Do you know what Republicans don't need for a Biden investigation? Evidence, apparently.

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Imagine a television show about law and order where detectives keep interviewing witnesses who insist they saw no crime committed before they then run into court proclaiming, "We solved the case!"

You could call it "CSI: Biden Impeachment Inquiry."

The latest episode aired Wednesday when Rep. James Comer, the Kentucky Republican who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, told Fox News host Sean Hannity that a witness in the investigation of President Joe Biden's family finances had somehow disproven Biden's claim that a "wall" existed between his government work and the business dealings of his son, Hunter.

One problem: That's not what the witness, Eric Schwerin, said in his closed-door testimony Tuesday.

Schwerin, in his opening statement, laid out his business history working with Hunter Biden and explained that he also did bookkeeping for Joe Biden when he was vice president, helping him prepare his taxes and financial disclosure statements.

Schwerin said he saw no money in those books flowing to Joe Biden from his son or other family members.

"None," he added for emphasis, while under oath.

Republicans don't let the truth stand in the way of an investigation

That didn't stop Comer from declaring victory in the court of public opinion – the "Hannity" show and other conservative platforms unlikely push back on the clear disparity between House committee chair's interpretation of the testimony and what the witness actually said.

"So when Joe Biden said there was a wall between the government and himself and his family's shady business schemes, that's not true because they had the same bookkeeper," Comer said.

Hannity played along, of course, suggesting that Schwerin "knew that a significant amount of money was being funneled to Joe Biden" from his son's businesses.

Remember, Schwerin said the opposite in his testimony.

U.S. Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability
U.S. Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability

Comer told Hannity that Schwerin "kept saying the same talking points that many of these associates use that Joe Biden wasn't involved."

Replay that: Comer openly admits there that many witnesses testified that Biden wasn't involved in his family's business dealings.

Do politicians want to fix the border? Fixing the border crisis is bad for Trump and good for Biden. That's the problem.

Did you know this goes back to Hillary Clinton?

Like a lot of cop dramas on television, Comer's narrative twisting is a bit derivative.

It resembles "CSI: Benghazi," the House select committee on a 2012 terrorist attack in that Libyan city that resulted in the deaths of four Americans. House Republicans wanted former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the spotlight for all that – coincidentally – just as she was clearly gearing up to run for president.

Kevin McCarthy, then a Republican congressman from California well-positioned to become the next speaker of the House, accidentally gave away the plot in an interview with Fox News in October 2015.

'Bidenomics' is working: It's too bad for Biden that Trump's message of doom is winning.

“Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right?” McCarthy said then. “But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping."

Clinton was beatable. McCarthy, who took some heat but eventually did become speaker, helped defeat the Democratic presidential nominee with a damaging narrative, even if the story didn't check out.

The Biden inquiry is more of the same during an election year

Comer and some of his colleagues are now following that script, as Biden seeks another term. This unfolds as the likely Republican nominee, former President Donald Trump, uses every campaign stop to allege financial impropriety between the president and his family.

Rob Walker, a business associate of Hunter Biden, told the committee on Jan. 26 that the president was never involved in any of their business activities.

Comer quickly issued a statement claiming this about that testimony: "Evidence continues to reveal the Bidens sold the ‘Biden Brand’ to enrich the Biden family."

Devon Archer, another associate of Hunter Biden, told the committee last summer that Joe Biden never spoke about business when his son would call and put him on speakerphone.

Afterward, Comer rushed onto Hannity's show to say Archer's testimony about Biden being on speakerphone made allegations that he took bribes passed along by his family "more credible."

But the committee released the transcript of Archer's testimony, where he clearly disagrees with that claim.

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Comer has pushed through fact-checks on documents, too. In a Dec. 5 appearance on NBC News' "Meet the Press," the committee chairman floated a bunch of theories about Biden as "evidence" but stumbled badly when asked about bank statements showing payments Hunter Biden made to his father on an interest-free loan.

"That's not true," Comer insisted while shaking his head no when journalist Ryan Nobles said the House has bank records for the loan. Nobles then showed the bank records on screen as Comer accused him of using White House "talking points."

Comer clearly hates it when journalists don't stick to his script.

It's clear that the accusation is the point. Not evidence.

Comer made the rounds in conservative outlets on Oct. 20, touting a check written to Joe Biden from his brother, James Biden, labeled "loan repayment." Comer told Hannity that day he just didn't believe the loan ever happened, adding that the Republicans had just asked for documentation of the loan.

Seems upside down, right? Make an accusation, then ask for evidence. It's almost as if – and hear me out here – the accusation is the whole point and the evidence, no matter what it shows, doesn't matter.

CNN, in an Oct. 31 fact-check, reported that banking records already held by House Republicans showed "substantial evidence" that the loan between the president and his brother existed.

House Speaker Mike Johnson: Evidence against Biden can't be ignored. We're pursuing impeachment inquiry.

Hunter Biden has lived a life both privileged and troubled, dealing with addiction and now federal criminal charges for taxes he did not pay on time, along with charges that he broke the law while buying a gun.

Did he make a lot of money because his dad was a U.S. senator who became vice president and then president? Seems that way. Is that proof that his father was on the take, accepting bribes from the people who paid his son?

No. That evidence has not been produced.

That's not saying it never will. But all the Fox News hits and committee statements can't change the fact that Comer's claims of "evidence" are still just unsubstantiated allegations.

Chris Brennan is an elections columnist for USA TODAY.
Chris Brennan is an elections columnist for USA TODAY.

Should the children of presidents and vice presidents be able to profit from their names and family connections? If you say no, do you apply that standard across all political parties?

Trump's daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, reported earning between $172 million and $640 million while they were working in the White House, according to the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Nice side gig if you can land it.

Kushner was in Saudi Arabia during the final days of Trump's presidency, so on Jan. 6, 2021, he missed the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol as rioters tried to stop the certification of Biden's presidential win over his father-in-law.

Must have been a great trip. The Saudi government's gargantuan wealth fund sunk $2 billion into Kushner's new private equity fund, just months after his father-in-law left office.

Follow USA TODAY elections columnist Chris Brennan on X, formerly known as Twitter: @ByChrisBrennan

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: GOP doesn't have evidence for Biden impeachment. It doesn't matter