House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) said Saturday that a vote to formalize the impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden is a “necessary step” in the face of what he said was White House resistance to providing evidence and blocking witnesses from coming forward.
In the interview, Mr. Johnson and House GOP conference chair Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) discussed Republican plans for an impeachment vote, while vowing to “follow the facts” in the inquiry and promising it wouldn’t be used as a partisan bludgeon.
“It’s become a necessary step,” Mr. Johnson said in the interview. “Elise and I both served on the impeachment defense team of Donald Trump twice when the Democrats used it for brazen, partisan political purposes. We decried that use of it. This is very different. Remember, we are the rule of law team. We have to do it very methodically.”
Mr. Johnson’s remarks come as House Republicans have been considering whether to formalize their impeachment inquiry into President Biden as White House lawyers have used the lack of formal House authorization to argue that the investigation lacks legitimacy.
The speaker said that the Biden impeachment inquiry is being “stonewalled” by the White House, which he accused of blocking several witnesses from testifying and of withholding “thousands of pages of evidence.”
The impeachment inquiry against President Biden focuses on his time as vice president and involves allegations that he lied about his involvement in his family’s business dealings.
President Biden has denied any wrongdoing while his aides have denounced the inquiry as political revanchism for the Democrat-led impeachments of former President Donald Trump.
The White House has called the proposal to hold an impeachment vote an effort by Republicans “to distract from their own chaos and dysfunction.”
“House Republicans have already proven this is an illegitimate exercise not rooted in facts and the truth but only in a political desire to smear the president with lies, and the American people see right through it,” Ian Sams, a White House spokesman, said in a statement.
Impeachment Inquiry VoteHouse Republicans have alleged that President Biden benefited from the foreign business dealings of his family members, in particular those of his son, Hunter Biden, who had a lucrative position at Ukrainian energy giant Burisma while then-Vice President Biden was responsible for U.S. foreign policy regarding Ukraine.
Members of the Biden family, their associates, and their companies raked in more than $24 million from various sources, including business operators and companies in China, Russia, and Kazakhstan, according to records obtained by the GOP-led House Oversight Committee.
President Biden and White House spokesman Ian Sams have strenuously denied any wrongdoing on the president’s part—or any involvement in or knowledge of his family’s business dealings.
In a long-anticipated move, Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, recently issued a series of subpoenas and interview requests targeting members of President Biden’s family and close aides.
In response, White House lawyers have demanded that the lawmakers withdraw what they called “irresponsible” subpoenas and interview requests while accusing House Republicans of “improperly weaponizing the oversight powers of Congress” for political gain.
A letter to Republican committee leaders written by Richard Sauber, special counsel to the president, accused the GOP of misrepresenting facts and ignoring “overwhelming evidence disproving” its claims.
“This pattern of distortions and falsehoods lays bare that no amount of truthful testimony or document productions will satisfy you and exposes the improper nature of your Committee’s efforts,” Mr. Sauber wrote.
Mr. Comer responded to the letter by saying that if the president has nothing to hide, he should make his aides available for interviews.
“President Biden and this White House are seeking to obstruct our investigation at every turn,” Mr. Comer said. “We are not deterred by this obstruction and will continue to follow the facts and hold President Biden accountable to the American people.”
‘Something We Have to Do’Amid the White House’s resistance to the subpoenas and the inquiry itself, Mr. Johnson told Fox News that the time has come to hold a vote.
“Our three committees of jurisdiction—Judiciary, Oversight, Ways and Means—have been doing an extraordinary job following the evidence where it leads,” Mr. Johnson said. “But now we’re being stonewalled by the White House,” adding that they’re preventing several witnesses from coming forward and that “the White House has withheld thousands of pages of evidence.”
Mr. Johnson then said that a formal impeachment inquiry vote on the House floor would allow Republicans to take the probe “to the next necessary step.”
“I think it’s something we have to do at this juncture,” he added.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Mr. Johnson’s latest remarks.
According to records obtained by the GOP-led House Oversight Committee, members of the Biden family, their associates, and their companies raked in more than $24 million from various sources, including business operators and companies in China, Russia, and Kazakhstan.
“This was a very organized criminal enterprise by the Biden family,” Mr. Comer said at the beginning of November while revealing plans to issue around two dozen subpoenas to members of the president’s family.
Most Think Biden Acted Unethically or IllegallyDespite repeated denials of wrongdoing by President Biden and his supporters, recent polling shows that most Americans believe that the president acted either illegally or unethically in how he handled his son’s international business dealings.
Overall, 35 percent of responding U.S. adults said they think President Biden has done something illegal, while 33 percent said he did something unethical.
There was a partisan dimension to the results. Most Republicans (65 percent) said they believe President Biden did something illegal when it comes to his son’s business dealings, while most Democrats (58 percent) said they don’t think the president did anything wrong.