By Paul J. Young
An impeachment inquiry initiated this week to probe alleged graft and fraud tied to President Joe Biden will root out a “culture of corruption” that has existed for some time, one Inland Empire congressman asserted, while others viewed the investigation as a “baseless attempt” to undermine the chief executive by kowtowing to “extremists.”
“The evidence uncovered to date is both troubling and incontrovertible,” Rep Darrell Issa, R-Temecula, said. “From his earliest days in office, President Biden has misstated key facts about his knowledge, participation and profiteering from the selling of access and the peddling of influence undertaken by his family and friends.
“He has inappropriately delayed, denied and stonewalled congressional inquiry and oversight into one scandal of his term after another. And he has relentlessly misled the American people.”
On Tuesday, Speaker of the House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy opened the impeachment inquiry based on findings of the House Committee on Oversight & Accountability, which since January has set its sights on alleged financial transactions, business deals and schemes orchestrated by the president’s son Hunter Biden with the apparent support or direct involvement of his father.
“Opening an impeachment inquiry in search for a problem is no way to lead,” Rep. Mark Takano, D-Riverside, said.
The congressman implied McCarthy’s action has jeopardized work on the federal budget as the government’s 2022-23 fiscal year draws to a close, risking the security of “services (Americans) rely on.”
“I stand with the president through this baseless attempt by Speaker McCarthy as he bows to House GOP extremists,” Takano said.
Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Corona, said the committee’s compilation of evidence can’t be ignored, showing tens of millions of dollars in “payments from foreign sources to the Biden family and their business associates during Joe Biden’s vice presidency.”
“President Biden has lied about his knowledge and involvement with his son, Hunter Biden’s, foreign business dealings,” Calvert said. “Transparency is the best disinfectant for corruption, and I support further inquiry into the Biden family business.”
Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Palm Desert, denounced the impeachment probe as a “purely political stunt driven by extremists, who care more about getting social media clicks than helping people.”
“We need elected officials who put people over politics,” the congressman said. “The impeachment farce is the opposite of that.”
When asked about the inquiry earlier this week, Biden commented that House Republicans “want to shut down the government” by putting the corruption investigation ahead of budgetary priorities.
The oversight committee has documented an alleged conspiratorial pattern, orbiting around Hunter Biden, who Chairman James Comer, R-Kentucky, has said operated over 20 “shell” companies at any given time to facilitate money laundering by concealing “payments from foreign entities” to the Bidens.
The companies include the investment firm Rosemont Seneca and Hunter Biden’s law firm OWASCO-PC, according to the committee.
Two IRS whistleblowers, agents Joseph Ziegler and Gary Shapley, testified in July about alleged multimillion-dollar payments to the companies that originated from overseas sources, including a Chinese investment firm and the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, where Hunter Biden occupied a board seat.
The latter pay-off was to secure then-Vice President Joe Biden’s assistance in derailing a criminal investigation into Burisma by Ukraine’s top prosecutor, Republican committee members allege.
Investigators have procured numerous “suspicious activity reports” from the U.S. Treasury Department pointing to receipts of overseas funds by at least eight Biden family members, according to the committee.
As recently as August, the president said, “I never talked business with anybody” when questioned about the committee’s revelations.
Hunter Biden’s former business associates Devon Archer and Rob Walker have both provided statements saying that between 2014 and 2019, Joe Biden was present during at least 20 meetings tied to overseas financial arrangements, according to the committee.
“With this formal inquiry, Congress will utilize its full capabilities to conduct its constitutional duty and complete a full unearthing of the culture of corruption that is crippling this presidency,” Issa said.
The genesis for the inquiry was Hunter Biden’s laptop computer that was dropped off at a Delaware repair shop and seemingly forgotten, then accessed by a technician who shared the contents, which ended up in a New York Post expose. Now known as the “Laptop from Hell,” with videos and photographs circulating throughout cyberspace, it depicts Hunter Biden engaging in sex acts with prostitutes, using drugs and other activities.
He was federally indicted Thursday for purchasing a firearm while addicted to narcotics.