The House GOP released a resolution Thursday to formalize its months-long impeachment inquiry into President Biden, with a full House vote planned for next week.
The resolution authorizing the inquiry — released months after former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) declared an impeachment inquiry to be underway in September — comes as a trio of committee leaders overseeing the probes enter a more combative phase of their investigation as they try to wrangle witnesses and documents.
It says the panels are “directed to continue their ongoing investigations as part of the House of Representatives inquiry into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its Constitutional power to impeach Joseph Biden.”
A markup of the resolution is scheduled for Tuesday.
Republicans hope that formally authorizing the inquiry will put more legal weight behind the probe and their ability to compel evidence, particularly if any of those battles end up in court.
While responding to subpoenas and interview requests in November, the White House had argued that the House GOP’s impeachment inquiry was unconstitutional because it had not been formalized with a vote of the whole House.
House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) told reporters this week that while the GOP disagreed with that assessment, the White House letter helped push the House GOP to formalize the inquiry.
“Constitutionally, it’s not required. Speaker said we’re [in] an impeachment inquiry, [then] we’re in an impeachment inquiry,” Jordan said. “But if you have a vote of the full House of Representatives and the majority say we’re in that official status as part of our overall oversight work or constitutional oversight duty that we have, it just helps us in court.”
In anticipation of that vote, Democrats and the White House in recent days pointed to previous statements from swing-seat Republicans and moderates casting doubt on whether impeachment is warranted.
They have also pointed to cries from Republicans when then-President Trump’s impeachment began without taking a formal vote.
But many of those same GOP members say that taking the step to authorize an inquiry is a much different question than a vote on actual impeachment articles.
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The White House responded to the inquiry resolution by saying that House Republicans “only focus on stupid stunts.”
“This baseless stunt is not rooted in facts or reality but in extreme House Republicans’ shameless desire to abuse their power to smear President Biden,” Ian Sams, White House spokesperson for oversight and investigations, said in a statement.
“The American people are yet again going to see a clear contrast in priorities: President Biden who is focused on solving the challenges facing America and the world, and extreme House Republicans who only focus on stupid stunts to get attention for themselves,” Sams also said.
The House’s Judiciary, Oversight, and Ways and Means committees have for months investigated the Biden family finances and a Justice Department investigation into Hunter Biden’s failure to pay taxes.
Thursday’s resolution nods little to their work, instead laying out ground rules for how to manage evidence and the need to draft a report on their findings.
But the inquiry has struggled to connect the president to the activities of his son, and they’ve failed to prove their most salacious allegation that would be most key for impeachment: that the president accepted a bribe.
Much of that line of inquiry relies on information first circulated during Trump’s impeachment, after he pressured Ukrainian officials to turn over dirt on his rival.
The narrative that President Biden pushed Ukraine to fire its prosecutor to help his son, who served on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burimsa, has largely been refuted.
Biden’s efforts to oust the Ukrainian prosecutor while vice president came at the advice of the State Department as well as the international community, who accused the prosecution of failing to address corruption.
Updated at 12:31 p.m.