Latest News 29-03-2024 00:02 8 Views

Comer invites Biden to testify publicly as part of House impeachment inquiry

House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, in an unprecedented move, invited President Biden to testify as part of the impeachment inquiry against him, stressing that it is 'in the best interest of the American people' for him to answer questions from members of Congress. 

Comer urged Biden to accept his invitation in a letter sent Thursday, obtained by Fox News Digital. 

'During the 118th Congress, the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability has been investigating influence peddling conducted by you and your family,' Comer wrote, noting that the committee has 'accounted for over $24 million that has flowed from foreign sources to you, your family, and their business associates.' 

Comer said the committee has identified 'no legitimate services to merit such lucrative payments.' 

'You have repeatedly denied playing any role in your family’s business activities, but the Committee has amassed evidence—including bank records and witness testimony—that wholly contradicts your position on these matters,' Comer wrote. 

Comer went on to say that the White House 'has taken a position hostile to the Committee’s investigation and refuses to release certain information or make available witnesses to testify regarding issues relevant to the ongoing impeachment inquiry currently authorized by the full House of Representatives.' 

'In light of the yawning gap between your public statements and evidence assembled by the Committee, as well as the White House’s obstruction, it is in the best interest of the American people for you to answer questions from Members of Congress directly, and I hereby invite you to do so,' Comer wrote. 

Comer said that the committee is 'open to accommodating your schedule but proposes April 16, 2024, for the hearing to occur.'

Comer said that the impeachment investigation has moved 'in phases, beginning with a review of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) held by the Treasury Department. Comer said those SARs gave the committee 'sufficient information to determine which bank accounts to narrowly target in issuing subpoenas.'

Next, Comer said the committee issued subpoenas for bank accounts belonging to Biden family members and their entities that received foreign funds. 

'This phase highlighted the over $15 million received by members of your family, and the Committee has traced tens of thousands of dollars from China to your bank account as well,' he wrote. 

Comer said the next phase was the 'interview phase,' explaining that the committee brought in multiple witnesses, including Hunter Biden and the president’s brother, James Biden, for depositions. Comer said those witnesses provided 'inconsistent testimony regarding your role in your family’s businesses.'

Hunter Biden appeared for his highly anticipated closed-door deposition last month before both the House Oversight and Judiciary committees, where he maintained that his father was never involved in, nor ever benefited from his businesses. 

The committee also heard testimony from James Biden, the president’s younger brother, who testified the same. 

Hunter Biden did admit, however, that he put his father on speakerphone with his business associates and invited him to drop by his business lunches. 

But Comer said two of those witnesses, Tony Bobulinski and Jason Galanis, testified publicly that Biden 'participated in schemes to provide access to your or others’ offices in exchange for payments to your family.' 

Bobulinski worked on a joint-venture with Hunter Biden and a Chinese energy company. Galanis worked with Hunter Biden as well. Galanis is currently serving a 14-year prison sentence related to securities fraud. He has testified as part of the inquiry twice from prison. 

'The public is left with two irreconcilable narratives. The first—asserted by you—is that you did not engage in influence peddling in exchange for payments to your family,' Comer wrote, adding that the second is that Biden was 'indeed involved in these pay-for-influence schemes and that you have been repeatedly untruthful regarding a matter relevant to national security and your own fitness to serve as President of the United States.' 

Comer went on to detail the 'body of evidence' collected through testimony and records, including meetings Biden had with Hunter Biden’s Chinese business partners. 

'You have asserted your family has not made money from China. However, the Committee has identified approximately $10 million originating from China connected to Biden influence peddling. Former business associates of your family have testified that you personally met with multiple individuals from China who have collectively sent millions of dollars to your family,' Comer wrote. 'Many of these meetings and business development occurred while you were Vice President or campaigning to be President.' 

Comer, in the letter, asked Biden to confirm whether those meetings took place. 

Comer also questioned Biden on whether he has spoken to or interacted with executives of Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings, including with the chairman, Mykola Zlochevsky. 

'You have asserted that your pressuring Ukraine in 2015 to fire a government official investigating a company in which your son had a financial interest was wholly in line with U.S. policy. The Committee has received bank records showing that your son was paid $1 million per year for his position on the board of the Ukrainian company Burisma until you left public office and then his salary was inexplicably cut in half,' Comer wrote. 

Comer also pressed further for information surrounding the decision to push for the firing of the Ukrainian prosecutor investigating Burisma while Hunter Biden sat on the board. 

As for Russia, Comer wrote that witnesses testified that Biden 'regularly joined meetings by speakerphone, including with certain Russian individuals with whom your son did business.' 

'The Committee has identified several instances in which your involvement aligned with your family receiving money originating from Russia,' Comer wrote. 

Meanwhile, Comer said the committee 'identified and successfully traced money from foreign transactions—including from China—to your own bank accounts.' Comer said those checks were described as 'loan repayments' from his brother, James Biden. 

Comer asked Biden to respond to whether he ever asked his brother about the source of the funds he used to repay him; and asked whether Hunter Biden’s business associate Eric Schwerin, who handled his finances, had insight into all of his bank accounts until December 2017. 

'As the foregoing demonstrates, the Committee has compiled evidence—bank records, contemporaneous electronic communications, and witness testimony—showing your awareness, acquiescence, and participation in self-enrichment schemes of your family members,' Comer wrote. 'As Chairman of the Committee, in addition to requesting that you answer the questions posed in this letter, I invite you to participate in a public hearing at which you will be afforded the opportunity to explain, under oath, your involvement with your family’s sources of income and the means it has used to generate it.' 

Comer added: 'As you are aware, presidents before you have provided testimony to congressional committees, including President Ford’s testimony before the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice of the House Judiciary Committee in 1974.' 

White House spokesman Ian Sams blasted the impeachment inquiry earlier this month. 

'Comer knows 20+ witnesses have testified that POTUS did nothing wrong. He knows that the hundreds of thousands of pages of records he’s received have refuted his false allegations. This is a sad stunt at the end of a dead impeachment,' he said. 

Sams added: 'Call it a day, pal.'

Fox News’ Tyler Olson contributed to this report. 


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