By Mark Tapscott
Mountains of evidence Republicans claim point to a decade and more of influence peddling and financial fraud involving President Joe Biden, his son Hunter, and brother, James, and multiple business associates will be reviewed on Thursday in the first special impeachment inquiry hearing of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee.
While the proceedings will initially convene in that committee’s hearing room in the Rayburn House Office Building, the inquiry—authorized Sept. 12 by Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)—is being led by oversight panel chairman Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-Mo.).
Republicans have portrayed the initial hearing as merely a summary or review of the evidence obtained to date, but Mr. Comer announced Sept. 26 that his panel received in response to subpoenas two previously unknown wire transfers to Hunter Biden from Chinese businessmen with numerous links to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
“On July 26, 2019, Hunter Biden received a $10,000 wire from Wang Xin. On August 2, 2019, Hunter Biden received a $250,000 wire from Jonathan Li and Tan Ling. Both wires originated in Beijing and Joe Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware, home is listed as the beneficiary address for both wires,” Mr. Comer said in a statement. The transfers directly contradict claims by the President and Hunter Biden’s lawyer that no funds were received from China.
In addition, Mr. Comer pointed out that “evidence shows Joe Biden developed a familiar relationship with Jonathan Li during his vice presidency and prior to these payments to Hunter Biden. Devon Archer, a Biden business associate, described [to the oversight committee in closed-door testimony] how Joe Biden met with Jonathan Li in Beijing, China, had a phone call with him, and later wrote college recommendation letters for his children.”
Then on Sept. 27, Mr. Smith’s panel made public 700 pages of additional evidence provided by two IRS whistleblowers who were deeply involved in the government’s long-running investigation of Hunter Biden’s failure to pay taxes on income he received in 2014 and 2015. The Ways and Means panel made the new evidence public following a closed-door executive session in which all 18 Democrats opposed the release.
The new materials made public by Mr. Smith indicated the Biden family received at least $19 million in income from entities in at least 23 countries around the world which was channeled through 20 shell companies. The income was ultimately received directly or indirectly by multiple members of the Biden family, including the president while he was vice president.
The materials also included numerous references in emails and telephone messages to the senior Biden playing an active role in what Mr. Smith described to reporters during a Capitol Hill news conference following the executive session as “a complex and lucrative enterprise operated by the Biden family to enrich themselves to the tune of at least $20 million, with much of Hunter Biden’s share going unreported for taxes.”
Mr. Smith further claimed the new evidence makes clear that “then Vice President Joe Biden’s political power and influence was ‘the brand’ that Hunter Biden was selling all over the world. Even more alarming, the Biden family foreign influence peddling operation suggests an effort to sway U.S. policy decisions.”
The backgrounds of the witnesses for the hearing suggest the impeachment inquiry’s summary of evidence will focus on three major areas.
Witness Bruce Dubinski is a Florida-based forensic accountant who specializes in cases involving white-collar crime and financial fraud. He has testified as an expert witness in multiple federal and state bench and jury trials.
Republican leaders of the impeachment inquiry have repeatedly described their efforts as “following the money,” and they have pointed to more than 170 Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) from financial institutions to the Department of Treasury concerning the movement of funds among the 20 Biden shell companies as evidence of money laundering in an attempt to conceal the sources of income to the family.
Mr. Dubinski is expected to shed additional light on the significance of the SARs and how the funds flowed from foreign sources to the shell companies and then to members of the Biden family, including several grandchildren.
Former Assistant Attorney General Eileen O’Connor will be the second witness providing testimony to the impeachment inquiry. She oversaw the Tax Division of the Department of Justice during the presidency of George W. Bush from 2001 to 2007.
Ms. O’Connor has since specialized in civil and criminal tax disputes, from the administrative investigative phases through trial litigation and appellate processes. Committee members will likely quiz her closely on issues and evidence related to the government’s investigation of Hunter Biden’s failure to report income and pay taxes on it.
She will also be questioned about the significance of the failed plea deal rejected in July by a federal judge that would have enabled the president’s son to plead guilty to two tax misdemeanors and a felony gun charge, and which would have granted him immunity from all future prosecutions.
Professor Jonathan Turley of the George Washington University Law School will be the third witness. Mr. Turley is a constitutional law authority who frequently testifies before committees of both chambers in Congress, including during the first impeachment hearings of the 117th Congress against President Donald Trump.
A Fox News Contributor, Mr. Turley is a frequent commenter on controversial legal and political developments in the nation’s capital, and he has also served as a legal analyst for CBS News and NBC News on high-profile controversies. Committee members will likely seek his insights on constitutional issues related to impeachable activities and federal ethics laws and regulations.
Democrats condemn the impeachment inquiry as a waste of time, especially coming with only hours until the federal government could be forced to shut down if Congress has not adopted a 2024 budget by midnight Saturday, the end of the current fiscal year.
Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), the Ranking Member of the Ways and Means Committee, issued a statement following the closed executive session in which he labeled the hearing “a distraction from my colleagues’ inability to govern and from their inability to fund the government. Amid their chaos, they’ve failed to convince their own colleagues of the necessity of their political stunt, let alone the American people.”
The Massachusetts Democrat, who preceded Mr. Smith as Chairman, added that “millions of women and children are at risk of losing their food assistance because of my colleagues’ disinterest in governing. How are we supposed to tell our constituents that Fox News hits were more important than their next meal? Or what are we supposed to say to the 2.2 million American workers who may go without a paycheck when Republicans shut down the government? For this Republican majority, regardless of evidence, all roads lead to impeachment. It’s a sad day for the Congress and for the American people.”