Authored by Tom Ozimek via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
Newly minted House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) said President Joe Biden lied about his involvement in his family's business affairs and engaged in a coverup, with the Louisiana Republican vowing that the impeachment inquiry into the president would continue as he now wields the power of the gavel.
Mr. Johnson made the remarks in an Oct. 26 interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity, in which he said that removing President Biden from office is a real possibility in light of the evidence that has emerged suggesting that the president may have engaged in bribery.
"We have the receipts on so much of this now," Mr. Johnson said, referring to evidence that includes bank records showing tens of millions of dollars paid to various shell corporations linked to Biden family members, including the president's son, Hunter Biden.
While President Biden has denied any involvement in his son's business affairs, the GOP-led House Oversight Committee has released over 20 examples of evidence tying the president to Hunter Biden's business dealings.
"There’s a lot of smoke here, and we’re going to find out very soon how big the fire is," Mr. Johnson said.
Records obtained through the panel's subpoenas to date reveal that the Bidens and their associates have received over $20 million in payments from a variety of foreign entities, with the committee listing these in a timeline of the Bidens' "influence peddling."
"It's a real problem," Mr. Johnson told Mr. Hannity, adding that the evidence that has emerged thus far is the reason the Republicans launched an impeachment inquiry into President Biden in mid-September.
"That's the reason that we shifted into the impeachment inquiry stage on the president himself because if, in fact, all the evidence leads to where we believe it will, that's very likely impeachable offenses," he said. "That's listed as a cause for impeachment in the Constitution—bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors."
"Bribery is listed there," he continued, adding that the evidence the GOP has collected so far "looks and smells a lot like that."
At the same time, Mr. Johnson threw cold water on the idea that Republicans would push for impeachment before all the evidence has been thoroughly vetted and a solid case is in place.
"I know people are getting anxious, and they're getting restless, and they just want somebody to be impeached," he said. But "we don't do that, like the other team," he said. "We have to base it upon the evidence and the evidence is coming together, we'll see where it leads."
"We're going to engage in due process, because, again, we're the rule-of-law party," Mr. Johnson said.
President Biden's Alleged Business Ties
While on the campaign trail, then-presidential candidate Mr. Joe Biden insisted that he had no role whatsoever in his son's business dealings. He would later state publicly that he had no involvement in or knowledge of his family's business affairs.
Mr. Johnson told Mr. Hannity that he believes the evidence that has emerged thus far shows that the president "lied directly multiple times about his involvement and knowledge of his son's business dealings. We all know that now," before adding that President Biden "has been involved in covering it up."
The foundation of the president's repeated denials has been shaken by a growing pile of evidence, however. First, there were the explosive revelations of the contents of the Hunter Biden laptop. Then, there were statements made by Hunter Biden's former business associate Tony Bobulinski, and more recently a series of bombshell disclosures made by Devon Archer, former business partner of the president's son.
A readout of some of Mr. Archer's key revelations from July 31 closed-door testimony before Congress include that Hunter Biden put his father, who was then vice president, on speakerphone during business meetings over 20 times and that the elder Biden was put on the call to sell "the brand." While Republicans saw Mr. Archer's testimony as proof that the president lied when he denied involvement in his son's business dealings, the president's supporters insisted the conversations amounted to "casual" small talk and that, at most, Mr. Hunter Biden had peddled the "illusion of access" to his father rather than the real deal.
The White House downplayed the significance of Mr. Archer's testimony, with spokesperson Ian Sams saying it failed to provide the kind of bombshell evidence of wrongdoing that Republicans claimed.
“It appears that the House Republicans’ own much-hyped witness today testified that he never heard of President Biden discussing business with his son or his son’s associates or doing anything wrong,” Mr. Sams said in a statement at the time.
But later, in an interview with Tucker Carlson, Mr. Archer said that President Biden's claims of having no involvement in his son's business dealings are "categorically false."
"He was aware of Hunter's business. He met with Hunter's business partners," Mr. Archer said. He insisted that the claim that the president was in no way involved in his son's business affairs is "not factually right."
More recently, congressional investigators found evidence of a $200,000 "direct payment" to President Biden from family members, with some Republicans saying this is further evidence of the president's alleged involvement in his family's business affairs.
"This summer, Joe Biden said: 'Where's the money?'" House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) said in an Oct. 20 statement. "Well, we found some."
Impeachment Inquiry Launched
In announcing the impeachment inquiry in mid-September, then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said President Biden lied about his knowledge of his family’s foreign business dealings. "Eyewitnesses have testified that the president joined on multiple phone calls and had multiple interactions, dinners, resulting in cars and millions of dollars into his son’s and his son’s business partners' [accounts]," Mr. McCarthy said at a Sept. 12 press conference.
“We know that bank records show that nearly $20 million in payments were directed to the Biden family members, and associates, through various shell companies. The Treasury Department alone had more than 150 transactions involving the Biden family and other business associates that were flagged as suspicious activity by U.S. banks," he added.
During the first impeachment hearing on Sept. 28, witnesses said that evidence uncovered thus far suggests misconduct on the part of the Biden family, though more is needed to support impeaching the president.
"While I believe that an impeachment inquiry is warranted, I do not believe that the evidence currently meets the standard of a high crime and misdemeanor needed for an article of impeachment," Jonathan Turley, a law professor at the George Washington University Law School, testified.
In a memorandum to Republicans released ahead of the first hearing, GOP leaders noted that they've gathered evidence that the Biden family and their associates received more than $24 million from 2014 to 2019. President Biden served as vice president until early 2017.
The money was transmitted "through an exceedingly complex chain of transactions that made it difficult to track the flow of these funds," they said in the memo.