After the first impeachment inquiry hearing launched by House Republicans against President Biden, some legal experts are split on whether the accusations leveled against the president warrant an impeachment. But they all said the evidence needs to be investigated.
Following the marathon hearing on Thursday that lasted several hours, House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., said that GOP lawmakers successfully outlined how the Biden family brought in “over $15 million in their foreign influence peddling, over $24 million if you account for their associate’s earnings from the schemes” by leveraging access to then-Vice President Joe Biden.
“We have established in the first phase of this investigation where this money has come from: Ukraine, Romania, Russia, Kazakhstan, China, it didn’t come from selling anything legitimate. It largely went unreported to the IRS. It was funneled through shell companies and third parties to hide the Biden’s fingerprints,” Comer said.
House Republicans are still making their case in the impeachment inquiry process, but legal experts who spoke to Fox News Digital are split on whether the evidence presented so far meets the threshold of an impeachable offense.
“There’s smoke, but there’s no fire. There’s not enough to impeach, but there’s enough to investigate,” former Harvard professor and lawyer Alan Dershowitz told Fox New Digital in an interview.
Dershowitz argued that because the allegations from Republicans revolve around activity from when Biden was vice president and not in his current position in the Oval Office, that precludes him from being impeached.
“I think there’s a lot of hypocrisy going on. Many of the same people who denied that Donald Trump was subject to impeachment now seem to be suggesting maybe that Biden is. And we have to have one rule for everybody. We can’t have separate rules for Democrats or Republicans,” said Dershowitz.
But John Shu, a lawyer who served in both George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush administrations, argued that Republicans have “plenty of evidence” to start an impeachment inquiry.
“An impeachment inquiry is akin to a preliminary investigation or grand jury investigation. The purpose is to gather facts for later analysis and presentation, not to actually impeach anyone, and thus the legal standard to start it is lower,” said Shu.
“It is before the actual impeachment process, which is akin to a filing an indictment,” he explained. “The Senate holds the impeachment trial, with House members acting as prosecutors and Chief Justice Roberts serving as the presiding judge.”
Shu said that starting an impeachment inquiry “opens the options for the House to subpoena certain people and documents and the investigations are no longer tied or limited to a specific committee and its specific oversight functions.”
Which is exactly what Comer did; immediately following Thursday’s hearing, he subpoenaed the bank records of Hunter Biden, James Biden and their affiliated companies.
Shu added that what the Oversight Committee’s investigation has yielded thus far, including IRS whistleblower claims that suggest certain Justice Department individuals inappropriately intervened on behalf of President Biden during their federal probe of Hunter Biden, also warrants a congressional inquiry into the president — who, Shu says, “has been forced to backtrack from his previous claims that he’s had nothing to do with Hunter’s business activities.”
For example, according to the whistleblowers, Assistant U.S. Attorney Lesley Wolf, who works for U.S. Attorney David Weiss in charge of the Hunter Biden probe, personally intervened to prevent investigators from following where the evidence was leading them, and Weiss’s office appears to have slow-walked the various Hunter Biden investigations to let the statutes of limitations run out,” Shu suggests.
Jim Trusty, a former federal prosecutor and former lawyer for President Donald Trump, concurred, saying congressional oversight and impeachment are “the only real options” for Republicans to deal with the alarming findings by the committee.
“Biden-appointed U.S. attorneys are simply not politically suicidal — they will not open a case,” Trusty told Fox News Digital. “There is no reason for Congress to think any prosecutor has an appetite for breaking ranks and pursuing this case, so oversight and impeachment (and thus, public scrutiny) are the only real options,’ he said.
In terms of the timing issue Dershowitz raised, Trusty doesn’t believe it’s an issue.
“I don’t think it’s a particularly powerful problem here — if there are bribes and payments that essentially compromised or indebted the Bidens to these foreign actors, then the timing of those payments is pretty immaterial,” Trusty said.
“If President Biden made certain decisions on trade, on military action or weapons, on ignoring aggressive behavior by our adversaries because of the financial transactions or his fear of those transactions going public, the consequences are simply not over,” he said.
“You could also point to [the president’s] evolving story about Hunter’s dealings and his knowledge of the Biden brand being sold, particularly with the lighter definition of impeachable offenses that was established at President Trump’s expense,” Trusty added.
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