Republicans have had a House of Representatives majority since January and only Tuesday did Speaker Kevin McCarthy announce a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) this week accused McCarthy of moving too slowly, and ignoring his promises to the House Freedom Caucus, while Democrats are suggesting McCarthy has been hijacked by the Freedom Caucus.
Meanwhile, Republican Congressman Ken Buck has said he has seen no evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden. Buck, a Freedom Caucus member, is making headlines in liberal news outlets for his skepticism.
“What drove us is the facts, and we should always be driven by the facts, the evidence and the Constitution,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said on American Family Radio Wednesday. “We’ve been compiling facts and evidence. There are all kinds of facts that I think now warrant moving here.”
An impeachment inquiry in the House is a formal step that precedes a possible vote to approve articles of impeachment which would then lead to a trial in the Senate.
The inquiry is significant in that it gives House investigators greater legal authority. Jordan said it often helps courts take a closer look at compelling the White House to give access to necessary records or witnesses.
“When you get into this phase, it helps you when you get into the inevitable back and forth with the executive branch and have to go to court. The guy who’s second in line to be president, that’s a pretty important guy in our government. When he says this is a duty that’s specific to the House of Representatives, if they need information, we should be inclined to rule in their favor to get that information,’” Jordan told show host Jenna Ellis. “It may not mean we always get it, but it helps us.”
After winning the majority in January, the GOP-led House has released many of its findings from investigations into Biden’s ties with his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings – ties the president has repeatedly denied – and has found what it says is widespread corruption and abuse of power.
The House Oversight Committee has released bank records, informant testimony and more that it says proves its claims. Democrats have been accused of sitting on those records while in the majority.
Jordan said he now expects the “pace” of proceedings to pick up now.
Attorney General Merrick Garland is scheduled to appear before the House Judiciary Committee next week when he is expected to be questioned on the handling of the Hunter Biden investigation and more.
Republicans hold 222 House seats to the Democrats’ 213 and can file articles of impeachment with a simple majority vote.
Biden's impeachment in the U.S. Senate is doubtful, however. Democrats narrowly control the Senate, where removing the president would require a two-thirds vote of senators, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has publicly said he opposes impeachment.
Jordan said he isn’t concerned that forwarding the articles to the Senate will fall short.
“The facts are there, and there’s a lot of them. That’s the key,” he said.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) calls the House impeachment inquiry a witch hunt, a phrase made popular by former President Donald Trump when he was twice impeached by Democrats but never convicted in the Senate trial.
“I think the impeachment inquiry is absurd,” Schumer said Tuesday at the Democrats’ weekly press conference. “The American people want us to do something hat will make their lives better, not go off on these chases, witch hunts.”
Fact-finding media can't find 'evidence'
Mirroring that skepticism, media outlets are openly doubting the House committee’s findings. In one example, The Associated Press was ripped on social media for claiming there is "no evidence" of political corruption.
American Family News, which uses AP copy on its website, examined that 1,000-word AP story and could not find the words "shell companies" or "suspicious" in the story.
A shell company is not always a criminal enterprise but their use raises red flags because they can be used to transfer illicit funds. In the case of the Bidens, Republicans say 20 overseas shell companies were used to transfer at least $10 million into Biden family bank accounts.
In another example of a non-curious press, Oversight Committee member Scott Perry (R-Pennsylvania) challenged a British reporter Tuesday when her question implied Republicans were building a case on allegations more than evidence. The reporter floated the phrase “political revenge" as the basis for impeachment.
“This isn’t about political revenge. We have the bank accounts. We can see, ma'am, you can see that the homes that the Bidens own can’t be afforded on a congressional or Senate salary," Perry told the reporter. "You also understand that it’s not normal for family members to receive millions of dollars from overseas interests. Those things aren’t normal. It’s not normal to have 20 shell companies. It alludes to not only widespread corruption but money laundering if not influence peddling itself."
Perry leaned hard into the interview in which Joe Biden bragged about his role in the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor who was investigating the energy company Burisma.
“We also have the president, the vice president at the time, on record saying the prosecutor was fired. Well, the prosecutor was fired because the prosecutor was going after the company that (Biden’s) son was working on. That’s what we have, if you can’t see that, if you’re that blind …” Perry said.
Four facts that will form a case
Back in the AFR interview, Jordan laid out the facts that he says form the crux of the committee’s case for impeachment.
“The four central facts are, Hunter Biden was put on the Burisma board. Second, he wasn't qualified to be on the board. He said that himself. Third, the head of Burisma asked that certain things be done to relieve the pressure that Burisma was under, this Ukrainian energy company, the pressure they were under from the prosecutor. Then fourth and most important, Joe Biden did just that. He leveraged American tax dollars to get that prosecutor fired,” Jordan said.
The fourth fact validates that Biden sold American influence overseas, Jordan said.
“That was in the 1023 form that the Justice Department wouldn’t let us see, a confidential human source that said this thing happened where (Hunter Biden and Joe Biden) were paid for certainly policy preferences,” Jordan said.
Those four facts will carry the weight of the case before many other findings like shell companies, money paid to Joe Biden, Joe Biden’s use of pseudonyms in more than 5,000 emails, relationships with China and more ever come into play, Jordan said.
Democrats, meanwhile, have countered that the fired Ukrainian prosecutor was known to be corrupt and needed to go. They also claim Burisma was not being investigated at the time of the firing.
Jordan scoffed at Schumer’s disregard for the committee’s findings.
“All that evidence, and they call this a witch hunt," he countered. "It's almost laughable the way the Democrats treat this. I don't think the American people see that the way they do. Our job is just to focus on the facts and the evidence and move forward.”