accusing the other party of wrongdoing just trying to get answers. host: an are you getting witnesses from the people you want to hear from top. rep. comer: i would like to hear from any employee that played a role in the decision to getting a grant to equal health alliance. and in the beginning dr. fauci says they were not doing research in the lab them we later found out that they were doing data function research in the lab vortex -- american tax dollars going to find that? what role did health alliance plan this? why were they allowed to
continue to operate and get a new grant a few months ago when they were out of compliance with their old grant? these are questions that we have. i'm also curious about the royalties that employees at the cvc receive i'm not saying it's wrong, i just did not know about it. i did not know there were employees in the government that received royalties for vaccines and things like that. so i have a lot of questions about that and i think a lot of people do hopefully we can get answers. host: we are almost out of time. the last question i want to take a moment to thank everyone who made this event possible. thank you to club event coordinators, membership directors, and our club executive director. enke guys so much and thank you to everyone that submitted questions as well. i would also like to -- thank
you guys so much and thank you to everyone that submitted questions as well. i would like to invite you to our meeting later. and thank you for joining us today we appreciate your commitment to transparency. if you ever want to talk about lawmakers let me know because i love that. if you want to talk transparency i'm happy to do it we want to thank you so much on behalf of the national arrest conference area we want to give you a national press club -- to give to you. and the final question. you talked a little bit at this point about things you think you could do in a bipartisan manner. but i wonder how you see the role of democrats on the committee as you go forth with the investigations. what is your sense from the conversations right now with jamie raskin about how the dynamic will work? the majority of republican votes in the house and senate. i was even at the bill signing at the white house fridge -- i
was even at the bill signing at the white house with joe biden for that bill. i worked with gerry connolly on good government bill. i think a lot of ro khanna. they are working together on a lot of bipartisan bills pertaining to cybersecurity which is a huge issue in america. i think there'll be a lot of opportunities for good government bills. there are going to be bipartisan opportunities looking at government contracts. we were always getting tips and reports that this contract, especially with the pentagon, is a bad deal. the military is not satisfied with it. there will be opportunities. covid-19 origination should be bipartisan. more than anything, at the end of this saga with the archives and with the classified documents, hopefully we will have bipartisan legislation come
out that deals with fixing the problem in the future to where there is a defined system to take documents from the office of the president and vice president and follow them into the private sector. i think at the end of the biden investigation there is potential legislative fix to define what is allowable with respect to immediate family members of a president or high-ranking cabinet officials. what is allowable in doing business with foreign entities. and once we define what is allowable and not allowable, we significantly increase the disclosure laws to where an investor signs a deal so the media and the american people know what the terms of the deal were. host: thank you so much for your time and thanks to everyone who joined us. we really appreciate it. [applause]
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