As a government shutdown that could affect millions of Americans looms over Congress, House Republicans are busy launching their impeachment inquiry circus against President Joe Biden.
On Thursday, the House Oversight Committee held its first hearing of their official impeachment inquiry investigation of as-yet-unproven allegations of “abuse of power, obstruction, and corruption,” by President Biden.
The GOP invited three witnesses to testify before the committee: Justice Department official Eileen O’Connor, law professor Jonathan Turley, and forensic accountant Bruce Dubinsky.
If Republicans were looking for a bombshell first hearing, they didn’t get it. All three witnesses agreed that they would not be presenting “any first-hand witness account of crimes committed by the president of the United States.”
Turley, who is also a legal analyst for Fox News, went so far as to say that despite generally supporting the inquiry, he does “not believe the current evidence would support articles of impeachment,” against the president.
Dubinsky emphasized that he was not present at the hearing “to even suggest that there was corruption, fraud, or any wrongdoing,” adding that in his opinion“more information needs to be gathered and assessed before I would make such an assessment.”
O’Connor, stated that she feels the inquiry is justified, but affirmed when asked that she was not a material witness and had no evidence to provide to the committee.
Democrats on the committee ripped the GOP in response.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) called the spectacle an “embarrassment,” and pointed to the fact that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy had circumvented a floor vote authorizing the inquiry, a vote that has typically been taken in past impeachment proceedings before moving forward with public hearings.
Ranking member Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) shared her sentiment. “They don’t have the votes because dozens of Republicans recognize what a futile and absurd process this is,” he said.
“They present us no basis [for impeachment] at all today, even after eight months of investigation. They invited three witnesses to testify today, not one of them an eyewitness to a presidential crime of any kind. Not one of them is a direct fact witness about any of the events related to Ukraine and Burisma. If the Republicans had a smoking gun or even a dripping water pistol they would be presenting it today. But they’ve got nothing on Joe Biden.”
Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-Fla.) sparred with Chairman Comer when he declared that “these witnesses are not giving any basis [for this hearing].” Comer disagreed, cutting Frost off, but the Democrat persisted. “These witnesses are not giving any answers,” he exclaimed. “They’re just asking more questions.”
Despite how Comer may see it, Republicans on and off the Hill are already recognizing how badly the hearing flopped. According to CNN, one GOP insider called the display an “unmitigated disaster.”
“You want witnesses that make your case. Picking witnesses that refute House Republicans’ arguments for impeachment is mind-blowing,” the anonymous source said.
Fox News, Republican’s primary propaganda outfit, tried to minimize the damage, cutting away from the proceedings and allowing anchors to inject their own spin during Democrats’ speaking time, and resuming the direct feed during Republican testimony.
Even the Biden administration signaled that they had no concerns over the proceedings. In a statement, the White House wrote that the government was hours away from shutting down “because of extreme House Republicans’ chaos and inability to govern.”
“The consequences for the American people will be very damaging — from lost jobs, to troops working without pay, to jeopardizing important efforts to fight fentanyl, deliver disaster relief, provide food assistance, and more,” the White House added. “Nothing can distract from that.”
Should House Republicans not reach a funding deal before 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 1, the government will enter a shutdown.