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House Oversight chair: No Biden officials have come before panel, while 39 testified under Trump

After public complaint voiced Monday by Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) that Homeland Security Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas was blocking needed testimony on border security from four key border patrol officials, DHS relented.

Published: January 30, 2023 10:47am

Updated: February 1, 2023 11:52pm

No Biden administration officials have testified before the House Oversight Committee, while high-ranking officials under former President Trump appeared before the panel 39 times, according to the committee's new chairman, Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.).

Comer said Monday that Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas had been blocking needed testimony from four key border patrol officials. Mayorkas later reversed course, Comer acknowledged in a letter to Mayorkas on Tuesday.

"We've asked DHS to let us have four border patrol agents come before our hearing next week," Comer said Monday at the National Press Club. "[I]f I wanted to have a big political hearing that was full of red meat, we would have victims' families that lost their lives to fentanyl, we would have people that have been human trafficked there, but we're not.

"We just asked the four border patrol bosses in Del Rio, El Paso, where the worst offenses with respect to illegal border crossings are occurring, just to come before the committee. No one's heard from them."

Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez, Rio Grande Valley Sector and Chief Patrol Agent John Modlin, Tucson Sector, have since been scheduled to testify at the hearing.

Republicans campaigned on securing the southwest border in the midterm elections, and the border patrol officials are key to improving the situation, Comer pointed out. 

"We need to hear from people on the front lines," he said, "as to, what's your advice? You're fighting this battle every day. What can we do to help you?"

Just the News asked Comer to identify the Cabinet secretaries he wants the oversight committee to hear from first.

"I would say several of them will get invited to come before the committee in the near future," he said. "Again, I've just been chairman for about ten days so we're just getting started." 

Aside from Mayorkas, another potential Cabinet secretary Comer could request to testify at a future hearing is Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who he has said continues to deny him full access to the "suspicious activity reports" related to Hunter Biden's bank transactions. Suspicious activity reports (SARs) are documents financial institutions must file to Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to alert authorities to financial transactions that may signal activity. 

"The bank feared there was money laundering going on, because there was so many transfers," he said. "I don't believe it was money laundering, I believe they were just trying to hide from, well, media where the money was coming." 

Comer wrote a letter to Yellen on Jan. 11 again requesting access to the reports but hasn't been able to review all of the approximately 150 reports. 

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