The House voted to formalize an official impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden after months of investigating him and his family, so far without finding direct evidence of wrongdoing by the White House.
The resolution passed 221 to 212 largely along party lines. Republican members who had previously expressed skepticism in opening an impeachment inquiry said they reversed course because they felt the administration was stonewalling Congress.
“This summer I opposed a formal impeachment inquiry because the president was cooperating by providing information that was subpoenaed. Now, he is stonewalling,” Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb. told Semafor. “We need an official inquiry to force him to provide information that the citizens deserve to know.”
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President Biden issued a lengthy statement Wednesday evening following the vote, accusing House Republicans of ignoring pressing issues like border security and Ukraine funding and instead prioritizing a “baseless political stunt.”
“I wake up every day focused on the issues facing the American people – real issues that impact their lives, and the strength and security of our country and the world,” Biden said. “Unfortunately, House Republicans are not joining me. Instead of doing anything to help make Americans’ lives better, they are focused on attacking me with lies.”
Republicans are investigating the Biden family’s business dealings. Rep. James Comer has repeatedly alleged there is “overwhelming evidence” the president was involved in his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings.
Last week, House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, told reporters that impeachment offenses could possibly center around Hunter’s involvement with Ukrainian energy company Burisma. Republicans alleged that Biden at the time withheld a loan guarantee to Ukraine until officials fired then-inspector general Viktor Shokin. Those claims surfaced during former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment hearings — and were repeatedly debunked, as officials confirmed Biden’s actions were in line with official U.S. policy.
The House Ways and Means Committee is conducting a separate investigation into claims made by two whistleblowers alleging that the Justice Department afforded Hunter Biden preferential treatment in dealing with his criminal investigation.
The 14-page resolution authorizes the House Judiciary, Oversight, and Ways and Means Committees to advance their ongoing investigation. Comer told reporters that the official inquiry would strengthen their ability to enforce subpoenas.
Hunter Biden appeared at the Capitol on Wednesday, declining to speak in a closed-door deposition, but instead offering to testify at a public hearing.
“Let me state as clearly as I can: My father was not financially involved in my business, not as a practicing lawyer, not as a board member of Burisma, not my partnership with a Chinese private businessman, not in my investments at home, nor abroad,” he told reporters on Wednesday at the Capitol after declining to be privately deposed.
Jordan told reporters, “we will be looking” into holding Hunter Biden in contempt.