Wednesday, February 21, 2024

House to Advance Biden Impeachment Inquiry Next Week

The House will move next week to authorize an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden with regard to his family’s alleged influence peddling.

In September, then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., endorsed an impeachment inquiry into Biden–but with no House vote to proceed on the investigation. 

On Dec. 12, the House Rules Committee will consider a markup of the impeachment inquiry from a bill proposed by Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D.

“It’s time for the House to take the next step in the Biden impeachment investigation and adopt an impeachment inquiry resolution,” Armstrong said in a statement Thursday. “The White House and multiple witnesses have repeatedly refused to cooperate with the investigation and have rejected subpoenas.”

Ian Sams, a White House spokesperson, said in a statement to The Hill, “This baseless stunt is not rooted in facts or reality but in extreme House Republicans’ shameless desire to abuse their power to smear President Biden.”

He also criticized Republicans for focusing on “stupid stunts to get attention for themselves.”

The announcement comes the same week that the House Oversight and Accountability Committee released bank records showing what appeared to be at least the third direct payment to Joe Biden before he was president that was linked to family companies. Abbe Lowell, an attorney for Hunter Biden, said in a statement to The Hill that the payments for were for a truck, “The truth is Hunter’s father helped him when he was struggling financially due to his addiction and could not secure credit to finance a truck. When Hunter was able to, he paid his father back and took over the payments himself.”

Biden family members owned multiple shell companies that raked in more than $20 million in foreign money. In July, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, released an FBI form that showed a confidential informant reported that executives with Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company, paid a $5 million bribe to then-Vice President Biden in 2016 to help scuttle a Ukrainian government investigation of the company. 

Under the proposal to be considered by the House Rules Committee, the same three panels—the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, the Judiciary Committee and the Ways and Means Committee—will continue to conduct the probe. 

“Despite this refusal, the investigation has uncovered alarming details that demand further scrutiny,” Armstrong added in his statement. “The Biden family and associates received more than $24 million from foreign nationals. Joe Biden received $200,000 from his brother, James Biden, the same day James received a $200,000 loan from a failing rural hospital operator.”

Armstrong continued:

Joe Biden also received $40,000 in laundered Chinese money from his brother and sister-in-law. It’s become clear that the Biden family sold influence around the world using Joe Biden’s name as the product. An investigation in any jurisdiction around the country would move forward if it had these facts. A vote on an impeachment inquiry puts the House in the best position to prevail in court and uncover the truth.

Testimony from first son Hunter Biden’s former business partner Devon Archer, as well as by Internal Revenue Service whistleblowers outlined numerous times Biden either met with or had phone calls with his son’s business partners. 

When asked about his contacts on Wednesday, Biden shot back, “I’m not going to comment. I did not. That’s just a bunch of lies. I did not. They are lies.”

The vote is likely to break down along party lines in both the committee and the House floor. 

Democrats are already rejecting the proposal for a formalized inquiry. 

“Voting to launch an impeachment inquiry will not change the fact that following many months of endless investigation by this Congress and by Senate Republicans in 2020, the evidence plainly shows no evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden, much less an impeachable offense,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., the ranking member of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, in a public statement. 

House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., said earlier this week he expected the slim Republican majority in the House to have the votes to authorize an inquiry, which is not the same as a vote to impeach the president. Rather, it opens a formal investigation. 

Republican lawmakers have argued that a formal impeachment inquiry—a process authorized under the Constitution—is necessary to compel the White House and the Biden family to provide documents and testimony that not otherwise would be required by regular congressional oversight. 

Also, formal approval by a full House is not a constitutional requirement. But it does give the inquiry more credibility. In 2019, Republicans were heavily critical of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for unilaterally declaring an impeachment inquiry into then-President Donald Trump for a Ukraine phone call. Eventually, the full Democrat-controlled House approved the impeachment inquiry. However, the House did not formalize an inquiry or hold hearings ahead of Trump’s second impeachment regarding the Jan. 6, 2021 Capital riot. 

The full House voted to authorize an impeachment inquiry into both President Bill Clinton in 1998 regarding the Monica Lewinsky matter. and in 1974 into President Richard Nixon. In 1868, the House authorized the Judiciary Committee and the House Select Committee on Reconstruction to investigate the impeachment of Andrew Johnson, the first of only three presidents to be impeached by the House. 

Johnson, Clinton and Trump were all acquitted in Senate trials. Nixon resigned after the House Judiciary Committee approved articles of impeachment, but before a full House vote.