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House Republicans unveil resolution to authorize Biden impeachment investigation

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White House rejects interview requests tied to GOP's Biden impeachment inquiry 01:52

Washington — House Republicans unveiled a resolution Thursday to formalize their impeachment inquiry into President Biden, a move aimed at giving the GOP-led committees more firepower to look into his family's business dealings as lawmakers search for evidence of wrongdoing.

Formalizing the impeachment investigation, which has been underway for months, could throw more legal weight behind subpoenas as Republicans on the House Oversight, Ways and Means, and Judiciary Committees seek documents and testimony. The 14-page resolution lays out rules for public hearings and directs the committees to produce a public report with their findings.

"The impeachment inquiry strengthens our hand when we go to court against this administration or anyone who refuses our subpoena," said House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer of Kentucky on Thursday. 

The Biden impeachment push

Republicans have been trying to show that Mr. Biden was enriched by his family's foreign business dealings and that he accepted bribes, but have produced no evidence so far that the president engaged in any wrongdoing. 

The House Rules Committee said it will consider the resolution on Tuesday, teeing it up for a potential vote on the House floor before lawmakers leave Washington on Dec. 14 for the holidays. 

House Speaker Mike Johnson of Louisiana argued earlier this week that formalizing the inquiry was a necessary step because of "stonewalling" from the White House. 

"They're refusing to turn over key witnesses to allow them to testify as they've been subpoenaed," Johnson said. "They're refusing to turn over thousands of documents for the National Archives." 

He said it was "not a political decision," but a "legal decision." 

"This vote is not a vote to impeach President Biden. This is a vote to continue the inquiry of impeachment and that's a necessary constitutional step and I believe we'll get every vote that we have," Johnson said. "Whether someone is for or against impeachment is of no import right now." 

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson in the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023.
Speaker of the House Mike Johnson in the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023. Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced the impeachment inquiry in a last-ditch effort to appease conservative detractors in September, one which ultimately proved futile when he was ousted just weeks later. But the full House never voted to authorize the probe, as it had in previous impeachment investigations. The lack of a formal endorsement by the House raised questions about the legitimacy of the effort, concerns that Republicans are now hoping to address through a vote on the resolution.

Some GOP lawmakers who were previously opposed to an impeachment inquiry have since changed their minds. 

Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska, who originally warned against launching an investigation, said Thursday the vote was necessary because Mr. Biden is "refusing" to hand over documents. 

"Impeachment with the information we have would be a problem," Bacon said, adding that the threshold for high crimes and misdemeanors has not yet been met. 

The White House has said Republicans have already acquired thousands of pages of bank records and documents and hours of testimony that show no wrongdoing by the president. On Thursday, White House spokesperson Ian Sams called the resolution a "baseless stunt." Last month, the White House denied House Republicans' request to interview members of the president's staff and family in a separate but related inquiry into the handling of classified documents

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has named a number of people in Mr. Biden's orbit that the committees want to interview as part of the impeachment probe in the coming months, including the president's brother James Biden and his son Hunter Biden. The Oversight Committee issued subpoenas for James and Hunter Biden's personal business records in September.

In 2019, the Democratic-led House approved a similar resolution to authorize the impeachment inquiry into then-President Donald Trump as witnesses resisted requests for congressional testimony.

Ellis Kim and Jaala Brown contributed reporting. 

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