Grounds for Biden impeachment inquiry explained in six words: ‘Public offices are not for sale’

In letter to colleagues, House Speaker lays out justifications for escalating to an impeachment inquiry

Published: September 12, 2023 11:00pm

After weeks of bombshell revelations and contentious debate, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy crossed a political threshold of no return and set significant stakes for both Congress and the Biden White House heading into a tumultuous presidential election year.

The first-term leader of the House on Tuesday authorized an official impeachment inquiry against America’s 46th president. He did it without having to hold a formal vote on the House floor, in part because his predecessor Nancy Pelosi changed the tradition during the Donald Trump era.

But as the ramifications of the decision were settling in and both sides girded for battle, McCarthy sent a letter to colleagues that explained the rationale for such an inquiry at this moment, summarizing it in six succinct words: “Public offices are not for sale,” McCarthy declared.

His “Dear Colleagues” letter Tuesday evening laid out a simple tale of a politically connected family enriching itself during the Obama years with millions of dollars from foreign oligarchs with an interest in the policy decisions of then-sitting Vice President Joe Biden.

While Hunter Biden and his partners quarterbacked the deals, his father used his government position to facilitate the operation by meeting, dining and phoning with the clients, McCarthy explained.

In essence, the father-son duo were a two-for-the-price-of-one lobbying “brand” – just like former business partner Devon Archer explained in his bombshell testimony earlier this summer.

And while the alleged influence peddling operation started under former President Barack Obama, the wrongdoing extended into Biden’s presidency in the form of false statements, deception, obstruction of federal investigators and a sweetheart prosecution deal that McCarthy argued equated to a coverup.

"Simply put, the American people deserve to know that public offices are not for sale and that the federal government is not being used to cover up the actions of a politically-connected family," McCarthy wrote,

You can read the full letter here.

Amid partisan howls and recriminations from congressional Democrats and the White House, McCarthy scheduled a meeting of the House GOP caucus for Thursday where he planned to further explain to fellow lawmakers the five grounds justifying the inquiry:

  • Biden made false statements to the Americans public to get elected and since he took office, including denying that his family did not get money from communist China when in fact it got millions.
  • The president facilitated his family's enrichment as Barack Obama's vice president by joining phone calls and meetings with his son Hunter's business associates. "Eyewitness testimony revealed that the President joined multiple phone calls and had various interactions with his son's business partners," he wrote.
  • Biden presided over a family that collected nearly $20 million in foreign proceeds – some from oligarchs of concern to U.S. – and had more than 150 banking transactions flagged as suspicious.
  • The FBI received information in 2020 – yet to be corroborated or debunked – that Biden was the beneficiary of a $10 million bribe from a Ukrainian company called Burisma Holdings that was under investigation for corruption and who had hired his son, The allegation is concerned because there also is evidence Biden "used his official office to coordinate with Hunter Biden's business partner about Hunter's role in Burisma" during a time when the former vice president withheld a $1 billion U.S. loan guarantee to force the firing of the Ukrainian prosecutor investigating. Burisma.
  • Since becoming president, his administration has taken actions to thwart or minimize potential investigation and prosecution of Hunter Biden on criminal charges, including a "sweetheart plea deal that President Biden's Department of Justice tried to sneak past the public" this summer before a judge rejected it.

McCarthy stressed that an inquiry is not a formal impeachment but rather a mechanism for determining in the future whether articles of impeachment for high crimes and misdemeanors are warranted.

"These allegations should concern every American, regardless of political party," McCarthy's letter declared. "Taken together, they paint a picture of a culture of corruption, obstruction, and abuse of power that rises to the level of formal investigation.

"House Republicans are committed to getting answers and finding the truth – nothing more, nothing less. We will go wherever the evidence takes us," he added.

The approach of sticking to facts won some immediate converts, including freshman Rep. Andy Ogles, R-Tenn., who had pressed for impeachment for some time.

"It's not about payback. It's about justice. And that's what we have to pursue, Ogles told the "Just the News, No Noise" television show on Tuesday night.

The letter praised three House committee chairmen – Reps. James Comer of the Oversight Committee, Jim Jordan of the Judiciary Committee and Jason Smith of the Ways and Means Committee – for turning up significant evidence to justify an inquiry, including from two IRS whistleblowers and former Hunter Biden business associate Devon Archer.

"Under their leadership, especially over the course of the past five weeks, House Republicans have uncovered serious and credible allegations into President Biden's conduct, beginning as Vice President," the Speaker wrote.

The Facts Inside Our Reporter's Notebook

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