Democrats demand evidence from GOP while advancing impeachment inquiry

In a hearing scheduled amidst growing doubts within the GOP about the future of their impeachment investigation, Democrats on Wednesday urged Republicans to reveal the criminal conduct that forms the basis of their probe into President Biden.

The Oversight Committee hearing on Wednesday proceeded without any major controversies, which is quite unusual considering the panel’s reputation for generating eyebrow-raising moments in Congress. It is worth noting that Hunter Biden chose not to participate in the hearing.

Republicans strategically left an empty seat and placard on the table for Hunter Biden, aiming to shift the focus onto his business dealings and their alleged connection to his father. However, much to their disappointment, the president’s son managed to evade significant attention during the hearing.

During the hearing, House Oversight Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) emphasized that the focus was not on Hunter Biden. Instead, the investigation aimed to address Joe Biden’s falsehoods and the ongoing deception he perpetuates among the American people.

Two witnesses invited by the GOP were unable to present any fresh allegations. Lev Parnas, a former associate of Rudy Giuliani who was invited by Democrats, reversed his previous statements and testified that he had not discovered any evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden.

Democrats wasted no time in highlighting the remarks made by an increasing number of Republican skeptics of the investigation, challenging the GOP to specify the exact high crime or misdemeanor that forms the basis of their impeachment inquiry.

This was the initial hearing in the GOP impeachment inquiry following the arrest of an FBI informant. The informant was charged with lying to the agency and fabricating claims that President Biden had accepted a bribe while he was vice president, in order to benefit the Ukrainian energy company where his son was a board member.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) questioned the rationale behind proceeding with the impeachment inquiry despite the lack of charges against the president. She emphasized that the focus should be on why the inquiry is taking place rather than whether it is justified or not.

During the chairman’s opening, there has been no specific allegation made against the president of the United States. Instead, the focus seems to be on the “Biden family” and other unrelated matters. The committee has failed to present a clear and specific accusation. This lack of clarity is the main issue at hand. The real story here is when the committee became aware that they were working with falsified evidence. That is the true story that needs to be addressed.

Hunter Biden chose not to attend the hearing, even though he had previously expressed a desire to appear in public. In a letter from his lawyer, he explained that the GOP leaders did not reach out to him beforehand to schedule the hearing, and instead scheduled it for the day before he is due in court in California.

Republicans, on the other hand, chose to rely on two witnesses who had limited ties to Hunter Biden or his father.

Tony Bobulinski had a short stint collaborating with Hunter Biden on a Chinese investment venture that ultimately did not materialize. Subsequently, he found himself associated with allies of former President Trump. This connection led to him being invited to attend a presidential debate. Currently, he is being represented by an attorney who has previously assisted White House aides of the Trump administration. The funds for this legal representation were provided through entities linked to the former president.

Jason Galanis, who is currently serving time on fraud charges brought in an indictment alongside Hunter Biden’s former business partner, claims to have worked with the president’s son. However, there is a disagreement regarding this. Hunter Biden has stated that he only remembers being introduced to Jason Galanis for a brief 30-minute meeting about a decade ago. This is the only time he recalls ever meeting him.

Democrats have accused Republicans of deliberately choosing two witnesses whose testimony has been contradicted by nearly 20 other individuals.

Bobulinski is highly sought after by the GOP due to his assertions that a 2017 email exchange he was involved in implied that business partners should allocate funds for “the big guy,” which he believes refers to President Biden, who had recently vacated his position. However, the email chain did not delve further into this matter.

During the hearing, Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.) highlighted an interview with James Gilliar, a former partner, who explicitly stated that President Biden was never involved in the discussion and had no role in the deal.

Goldman accused the person of wanting Joe Biden’s involvement, suggesting that this desire led to Hunter Biden cutting ties and proceeding with the business independently.

Hunter Biden is urging an investigation into Bobulinski, portraying him as a disgruntled business partner who did not attend a meeting where payment arrangements were discussed. He is questioning whether Bobulinski lied to the FBI about the issue.

In addition, Democrats took steps on Wednesday to issue a subpoena for Bobulinski’s phone records. They pointed out that the committee only possesses screenshots from his phone, an issue attributed to the FBI’s inability to mirror data from an old blackberry device.

However, Republicans rejected the measure, just as they did in a previous hearing when Democrats tried to subpoena Giuliani.

Parnas made a rare public appearance after being released from prison in September. He had served time for fraud and campaign finance crimes.

Giuliani’s close associate took aim at his former boss, Giuliani, along with other Trump officials like former Attorney General Bill Barr, unleashing a barrage of criticism.

Parnas, who was assigned to investigate the Bidens, admitted that he failed in his mission. He accused Giuliani and others of unjustly tarnishing the Biden family’s reputation without any concrete evidence.

During my extensive travels around the world and numerous interviews with officials from various countries, I have not come across any concrete evidence of corruption involving the Bidens in Ukraine. It is important to note that no credible sources have ever provided proof of any criminal activity on their part, as stated by Parnas.

Republicans wasted no time in criticizing Democrats for their decision to call Parnas as a witness.

According to Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), the Democrats had the opportunity to choose anyone to refute the direct evidence that is supported by bank statements, calendar entries, emails, and text messages. They could have selected individuals like Hunter Biden or Joe Biden. However, in an unexpected move, the Democrats sent Lev Parnas, who has been charged with multiple crimes and violating campaign finance laws, potentially facing a sentence of up to 50 years.

The GOP probe is currently at a critical juncture, and the hearing is taking place amidst this crucial time.

Leaders are considering the possibility of avoiding a formal vote on their impeachment inquiry. Instead, they are considering the option of making a criminal referral to the Justice Department, which could present its own challenges.

Republicans are increasingly raising doubts about the inquiry, openly questioning its evidentiary basis and whether it will ever be brought to a vote on the House floor.

Conservative media has become more skeptical lately, as evidenced by a Newsmax anchor’s remark to House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). The anchor pointed out the difficulty of advancing the cause without Democratic support and suggested that the efforts might be futile.

During the conclusion of the hearing, Comer stood up in defense of the probe.

“According to Representative Comer, Mr. Bobulinski and Mr. Galanis have provided testimony that directly implicates Mr. Biden and his family in influence peddling schemes. These schemes allegedly resulted in over $24 million flowing into the pockets of the Biden family and their business associates.”

Comer added that he had never heard the minority specify their actions or the nature of their business.

Democrats, on the other hand, took their turns to poke fun at the progress made by the GOP.

Rep. Eric Swalwell, a Democrat from California, has compiled a comprehensive list of the top 10 reasons why the GOP impeachment inquiry has come to a halt. To emphasize his point, he even created a chart illustrating a flatlining heartbeat.

In a bold and straightforward statement, Swalwell declared, “It’s time to fish or cut bait. I have to be clear: impeachment is over. It’s donezo. It’s time to say goodbye, lights out, curtain drop, mic drop. Peace out, adios, sayonara, do svidaniya, a language y’all understand.” Swalwell aimed to establish a connection between the GOP and Russia.

During the hearing, Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-Fla.) playfully proposed initiating an impeachment vote, implying that Republicans were hesitant to take such action.

According to Moskowitz, there is no chance that Joe Biden will be impeached. He believes that the lack of evidence and the entire situation is just a show, a fake.

“If these hearings had been successful, if our efforts over the past 15 months had truly convinced the American people that Joe Biden committed a high crime and misdemeanor, there is no doubt that they would have already taken the vote.”

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