House Republicans released on Dec. 7 the text of a resolution to formalize the House impeachment inquiry of President Joe Biden.
The resolution is scheduled for markup on Dec. 12 with a vote expected later next week.
Then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) announced the impeachment inquiry on Sept. 12, without a House vote. The White House had argued that the inquiry was illegitimate as a result, prompting top Republicans to concede that while they didn’t think a vote was legally required, it would be better.
“According to the Constitution, you don’t need it, you can start an impeachment inquiry the way we’re doing it,” House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said on Dec. 4. The impeachment of then-President Donald Trump had also proceeded the same way, following the authorization of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
“[Mr. McCarthy] said it three months ago, but we think it always helps if the full House of Representatives on the record, a majority of that body, has said this is an official impeachment inquiry,” Mr. Jordan said, noting that he expects court challenges to the impeachment inquiry as well.
The Ohio Republican said he expects the impeachment authorization resolution to pass.
House Republicans have already issued subpoenas to members of the Biden family, including Hunter Biden. Hunter Biden has been subpoenaed to appear at a closed-door interview with House investigators next week, but his lawyer responded to the notice by offering the president’s son testify in a public hearing instead.
Top Republicans are now threatening to hold Hunter Biden in contempt of Congress if he does not show up at the closed-door deposition on Dec. 13.
The House GOP has accused the Biden administration of stonewalling during the probe. In response, the White House claims that it has cooperated in turning over more than 35,000 pages of confidential financial records.
The resolution would authorize the House Judiciary Committee to issue articles of impeachment.
The measure only allows the chairman and ranking members of the committees to initially question the witnesses. A staff member of the committees can question witnesses if allowed by the chairman or ranking member, depending on what side of the aisle the staff member is on.
The resolution also specifies that initial questioning in hearings will be no longer than 90 minutes and that both the majority and the minority will have equal time for questioning.
Additionally, the majority will give the minority some sway during the impeachment inquiry—in an apparent attempt to avoid repeating what the House GOP lamented as unequal treatment during the Trump impeachment inquiry, such as not being allowed to have a hearing held by the minority.
“Subpoenas and interrogatories so authorized may be signed by the ranking minority member, and may be served by any person designated by the ranking minority member,” the resolution states.
The resolution also states that the committees can release a report of their findings.
“Anything’s possible, but right now, we’re following the money,” he said at the time.
The probe has turned up bank records revealing at least $20 million in payments from foreign entities that were channeled through 20 shell companies to members of the president’s family as well as their business associates.
The payments—sourced from such countries as Russia, China, Ukraine, and Romania—were also observed to have begun during the president’s time as vice president and, in some cases, coincided with his trips to those countries.
Another key finding was that a confidential FBI source had alleged that President Biden received a $5 million bribe to ensure that a Ukrainian prosecutor investigating a Ukrainian company for which his son was a board director was fired.
President Biden earlier this week called allegations about his involvement in his family members’ business dealings a “bunch of lies.”
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the ranking member on the House Oversight Committee, denounced the resolution.
“Voting to launch an impeachment inquiry will not change the fact that, following many months of endless investigation by House Republicans this Congress and by Senate Republicans in 2020, the evidence plainly shows no evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden, much less an impeachable offense,” he said in a Dec. 7 statement.
The White House also issued an 18-page memo disputing the charges and stated that Republicans are pursuing a “baseless impeachment stunt” despite providing no proof of misconduct by President Biden in a continuous effort to defame the president.
According to Ian Sams, White House spokesperson for oversight and investigations, Republicans are prioritizing the wrong things, and voting for the impeachment inquiry would demonstrate that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) is “truly calling the shots.”