Republicans kicked off their first impeachment hearing by attacking Joe Biden and trying to tie him to his son’s business dealings, while Democrats claimed they had “no evidence” that the president was ever aware of Hunter’s influence trading have benefited.
Jamie Raskin, the top Democrat on the oversight panel, filed a motion to subpoena Rudy Giuliani and Lev Parnas because he considered them unreliable witnesses and claimed that the allegations about Joe Biden’s involvement came from them.
He noted that none of the Republican witnesses had direct knowledge of the president’s alleged misdeeds.
“If this dysfunctional faction wants to insist on moving forward, we must seek the testimony of Rudy Giuliani and Lev Parnas, the insiders who know the origins of the lie on which this sham impeachment is based and who are working to spread it.” said Raskin said.
Oversight Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., called a vote to table that request or block the attempt to subpoena the Trump-allied duo, which passed with a majority of Republican votes.
Comer, meanwhile, claimed that Biden “abused his public office for the financial gain of his family.” “For years, President Biden has lied to the American people about his knowledge of and involvement in his family’s corrupt business schemes.”
Republicans, led by James Comer (right), opened their first impeachment hearing by lashing out at Joe Biden and attempting to link him to his son’s business dealings, while Democrats, led by Jamie Raskin (left) , claimed they had “no evidence” the president ever benefited from Hunter’s influence trading
“If this dysfunctional faction wants to insist on moving forward, we must seek the testimony of Rudy Giuliani and Lev Parnas, the insiders who know the origins of the lie on which this sham impeachment is based and who are working to spread it.” said Raskin said
“Biden spoke, ate and built relationships with his family’s foreign business targets. “Those business targets include foreign oligarchs who have sent millions of dollars to his family,” Comer continued.
However, Republican witness Jonathan Turley, who defended Trump during his impeachment trial, said the evidence against Joe Biden did not yet constitute an impeachable offense.
“While I believe an impeachment inquiry is warranted, I do not believe the evidence currently meets the high crime and misdemeanor standard required for impeachment,” Turley said in his opening statement.
Turley said that while Republicans claim Biden lied about foreign dealings, lying is not a criminal offense.
“In fact, most presidents have lied to the American people.”
Comer, meanwhile, also pointed to newly released bank records showing that Chinese officials sent $250,000 to Joe Biden’s home address in 2019, when he was running for president. It’s not clear whether Hunter was living there at the time, but the new evidence suggests that Joe knew Hunter was doing business with China, although he claimed his son never did.
There are also WhatsApp messages Hunter sent to an employee in which he claims Joe was in the room while they discussed business, as well as damning statements from IRS and FBI whistleblowers.
Comer reiterated that the Oversight Committee discovered around 20 shell companies that transferred over $20 million to the Biden family between 2014 and 2019. It was found that around nine family members had received payments. They haven’t linked the payments directly to Joe’s bank account yet, but text messages suggest Hunter has been paying bills for his father.
But Turley punctured the argument that just a direct payment into Biden’s bank account would constitute a criminal offense.
“There has been repeated assertion that in order for it to be an advantage in criminal cases involving bribery, extortion and the Hobbs Act, you have to prove that President Biden accepted direct funds,” he said.
“The strongest case is of course a direct payment. But the idea that millions can go to a politician’s family and it’s not a benefit I think is pretty fallacious.”
Democratic Committee member Raja Khrishnamoorthi made a personal attack on Turley: “You have been fighting to legalize polygamy for years!”
In 2006, Turley wrote an editorial for the Guardian entitled “Stop the Persecution of Polygamists.”
Republicans must tie Hunter’s influence directly to Joe if they want to nail him for high crimes and misdemeanors. At that first hearing, Comer said he didn’t expect any new bombshells, but said he wanted to “re-educate” the Washington press based on the existing evidence.
During the hearing, Republicans frequently pointed out that Joe met one of Hunter’s Chinese business partners, Jonathan Li, when he took his son on an Air Force 2 trip to China in 2013.
In all, Joe met with fifteen of Hunter’s business associates, according to White House visitor logs and notes from the First Son’s laptop.
In addition to Turley, the witnesses included: Bruce Dubinsky, a forensic accountant with decades of experience in financial investigations, and former Assistant Attorney General Eileen O’Connor, who worked in the US Department of Justice’s Tax Division.