IBNS: House Republicans initiated their first impeachment inquiry hearing Thursday allegeding US President Joe Biden was financially benefiting from business dealings with his son, Hunter Biden, even though their expert witnesses conceded that the Republicans do not yet possess the evidence to support their claimed allegations.
At the hearing held by the House Oversight Committee on Thursday, there were no witnesses who could directly address Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings, which are the focus of the inquiry.
The hearing allowed Republicans to present collected evidence, which hasn’t shown financial gain for Joe Biden from his son’s business dealings. Nonetheless, Republicans claim it prompted their impeachment investigation.
Since 2020, Republicans have pushed for investigations into Hunter Biden’s business dealings, trying to link them to Joe Biden. They falsely claimed Joe protected Hunter from a Ukrainian prosecutor’s firing.
They also accused the Department of Justice of favoring Hunter. Congressional Republicans launched investigations but found no evidence against Joe.
Some Republicans, including Donald Trump, sought to impeach Joe Biden in retaliation for Trump’s impeachments. The first impeachment articles were filed by Marjorie Taylor Greene, based on the Biden–Ukraine conspiracy theory.
In the 118th Congress, Kevin McCarthy, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives facing opposition from the Freedom Caucus, considered impeaching Biden but faced challenges, partly due to the Fiscal Responsibility Act.
In June 2023, the House began an investigation into Biden’s removal, with potential impeachment articles. McCarthy indicated he might consider impeachment based on the Oversight Committee’s findings, to which Trump supported both privately and publicly.
McCarthy in an interview with Breitbart News promised to open an impeachment inquiry with a full house vote in September.
House Committee investigations
The House Oversight Committee is focussing on the Biden family and their finances, the House Judiciary Committee on alleged coverups, and the House Ways and Means Committee on tax sensitive information.
Comer said that House Oversight investigators would seek additional emails dating back to the Obama era and witness testimony from people alleging misconduct by the Biden family.
The Oversight Committee plans to pursue bank records for Hunter and James Biden, Joe Biden’s brother.
The Oversight Committee’s ranking member, Jamie Raskin, has referred to the GOP investigation as a “complete and total bust.”
Jordan said that the House Judiciary Committee planned to subpoena lawyers in the Justice Department’s tax division who worked on the Weiss special counsel investigation into Hunter Biden. The ranking member, Jerrold Nadler, called the impeachment inquiry “absurd,” and said that it was “poisoning our vital oversight work.”
McCarthy vowed that House Republicans would subpoena Hunter during the investigations.
At the hearing
The Republican expert witnesses who spoke on Thursday were not prepared to go as far as to directly charge Joe Biden with corruption for his son’s business dealings.
Forensic accountant Bruce Dubinsky, among the GOP witnesses, undermined Republicans’ allegations stating that they lacked evidence to prove “corruption” by the Bidens, CNN reports.
“I am not here today to even suggest that there was corruption, fraud or wrongdoing,” Dubinsky said. “More information needs to be gathered before I can make such an assessment,” CNN reported.
Dubinsky said there was a “smokescreen” surrounding Hunter Biden’s finances, including complex overseas shell companies, which he said raised questions for a fraud expert about possible “illicit” activities.
House Oversight Chairman Rep. James Comer asserted that the GOP investigations “uncovered a mountain of evidence revealing how Joe Biden abused his public office for his family’s financial gain,” even though no concrete evidence supporting this substantial claim has been presented, CNN reports.
GOP insiders expressed frustration during the first impeachment inquiry hearing, as Republican witnesses contradicted their narrative and admitted to a lack of evidence for impeachable offenses by Biden.
“The majority sits completely empty handed with no evidence of any presidential wrongdoing, no smoking gun, no gun, no smoke,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin, the top Democrat on the Oversight committee.
“We’re 62 hours away from shutting down the government of the United States of America,” Raskin stressed.
He said that the inquiry is occurring both when the focus should be on the shutdown and as Republicans “don’t have a shred of evidence against President Biden.”
Raskin’s staff submitted the 12,000 pages of bank documents that had previously been received by the committee. As Raskin said to CNN, “not a single page shows a dime going to President Joe Biden.”
Earlier this month, Biden responded to the impeachment inquiry by stating, “Well, I tell you what, I don’t know quite why, but they just knew they wanted to impeach me. And now, the best I can tell, they want to impeach me because they want to shut down the government”.
He then stated that he was not focused on impeachment and said, “I’ve got to deal with the issues that affect the American people every single solitary day”.