Tag: house gop
House GOP Persists In Biden 'Probe' Despite Arrest Of Top Witness

House GOP Persists In Biden 'Probe' Despite Arrest Of Top Witness

On Wednesday, the Republican-led House of Representatives impeachment inquiry questioned James Biden behind closed doors on the very critical matter of how he repaid a loan to his brother. Banking records have already revealed that there is absolutely nothing to find in this investigation. Joe Biden loaned his brother James $200,000. Two months later, James paid him back. Neither did one thing wrong.

This hearing is a perfect example of why everyone called before this inquiry should demand to testify publicly. Not only has House Oversight Committee Rep. James Comer accused both the president and Democrats in Congress of lying about the loan, even though Comer already had all the evidence in hand to show everything was accurate and above board, but Democrats are being denied their rightful opportunity to rub Republican noses in the ugly collapse of every piece of “evidence” behind this so-called investigation.

In the last few days, the FBI form that Republicans demanded to see, then released themselves after threatening to hold the FBI director in contempt, turns out to be the product of a Russian mole who was fed false information by Russian agents. Meanwhile, a picture of “cocaine” that was included in a court filing in charges against Hunter Biden turns out to be an image of sawdust.

The only real questions that remain in this investigation are: How much did James Comer, Jim Jordan, and Chuck Grassley know, and when did they know it?

As Spiderman might say, let’s do this one last time

In 2019, Rudy Giuliani went to Ukraine on orders from Donald Trump and came back with a story. That story was so ludicrous that everyone passed on it, including Fox News. But there was one place where Giuliani could still get this mess published: The New York Times.

According to that story, Joe Biden went to Ukraine and demanded the firing of Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin because Shokin was investigating Burisma, the energy company where Hunter Biden served on the board. Biden allegedly threatened to withhold U.S. aid from Ukraine until Shokin was canned so Hunter could continue to collect his paycheck, and this oh-so-good prosecutor was unjustly fired.

The Times ran the story verbatim, without seeming to do anything like check Giuliani’s sources or look at public records. However, within a few days, Bloomberg dispatched a reporter to Ukraine to check on what Giuliani was selling, and sure enough, it was all bullshit.

Not only had Shokin not been investigating Burisma, he was so notoriously corrupt that officials in both the U.S. and the U.K. called for his removal for years. Biden didn’t start the push to remove Shokin, and he didn’t act alone. Everything that happened in Ukraine was very public, and European officials celebrated when Shokin was finally sacked.

There was no story. There never had been a story. But that didn’t stop Republicans from continuing to repeat Giuliani’s fairytale.

Then a miracle happened. Republicans learned that the FBI had been given a tip about this subject, one that resulted in an FD-1023 form that seemed to back up everything Giuliani had said in 2019. Over objections from the FBI, Sen. Chuck Grassley and Rep. Jim Jordan demanded the form. Then Grassley and Comer released the form to the public, and it became the beating heart of the Republican “impeachment investigation.”

And the form was perfect. Referring to Joe Biden as the “big guy” was in there. A claim that Hunter Biden was hired to "protect us, through his dad, from all kinds of problems” was right on the front page. The “17 recordings” of phone calls that supposedly included Joe Biden getting directly involved with his son’s business came from this form. Best of all, it included the claim that a Burisma executive complained about how "it cost 5 (million) to pay one Biden, and 5 (million) to another Biden.”

The form was everything. The absolute proof that Republicans wanted.

Except, of course, everything in it completely contradicted years of public records and statements from those involved. Republicans didn’t let that bother them. Comer defended this form repeatedly, calling Democrats who challenged its contents liars. Grassley declared the importance of those recordings mentioned in the form, even while admitting they might not exist. Jim Jordan practically quoted the form in his questioning of Devon Archer, and then lied about Archer’s testimony when it failed to match up.

Then last Thursday, Alexander Smirnov, the man behind that FD-1023, was charged with lying to the FBI and creating false records. According to CNN, Smirnov has informed investigators that he has “‘extensive and extremely recent’ contacts” with Russian spies. And in an interview after his arrest, Smirnov admitted that “officials associated with Russian intelligence were involved in passing a story about Businessperson 1.”

“Businessperson 1” is Hunter Biden.

