(WASHINGTON) — The House will hold a formal vote to authorize the ongoing Republican-led impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, Speaker Mike Johnson announced Tuesday.
Johnson said the House is at an “inflection point” and accused the White House of “stonewalling” the investigation, which was launched by former Speaker Kevin McCarthy back in September.
“They’re refusing to turn over key witnesses to allow them to testify as they’ve been subpoenaed,” Johnson claimed of the Biden administration. “They’re refusing to turn over thousands of documents for the National Archives. The House has no choice, if it’s going to follow its constitutional responsibility, to formally adopt an impeachment inquiry on the floor so that when the subpoenas are challenged in court we’ll be at the apex of our constitutional authority.”
White House spokesperson Ian Sams, in a memo last week, refuted claims that the White House is obstructing the inquiry. Sams said House Republicans have had access to 35,000 pages of financial records, 36 hours of witness interviews and more.
Johnson made clear the vote, which he and other GOP leaders said will be held next week, is not a vote to impeach President Biden but one that will allow lawmakers to “continue on pace” with the inquiry.
McCarthy, later ousted from the speakership in a historic vote, was criticized for not holding a vote to open the inquiry — as had been precedent. At the time, it wasn’t clear McCarthy had the support necessary to win a vote on the full House floor.
Johnson said Tuesday he believed Republicans would get the votes they need, saying the moderates in the GOP conference “understand this is not a political decision.”
“This is a legal decision. It’s a constitutional decision,” he said. “Whether someone is for or against impeachment is not of import right now. We have to continue our legal responsibility and that is only solely what this vote is about.”
Other Republican leaders, including House Majority Leader Steve Scalise and Whip Tom Emmer, also told reporters to expect a vote next week but did not elaborate on what day it will take place. The House is scheduled to go on recess on Dec. 14.
Moderate Rep. John Duarte, a California Republican, said he is “ready to see this impeachment inquiry go forward as quickly as possible” but cautioned the vote to authorize the inquiry will be close.
“The only impeachment we are going to do is an impeachment based on very serious facts and very serious charges and allegations. If we have both of those then we need to move forward as quickly as possible,” Duarte added.
House Republicans have alleged, without proof, that Biden was directly involved in and benefited from his family’s business dealings. The White House has called the inquiry “extreme politics at its worst.”
Lawmakers have held one public hearing which offered several contentious moments but no new evidence.
At that hearing, legal experts said they didn’t believe there wasn’t enough evidence yet to warrant bringing impeachment articles against Biden.
Since then, House Oversight Committee chairman James Comer has issued subpoenas for President Biden’s son Hunter and his brother James, as well as subpoenas to individuals with connections to Hunter Biden.
The subpoenas instructed Hunter Biden to appear for a closed-door deposition on Dec. 13 and James Biden to appear on Dec. 6. Hunter Biden responded that he was willing to testify before Congress, but in a public setting. Comer and others are insisting on a closed-door interview first.
The White House slammed the subpoenas as “irresponsible” and “unjustified.”
Fact-checking Comer’s latest claims
Comer on Monday announced the latest revelation from his probe into the Biden family: bank records showing that Joe Biden accepted monthly payments from his son Hunter’s company, Owasco PC.
Despite Comer’s tightly choreographed rollout — complete with a video monologue in which he describes the finding as further evidence of “blatant corruption” by the Biden family — the committee released few details.
The panel tweeted out one bank record from September 2018, when Biden was out of office, showing a payment from Owasco PC to Joe Biden for $1,380 — but it did not suggest how many monthly payments were made, what they were for, and how much money changed hands.
On Tuesday, an attorney for Hunter Biden added responded.
“The truth is Hunter’s father helped him when he was struggling financially due to his addiction and could not secure credit to finance a truck,” said Abbe Lowell. “When Hunter was able to, he paid his father back and took over the payments himself.”
A person familiar with the arrangement said Hunter Biden sent around $4,000 to his father in three installments to repay him for car payments on a Ford Raptor truck, which the Daily Mail reported in 2021.
The person added that Hunter Biden’s credit was low at the time — a result of his drug addiction — so his father helped him finance the vehicle.
“There Chairman Comer goes again,” Lowell continued, “reheating what is old as new to try to revive his sham of an investigation.”
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