Republican Witnesses, Oversight Democrats Agree: GOP’s Sham Impeachment Inquiry Lacks Evidence of Wrongdoing by the President
Washington, D.C. (September 29, 2023)—As House Republicans drive the country toward a government shutdown, Rep. Jamie Raskin, Ranking Member of the Committee on Oversight and Accountability, led Democrats in debunking conspiracy theories at the center of Committee Republicans’ sham impeachment inquiry.
“Ladies and gentlemen, if Republicans had a smoking or even a single damning piece evidence, they would be presenting it today. But they have none. All they can do is return to the thoroughly demolished lie that Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump launched nearly five years ago—the ruined Burisma conspiracy theory, a fairy tale so preposterous that even one of its main authors has repudiated it,” said Ranking Member Raskin in his opening statement.
At the conclusion of his opening remarks, Ranking Member Raskin made a motion to subpoena the testimony of Lev Parnas and Rudy Giuliani—two fact witnesses at the center of the effort to create and peddle the Trump-Giuliani lie at the heart of the sham impeachment inquiry, but Chairman Comer refused, and Committee Republicans blocked the motion. On July 18, 2023, Lev Parnas wrote to the Oversight Committee Chairman urging him to abandon his “wild goose chase” and explaining that narrative he is “seeking for this investigation has been proven false many times over, by a wide array of respected sources.”
The hearing included testimony from Michael J. Gerhardt, Burton Craige Distinguished Professor of Jurisprudence, University of North Carolina School of Law; Bruce Dubinsky, Founder, Dubinsky Consulting; Eileen J. O’Connor, Former Assistant Attorney General, United States Department of Justice (DOJ-Tax), Law Office of Eileen J. O’Connor, PLLC. and Jonathan Turley, Shapiro Chair for Public Interest Law, George Washington University Law School. All four of the witnesses—including the three who were invited by Committee Republicans—agreed that the GOP investigation lacks evidence to support impeachment.
Committee Democrats and witnesses emphasized the total lack of evidence of any presidential wrongdoing.
- Ranking Member Raskin showed boxes containing the 12,000 pages of bank records the Committee received and explained that “not a single page shows a dime going to President Joe Biden.” Ranking Member Raskin also explained that the Committee had “received 2,000 pages of SARs [Suspicious Activity Reports] reports the Chairman subpoenaed, we’ve held hearings and conducted interviews with everyone from Hunter Biden’s business partners to a federal agent assigned to that investigation, and still, we found no evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden.”
- Professor Turley admitted, “In fact, I do not believe that the current evidence would support articles of impeachment.”
- Ms. Dubinsky admitted, “ I am not here today to even suggest that there was corruption, fraud, or any wrongdoing. In my opinion, more information needs to be gathered and assessed before I would make such an assessment.”
- Professor Gerhardt testified that: “But the problem is that the dots are not connected. The name that's been repeated most often in this hearing is Hunter Biden, not President Biden. And the point of an impeachment inquiry is not about a president’s son, it has to be about the President himself. And I don’t think those dots have been connected. There have been lots of assumptions, lots of accusations, but not evidence.”
Committee Democrats underscored Republicans’ sham impeachment rests on a five-year-old Trump-Giuliani lie that has been thoroughly debunked.
- As Ranking Member Raskin explained, “When Joe Biden was Vice President, he worked as a key player in the Obama Administration and global community’s efforts to combat corruption in Ukraine.” “Yet, years later, in 2018, as President Trump saw Joe Biden as a strong rival in the 2020 election, he worked with [Rudy] Giuliani to twist all the facts around and to suddenly accuse Biden of corruption in calling for the dismissal of a prosecutor who Trump falsely claimed was prosecuting Burisma.” Ranking Member Raskin also noted that, “Chairman Comer and the Committee received an insider’s account of the plot to concoct and spread this lie from an extraordinary letter sent to us by Lev Parnas, who was Rudy Giuliani’s right-hand-man-in-Ukraine,” but Committee Republicans rejected the Ranking Member’s motion to issue subpoenas to Rudy Giuliani and Lev Parnas.
- Rep. Jasmine Crockett explained: “I want to remind everyone that the information recorded in the FBI Form 1023 that my Republican colleagues keep citing is not evidence of anything. This form reflects years old, second-hand, unverified information from a Ukrainian oligarch as relayed to the FBI by a confidential human source. These unverified second-hand allegations have been repeatedly debunked and undermined including by the confidential human source who relayed this information to the FBI. The tip recorded in the Form 1023 was thoroughly explored by the U.S. Attorney hand-picked by Donald Trump, which was Attorney General William Barr, and the assessment was closed. Finally, Devon Archer, Hunter Biden’s former business partner, who worked with the Ukrainian oligarch in question, told this Committee in a transcribed interview in July that he had no knowledge of any such payments allegedly described in this form. Repeating the same lies will not somehow turn them into truths.”
- Rep. Melanie Stansbury raised the fact that Republicans are actively working on the behest of former President Trump: “A member of this Committee has been briefing Donald Trump on this inquiry. We also know that if Donald Trump doesn't get his way, he wants his loyalists to shut down the government. How do we know that? Because he posted it right here on his social media. And his loyalists in this Committee who are doing his bidding for him today retweeted it.” She concluded: “So, I just want to say, I think it’s obvious who the grand puppet master is here. He tweeted about it on his own social, and we see the long arm, but little hands, of Mr. Donald Trump, whose fingerprints are all over this hearing and this sham impeachment.”
- Rep. Dan Goldman highlighted the hypocrisy of Republicans’ refusal to accept the facts and testimony that undercuts their narrative for pursuing the sham impeachment: “Well, maybe because he [Devon Archer] testified that Joe Biden never discussed business with Hunter or other business associates, he got nothing from their businesses, and he never took any official acts related to the businesses.” Rep. Goldman continued: “Or what about Eric Schwerin, Hunter Biden’s partner and accountant? He also performed a number of administrative and bookkeeping tasks for then-Vice President Biden and Hunter Biden. He saw Vice President Biden’s bank accounts, and he told the Committee that he was not aware of any involvement by President Biden in the financial conduct of his relatives’ businesses, much less any transactions into or out of then-Vice President’s bank account related to business conducted by any family member. And the list goes on. We’ve already talked about Lev Parnas and Rudy Giuliani. The reason is, you bring in the fact witnesses, and your case goes down the drain.”
Committee Democrats called out Republicans for holding a sham impeachment inquiry hearing as a dangerous distraction from the impending shutdown of the United States government demanded by President Trump.
- Rep. Summer Lee underscored that “Republicans know the American people don’t want their shutdown. So instead, the Republicans on this Committee are attempting to divert and distract the American people’s attention by spending taxpayer dollars on this sham impeachment hearing two days before they shut the government down in hopes that the media, and I don’t just mean Fox News, will fall for their scheme and give more airtime to the lies being told on this Committee today than the real life impact their shutdown will have on even their own constituents’ lives.”
- Rep. Shontel Brown noted the devastating effects Americans will suffer during a Republican shutdown, explaining: “I cannot overstate the impact this Republican shutdown will have on mothers and babies receiving WIC. In Ohio, there are 180,000 women, children, and infants whose benefits will be at risk. And in case that statistic isn’t sinking in, let me just paint the picture for you: a new mother in Cleveland is trying to buy infant formula for her baby at the grocery store next week, only to discover that she has no WIC benefits to access. She cannot pay. If Speaker McCarthy and our Republican colleagues continue to value their egos over the wellbeing of American families, stories like this will become a terrifying reality for millions.”