Sep 28, 2023 - Politics & Policy

House GOP's Biden impeachment roadmap

Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Rep. James Comer (R-KY) and Ranking Member Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) on Sept. 28. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Republicans showed their roadmap at Thursday's first hearing for their impeachment inquiry against President Biden.

Why it matters: Top House lawmakers are zeroing in on four lines of questions around Biden's connection with his son's foreign business dealings. But a chaotic hearing exposed cracks in House Republicans' plan.

  • House Democrats twice tried to force a vote on subpoenaing Rudy Giuliani in connection with the inquiry.
  • Both efforts were killed by House Republicans, but House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.), had to delay the first vote until enough Republicans returned to the room.

Driving the news: Some of the GOP's own witnesses were keen to say they don't yet see the goods for an impeachment.

  • "More information needs to be gathered and assessed before I would make such an assessment," said forensic accountant Bruce Dubinsky.
  • Conservative legal scholar Jonathan Turley, another GOP witness, also said that the “current evidence" would not support articles of impeachment. Turley noted that he supports the inquiry.

Zoom in: Four questions are at the center of the impeachment inquiry, according to a 30-page memo released by the GOP chairs of the House Oversight, Judiciary and Ways and Means Committees:

  1. Did Biden take official action or change government policy because of money or other things of value provided to his family or him from foreign interests?
  2. Did Biden abuse his office of public trust by providing foreign interests with access to him and his office in exchange for payments to his family or him?
  3. Did Biden abuse his office of public trust by knowingly participating in a bribery scheme to enrich himself or his family by giving foreign interests the impression that they would receive access to him and his office in exchange for payments to his family or him?
  4. Did Biden abuse his power as President to impede, obstruct, or otherwise hinder investigations or the prosecution of Hunter Biden?

Between the lines: In the memo released this week, House GOP chairs argued that there's evidence "that raises serious concerns" about whether Biden "has abused his federal office to enrich his family and conceal his and/or his family's misconduct."

  • The inquiry is set to cover Biden's years as vice president, including his time out of office, per the memo.
  • Republicans argued during the Thursday hearing that the evidence they've gathered so far is grounds enough to launch their impeachment inquiry against the president.

Zoom out: The contentious hearing happened against the backdrop of a looming government shutdown.

  • Ranking member Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) displayed a government shutdown clock during the Thursday hearing, showing the time left until midnight on Saturday.
  • "Three days before they're set to shut down the United States government, Republicans launch a baseless impeachment drive against President Biden," Raskin said.
  • "No one can figure out the logic of either course of action," he added.

The White House, which has also repeatedly dismissed the inquiry as baseless, also slammed House Republicans for the hearing as the government barrels toward a shutdown.

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