Committee Democrats Debunk Republicans’ Lies, Distortions, and Fabrications During First Hearing on Sham Impeachment

Sep 30, 2023
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (September 30, 2023)—Even before Thursday's “unmitigated disaster” of an impeachment hearing, polling showed that a majority of Americans “do not believe the process should move forward.  Undeterred by public opposition and an imminent government shutdown, Committee Republicans insisted on holding a six-hour-long sham impeachment hearing, which featured no fact witnesses and zero evidence of presidential wrongdoing.  After the hearing, an Oversight Committee Republican concluded, “I don’t know that we proved too much.”  Instead, Committee Republicans spent the hearing repeating a years-old lie first crafted by Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani, presenting distorted facts and fabricated evidence, and admitting they do not believe in the rule of law.

 

Many in the GOP leadership agree” that the first sham impeachment hearing was a “disaster.”  These sentiments were echoed by Republican aides and longtime GOP operatives, who’ve described it as: “a total and complete shitshow,” “botched,” and an amateurish clown show.” 

 

While members of Chairman Comer’s own Republican Conference attacked his lack of credibility and failure to support his baseless allegations, Republicans’ witnesses testified that there was no evidence to justify impeachment.

 

See below for a roundup of coverage highlighting Oversight Democrats’ fact-based offensive against the Republicans’ sham impeachment:

 

New York Times: First Impeachment Hearing Yields No New Information on Biden

“If the Republicans had a smoking gun or even a dripping water pistol, they would be presenting it today,” said Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the Oversight Committee. “But they’ve got nothing on Joe Biden.”

 

Axios: Biden impeachment hearing gets off to sputtering start

The intrigue: Rep. Greg Casar (D-Texas) asked committee members to raise their hands if they believe both Hunter Biden and former President Trump "should be held accountable" if convicted at their trials.

 

In a stark illustration of the impeachment inquiry's partisan challenges, every Democrat's hand went up; Republicans refused to participate.

 

USA Today: Impeachment hearing recap: Here's what witnesses said about Joe Biden, Hunter Biden

Rep. Jasmine Crockett, D-Texas, criticized Republican lawmakers during the hearing over the gap in evidence appearing to point towards Joe Biden, not his son, Hunter Biden.

 

New York Magazine: Republicans Held an Impeachment Hearing and It Turned Into a Clown Show

The Democratic seats were mostly occupied for the first half of the proceedings, and Raskin appeared to grin throughout. In contrast, Comer sat mostly grim-faced and spent time peering at his iPhone when not expressing exasperation at Democrat Dan Goldman for repeatedly asking for unanimous consent for the same deposition from one of Hunter Biden’s business partners to be introduced into evidence again and again. By the end of the hearing, in a near empty room, a visibly peeved Comer was agreeing to this yet again, “for the seventh time without objection,” as Goldman continued to use the deposition to play defense for Biden.

 

NPR: The first impeachment inquiry hearing into Biden was six hours. Here's what happened

And Rep. Shontel Brown, D-Ohio, called the hearing a "shameful show" that distracts from the potential Oct. 1 shutdown, which will have impacts beyond Capitol Hill.

 

"This preventable shutdown threatens the livelihood of millions of federal workers, small business owners, seniors and veterans," she said.

 

The Bulwark: Comer’s Fiasco

How badly did it go? Rep. Jared Moskowitz quipped: “As a former director of emergency management, I know a disaster when I see one.” Quipped Punchbowl’s Jake Sherman: “Many in the GOP leadership agree.”

 

The Hill: GOP struggles to find footing in first Biden impeachment hearing

“I hear a lot about the Biden family. This is an impeachment inquiry about President Biden. I would try to discern what the allegations are for the president because they are nonexistent at this point,” Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) said.

 

CBS: House Republicans outline basis for Biden impeachment inquiry in first hearing

Democratic Rep. Robert Garcia pointed to a January 2023 tweet from Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a member of the House Oversight panel, touting her introduction of a resolution to impeach Mr. Biden on his first day in office two years earlier.

 

"There really is no reason why, they don't care why they want to impeach the president, but they've been trying to do it now for years," Garcia said. "Here, you have of course a member of this oversight committee posting about introducing articles of impeachment on President Biden's very first day in office. And now, the speaker of the House is empowering these people in a desperate attempt to keep his job."

