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House panel members clash at latest Biden oversight hearing

White House in recent days has projected confidence with the state of the Republican impeachment investigation

From left, Rep. Dan Goldman, D-N.Y., ranking member Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., Chairman James R. Comer, R-Ky., and Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., attend the House Oversight and Accountability Committee hearing on Wednesday.
From left, Rep. Dan Goldman, D-N.Y., ranking member Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., Chairman James R. Comer, R-Ky., and Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., attend the House Oversight and Accountability Committee hearing on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Members of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee hurled partisan insults at each other at a hearing Wednesday that largely rehashed arguments over the weakened GOP impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden.

Republicans zeroed in on influence peddling allegations against the president’s son, Hunter Biden, while Democrats criticized the investigation and said the probe has identified no wrongdoing by the president.

Chairman James R. Comer, R-Ky., in his opening remarks, said Republicans were there to talk about President Biden and indicated Democrats would spend their time “beclowning themselves” with “another Russian collusion hoax for the sake of protecting President Biden.”

Comer also turned attention to the absence of Hunter Biden, who was invited to attend the public hearing but declined, with his attorney saying it was a “planned-for-media event” and not a serious oversight hearing.

“Maybe he will show up. He has said he isn’t, but he loves saying one thing and doing another,” Comer said. “At some point, Hunter Biden saying one thing and doing another begins to reflect poorly on his ability to tell the truth at all.”

Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the panel, described the impeachment inquiry as “perhaps the most spectacular failure in the history of congressional investigations.”

Raskin mocked the Republican investigation, saying that Comer “and his ace MAGA detectives have finally jumped the shark.”

“The comedy of errors comes crashing to an end, as House Republicans in more than a dozen Biden districts beg for mercy and the committee throws a flabby Hail Mary pass,” Raskin said.

Raskin described two of the witnesses — Tony Bobulinski and Jason Galanis — as biased and “utterly compromised,” saying the panel was focusing on the “fruitless testimony” of two men who did not testify to any presidential wrongdoing nor provide evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors.

Galanis, who the Justice Department says was sentenced for his role in multiple fraud schemes, testified remotely from federal prison.

Bobulinski, in his opening statement, said Raskin and Rep. Dan Goldman, D-N.Y., would lie during the hearing “and then go straight to the media to tell more lies.”

Raskin spoke up moments later. “He called members of this committee liars and I just want to know whether the order and decorum requirements of House rule 11 apply to witnesses appearing before the committee,” Raskin said.

Comer banged the gavel. “Does it apply or does it not?” Raskin said. Comer replied that he’s not aware of language that pertains to a witness.

House Republicans have for months sought to link Hunter Biden’s business dealings with his father as part of a wide-ranging probe into alleged influence peddling by members of the president’s family and Biden himself.

Hunter Biden’s former business partner, Devon Archer, said in a congressional interview that the younger Biden was selling the illusion of access to his father.

But Archer, in that interview, said he was not aware of any wrongdoing by the elder Biden, and did not have knowledge of the younger Biden asking his father to take official actions on behalf of business partners.

Meanwhile, a key Republican argument in the impeachment investigation against President Biden recently has fallen apart.

Republicans accused President Biden of being involved in a bribery scheme involving the Ukrainian energy company, Burisma Holdings. But a confidential FBI source was charged last month with fabricating the bribery scheme, in a case brought by Special Counsel David Weiss, who was appointed as a U.S. attorney under the Trump administration.

Biden confidence

The White House in recent days has projected confidence with the state of the GOP impeachment investigation.

In a letter last week to Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., White House Counsel Ed Siskel said the investigation has continually turned up evidence that President Biden did nothing wrong. Republicans, he argued, cannot not identify any governing decisions or policies that were improperly influenced.

“It is obviously time to move on, Mr. Speaker. This impeachment is over. There is too much important work to be done for the American people to continue wasting time on this charade,” Siskel wrote.

Raj Shah, a spokesman for Johnson, responded in a social media post and indicated that Republicans were not interested in dropping the probe.

“The White House does not get to decide how impeachment gets resolved, that is for Congress to decide,” Shah wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

President Biden himself took a jab at the probe over the weekend at the annual Gridiron Club and Foundation Dinner.

“And the biggest joke of the night: an impeachment inquiry. Imagine believing something so baseless that has a zero chance of succeeding,” Biden said, according to a transcript of his remarks. “But Republicans would rather fail at impeachment than succeed at anything else.”

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