The first hearing in House Republicans’ impeachment inquiry into President Biden featured their star witnesses testifying that they lacked proof that he committed impeachable offenses, multiple procedural skirmishes the G.O.P. majority nearly lost and, at times, nearly a dozen empty Republican seats.
What it did not include was any new information about Mr. Biden’s conduct — or any support for Republicans’ accusations that he had entered into corrupt overseas business deals.
“If the Republicans had a smoking gun or even a dripping water pistol, they would be presenting it today,” said Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the Oversight Committee. “But they’ve got nothing on Joe Biden.”
Top House Republicans are eyeing potential impeachment charges of bribery and abuse of power against Mr. Biden, and they have released more than 700 pages from the confidential tax investigation into his son Hunter Biden. But the G.O.P. has struggled so far to link Hunter Biden’s business activity to his father. Despite their review of more than 12,000 pages of bank records and 2,000 pages of suspicious activity reports, none of the material released so far shows any payment to the president.
Representative James R. Comer, Republican of Kentucky and the chairman of the Oversight Committee, said his panel would continue to search for more evidence against Mr. Biden. As the hearing ended, Mr. Comer said he was authorizing subpoenas for the personal bank records of Hunter Biden and James Biden, the president’s brother, and their affiliated companies.
“One of those steps is gaining insight into where the Bidens’ foreign money ended up, for what purposes,” Mr. Comer said.
For now, though, even some witnesses House Republicans handpicked to testify on Thursday conceded that lawmakers had not accumulated the evidence needed to support an impeachment charge. [Continue reading…]