The Depressing State of American Politics


thinker statue facepalm
Photo by Alex E. Proimos under CC BY 2.0

So, as noted in the Open Forum yesterday, the fellow whom some House Republicans have been touting as a whistleblower regarding Hunter Biden and the FBI has been indicted on some fairly serious charges (via the NYT: The G.O.P. Backed Him on Hunter Biden Claims. Now He Has Been Indicted).

In an eight-count indictment, prosecutors in the Southern District of New York accused Gal Luft, a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen, of violating the Arms Export Control Act and the Foreign Agents Registration Act in brokering arms deals between Chinese companies, Iran and countries in the Middle East.

Mr. Luft, promoted by some congressional Republicans as a keystone witness in their efforts to show corruption by the Biden family, is a fugitive from justice. He was detained by law enforcement officials in Cyprus in February in connection with the indictment, but fled after being freed on bond while awaiting extradition. If convicted, he faces up to 100 years in prison.

“He subverted foreign agent registration laws in the United States to seek to promote Chinese policies,” said Damian Williams, the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, adding: “He acted as a broker in deals for dangerous weapons and Iranian oil, and he told multiple lies about his crimes to law enforcement.”


prosecutors painted a portrait of Mr. Luft, who split his time between Israel and Washington, as an unscrupulous political fixer working for China who made much of his cash as a back-channel arms and oil broker.

Mr. Luft, prosecutors said, helped Chinese arms manufacturers sell anti-tank launchers, grenade launchers and mortar rounds to Libya (he referred to them as toys in communications obtained by the government), bombs and rockets to the United Arab Emirates and military drones to Kenya.

Oh, and he skipped bail in April and is thought to be hiding out in Israel.

And, I would note that the NYT headline is problematic insofar as it makes it sounds as if Luft made accusations and was then indicted. In fact, the indictment was filed last November, but only just unsealed, while his Hunter Biden allegations were made afterward.

The depressing (and predictable) part is as follows via WaPo: Indictment of GOP’s ‘missing’ informant becomes conspiracy fodder.

Yet Comer and at least one colleague on House Oversight insisted the indictment was necessarily political. “I don’t trust the DOJ or the FBI. They are trying to silence our witnesses,” Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) said on Fox News, again to Maria Bartiromo, who has been energetically promoting the Republican allegations. “This is a way to do that.”

Again, he appears to have become a desired witness after his indictment. Speaking to Fox News host Laura Ingraham on Monday night, however, Comer made a similar argument as Mace had. “The timing is always coincidental, according to the Democrats and the Department of Justice,” Comer scoffed.

While I will readily note that Luft is innocent until proven guilty, having a member of Congress continually go on Fox News and undermine federal law enforcement in this way is highly irresponsible. So, too, is Bartiromo’s energetic promotion (and yet again we see that she and her network don’t care about truth but rather know that their business model is keeping their audience inflamed).

Let’s just say that while there is always room for a reasonable healthy skepticism of governmental actions, these are not the kinds of charges that are brought lightly. Moreover, the timeline of when Luft decided to be a source on Hunter Biden coupled with skipping bail doesn’t exactly paint him in credible light.

Yet, Comer doesn’t trust the DOJ or FBI, but he trusts Luft?

Plus, the degree to which Comer is touting a man who appears to be credibly charged with helping the Chinese and the Iranians is just astounding.

More here via WaPo: Republicans say they would like to call witness despite criminal indictment.

Meanwhile, here’s a side helping of depressing politics from another member of the US House of Representatives.

In case anyone was wondering: none of that is true.
FILED UNDER: Media, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Daryl says:

    Comer, Jordan, et al, were/are working with a Chinese spy to attack the POTUS with charges based on no evidence whatsoever.
    You will note the same people doing this are some of the same people who defend an attempt to overthrow our Government and install a dictator.
    There will be no consequences for any of these actions.
    A depressing state, indeed…

  2. MarkedMan says:

    Steven, not sure why you labeled this, “The Depressing State of American Politics” which would imply a general problem. I think a more apt title would be, “The Continuing Degradation of the Republican Party”.