So, Republicans have not only spent the last year pressing an investigation of the president’s son largely instigated by a document that turns out to have been tailor-made for them by Russian intelligence, they opened an impeachment inquiry with a Russian agent as the “heart” of their investigation.

The answer to why the FBI was so reluctant to release the document is simple: They don’t release unfounded accusations (unless they come from James Comey or Robert Hur, of course). And that ongoing investigation that had Republicans so excited was the investigation of Smirnov, not Hunter Biden.

All of this was a lie, and Republicans knew it. Just ask one of the men who toured Giuliani around Ukraine in the first place.

Republicans are plowing on, keeping up the pretense that this source they made such a big deal about for so long was just “ancillary” to their investigation into what they love to call “the Biden crime family.” They have other evidence, dammit. Like how Joe Biden once loaned his son some money for a truck.

But in the last day, another part of the investigation into Hunter Biden has crumbled into dust. As in sawdust.

Federal prosecutors mistakenly claimed in a court filing that a photo of sawdust they found while searching Hunter Biden's electronics was cocaine, attorneys for the president's son said Tuesday.

How anyone could have ever thought that this material, which was tan in color and sitting on a table saw, was anything other than sawdust is astounding. But a picture of any kind of dust seemed to be convincing to Sean Hannity, so Fox News audiences aren’t likely to be threatened by the truth. (This also raises questions about just what Hannity has been putting up his nose.)

A Russian agent. A fake document. A pile of sawdust. That’s what Republicans have to show for their big investigation.

It would be really great to hear what’s happening behind those closed doors today. Democrats should be having fun.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Mike Johnson

House GOP's Impeachment Drive Against Biden Crashes Into Facts

Senior Republican lawmakers and GOP insiders are reaching a consensus that the chances of successfully impeaching President Joe Biden are tumbling, given the dearth of credible accusations against him and the razor-thin majority Speaker Mike Johnson has in the House.

Three top Republican-chaired committees were tasked with investigating President Biden in an effort to impeach him. Some Republicans have suggested or even admitted the effort is either purely political or retaliation for Democrats in the House twice impeaching Donald Trump. Among them, Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Troy Nehls (R-TX), then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Oversight Chair Jim Comer, and Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan.

TIME reported last month that “the multi-pronged investigation has failed to prove that Joe Biden benefitted from his son’s business dealings or that he used his official government power to enrich himself or his kin. Nevertheless, leading House Republicans appear determined to impeach the President in the coming months, despite queasiness from within their own ranks.”

CNN reported on Friday that a “growing number of senior House Republicans are coming to terms with a stark realization: It is unlikely that their monthslong investigation into Joe Biden will actually lead to impeaching the president.”

“Top Republicans are not expected to make an official decision on whether to pursue impeachment articles until after a pair of high-stakes depositions later this month with Hunter Biden and the president’s brother, James. But serious doubts are growing inside the GOP that they will be able to convince their razor-thin majority to back the politically perilous impeachment effort in an election-year, according to interviews with over a dozen Republican lawmakers and aides, including some who are close to the probe.”

Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), a far-right Republican some have said was instrumental in the planning of the January 6, 2021 insurrection, told CNN, “I don’t know that the case has been made adequately to the American people.”

Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) added, “Let the American people decide in November if they want to take this country in a different direction.”

One unnamed GOP lawmaker told CNN of the impeachment, “I don’t think it goes anywhere,” and another said point-blank: “We don’t have the votes right now.”

GOP insiders too are growing weary of the move to impeach Biden, given the dearth of evidence.

“The window to impeach is rapidly closing,” one Republican strategist said.

Another, speaking about the investigation into President Biden told CNN, “You’d be hard pressed to say it’s going well,” and added, “It’s a jumbled mess.”

Meanwhile, CNN adds, House Oversight Chair Rep. James Comer (R-KY) “has gotten in hot water for his handling of witness transcripts and has held only one public hearing on his probe, which one senior GOP aide called at the time an ‘an unmitigated disaster.’”

Add to this that on Tuesday theWall Street Journal editorial board wrote, “Impeaching Mayorkas Achieves Nothing: A policy dispute doesn’t qualify as a high crime and misdemeanor.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy

Desperate GOP Leader Visits Mar-a-Lago To Beg Trump’s Approval

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy traveled to Mar-a-Lago on Thursday, clearly desperate to get back in the good graces of the ex-president he once sharply criticized.

