Impeachment Hawks Hope for Formal Inquiry Authorization as the White House and Biden Family Push Back

Congressman James Comer believes there is enough evidence for the House to impeach the president, but the lack of a formal inquiry authorization signals moderate members are not on board.

AP/J. Scott Applewhite
House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, flanked by Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik and Speaker Johnson talks with reporters about efforts to investigate President Biden and his son Hunter Biden, at the Capitol last week. AP/J. Scott Applewhite

As Hunter Biden vows to fight a congressional subpoena demanding he sit for a deposition, the House’s impeachment hawks are looking for next steps in order to keep their inquiry in the news and build public support for their effort. The chamber’s inability to pass an inquiry authorization, however, signals that the three-seat Republican majority is not yet fully on board. 

The chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Congressman James Comer, told Fox News on Sunday that the House would soon vote to authorize a formal impeachment inquiry. The former speaker, Congressman Kevin McCarthy, launched the probe unilaterally in September, which the White House says is not legal. 

“There are about 15 or 20 moderates that … really worry about what CNN says or the Washington Post writes,” he said of those who have privately pushed back against a former inquiry authorization. “A great thing happened during Thanksgiving: the members went home. … They met people in Walmart and people on Main Street and they’re like, ‘What in the world have the Bidens done to receive millions and millions of dollars from our enemies around the world, and did they not pay taxes on it?’”

“They heard from their constituents: ‘Yes, we want you to move forward. We want to know the truth and we expect the Bidens to be held accountable for public corruption,’” he continued. “We are unified at a time when it’s no secret our conference is broken in a lot of ways. The members have heard from their constituents back home.”

Mr. Comer would not disclose the names of those members who have allegedly changed their minds about impeachment and did not disclose his source for the notion that shoppers are confronting their members of Congress about Mr. Biden’s corruption in Walmarts across the country. 

The chairman has faced relentless criticism from his Democratic colleagues, especially the panel’s ranking member, Congressman Jamie Raskin. When the first son and his uncle were subpoenaed by the Oversight Committee, Mr. Raskin accused Mr. Comer of putting out “distorted” information.  

“Throughout this investigation, Chairman Comer has distorted a lot of facts, invented some, and concealed the evidence in an effort to distract from his utter failure to find any proof of wrongdoing by the President, much less an impeachable offense,” Mr. Raskin said. “These recent subpoena and transcribed interview requests are another vain attempt to interfere with the justice system and existing special counsel investigations.”

In 2019, another former speaker, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, also unilaterally launched an impeachment probe into President Trump, which Republicans argued at the time was illegal. She later received that formal authorization from the House. 

The Republican majority may soon win a similar victory. Following a closed-door conference meeting of the GOP on Friday, the chairman of the House Rules Committee, Congressman Tom Cole, said his panel would pass an impeachment inquiry authorization bill before the end of the year. With Congressman George Santos having been ousted, however, the Republicans can only afford to lose three votes on the House floor. 

The focus of the inquiry will continue to rely on bank records related to Hunter and James’ overseas business dealings. On Wednesday, Mr. Comer discussed a 2018 internal bank email that flagged a $5 million transfer to the first son from a business partner in Communist China. The Bidens say that this large sum was a loan, but Mr. Comer said on Fox News that the lack of loan documentation is evidence of the family’s “influence-peddling scheme.”

“Banks don’t want to file these [suspicious activity reports] because when you do, it invites the bank examiners in and those are the last people a bank wants to see,” Mr. Comer said. “They understood the potential criminality here and the possible vulnerability to our national security.”

“The Bidens were taking in millions of dollars from our enemies around the world and they were calling them ‘loans’ because when you say ‘a loan’ you don’t have to report that on your taxes, you don’t have to to notify the IRS, so this was a way the Bidens were trying to sneak money in,” the chairman added. 

After the formal House authorization vote, the next fight for Mr. Comer and his fellow impeachment hawks is to compel the closed-door testimony of the first son, who was ordered to appear in private when he was subpoenaed by Mr. Comer, but now says he will only appear publicly. 

Mr. Comer says Mr. Biden’s insistence on public testimony and no other appearance violates the subpoenas. “Mr. Biden’s attempt to avoid sitting for a deposition pursuant to the terms of the subpoenas — by offering instead to testify at a public hearing — amounts to a demand that he receive special treatment from the Committees,” the chairman said. “Mr. Biden will not succeed in attempting to dictate to the Committees how they conduct their investigation. The subpoenas Mr. Biden has received compel him to appear before the Committees for a deposition; they are not mere suggestions open to Mr. Biden’s interpretation or preference.”


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