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April 1, 2024

In breaking news, President Biden has accepted the House Impeachment Inquiry’s invitation to testify under oath.

April Fool!  You know that won’t be happening.  Here’s the real story:

On March 28, James Comer, chair of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, representing the three committees running the Biden Impeachment Inquiry, sent him a letter requesting that he testify in a couple of weeks.  Of course, just as the recent request they sent Hunter Biden to appear at a public hearing has been declined by his attorney Abbe Lowell, so this one will no doubt be declined.  It has already been ridiculed by extremely unprofessional members of the White House staff.  But the letter makes for informative reading, anyway, as it spells out what the inquiry has put together over these long months of investigation...

Regarding the $24 million that the inquiry has traced from foreign sources to Biden family accounts and business associates, they tell President Biden, “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.”

They accuse of him of being hostile and uncooperative to the Committee, saying, “In light of the yawning gap between your public statements and the 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 so they “hereby invite” him to do so.

The letter goes on to explain to Biden the process they followed for obtaining evidence, beginning with SARs (Suspicious Activity Reports) that revealed “a complex web of shell companies that funneled or received funds originating from China, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, and other nations.”  These companies transferred “over $15 million” to members of Biden’s family (including Joe), including the tens of thousands of dollars he personally took in from China.

Then the Inquiry began the witness testimony phase, including depositions from Joe’s brother James and his son Hunter, though Hunter ended up not appearing at a public hearing after all.  (They do have his behind-closed-doors testimony, though.)  Former partners Tony Bobulinski and Jason Galanis testified behind closed doors and also in public that Joe Biden “participated in schemes to provide access” to his or others’ offices in exchange for payments to his family.  It’s clear from this testimony that access was ALL they were selling.

“The public is left with two irreconcilable differences,” states the letter.  The first is President Biden’s, that he did not participate in any of this.  The second is supported by all the other evidence they’ve amassed, that he was indeed involved and has been consistently untruthful about it.

This is “relevant to national security and your own fitness to serve as President of the United States,” the letter informs him.  (Can you believe how nonchalant the media are about something this serious?  If they were doing their jobs, they would demand he testify.)

In its seven pages, Comer’s letter outlines what the Inquiry has uncovered about financial dealings with China, Ukraine, and Russia and asks Biden specific questions regarding each.  Here’s one, under the Ukraine heading, that we’d really like an under-oath answer to: “Have you met, spoken to, or otherwise interacted with Mykola Zlochevky of Burisma Holdings?”  Zlochevsky, you will recall, was said to have made the statement that he “paid $5 million to one Biden and $5 million to another Biden.”  That quote was discovered in an old FBI “2023” form, an agent’s notes from an interview with confidential human source (CHS) Alexander Smirnov.  This long-dependable and well-compensated source probably wishes he’d never agreed to be a CHS, as he was arrested in mid-February and charged with making false statements to the FBI.

But back to the letter.  Under the heading of “Loans,” it describes bookkeeping entries described as “loan repayments” for which the person doing the bookkeeping (one of Hunter’s business partners) could not recall any evidence of a loan.  “When asked to provide evidence of the underlying loans,” the letter states, “the White House refused.”

As Chairman of the Oversight Committee, Comer invites President Biden “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.  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.”


NOTE:  This, however, is extremely rare and a big deal.  Ford was only the third President to testify before Congress, after Lincoln and Wilson, and the only sitting President to testify under oath.  He did this because of the public outcry and falling approval ratings after his address from the Oval Office announcing his full pardon of President Nixon.  Ford testified under oath about his reasons for doing this and said there had been no quid pro quo.  Time has been kind to Ford’s decision.


ADDITIONAL NOTE OF INTEREST:  Lincoln’s testimony before Congress was part of an investigation into the leak of his annual note to Congress, which appeared in the New York HERALD the same day it was delivered to Capitol Hill.  In those days, they didn’t do the big State Of The Union whoop-dee-do.  A simple letter is sounding all the time like something we should go back to.  Just publish the darn thing in the paper so we can see it, preferably not before the President officially releases it.

Also, just so WE don’t get letters, Congress does not have the power to subpoena the President, as this would violate the constitutional balance of power.  Besides, how would they enforce it?

Anyway, Comer proposes April 16 as Biden’s hearing date and provides names and phone numbers of committee staffers who should be contacted to set it up.  Like that’ll happen.

The letter is cc’d to Ranking Member Jamie Raskin, who is no doubt still going around saying there’s no evidence.

Law professor Jonathan Turley wrote a column about this letter the day after it was sent to President Biden.  He calls the letter “the latest, and best, reduction of the glaring contradictions in the President’s past statements on his family’s well-documented influence-peddling operation.”

But “the White House responded with mockery --- a sense of impunity that exists due to an enabling media.” 

We would add that this is the big difference between the 2024 media’s relationship with Biden and the 1974 media’s relationship with Nixon/Ford.  If President Ford had had an “enabling media,” he wouldn’t have needed to testify before Congress, because the media would have smoothed everything over.  But 50 years ago, the media hated Nixon and, by extension, Ford, for pardoning him.  Biden is safe from this.

Still, as Turley points out, “the Committee has laid out the considerable evidence showing that the President had lied, knowingly and repeatedly.”

He says the White House staff has also responded with taunting, bringing up once again “how the role of the White House staff in these denials can raise serious questions under the impeachment inquiry.”  He’s said it before:  this is how the Nixon White House got in trouble.

Ian Sams, a particularly snarky White House spokesperson, has got to be the worst at distorting facts, and that’s saying something.  Sample: “LOL.  Comer knows that 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.  Call it a day, pal.”

As Turley says, such disrespect would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.  (He characterized it on FOX NEWS SUNDAY as “quite shocking.”)  But this supremely unprofessional character gets away with it because the media just let him rant, while showing no interest in the answers to the questions Congress is asking.  They’re the perfect audience for what Turley calls “‘Houdini’s disappearing elephant trick’ applied to politics.”

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