The White House has asked media outlets to subject House Republicans to greater scrutiny after they launched an impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden, focusing on allegations of corruption.
In a memo to media outlets obtained by The Epoch Times, White House spokesperson Ian Sams said that “it’s time for the media to ramp up its scrutiny of House Republicans for opening an impeachment inquiry based on lies.”
Mr. Sams said in the memo that Congressional Republicans have for years tried to “muddy the waters” by making supposedly spurious allegations against President Biden and attracting media coverage that only serves to “generate confusion, put false premises in people’s feeds, and obscure the truth.”
He complained that media coverage has failed to “unpack the illegitimacy of the claims” on which House Republicans have based their impeachment inquiry, with Mr. Sams providing a 14-page appendix (pdf) that he says comprehensively addresses “the [seven] key lies House Republicans are suggesting they are basing an impeachment on.”
These supposed lies include the claim that President Biden “engaged in a bribery scheme with a foreign national,” that he is “compromised by deals with foreign adversaries,” and that he got the Ukrainian prosecutor general fired to help energy company Burisma, which employed his son Hunter Biden on its board and paid him around a million dollars a year.
The alleged “lies” have a factual basis, however.
For instance, FBI Director Christopher Wray has confirmed the existence of a document alleging that President Biden engaged in a criminal bribery scheme with a foreign national. And it has been well documented that, in 2015, then-Vice President Biden traveled to Ukraine and threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S. aid unless Ukrainian officials agreed to fire then-prosecutor-general Viktor Shokin, who was accused of corruption.
Mr. Shokin later told a European court in a sworn affidavit that he was forced out because he was leading a corruption probe into Burisma, the company that gave Hunter Biden a job while his father was responsible for U.S. foreign policy on Ukraine.
Mr. Sams’ memo feeds into a broader narrative that accuses Republicans of having no evidence for the impeachment inquiry.
House Oversight Committee Republicans responded to that narrative on Sept. 13 by releasing a list of evidence of President Biden’s alleged involvement in his family’s “influence-peddling schemes,” including transcripts of Congressional testimony from Hunter Biden’s former business associate Devon Archer, who “described how Joe Biden was ‘The Brand’ and was used to send ‘signals’ of power, access, and influence to enrich the Biden family from foreign sources.”
‘Culture of Corruption’
In announcing the impeachment inquiry into President Biden, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said that the GOP has uncovered “serious and credible allegations into President Biden’s conduct—a culture of corruption.”
Mr. McCarthy detailed some of this evidence in a letter to his Republican colleagues, including bank records and testimony, while announcing that a special meeting would be held on Sept. 14 with committee chairs.
House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) will lead the impeachment effort, with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-Mo.) assisting.
The three committee chairs issued a joint statement on Sept. 12, saying that House Republicans have uncovered an “overwhelming amount of evidence showing President Joe Biden lied to the American people about his knowledge and participation in his family’s influence peddling schemes.”
“Bank records, suspicious activity reports, emails, texts, and witness testimony reveal Joe Biden allowed his family to sell him as ‘the brand’ around the world to enrich the Bidens,” the three lawmakers said.
“And, thanks to two brave IRS whistleblowers, we know that the Justice Department – which has been sitting on much of this evidence – has prevented career investigators from pursuing information that could have led to Joe Biden,” they added.
Both of the whistleblowers provided documents indicating the investigations into the Biden family had been held back in some way—and said so in testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee.
The whistleblowers said that the Justice Department and the IRS used various tactics to delay probes into Hunter Biden’s tax fraud, including denying requests by the U.S. Attorney to bring charges and letting the clock run out to reach the statute of limitations.
The transcript from the first whistleblower, Gary Shapley, can be viewed here (pdf). The testimony from the second whistleblower can be viewed here (pdf).
All Democrats on the committee voted against the release of the whistleblower testimony, much like Congressional Democrats stood behind President Biden after Mr. McCarthy announced the impeachment inquiry.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called the impeachment decision “absurd,” saying that “the American people want us to do something that will make their lives better, not go off on these chases, witch hunts,” during a news conference following the announcement.
Elsewhere, former Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday he would have preferred a vote on an impeachment inquiry but would defer to House Republicans after Mr. McCarthy directed committees to open the impeachment probe without a vote.
“I want to respect Speaker McCarthy’s authority and decision to be able to initiate an impeachment inquiry,” Mr. Pence told a reporter in Iowa, per The Hill.
“The American people have a right to know whether or not President Biden or his family personally profited during his time serving as Vice President.”