Democrats mock Biden impeachment inquiry hearing, GOP chair struggles to keep control

Republicans say Americans 'demand accountability."

Last Updated: September 28, 2023, 4:30 PM EDT

House Republicans on Thursday held the first public hearing of their impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.

Republicans say their House Oversight Committee inquiry is focused on whether Biden was involved in or benefitted from his family's foreign business dealings, among other issues. But so far, they have yet to release evidence that Biden profited from his son Hunter's business deals or was improperly influenced by them.

The White House has blasted the impeachment inquiry as "extreme politics at its worst."

Latest headlines:

Here is how the hearing unfolded. All times Eastern.
Sep 28, 2023, 4:30 PM EDT

Comer says he will subpoena bank records 'today' in closing

In closing remarks, House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., said he will subpoena bank records "today" while arguing that further investigation is needed into President Joe Biden's role in his family's business dealings.

"One of those steps is gaining insight into where the Biden's foreign money ended up, for what purposes," Comer said. "Today, I will subpoena the bank records of Hunter Biden, James Biden and their affiliated companies."

Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Rep. James Comer (R-KY) presides over a Committee hearing titled "The Basis for an Impeachment Inquiry of President Joseph R. Biden, Jr." on Capitol Hill on Sept. 28, 2023 in Washington, DC.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Sep 28, 2023, 4:31 PM EDT

Raskin decries 'impeachment hearing about nothing' in closing

Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., in his closing statement, claimed that everyone was making fun of what he called "this Seinfeld impeachment."

"An impeachment hearing about nothing, apparently, two days before the government is about to shut down," he said.

Raskin thanked the four witnesses for their time and testimony but criticized Republicans for refusing to call Rudolph Giuliani and his associate Lev Parnas to testify.

Rep. Jamie Raskin speaks during a House Committee on Oversight and Accountability hearing on Capitol Hill, Sept. 28, 2023.
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

The congressman reiterated that there has been no direct evidence that would give weight to an impeachment.

"You don't impeach a president based on hypotheticals and obsolete conspiracy theories," he said.

Sep 28, 2023, 3:51 PM EDT

Legal expert for Republicans says there is a basis for inquiry to go forward

While being questioned by Rep. Lauren Boebert R-Colo., law professor Jonathan Turley, a witness called by Republicans, responded when asked what is impeachable.

Turley said lawmakers can look at criminal codes that deal with bribery. At the same time, he reiterated that the laws are complex and there needs to be more investigating.

"I think that there's certainly a basis for this inquiry to go forward," he said. "My position is simply that this is early in an inquiry in terms of linking these which are still just allegations to the president."

Sep 28, 2023, 3:43 PM EDT

Comer struggles at times to manage contentious hearing

House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., has clearly struggled at times to control the flow and direction of his committee's unruly first impeachment inquiry hearing.

Republicans appeared unprepared for Democrats' procedural tricks. Comer has repeatedly sniped at Democrats during their testimony -- which is unusual for a committee chair.

PHOTO: Chairman James Comer speaks next to House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Rep. Jamie Raskin during a House Oversight and Accountability Committee impeachment inquiry hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 28, 2023.
Chairman James Comer speaks next to House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Rep. Jamie Raskin during a House Oversight and Accountability Committee impeachment inquiry hearing into President Joe Biden, focused on his son Hunter Biden's foreign business dealings, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 28, 2023.
Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

"Can you read a bank statement?" Comer could be heard saying when Rep. Summer Lee, D-Penn., mocked Republicans and claimed they hadn't found a "smoking gun."

After Rep. Dan Goldman, D-N.Y., requested to add six excerpts from Hunter Biden's former business partner Devon Archer's transcribed interview into the record, Comer replied, "It's been entered twice. If you want to enter it again, go ahead."

Some of his own members have shouted over him and contributed to the raucous nature of this hearing.

"Democrats are the party of shutdowns. You love shutdowns," Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., called out when Lee was listing off the number of federal workers in each Republican members' district who would feel the impact of a shutdown.

The day has been reminiscent of some of the early Trump impeachment hearings in 2019, when former Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., struggled to spar with Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and some of his members privately complained about his performance.

--ABC News' Benjamin Siegel

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