 

TIME: House GOP Uses First Impeachment Hearing to Showcase How Flimsy Its Case Is

“Any time they say The Biden Family, they’re actually saying Hunter Biden. Because there hasn’t been a connection between Joe Biden and these companies,” said [Rep. Jimmy] Gomez, who has reviewed Trump’s tax returns.

 

Salon: "An unmitigated disaster": House GOP's first impeachment inquiry panned by Republicans

Ocasio-Cortez first asked Turley if he would be "presenting any first-hand witness account of crimes committed by the president of the United States." After the legal scholar responded in the negative, she asked the same of the two remaining Republican witnesses — forensic accountant Bruce Dubinsky and Eileen O'Connor, an attorney of federal administrative and tax law. They both responded, "I have not."

 

NPR: The first impeachment inquiry hearing into Biden was six hours. Here's what happened

Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the panel, strongly criticized the actions of the committee for both lack of evidence and the hearing's timing, given a looming government shutdown.

 

He called it a "Seinfeld impeachment — an impeachment hearing about nothing," referring to the long-running TV sitcom.

 

The Messenger: Democrats Try But Fail to Force a Subpoena of Rudy Giuliani in Impeachment Probe

Rep. Kweisi Mfume, D-Md., shouted and held up a paper saying: "Where is Rudy?"

 

"This committee is afraid to bring him before us and put him on the record," Mfume said of the Republican vote against a Giuliani subpoena. "Shame."

 

Mediaite: Maxwell Frost Gives Witness the Vapors With Scathing Takedown Of ‘Fake Impeachment’ Hearing

“This fake impeachment is based on desperate political calculation, not any evidence,” Frost declared. “And Mr. Chairman, you say this hearing is to establish the basis for this fake sham impeachment hearing, but these witnesses are not giving us any basis or giving us any evidence.”

 

Vanity Fair: Surprise: The GOP's First Biden Impeachment Hearing Was a Complete and Utter Flop

“I can’t seem to find the crime, and honestly no one has testified of what crime they believe the president of the United States has committed,” Democrat Jasmine Crockett said in a lacerating takedown of her GOP colleagues. “But when we start talking about things that look like evidence, they want to act like they blind,” the Texas representative said, holding up a photo of classified documents stored in one of Trump’s bathrooms. “These are our national secrets—looks like in the shitter, to me.”

 

The Guardian: The Biden impeachment hearing was a fishing expedition – no one took the bait

The Democratic congresswoman Melanie Ann Stansbury connected other dots. She said the hearing wasn’t really about Biden at all but a “chilling” attempt to make the dozens of pending criminal charges against Trump seem “like they’re not serious crimes”.

 

“What is this hearing actually about? It’s a campaign strategy. It’s a misuse of official resources. It is this committee and loyalists of Donald Trump doing his bidding to bolster his chances of winning back the White House and securing their majority in the next election,” she said.

 

“I think it’s obvious who the grand puppet master is here.”

 

USA Today: At impeachment inquiry, GOP decides Biden is guilty without evidence, but Trump should skate?

“I think it is worse than embarrassing that Republicans won’t raise they hands. They refuse to say that equal justice under the law should apply to everyone,” Casar said. “This impeachment hearing clearly is not about justice. We cannot say equal justice under the law for everyone except for the guy who holds the leash.”

 

He’s right.

 

ABC: Key takeaways from House Republicans' 1st Biden impeachment inquiry hearing

"Three hours and 45 or so minutes into this, the Republicans' own witnesses have confirmed they have seen no evidence of any evidence," said Democratic Rep. Summer Lee of Pennsylvania. "I think that if my Republican colleagues had a so-called smoking gun, they would have presented it by now."

 

Salon: "An unmitigated disaster": House GOP's first impeachment inquiry panned by Republicans

"When I walked into this hearing room, my first question was, 'Where's Rudy Giuliani?'" Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., said.

 

"This is supposed to be an inquiry on the facts against the president for potentially an impeachment, articles of impeachment," Lynch continued. "The one person, the one person, who was an agent of President Donald Trump, was sent to Ukraine to dig up dirt, find some dirt on Joe Biden.

 

ABC: Democrats call Biden impeachment inquiry 'about nothing,' GOP chair struggles to keep control

Jonathan Turley, a constitutional law professor called by Republicans to testify, said he believes it's a "best practice" to hold a full House vote to open an impeachment inquiry.

 

"It brings solemnity and weight of the decision," Turley told Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna.

