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Republicans unveil impeachment measures as Biden denies any wrongdoing

Allegations are ‘just a bunch of lies,’ the president says

Speaker Mike Johnson, House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, Rep. Jim Jordan and Rep. James R. Comer conduct a news conference on Nov. 29.
Speaker Mike Johnson, House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, Rep. Jim Jordan and Rep. James R. Comer conduct a news conference on Nov. 29. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans on Thursday released an impeachment resolution that would formalize their inquiry into the business dealings of President Joe Biden and his family.

Three of the chamber’s committees — Oversight and Accountability, Judiciary, and Ways and Means — have been conducting an informal impeachment investigation since then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., ordered them to do so in September. Like McCarthy, new Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., has accused the White House and Biden camp of refusing to turn over documents and allow testimony.

Johnson said this week that House GOP leaders need more authorities to obtain additional documents and testimony, which would be unlocked if the full House votes to formally bless the impeachment probe.

According to the resolution, the three committees would be “directed to continue their ongoing investigations as part of the House of Representatives inquiry into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its Constitutional power to impeach Joseph Biden.”

The resolution is mostly procedural. It would authorize the chairs of the committees to take actions like holding public hearings and issuing subpoenas. It also would give the committee chairs authority to release copies of any transcripts from closed-door depositions.

The measure also gives the chairs the right to decide whether to craft and release a report at the investigation’s conclusion with “its findings and any recommendations.”

An accompanying resolution would formally bless “the enforcement of subpoenas issued by the chairs of the committees on Oversight and Accountability, Ways and Means, or the Judiciary as part of the inquiry into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its Constitutional power to impeach Joseph Biden, President of the United States of America, and for other purposes.”

Johnson does appear to have some work to do to persuade enough of his moderates, including 17 remaining ones who won districts in 2022 that Biden won in 2020, to vote with leadership on the floor. Former New York Rep. George Santos was the 18th; he was expelled last week by the full House as he faces a number of criminal charges.

During a Tuesday news conference, Johnson, who has been speaker since late October, laid out his sales pitch to those moderates. A vote could occur as soon as next week; the House is slated to leave for a holiday season break on Dec. 14. The Rules Committee announced a Tuesday markup for the resolutions.

“So we have come to this sort of inflection point because … right now the White House is stonewalling that investigation. They’re refusing to turn over key witnesses to allow them to testify, as they’ve been subpoenaed,” Johnson said. “And 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.”

Some members in those so-called Biden districts have expressed concerns about casting a ballot to impeach the president knowing the Democrat-run Senate would not vote to convict and remove him. That’s especially true in districts where Biden is leading GOP candidates.

The speaker addressed such worries on Tuesday.

“It will be a movement, a vote of the full House, and that will allow us to continue and continue on pace. This vote is not a vote to impeach President Biden,” the speaker told reporters. “This is a vote to continue the inquiry of impeachment, and that’s a necessary constitutional step and I believe we’ll get every vote that we can.”

House Republicans on the three panels, and others, have accused then-Vice President Biden and his son Hunter of using the father’s office to influence their business dealings. They allege the family peddled his power in return for big profits, which were shared among the Bidens.

The president on Wednesday was asked about the GOP claims.

“I did not. And it’s just a bunch of lies,” Biden said at the White House. “They’re lies. I did not. They’re lies.”

His aides have accused House Republicans of starting the impeachment inquiry and now moving to formally bless it to score political points heading into the 2024 election cycle, when control of the White House, House and Senate will be on the line.

“The Constitution: Impeachment is for high crimes and misdemeanors, bribery, and treason, reserved as a severe punishment of last resort,” White House spokesman Ian Sams posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Monday. “Today’s extreme House Republicans: Impeachment is for us to put a GOP win on the table for the base.”

House GOP lawmakers have yet to publicly connect the dots of the allegations but have said for months that they have evidence showing wrongdoing.

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