  3. Modulo Myself says:

    It just proves that winning arguments and debates is a waste of time in almost all ways. You can go to the grave never having admitted an error and having ‘won’ every debate while your opponents cling to the official narrative. But what it gets you apparently is a media/political system designed to provide that fix to you 24/7, like an addict. And that is it. That is all it does.

  4. @MarkedMan: You’re not wrong.

  5. Kingdaddy says:
  6. gVOR10 says:

    @MarkedMan: Over at LGM Paul Campos notes the June CPI report is out and year-to-year inflation (an inflated inflation number) is down to 3%. With unemployment at 3.5 he notes the confusing general opinion the economy is bad.

    What could be causing public opinion to have so little correlation with the broader economic situation? This is one of those mysteries, like the square root of a million, that will probably never be solved.

    He heads the post with a screen grab from FOX.

    FOX really is the root cause of much of “The Depressing State of American Politics”. A few years ago “epistemic closure” was a common usage. Republicans really have come to inhabit a completely separate episteme. An episteme held together with lies and omissions by FOX and GOP pols. I suppose you could go back further and blame cable TV and the internet for opening up specialty niches, but right now the problem is FOX. Were I dictator king I’d shut down FOX and deport Rupert and his whole family to Australia, no matter how many F-16s it took to get them to take him back.

    But that’s probably not really necessary. A lot of problems get less severe simply by being widely recognized. It would be really helpful if the supposedly liberal MSM and D pols would point out and repeat that FOX is RW propaganda. Maybe the otherwise useless Glenn (Bothsides) Kessler could start regularly fact checking FOX. (Difficult, actually, in that they’re quite practiced at not quite outright lying.) Ridicule is a great weapon. Do you see the MSM really pushing this “whistleblower” story and ridiculing Comer? Dems? Maybe the above stories are an indication they’ll be better today, I haven’t looked to see where they’re placed. But yesterday, crickets.

  7. gVOR10 says:

    @gVOR10: I checked. WAPO shows the above story as posted yesterday afternoon, after I and most people read the news. NYT also posted yesterday, apparently late. NYT says the story is in today’s print edition, page A17. WAPO doesn’t say. Neither show the story on today’s online front page.

    The problem is mostly FOX, but the supposedly liberal MSM isn’t much better. Comer completely beclowned himself, but you have to be a news junkie like us to find out.

  8. Chris says:

    @MarkedMan: So the title could be reworked as follows, “The degradation of the GOP is a major cause of the depressing state of American politics.”

  9. Mimai says:

    Channeling your inner Willie Dunn today, eh?

    I Pity the Country

  10. dazedandconfused says:

    They could depose him from remotely from a secure location, I suppose. Is Bin Laden’s cave available?

  11. Ken_L says:

    Lost in all the excitement is the fact that Luft was already under investigation by the Trump administration way back in 2019. How do we know this? Because he only agreed to meet FBI and DOJ agents in March of that year after his lawyer got a written undertaking they wouldn’t use the meeting as an opportunity to arrest him.

    Luft has shown The Post a letter arranging the Brussels “proffer” meeting, signed March 25, 2019, by Geoffrey Berman, then the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, whose agents had arrested Ho the previous year.

    “We are writing to advise you that the US Attorney’s Office for the SDNY will not arrest or cause to be arrested your client, Gal Luft, during the time that he is in Belgium between approximately Tuesday, March 26, 2019 and Monday, April 1, 2019, in connection with his attendance at meetings with this office on March 28 and 29, 2019,” writes Berman to Luft lawyer Robert Henoch.

    He presumably requested the meeting in the hope that spinning a pack of lies about the Bidens might attract Former Sir’s attention and get him to call off the DOJ dogs.

  12. Charley in Cleveland says:

    Couldn’t agree more that the campaign by Comer, Mace, and assorted other Republicans to undermine the DOJ in general, and the FBI in particular, is not just grossly irresponsible, it is undemocratic (as opposed to its intended goal of being anti-Democratic). If Kevin McCarthy were anything other than a power obsessed empty suit he would shut down the circus acts of Comer and Jim Jordan, and if WaPo and the NYT really wanted to do some journalism they would refer to “performance art” in every report on clowns like Matt Gaetz, Boebert, MTG and Anna Luna(tic).