Top House Republicans outline basis for Biden impeachment inquiry in memo on eve of first hearing

Top House Republicans outline basis for Biden impeachment inquiry in memo on eve of first hearing

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The Republican chairmen of the House Oversight, Judiciary and Ways and Means Committees outlined their view of the factual and legal basis for an impeachment inquiry into President Biden in a 30-page memo, which was obtained by CBS News. It was sent to all committee members late Wednesday.

According to the memo, the committees will look into whether Mr. Biden “abused his federal office to enrich his family and conceal his and/or his family’s misconduct.”

The alleged misconduct centers around the president’s son, Hunter Biden, and his overseas business dealings.

“The purpose of this inquiry — and at this stage, it is just that, an inquiry — is to determine whether sufficient grounds exist for the Committees to draft articles of impeachment against President Biden for consideration by the full House,” the chairmen wrote. 

The memo says the impeachment inquiry “will span the time of Joe Biden’s Vice Presidency to the present, including his time out of office.”

GOP-led House committees have been investigating the president and his son for months. So far, no evidence has been produced to show the president broke the law, benefited financially or used his office to help his son.

A president can be impeached for treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors, according to the Constitution. “The decision to begin this inquiry does not mean that the Committees have reached a conclusion on this question,” the memo says.

“It’s hard to grasp the complete derangement of this moment,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee. “Three days before they’re set to shut down the United States government, Republicans launch a baseless impeachment drive against President Biden.”

The full House traditionally votes to launch an impeachment inquiry, but it has not done so yet. It voted to initiate an inquiry in President Trump’s 2019 impeachment, but not initially in 2021, when he was impeached a second time in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

On Thursday, the House Oversight Committee will hold its first impeachment inquiry hearing featuring three conservative legal analysts. Witnesses for Thursday’s hearing are Bruce Dubinsky, a forensic accountant; Eileen O’Connor, former assistant attorney general for the Department of Justice Tax Division; and Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University Law School. They will be testifying in general terms about impeachments, business dealings and financial crimes. 

The minority has called Michael J. Gerhardt, a law professor at the University of North Carolina. 

This hearing comes as House Republicans appear unable to agree on funding the government.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy directed House committees to launch an impeachment inquiry into the president earlier this month, as a result of mounting pressure from the most conservative members of his conference.

The White House has said Thursday’s hearing is a baseless stunt. 

House Oversight Committee Chairman Jim Comer has claimed communications records, financial records, and interviews show Mr. Biden “allowed his family to sell him as ‘the brand’ around the world to enrich the Biden family.” 

The White House issued a 15-page memo Tuesday aiming to debunk Republicans’ specific claims. 

Last month, Abbe Lowell, an attorney for Hunter Biden, was asked on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” if it’s his position that the president was completely walled off from Hunter Biden’s business affairs. 

“I understand and my opinion doesn’t matter,” Lowell told “Face the Nation” moderator and chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Brennan. “What matters is the facts and the evidence. And the facts and the evidence that have been pursued by however many members of Congress and their staffs and media, looking for any possible connection has shown time and time again, it doesn’t exist.”


How to watch Republicans’ impeachment inquiry hearing

  • What: House Republicans hold impeachment inquiry hearing
  • Date: Thursday, Sept. 28
  • Time: 10 a.m. ET
  • Location: Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.  
  • Online stream: Live on CBS News in the player above and on your mobile or streaming device.

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