Republicans kicked off their first impeachment hearing by tearing into Joe Biden and trying to tie him to his son’s business dealings, as Democrats claimed they had ‘no evidence’ to show the president ever profited from Hunter’s influence-trading. ‘At least 10 times, Joe Biden lied to the American people that he never spoke to his family about their business dealings,’ Oversight Chair James Comer, R-Ky., said during the hearing. Testimony from Hunter Biden business partner Devon Archer claimed Biden had contact with Hunter’s associates around 20 times over 10 years – but didn’t necessarily get into business details with them.
Top Oversight Democrat Jamie Raskin made a motion to subpoena Rudy Giuliani and Lev Parnas, believing them to be not credible witnesses and claiming the accusations about Joe Biden’s involvement originated with them. He noted none of the Republican witnesses have any direct knowledge of the alleged misdeeds of the president. ‘Not one of them has participated in the eight months of investigation,’ he said. ‘They’ve got nothing on Joe Biden.’ ‘If this dysfunction caucus is going to insist on going forward, we must receive the testimony of Rudy Giuliani and Lev Parnas, the insiders who know the origins of the lie upon which this sham impeachment is based and who work to spread it,’ Raskin said.
Oversight Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., called a vote to table that motion, or swat down the effort to subpoena the Trump-aligned duo, which passed with a majority of Republican votes. Comer, meanwhile, claimed Biden had ‘abused his public office for his family’s financial gain. For years, President Biden has lied to the American people about his knowledge of and participation in his family’s corrupt business schemes.’ ‘Biden spoke, dined, and developed relationships with his family’s foreign business targets. These business targets include foreign oligarchs who sent millions of dollars to his family,’ Comer went on.
But Republican witness Jonathan Turley, who defended Trump during his impeachment trial, said the evidence against Joe Biden has not yet amounted to an impeachable offense. ‘While I believe that an impeachment inquiry is warranted, I do not believe that the evidence currently meets the standard of a high crime and misdemeanor needed for an article of impeachment,’ Turley said in his opening statement. Turley said that while Republicans allege Biden lied about the foreign business dealings, lying is not an impeachable offense. ‘Indeed most presidents have lied to the American people.’ He cited three ‘inescapable facts’ that warrant an inquiry: the president spoke ‘falsely’ about business dealings, he was the ‘focus’ of the influence scheme and Biden ‘may have benefited’ from the scheme.
Tennessee Republican Rep. Tim Burchett, a committee member told DailyMail.com agreed, saying that Republicans have not yet uncovered enough evidence to impeach the president. ‘I don’t think the votes would be there,’ he said. ‘We’re building up momentum. And honestly in the public side, when I’m at home, this is this is what more people talk about than anything else.’ Comer, meanwhile, also pointed to newly released bank records showing Chinese officials sent $250,000 to Joe Biden’s home address in 2019 while he was running for president. It’s not clear if Hunter was living there at the time, but the new evidence suggests Joe did know that Hunter did business with China despite claiming his son never did.
There are also WhatsApp messages Hunter sent to an associate claiming Joe was in the room while they were discussing business, and damning testimony from IRS and FBI whistleblowers. But Rep. Alexandira Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., noted that Hunter Biden was addicted to drugs at the time he sent such messages. ‘They rely on the words of Hunter Biden – Mr. Biden said this, Mr. Biden said that, therefore case closed, there is something there,’ she said. ‘Mr. Gerhardt is this a reliable witness?’ she asked Democratic witness Michael Gerhardt. Comer reiterated that the Oversight Committee has discovered around 20 shell companies to wire over $20 million to the Biden family between 2014 and 2019. Around nine family members have been found to receive payments. They have yet to link the payments directly to Joe’s bank account, but text messages have suggested Hunter paid bills for his father.
But Turley poked holes in the argument that only a direct payment to Biden’s bank account would amount to an impeachable offense. ‘There’s been a repeated statement that you need to show that the President Biden accepted direct money in order for this to constitute a benefit even under under criminal cases that deal with bribery, extortion and Hobbs Act,’ he said. ‘Obviously, if the strongest case is if you have a direct payment. But this idea that you can have millions going to a politician’s family and that’s not a benefit, I think is pretty fallacious.’ Democrat committee member Raja Khrishnamoorthi lobbed a personal attack at Turley: ‘You’ve been crusading for legalizing polygamy for years!’ In 2006, Turley penned an op-ed for the Guardian entitled ‘Stop persecuting polygamists.’
Later in the hearing another Democrat – Rep. Kweisi Mfume – called for another vote to subpoena Giuliani. ‘Where in the world is Rudy Giuliani?’ he said as Republicans moved to table the vote. Republicans must directly tie Hunter’s influence peddling to Joe if they want to nail him for high crimes and misdemeanors. In this first hearing, Comer has said not to expect any new bombshells but said that he wants to ‘reeducate’ the Washington press corps on existing evidence. During the hearing Republicans frequently pointed to Joe meeting one of Hunter’s Chinese business partners, Jonathan Li, when he took his son on a 2013 Air Force 2 trip to China. In total Joe met with fifteen of Hunter’s business associates according to White House visitor logs and records from the First Son’s laptop.
In addition to Turley, the witnesses included: Bruce Dubinsky, a forensic accountant with decades of experience in financial investigations and former assistant attorney general Eileen O’Connor, who served in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Tax Division. Democrats mocked Republicans for holding an impeachment hearing just as the clock ticks down to a government shutdown Saturday at midnight. ‘There are 61 hours and 55 minutes until the government shuts down because of extreme House Republicans’ chaos and inability to govern,’ the White House said in a statement on the hearing. ‘Nothing can distract from that.’
Want more stories like this from the Daily Mail? Visit our profile page here and hit the follow button above for more of the news you need.