DemDaily: Republicans Advance Biden Impeachment Inquiry

December 14, 2023

House Republicans on Wednesday voted to formally authorize its ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, which is examining whether Biden and his family illegally profited from his son Hunter's foreign business dealings when Biden served as vice president from 2009 to 2017.

The House voted 221-212 along straight party lines to approve the probe, despite the fact that a year of investigations have produced no evidence of wrongdoing.

Biden dismissed the move as a "political stunt" that is unsubstantiated by facts: "I wake up every day focused on the issues facing the American people...Unfortunately, House Republicans are not joining me. Instead of doing anything to help make Americans’ lives better, they are focused on attacking me with lies."

Background
Republicans' unfounded campaign against Biden began in 2019 under the presidency of Donald Trump, who pushed a Biden-Ukraine conspiracy theory alleging a web of corruption involving then-vice president's diplomatic efforts with Ukraine and his son Hunter, who served on the board member of Ukraine-based energy company Burisma Holdings.

In July 2019, Trump famously ordered the freezing of $391 million in military aid in an attempt to force Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to launch an investigation into the Bidens. Trump's actions later led to his December 2019 impeachment by the US House of Representatives.

A subsequent 2019-2020 investigation by Republican Senators Ron Johnson (WI) and Chuck Grassley (IA) into Hunter Biden's involvement with Burisma, as well as allegations that Democrats colluded with the Ukrainian government to interfere in the 2016 election, was also unsuccessful. An investigation by Ukraine authorities also found no misconduct.

Republicans have been unrelenting in their attacks against Hunter Biden -- fueled by his very public battle with addiction, and his subsequent mishandling of tax affairs, which were under investigation by the US Attorney’s Office in Delaware. The father of four -- who is in recovery -- agreed to a plea deal in June 2023, of two misdemeanor counts of failure to pay taxes and a felony charge for knowingly denying drug use when applying for a gun purchase permit in 2018. After a Trump-appointed Federal District Court Judge rejected the plea deal, US Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to oversee the case. Biden was ultimately indicted on three federal firearms-related charges and, on December 7, nine additional tax-related charges.

On January 21, one week after former President Donald Trump was impeached for inciting the January 6 Capitol insurrection, and one day after Biden was sworn into office, Congresswoman and Trump ally Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) filed articles of impeachment against Biden for unspecified "corruption."
Within weeks, the newly Republican-led House Oversight Committee launched an investigation into the "Biden Crime Family" and whether the president was improperly involved in the foreign business activities of his son and brother James, a former business partner of Hunter's.

The committee, led by Chair James Comer (R-KY), alleged "international influence peddling schemes," bribery, and a Justice Department cover-up. The committee produced no evidence of legal or ethical violations, but claimed their findings "painted a picture of corruption."

In September 2023, then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy, under pressure from party hardliners, announced an impeachment inquiry into President -- to be directed by the Judiciary Committee, chaired by Jim Jordan; the Oversight Committee, chaired by Comer; and the Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Jason Smith.

The committees have since interviewed dozens of people, including officials from the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service. For its part, the White House has provided over 35,000 pages of documents and financial records, including from Biden family members.

In the only hearing related to the inquiry since its launch, GOP investigators testified that they did not see sufficient evidence for impeaching President Biden as they had not connected him with any wrongdoing.

Republicans have said the vote was necessary because, as pointed out by the White House, the "Constitution requires that the full House authorize an impeachment inquiry before a committee may utilize compulsory process pursuant to the impeachment power."

The vote follows Hunter Biden's surprise press conference in front of the US Capitol this morning, where he dramatically refused to capitulate to House Republicans subpoena to appear for closed-door testimony Wednesday -- demanding that he will only testify publicly before the committee.

Biden, who has maintained a low profile since his indictment, said "I am here today to make sure the House Committee's illegitimate investigations of my family do not proceed on distortions, manipulated evidence and lies." While acknowledging he has “made mistakes,” Biden slammed House Republicans for trying to “dehumanize me all to embarrass and damage my father.”

“In the depths of my addiction, I was extremely irresponsible with my finances. But to suggest that is grounds for an impeachment inquiry is beyond the absurd. It’s shameless. There’s no evidence to support the allegations that my father was financially involved in my business, because it did not happen,” he said.

In a joint statement, Comer and Jordan, who himself refused to comply with a May 2022 subpoena from the January 6 Committee, said that will initiate contempt of Congress proceedings against Biden for defying their subpoena.

“For six years, I have been the target of the unrelenting Trump attack machine shouting ‘Where’s Hunter?’ Well, here is my answer, I am here.” - Hunter Biden

Without evidence, the formal inquiry is unlikely to end with impeachment, but it does ensure the public investigation will extend well into 2024 as Biden faces a presumptive rematch with the twice-impeached and four-time criminally indicted Trump.

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Kimberly Scott
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Sources: The Hill, Politico, CNN, Reuters, Yahoo, New York Times, Yahoo

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