House Republicans will formally launch their impeachment inquiry Thursday into President Joe Biden as they try to make their case that the president was directly involved in his son Hunter’s foreign business affairs.
What You Need To Know
- House Republicans will formally launch their impeachment inquiry Thursday into President Joe Biden as they try to make their case that the president was directly involved in his son Hunter’s foreign business affairs
- The Oversight Committee said the hearing “will examine the value of an impeachment inquiry” and present evidence Republican lawmakers claim they have unearthed about Joe Biden’s knowledge of and role in his Hunter Biden’s business matters
- The witnesses will be forensic accountant Bruce Dubinsky; former Assistant Attorney General Eileen O’Connor, who worked in the Justice Department Tax Division; and George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley
- To date, House Republicans have not produced any solid evidence proving Joe Biden profited from his son’s business deals or that Hunter Biden’s professional interests influenced the elder Biden’s actions as vice president in the Obama administration
The Oversight Committee said the hearing “will examine the value of an impeachment inquiry” and present evidence Republican lawmakers claim they have unearthed about Joe Biden’s knowledge of and role in his Hunter Biden’s business matters.
The committee announced three witnesses for the opening hearing, none of whom appear to have any direct knowledge about the allegations. They are forensic accountant Bruce Dubinsky; former Assistant Attorney General Eileen O’Connor, who worked in the Justice Department Tax Division; and George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley.
“Since January, House Committees on Oversight and Accountability, Judiciary, and Ways and Means have uncovered an overwhelming amount of evidence showing President Joe Biden abused his public office for his family’s financial gain,” Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., the Oversight Committee’s chairman said in a statement Tuesday.
“Based on the evidence, Congress has a duty to open an impeachment inquiry into President Biden’s corruption,” Comer added.
However, to date, House Republicans have not produced any solid evidence proving Joe Biden profited from his son’s business deals or that Hunter Biden’s professional interests influenced the elder Biden’s actions as vice president in the Obama administration. Joe Biden has repeatedly denied having any involvement in or knowledge about Hunter Biden’s business affairs.
In discussing their findings publicly, House Republicans have often omitted key details.
For instance, they have repeatedly cited congressional testimony in July by Devon Archer, Hunter Biden’s former business associate. Archer told lawmakers Hunter Biden used the “Biden brand” to help secure foreign deals. Republicans also have seized on Archer disclosing that Hunter Biden would occasionally put his father on speakerphone when in business meetings.
However, in testimony largely brushed aside by Republicans, Archer also said he never heard Joe Biden discuss any business on those calls but rather only exchange pleasantries such as talking about the weather.
And Archer testified that, to his knowledge, Joe Biden never took any official actions to help Hunter Biden’s business partners or that his son ever asked him to.
On Tuesday, Comer announced he obtained two bank wire transfers revealing Hunter Biden received payments originating from Chinese nationals in 2019, when Joe Biden was running for president, and that Joe Biden’s home address in Wilmington, Delaware, was listed as the beneficiary address on both transactions.
It has been previously reported that Hunter Biden lived with his parents on and off around that time. And in expressing concern about classified documents discovered at the president’s home, Comer acknowledged in a January letter that Hunter Biden’s driver’s license listed the Wilmington address as his residence in 2018.
Hunter Biden’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, said in a statement provided to Spectrum News that the president’s son used the address because it was his only permanent address at the time. Lowell also said Hunter Biden in 2017 made a “substantial investment” in Bohai Harvest Rosemont Partners, a private equity firm, and that in 2019 he borrowed funds using his equity as security.
“This was a documented loan (not a distribution or pay-out) that was wired from a private individual to his new bank account,” Lowell said, adding, “We expect more occasions where the Republican chairs twist the truth to mislead people to promote their fantasy political agenda.”
Comer, however, also noted Tuesday that Archer testified that Joe Biden once had coffee with Jonathan Li, CEO of Bohai Harvest Rosemont Partners, and wrote a college recommendation letter for Li’s daughter.
Ian Sams, White House spokesman for oversight and investigations, said in a statement to Spectrum News on Wednesday about Comer’s latest allegations: “Extreme House Republicans are pushing out half-baked innuendo and conspiracy theories that yet again show no evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden, just more discredited personal attacks on him and his family, in a sad effort to distract from their chaotic inability to govern that is leading us to the brink of a dangerous government shutdown.”
House Republicans also have focused on an allegation made by an FBI informant that an executive with the Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings paid Joe and Hunter Biden $5 million each in an effort to have Ukraine’s prosecutor general fired and kill a corruption investigation into Burisma.
The FBI has stressed that claims made in forms such as the one used by the informant are “unverified” and “incomplete.” And the Trump Justice Department reportedly investigated the claims, but prosecutors could not substantiate them.
Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko disputed the ex-prosecutor general Viktor Shokin’s claim that he was fired to quell a corruption investigation into Burisma.
“This is the completely crazy person,” Poroshenko said. “This is something wrong with him. … There is no one single word of truth.”
But President Biden has made at least a pair of statements about his son’s business affairs that were later contradicted, raising suspicions from Republicans. In an October 2020 presidential debate against former President Donald Trump, the elder Biden insisted Hunter Biden had not made any money in China, but his son has acknowledged in court testimony that he earned substantial sums of money that came from China in 2017 and 2018.
Also in 2020, the Biden campaign denied a New York Post report that said Joe Biden had once met with Vadym Pozharskyi, a top Burisma adviser. The Washington Post later reported then-Vice President Biden briefly stopped by an April 2015 dinner of 10 to 12 people that included Hunter Biden and Pozharskyi but did not stay to eat. Archer, however, testified Joe Biden had dinner, but added that no business was discussed.
House Republicans are also looking into the Justice Department investigation in Hunter Biden's taxes and gun use that began in 2018. Two IRS whistleblowers came forward to Congress in the spring with claims that department officials thwarted their efforts to fully investigate Hunter Biden and his business dealings and the agents faced retaliation when they pushed back.
The claims have since been disputed by IRS and FBI agents who worked on the case.
Comer said in a statement last week that Thursday’s hearing will focus on “constitutional and legal questions surrounding the President’s involvement in corruption and abuse of public office.”
"I think the goal for today is to twofold," Comer told Spectrum News' Angi Gonzalez on Thursday. "No. 1, to explain and educate exactly what an impeachment inquiry is and how this new designation will help us obtain more information for our investigation. And secondly, we're going to go over all the evidence, and there is new evidence in the last 48 hours."
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., announced the opening of the impeachment inquiry earlier this month, saying: “This logical next step will give our committees the full power to gather all the facts and answers for the American public.”
But even some Republicans in both chambers of Congress have questioned the proceedings and evidence to date.
“I do not think that evidence has been presented, and I don't think there's a need to have an impeachment inquiry when we have three committees that are doing great work developing the kind of evidence that would lead to an impeachment inquiry, or let's talk now,” Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., told NBC News earlier this month.
“We've got so many things we need to be focusing on," said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., told CNN. “I don't see the glaring evidence that says we need to move forward [with an impeachment inquiry]. I didn't see it in the Trump case, and voted against it, I don't see it in this case."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.