 

Republicans have yet to hold a formal vote. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, despite previously stating he'd hold a floor vote, unilaterally ordered the inquiry on Sept. 12. At the time, it appeared he lacked the support from his caucus for any such measure to pass.

 

When pressed by Khanna if he'd advise McCarthy to change course, Turley responded: "I always said I thought it was best practice."

 

Independent: Biden impeachment latest: GOP’s own witnesses contradict main claims in ‘disaster’ first hearing

Representative Gerry Connolly of Virginia made his point during the hearing by deliberately mistaking Mr Biden for Mr Trump, speaking about “Biden towers” all over the world and shared mock concern about Mr Biden appointing his son to be in charge of US Middle East policy, in reference to Mr Trump’s appointment of Mr Kushner.

 

“Shouldn’t we be concerned about all those Biden towers all over the world where foreign partnerships were formed and influence was used here in the US? I’ve seen these towers in Indonesia, in the Philippines, in Turkey. I’ve even seen one in Chicago,” Mr Connelly said sarcastically.

 

Washington Post: Jim Jordan’s dishonest argument of wrongdoing by Biden

Rep. Daniel S. Goldman (D-N.Y.) sought to introduce into evidence another part of Archer’s testimony — in which Archer denied that Joe Biden had taken any action on behalf of Burisma.

 

Hunter Biden “did not provide the Burisma executives with actual access to his father. The access to his father was an illusion of access to his father. Is that right?” Goldman asked Archer.

 

“Right,” Archer replied. He’d previously admitted that he didn’t actually know whether Hunter Biden had called his father in December 2015 — and, in fact, that he only knew that a call had been placed to “D.C.,” where Burisma had consultants whom Hunter Biden had helped engage.

 

The Guardian: AOC accuses Republicans of making up evidence in Biden hearing

Turning to an item of actual evidence presented by Republicans, [Rep. Ocasio-Cortez] accused them of making it up.

 

Referring to Byron Donalds, she said: “Earlier today, one of our colleagues, the gentleman from Florida, presented up on the screen something that … appeared to be a screenshot of a text message containing or insinuating an explosive allegation.

 

“That screenshot of what appeared to be a text message was a fabricated image.”

 

Donalds showed text messages he claimed indicated that Hunter Biden engaged in fraud and money laundering, to the benefit of his father.

 

[…]

 

She added: “What was brought out from that fabricated image excluded critical context that changed the underlying meaning and allegation that was presented up on that screen, by this committee and by members of this committee.”

 

ABC: Democrats call Biden impeachment inquiry 'about nothing,' GOP chair struggles to keep control

Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., made a point to highlight House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's past remarks regarding an impeachment inquiry.

 

"A veteran of several impeachments said an impeachment without a floor vote by the Congress would create a process completely devoid of any merit or legitimacy," Porter said.

 

She held up a poster featuring a photo of McCarthy and his quote, made over former President Donald Trump's 2019 impeachment inquiry.

 

"This House vote didn't happen," Porter continued. "We have not followed what the speaker himself, Mr. McCarthy, has said is the process that we should be following so that an impeachment inquiry would have merit or legitimacy. Which is something that I think all Americans on both sides of the aisle should expect investigations or inquiries like this to have."

 

USA Today: Impeachment hearing recap: Here's what witnesses said about Joe Biden, Hunter Biden

Raskin told Republicans many of their arguments targeting Joe Biden and Hunter Biden rely on hypotheticals.

 

"This hearing has been dominated by the word 'if,' as many people have said. It's been filled with hypotheticals, and I'm a law professor, so I'm not averse to them," Raskin said. "But you don't impeach a president based on hypotheticals and based on obsolete conspiracy theories."

 

NBC: House GOP’s impeachment witnesses say there's no evidence yet that Biden committed a crime

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., meanwhile, asked […] O'Connor about her social media posts, including one that appeared to be promoting a fundraiser for so-called "alternate electors" who've been charged in Michigan.

 

Forbes: [Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes] Norton—'We Are Holding This Sham Hearing Two Days Before The Government Will Shut Down'

“I would be remised if I did not add that it is incredible that we are holding this sham hearing two days before the government will shut down.”

 

Daily Kos: The 5 best moments of the House ‘impeachment inquiry’ farce

But in case Republicans had forgotten what real corruption looked like, Rep. Robert Garcia came complete with pictures of someone who genuinely had worked in the White House, visited with foreign leaders on official business, then collected $2 billion from those leaders the day after Trump left office.

 

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118th Congress