House Republicans Thursday are holding the first public hearing of their impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.
The House Oversight Committee hearing is being led by chairman James Comer.
Republicans say the inquiry will focus on whether Biden was involved in or benefitted from his family’s foreign business dealings, among other issues. So far, House Republicans have yet to release evidence that Biden profited from his son Hunter’s business deals or was improperly influenced by them.
The White House has blasted the impeachment inquiry as “extreme politics at its worst.”
Comer, in his opening statement, said President Biden lied when he said he never spoke with his family about their business dealings and continued to claim, without direct evidence, that Biden was improperly influenced by his family’s business affairs.
“At least times Joe Biden lied to the American people that he never spoke his family about their business dealings,” Comer said. “He lied by telling the American people that there was an absolute wall between his official government duties, his personal life.”
Biden has previously unequivocally claimed he “never discussed” business with his son but Republicans have pointed to testimony from Hunter Biden’s former business partner Devon Archer, who testified that Joe Biden attended at least two dinners with Hunter Biden’s foreign business associates, and frequently spoke with his son over the phone while in the presence of foreign business associates. But Archer also testified he never heard business being discussed during those interactions. “The conversation is generally about the weather and what it’s like in Norway or Paris or wherever he may be. … But it was very casual conversations, not about cap tables or financials or anything like that,” Archer testified.
“The American people demand accountability for this culture of corruption,” Comer continued in his opening statement. “They demand to know how these schemes have compromised President Biden and threaten our national security. They demand safeguards to be put in place to prevent public officials from selling access to their public office for private gain.”
But Republicans, to date, have yet to produce any hard direct evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden or that he was involved in or personally profited from his family’s foreign business dealings, or that he improperly influenced policy based on them when he served as vice president.
Read more about the various allegations levied by House Republicans here.
Who are the witnesses?
Republicans have called three witnesses — one constitutional law scholar and two financial experts.
They are Bruce Dubinsky, a forensic accountant; Eileen O’Connor, a former Assistant Attorney General, United States Department of Justice Tax Division; and Jonathan Turley, a professor of law at George Washington University and a Fox News contributor.
Democrats will hear from Michael Gerhardt, a constitutional law professor at the University of North Carolina. Gerhardt served as special counsel to the presiding officer of former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial.
What polls say Americans think about the inquiry
Americans are divided on the GOP-led impeachment inquiry into Biden, a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll found.
Overall, 44% of Americans said that based on what they know, Congress should begin impeachment proceedings that could lead to Biden being removed from office while 47% said it should not.
Partisan views were apparent in the poll, with 74% of Republicans favoring impeachment proceedings and 83% of Democrats opposing them. Independents were split 46-45%.
Americans by 58-32% said the inquiry reflects Biden is being held accountable under the law like any president, rather than being unfairly victimized politically.