House Republicans to hold 1st Biden impeachment inquiry hearing
No new evidence, they say, but an explanation of why an inquiry is warranted.
House Republicans on Thursday will hold the first public hearing in their impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.
The hearing before the House Oversight Committee will start at 10 a.m. ET and will feature four witnesses, three called by Republicans.
Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., said the focus will be to present findings from months of GOP-led investigations -- with the overall goal of explaining why an inquiry is warranted.
He claims House Republicans have "uncovered an overwhelming amount of evidence showing President Joe Biden abused his public office for his family's financial gain."
But so far, Republicans haven't produced direct evidence to back up their claims that Biden was involved in or personally profited from his family's foreign business dealings, or that he improperly influenced policy based on them when he served as vice president.
"Americans demand and deserve answers, transparency, and accountability for this abuse of public office," Comer said in a statement. "This week, the House Oversight Committee will present evidence uncovered to date and hear from legal and financial experts about crimes the Bidens may have committed as they brought in millions at the expense of U.S. interests."
The three Republican witnesses are Bruce Dubinsky, a forensic accountant; Eileen O'Connor, a former Assistant Attorney General, United States Department of Justice Tax Division; and Jonathan Turley, a professor of law at George Washington University and a Fox News contributor.
Democrats have called Michael Gerhardt, a constitutional law professor at the University of North Carolina, to testify. Gerhardt served as special counsel to the presiding officer of former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial.
Comer has pledged to soon subpoena bank records and other documents for Hunter Biden and James Biden -- the president's son and brother. Comer and other top Republicans have said they believe the bank documents could be a smoking gun in the case.
Ahead of the hearing, Comer announced Tuesday night the panel had obtained bank records that he said show Hunter Biden received money from Chinese nationals, originating in Beijing, that listed President Biden's home in Wilmington, Delaware, as the beneficiary address.
According to the committee, Hunter Biden received two wires in 2019 totaling $260,000. The committee did not release the bank wire records in their announcement.
It has been reported that Hunter Biden often used his father's address and previously lived at the Wilmington home.
"Imagine them arguing that, if someone stayed at their parents' house during the pandemic, listed it as their permanent address for work, and got a paycheck, the parents somehow also worked for the employer," White House spokesperson Ian Sams wrote on X in response to the announcement. "It's bananas. Yet this is what extreme House Republicans have sunken to."
Abbe Lowell, an attorney for Hunter Biden, said the new allegation "evaporates in thin air the moment facts come out."
"This was a documented loan (not a distribution or pay-out) that was wired from a private individual to his new bank account which listed the address on his driver’s license, his parents’ address, because it was his only permanent address at the time," Lowell said in a statement.
The White House has insisted that Biden has done nothing wrong, and previously criticized the impending hearing on Thursday as a "political stunt."
"Extreme House Republicans are already telegraphing their plans to try to distract from their own chaotic inability to govern and the impacts of it on the country," Sams said last week.
Congressional Democrats, too, have criticized Republicans for launching the inquiry -- citing both the apparent lack of evidence and the timing of the inquiry as House GOP hard-liners are driving the government toward a shutdown as soon as Sunday.
"It's hard to grasp the complete derangement of this moment," said Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat and ranking member on the House Oversight Committee. "Three days before they're set to shut down the United States government, Republicans launch a baseless impeachment drive against President Biden. No one can figure out the logic of either course of action."
"A surprisingly large number of Republican Members now admit that Chairman Comer's investigation has failed to produce evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden," Raskin continued. "Republicans can see that Chairman Comer's whole sham impeachment drive is based on a lie crafted and peddled by Trump and Rudy Giuliani that has been repeatedly debunked by multiple credible sources."
Under pressure from GOP hard-liners, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., officially opened the impeachment inquiry on Sept. 12. McCarthy did so unilaterally without a full House vote as he had promised to do -- after it became apparent he didn't have enough support.
McCarthy framed the inquiry as a fact-finding mission and a "logical next step" in Republican investigations into the Biden family, tasking the House Oversight, Judiciary and Ways and Means Committees to take the lead.
McCarthy has accused Biden of lying about his knowledge of his family's business affairs and stated records show Biden's family members and some of their business associates made $20 million from foreign firms. There is no evidence, to date, that President Biden received any of that money.
"Taken together, these allegations paint a picture of a culture of corruption," McCarthy said earlier this month.
Though McCarthy has repeatedly declined to detail what the timeline for the impeachment inquiry would look like, additional impeachment hearings are expected although none have been announced.
ABC News' Will Steakin, Lucien Bruggeman and Ben Siegel contributed to this report.