House GOP eyes impeachment of Biden based on debunked Ukraine conspiracy theories
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(CNN) — House Republicans driving the impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden are looking at potential charges of bribery, abuse of power and obstruction, House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan told reporters Monday, though the charges are largely based on already-debunked claims about Biden’s dealings in Ukraine that emerged during Donald Trump’s first impeachment.
Jordan pointed to allegations – that have already been disproven, yet Republicans are still promoting – that as vice president, Joe Biden corruptly abused his powers to pressure Ukraine to fire a top prosecutor who was investigating Ukrainian energy company Burisma as a way to protect his son Hunter, who served on the firm’s board at the time.
“The impeachable offenses, I think the key thing is in Burisma. That’s why I started with that example,” Jordan said Monday.
The Burisma allegations, he said, could fit with the first two possible charges of bribery and abuse of power.
“We’ll look at all those and anything else. But we’ll look at all the facts and make a decision,” the Ohio Republican said.
Most, if not all, of the claims about Joe Biden and Burisma were refuted in 2019, but they gained major traction in the right-wing media ecosystem, where they are often presented as facts.
Almost every element of the GOP claim is untrue. Biden did push for the prosecutor to be fired, but that was consistent with bipartisan US policy and the interests of European Union allies. And more importantly, the US wanted the prosecutor fired because he was soft on corruption. His removal was likely to increase scrutiny of Burisma and Hunter Biden – not shut down the investigation.
That Biden-Burisma conspiracy theory formed the basis of the Republican pushback to Trump’s 2019 impeachment. Then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy put those claims front and center at his September news conference announcing the start of the Biden impeachment inquiry. And Jordan now appears poised to use it as the linchpin in an article of impeachment against Biden.
There is no public evidence that Joe Biden ever abused his government powers to help his family.
Jordan said the potential article of impeachment for obstruction could be based off Biden’s public denials that he was never involved in his son’s overseas business dealings.
Biden’s early unequivocal denials of any business-related contact with Hunter Biden have been undercut over time. But so far there is no public evidence that Joe Biden’s occasional interactions with the younger Biden’s business partners – which all occurred before he was president – led to him becoming substantively involved in his son’s financial arrangements.
Jordan presented reporters with a PowerPoint similar to a presentation on the status of the inquiry given to the Republican conference last week.
Jordan’s comments come as House Republicans are pushing to get the votes to formalize their inquiry, which they believe will help strengthen their legal case against the White House and the president’s son.
Jordan met with House Speaker Mike Johnson on Monday to discuss when a vote on the inquiry could take place, which Jordan said he expects to happen “soon.”