WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans on Wednesday subpoenaed members of President Joe Biden’s family, taking the most aggressive action yet. an impeachment inquiry Democrats fiercely oppose it because it tests the scope of Congress’s oversight powers.
The long-awaited move of Representative James Comer, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, to subpoena the president’s son, Hunter, and his brother James, comes as Republicans seek to gain ground in their nearly year-long investigation. So far, they have failed to uncover evidence directly implicating the president in wrongdoing.
But Republicans say the evidence they uncovered paints a disturbing picture of “influence peddling” by Biden’s family in 2017. their commercial relationshipsespecially with overseas customers.
“Now the House Oversight Committee will bring in members of the Biden family and their associates for questioning about this body of evidence,” Comer, of Kentucky, said in a statement.
The stakes are extremely high, as the investigation could lead to Republicans filing impeachment charges against Biden, the ultimate punishment for what was committed. the American Constitution described as “serious crimes and misdemeanors”.
The subpoenas require Hunter Biden and James Biden as well as former business associate Rob Walker to appear before the Oversight Committee for a deposition by mid-December. Lawmakers also requested that James Biden’s wife, Sara Biden, and Hallie Biden, the wife of the president’s deceased son Beau, voluntarily appear for transcribed interviews.
Hunter Biden’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, called the subpoenas “yet another political stunt” and said the investigation was full of “worn, false, baseless or debunked claims.”
“Nevertheless, Hunter looks forward to the opportunity, in a public forum and at the right time, to discuss these issues with the Committee,” he added.
A lawyer for James Biden said the subpoena was unwarranted because the committee had already reviewed private banking records and transactions between the two brothers. The committee found records of two loans that occurred while Biden was not in office or running for president.
“There is nothing more to these transactions, and there is nothing wrong with them,” attorney Paul Fishman said in a statement Wednesday evening. “And Jim Biden never involved his brother in his business dealings. »
The White House has continually dismissed the investigation as a political ploy aimed at harming the Democratic president. They say the investigation is a blatant attempt to help former President Donald Trump, the early front-runner for the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nomination, as he runs for the White House again.
“These subpoenas and interview requests are further evidence that this bogus impeachment inquiry is driven solely by the demands of the vengeful and procrastinating Donald Trump,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin, the top Democrat on the House committee. surveillance, in a press release.
The impeachment inquiry slowed in early October after Kevin McCarthy was ousted as speaker by a handful of fellow Republicans, stalling legislative work and congressional investigations as the conference spent weeks deliberating his replacement before electing Mike Johnson late last month.
Now installed in the presidency, Johnson, of Louisiana, has given his blessing to the investigation and hinted that a decision could soon be made on whether to pursue articles of impeachment against Biden.
“I think we have a constitutional responsibility to follow that truth where it leads,” Johnson recently told Fox News Channel. He also said in another interview on Fox that he would support Comer’s decision to subpoena the president’s son, saying “desperate times call for desperate measures, and it might be long overdue.”
In a letter to Johnson On Wednesday morning, Lowell urged the new president to curb “partisan political games.”
Since January, Republicans have been investigating the Biden family for what they allege is a practice of “influence peddling” dating back to Biden’s time as Barack Obama’s vice president. Comer claims the committee had “uncovered a mountain of evidence” that he said would show how Biden abused his power and repeatedly lied about the “wall” between his political position and his son’s private business dealings.
Although questions have been raised about the ethics surrounding the Biden family’s international affairs, no evidence has been established to prove that Joe Biden, in his current or previous term, abused his role or accepted bribes. -of wine.
Over the summer, Republicans expanded their probe to include oversight of the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation into Hunter Biden and allegations that the case was rife with interference.
One focus of the Congressional investigation was whether the now special counsel in charge of the case, David Weiss, had full authority to bring charges against the president’s youngest son. In an unprecedented interview Tuesday, Weiss told lawmakers he was the ‘decision maker’ in a years-long case over Hunter Biden’s taxes and gun use.
No one at the Justice Department, including U.S. attorneys or the Tax Division, blocked or prevented him from filing charges or taking other necessary steps in the investigation, Weiss said.
The five-year investigation into Hunter Biden was expected to end with a plea deal this summer, but it imploded during a plea hearing in July. Weiss has now charged the president’s son with three firearms offenses related to purchasing a gun in 2018 during a period when Hunter Biden admitted to being a drug addict. No new taxes have been filed.
Associated Press writers Lindsay Whitehurst, Colleen Long and Eric Tucker contributed to this report.