Despite initially saying Donald Trump bore some responsibility for the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, McCarthy has backed down from that rhetoric, and the New York Timesreported that the pair's meeting on Thursday was meant to ease the tension between them. Trump had reportedly been furious about McCarthy's harsh words.

"The meeting between President Donald J. Trump and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, was a very good and cordial one," the former president's political action committee said in a statement on Thursday. "They discussed many topics, number one of which was taking back the House in 2022. President Trump's popularity has never been stronger than it is today, and his endorsement means more than perhaps any endorsement at any time."

This claim about Trump's popularity is highly dubious. He left office with his approval rating near its lowest point ever.

The statement continued: "President Trump has agreed to work with Leader McCarthy on helping the Republican Party become a majority in the House. They worked very well together in the last election and picked up at least 15 seats when most predicted it would be the opposite. They will do so again, and the work has already started."

Despite the statement's optimistic spin on Trump's electoral record, it didn't mention that Trump himself lost in 2020, oversaw a historic GOP loss of control of the House in the 2018 midterms, and failed to regain the House this cycle.

McCarthy issued a statement echoing similar themes about the former president working with the GOP to make gains in the 2022 midterms. He also bemoaned the fact that Democrats are "impeaching a President who is now a private citizen," even while he declined to call Trump the "former president."

Many noted that McCarthy's efforts to make nice with Trump were a stark contrast with his rhetoric shortly after the Capitol riot.

"The president bears responsibility for Wednesday's attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding," McCarthy said during the House impeachment proceedings. "These facts require immediate action by President Trump: accept his share of responsibility, quell the brewing unrest and ensure President-elect Biden is able to successfully begin his term."

Trump never took the "immediate action" McCarthy demanded. He has even never acknowledged Biden by name as the president or rightful winner of the 2020 election. But despite many predicting a "civil war" within the Republican Party over loyalty to Trump, the party's leadership seems to be deciding it will stick by its toppled leader.

It's not just McCarthy. As the Washington Post's Greg Sargent explained:

The New York Times reports that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is backing away from his effort to distance the GOP from Trump.
Why? Because McConnell's calculations are trapped between the recognition that if the party sticks with Trump, it will keep alienating "women and suburban voters," and the understanding that Trump brings "new voters into the Republican fold."
For now, the latter calculation is winning out for McConnell: With huge swaths of GOP voters still backing Trump as the party's leader, moving away from him is too risky.
Rep. John Katko

Capitol Assault ‘Much Worse Than People Realized’ Says Republican After ‘Classified Briefings’

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.), the first Republican lawmaker to publicly support efforts to impeach former President Donald Trump, is speaking out about the deadly Capitol riots that erupted on Jan. 6 as lawmakers worked to complete the Electoral College certification.

Although the American public watched in shock and dismay as the disturbing series of events unfolded, Katko insists the riots were far worse than reported on television. During an interview with Syracuse.com, Katko shared details about the day of the deadly U.S. Capitol riots.

While he could not offer specific details about the classified briefings he has received, he did reveal that the incident was far worse than reported.

"I've had a lot of classified briefings on it, and it's deeply troubling," Katko told Syracuse.com. "I was left with a profound sense that it was much worse than people realized."

He went on to stress the importance of taking a full objective look at the situation, how the series of events unfolded, and who else should be held accountable.

"We need to have a full stem-to-stern look back on this to see what happened, how it happened, the sequence of events, who contributed to it, and how we make sure it never happens again," he said.

Katko's latest remarks come just weeks after he spoke out against Trump's rhetoric and antics. He noted the president's misinformation campaigns on social media and his speech during the "Save America" rally that provoked the Capitol siege as he stressed the importance of holding the president accountable for his actions, according to Newsweek.

He insisted that the former president "deliberately promoted baseless theories that created a combustible environment of misinformation and division."

Katko added, "To allow the president of the United States to incite this attack without consequence is a direct threat to the future of our democracy and to our security."

While the former president has departed from Washington, D.C., he still has a number of legal investigations to contend with in the coming weeks.