White House sends scathing letter telling Mike Johnson that Biden impeachment probe is ‘over’

Biden administration slammed the House Republicans probe: ‘Enough is enough’

Andrew Feinberg
Friday 15 March 2024 14:30 GMT
Related video: Robert Hur says he did not ‘sanitize’ his comments on Biden’s memory in special report

The White House is calling for an end to the six-month-old impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden and his family, citing Republican investigators’ failure to turn up any evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the president.

In a scathing letter to House Speaker Mike Johnson, White House Counsel Ed Siskel said it had become “clear” that the “House Republican impeachment is over,” citing reporting by ABC News, Punchbowl News and Fox News in which members of the Republican majority admitted to reporters that the inquiry is “falling apart,” has found “nothing anywhere close to an impeachable offence” and has failed to “identify a particular crime” that they can use to justify impeaching Mr Biden.

The letter, which was obtained by The Independent, also cites the imminent departure of Colorado Republican Ken Buck, who said his decision to resign from the House effective next week stems in part from his colleagues decision to “[take] impeachment and [make] it a social media issue as opposed to a constitutional concept”.

It also notes that Mr Buck’s opinion is “in line with conclusions” from a veritable who’s who of legal scholars from both right and left sides of the political spectrum who have opined that there is currently “no constitutionally sound basis” on which to commence impeachment proceedings against the president. Among these reputable names is former US District Judge Fern Smith, who called the current impeachment probe “a misuse of power” and described it as “manifestly unjustified”.

“The House Majority ought to work with the President on our economy, national security, and other important priorities on behalf of the American people, not continue to waste time on political stunts like this,” writes Mr Siskel in the letter.

Mr Siskel’s four-page missive to the House speaker is a vehement denunciation of what White House officials have decried as a meandering, aimless probe that ran its course long before it began surfacing evidence that proved the opposite of Republicans’ contention that Mr Biden had engaged in wrongdoing.

President Joe Biden has been the subject of a flailing Republican impeachment inquiry
President Joe Biden has been the subject of a flailing Republican impeachment inquiry (Getty)

The White House counsel pointed out that the two Republican committee chairs overseeing the investigation — House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer and Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan — have admitted that the probe’s true purpose is to damage Mr Biden politically and to “frame up” this year’s presidential race to bolster the campaign of former president Donald Trump.

“For over a year, House Republicans have been investigating President Biden in an effort to find something – anything – to hurt the President politically ... instead, the investigation has continually turned up evidence that, in fact, the President did nothing wrong,” he said.

Mr Siskel’s letter comes less than a month after federal agents arrested former FBI informant Alexander Smirnov on charges that he fabricated allegations of bribery against Mr Biden and his son, attorney and former lobbyist Hunter Biden.

In a transcribed interview with committee members and staff last month, Hunter Biden said his father had no involvement in any of his various business interests despite claims to the contrary from Republicans, who have spent years alleging that he and the president engaged in various influence-peddling schemes – all the while producing no evidence to support the allegations.

In addition, the president’s brother James Biden also told committee investigators that the president “never had any involvement” in his business activities. The president’s former financial manager also testified that he was “not aware of any financial transactions or compensation that Vice President Biden received related to business conducted by any of his family members or their associates, nor any involvement by him in their businesses”.

A succession of Hunter Biden’s business associates also said the same thing, telling the Republican-led committees that Mr Biden was never part of any business ventures undertaken by his son.

Mr Siskel noted that more than 20 witnesses called before the committee have “all but confirmed” the president’s lack of involvement in Hunter Biden’s work, calling the collective evidence given by the witnesses a “mountain of testimony” which, supported by a “voluminous set of records” produced to the investigation, “has only laid bare that the President did nothing wrong”.

He also pointed out that multiple witnesses who Republican members had held up as having damaging information about the president had turned out to be criminals. Mr Smirnov has been charged with lying to the FBI about the bribery allegations and another former committee informant, Gal Luft, is currently a fugitive fleeing from charges that he sold arms to Iran and served as an unregistered agent for the Chinese government. Meanwhile, Republicans plan to call two convicted criminals as witnesses at a public hearing set for next week.

“Instead of admitting the truth that the President did nothing wrong, the Majority is wasting even more time on abusive steps like trying to re-interview witnesses who already testified—perhaps hoping the facts will be different the second time around,” the letter read, calling the GOP’s gambit “the latest abusive tactic” in a probe that has “targeted the President’s children, grandchildren, siblings, and in-laws for no reason” and “intruded into private citizens’ personal records on everything from medical visits to birthday presents”.

“Enough is enough. It is obviously time to move on, Mr. Speaker. This impeachment is over,” he said. “There is too much important work to be done for the American people to continue wasting time on this charade”.

The White House’s call for an end to the probe comes as the House’s investigative efforts appear to be sputtering out, even as Mr Comer, the Oversight Committee chair, continues plans for a public hearing featuring various associates of Hunter Biden.

Raj Shah, a deputy chief of staff to Mr Johnson, said it was “not surprising that the White House would prefer to close the ongoing House inquiry” in a statement released in response to Mr Siskel’s letter which repeated claims about Mr Biden’s family having pocketed $20 million from “foreign sources”.

“The White House does not get to decide how impeachment gets resolved, that is for Congress to decide,” he added.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in