U.S. House Republicans launched the first impeachment inquiry Thursday into President Joe Biden, who faces an array of allegations around bribery and financial impropriety related to personal business dealings spearheaded by his son, Hunter Biden.
Republicans say they have significant evidence to back allegations that Hunter Biden received more than $20 million from several overseas entities in China, Ukraine, Russia and more. Hunter also faces gun and tax-related legal difficulties.
The impeachment inquiry, though, forces Republicans to focus on how much President Biden in particular was involved and benefited from these alleged dealings as Democrats argue the evidence is lacking.
“Evidence reveals that then-Vice President Joe Biden spoke, dined, and developed relationships with his family’s foreign business targets,” House Oversight Committee Chair Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., said in his opening statement, referring in part to testimony from IRS whistleblowers and long-time business associate of Hunter Biden, Devon Archer.
“These business targets include foreign oligarchs who sent millions of dollars to his family,” Comer added. “It also includes a Chinese national who wired a quarter of a million dollars to his son.”
The wire in question from a Chinese national broke headlines this week and added further weight to the allegations against the president. Comer said this week that multiple wire transfers from Chinese nationals listed the president’s home address in Wilmington, Delaware, as the beneficiary address.
“This happened when Joe Biden was running for President of the United States. And Joe Biden’s home is listed as the beneficiary address,” Comer said. “To date, the House Oversight Committee has uncovered how the Bidens and their associates created over 20 shell companies – most of which were created when Joe Biden was Vice President – and raked in over $24 million between 2014 to 2019.
“We’ve also identified nine members of the Biden family who have participated in or benefited from these business schemes,” Comer added.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who launched the impeachment inquiry earlier this month, referenced those wire transfers when speaking with reporters ahead of the hearing.
“While Joe Biden was running for president and told, and his attorney told too, that they received no money from China, we now know that yes, it came from Beijing,” McCarthy said. “It came from Jonathan Li, and the address on the wire is Joe Biden’s address. And then you find out, how did he meet this Jonathan Li? Well, he took Hunter Biden on Air Force Two when he went to China, and then Hunter had him meet the vice president then.
“The vice president … he wrote letters of recommendation for his children too,” McCarthy added.
The House Ways and Means Committee also released documents and communications earlier this week, including one with Hunter Biden “bragging in a 2017 email to a Chinese business executive that he negotiated a contract for $10 million per year for ‘introductions alone.'”
Democrats remained steadfast during the hearing, arguing that there is no evidence against President Biden, specifically.
U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., the ranking member on the committee, called it “preposterous,” and a “fairy tale.”
“They’ve got nothing on Joe Biden,” Raskin said, arguing that former President Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani sparked this “conspiracy theory.”
They also pointed to the indictments facing former President Donald Trump, who faces 91 charges across several states and from the federal government for his handling of classified documents, alleged ‘hush money’ payments to an adult film star, and his role in allegedly working to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.
“It’s scandalous to use impeachment to establish a counterfeit moral equivalence between President Biden, an honorable public servant who has never been indicted or convicted of anything in his career of more than 50 years in public life,” Raskin said. “…and Donald Trump, a twice impeached president who’s recently been found in court to have sexually abused and defamed a woman and fraudulently inflated the value of his real estate properties…”
Democrats also blasted Republicans for focusing on impeachment when the federal government is just days away from shutting down if Congress does not pass a new spending measure.
“They are wasting time and taxpayer dollars in an illegitimate impeachment inquiry when we’re about 48 away or so from an extreme MAGA Republican government shutdown, and this is what they’re focused on?” House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., told reporters.