(The Center Square) — The U.S. House of Representatives voted 221 to 212 Wednesday to formalize the impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, who faces allegations that he personally benefited from and lied about his son’s overseas business dealings, which raked in millions of dollars.
This vote was not a vote to impeach the president, only to formalize the impeachment inquiry which has been gathering and releasing evidence for months.
That evidence includes bank records, copies of checks and witness testimony backing allegations that the Biden family and associates used the Biden family name to rake in more than $20 million from entities in China, Russia, Ukraine and more.
IRS whistleblowers also testified that the Department of Justice interfered in their investigation into Hunter Biden. A long-time business associate of Hunter Biden has publicly said that the president spoke on speakerphone to Hunter’s business associates about 20 times. Bank records released by the Oversight Committee appear to show monthly payments in 2018 from Hunter Biden’s company to the president.
“The Bidens layered these payments through their bank accounts to hide the sources of the money,” Comer said from the House floor Wednesday. “The banks even flagged many of these transactions in more than 150 suspicious activity reports to the Treasury Department.
“One bank investigator was so concerned about Hunter Biden’s financial transactions with the Chinese company that he wanted to re-evaluate the bank’s relationship with him,” he added. “He noted that his transactions served ‘no current business purpose.'”
The president has repeatedly denied he benefited from his son’s alleged overseas dealings.
Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., the ranking member on the Oversight Committee, blasted the Republicans leading the inquiry, calling the effort a waste of time.
“This stupid, blundering investigation is keeping us from getting any real work done for the people of America,” Raskin said from the House floor before the vote.
The vote comes the same day that Hunter Biden defied a congressional subpoena to appear for a deposition Wednesday. He has asked to testify publicly instead of in private, saying that House Republicans would twist his testimony.
“For six years I have been the target of the unrelenting Trump attack machine, shouting, ‘Where’s Hunter?'” he told reporters outside the Capitol Wednesday morning. “Well, here’s my answer. I am here.”
In response, House Oversight Committee Chair Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., and House Judiciary Chair Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said they would initiate contempt of Congress proceedings against Hunter Biden, which could become a formal legal charge for the president’s son, who already faces multiple tax and gun charges.
“Hunter Biden today defied lawful subpoenas and we will now initiate contempt of Congress proceedings,” Comer and Jordan said in a joint statement. “We will not provide special treatment because his last name is Biden. As our committees were today prepared to depose Hunter Biden, he chose to make a public statement on Capitol Hill instead where he said his father, Joe Biden was not financially involved in his family’s business dealings. Exactly how was Joe Biden involved? Evidence shows Joe Biden met with Hunter’s business associates and his name was at the center of the family business strategy.”
House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn., said at a press conference Tuesday that Wednesday’s formalization of the impeachment inquiry would bolster its legal ground.
Comer has already sent a flurry of subpoenas to the Biden family and associates in recent weeks which may end up going to court.
“It’s clear the House will have to defend our lawful investigations in court, and passing this resolution will put us in the best position possible to enforce our subpoenas and set forth a clear process,” Emmer said.
Republicans argue the Biden administration is “stonewalling” the investigation.
“So far, two key DOJ witnesses have failed to show for congressionally subpoenaed depositions after DOJ directed them not to appear,” House Ways and Means Committee Chair Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo., said from the House floor Wednesday. “Other witnesses have refused to answer certain questions from investigators.
“And the Biden Administration has refused to turn over many of the documents requested by Congress, claiming this inquiry was not properly authorized,” he added.