Live coverage: Republican impeachment inquiry (part 2)

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 7:19:19 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Rep. Rashida Tlaib contrasts the nonsense of this hearing with important hearings she’s been involved with in the past, and the damage done by a shut down—which Republicans are ignoring.

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 7:16:47 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Democrats enter more documents into the record, some of it probably addressed what Gosar said. But I really can’t tell you what Gosar said.

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 7:14:22 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Rep. Paul Gosar wins the award for being the worst at reading from his own notes. Honestly, Gosar is so monotone and is engaging in such a long string of … whatever, that even the most dedicated Republican Biden hater had to take this five minutes for a bathroom break. 

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 7:09:28 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Moskowitz is joining some previous Democrats in showing statements that Republicans have made in the past, but these are not the same statements just being repeated, but new statements from Comer, Grassley, et. al.

It’s a good job of reinforcing and building on the statements previously cited.

“They’re all one upping one another in the Donald Trump friend Olympics, trying to get invited to the sleepover at Mar-a-Lago.” — Rep. Jared Moskowitz

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 7:04:56 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Rep. Jared Moskowitz is thrilled with how this hearing is going “As a former director of emergency management, I know a disaster when I see one.”

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 7:03:23 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Greene waves around a picture of something. She says its a bathing suit. What it proves outside of Q-anon circles is unknown. 

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 6:59:39 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

And Greene is finally up. She is shocked, shocked, by how the DOJ hasn’t acted on claims she sent about unsupported claims that she sent about human trafficking by Hunter Biden. And because it was done in 2020, by the Trump DOJ, it was election interference. By Trump-appointed officials against Trump. 

If you thought Greene was going to say or ask anything reasonable … no, sorry. You never thought that. Apologies.

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 6:53:06 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Goldman, who has been doing some heavy lifting on documents to this point, finally gets his opportunity to talk. He points out that the first hearing against Donald Trump had a full dozen fact witnesses, as opposed to zero.

And that, in addition to blocking an appearance by Giuliani, Republicans also won’t allow Devon Archer to testify, even though they are cherry picking his past statements as some of the primary evidence.

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 6:51:15 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Joe Biden is 80. Every tax form he’s written since the Stone Age is public record. All his homes and bank accounts are on record. Do the Republicans think Biden is waiting until he’s 88 to retire and live it up on all the secret money?

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 6:50:02 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Rep. William Timmons says he’s going to “make it simple” for the American people by bringing it down to “What did Joe Biden know, and when.”

Now we’re down to “a Biden” as well “the Biden family.”

Now we’re in Kazakhstan. And Burisma. And the CCP. Because Hunter Biden is not only the smartest man in business, but able to predict the future actions of world leaders. Honestly, Hunter should be a billionaire if he was capable of half what the Republicans are accusing him of.

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 6:44:45 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Crockett asks to enter into the record a fact sheet from Congressional Integrity Project, Comer and Jordan object. 

Crockett: “Of course y’all gonna object, but we gonna talk about it.” Crockett then proceeds to read a list of Trump activities in China that dwarf anything that Republicans have even tried to throw at Biden.

Crockett then goes to Gerhardt to see how many times Republicans have said “if” in regard to the claims against Biden. Gerhardt “has been keeping a tally.” The number is 35.

Crockett holds up a picture of classified documents being stored in the bathroom at Mar-a-Lago and delivers the quote of the day.

“These are our national secrets. Looks like in the shitter to me” 

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 6:37:37 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Rep. Jasmine Crockett points out that the form 1023 that Republicans keep citing has been “repeatedly debunked” including by the person who brought it to the FBI originally. The FBI investigated the claims and closed the investiation.

“Repeating the same lies will not turn them into truth. Kind of like the election that he lost.”

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 6:35:49 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Raskin says that Perry used an email that was “purportedly obtained from Hunter Biden’s laptop” which hasn’t be verified.

Raskin makes it clear that there is no chain of custody on this information. Jordan seems to think it’s okay because Hunter Biden is suing for breach of privacy. How that makes it okay unverified information, is left to the imagination.

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 6:32:44 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Rep. Scott Perry wants to hold Hunter Biden guilty for simply being Joe Biden’s son. Perry once again demonstrates, after some slide fumbling, that Republicans either have so little to go on, or so uncoordinated, that they keep hitting the same line in the same document. 

Perry gets in a claim that Hunter Biden was “frequenting prostitutes.” So if that was on your BINGO card, there you go.

Boy, a lot of people seem to send money to “The Biden Family.” Which would be … who? Perry is really big on “the Biden family.” 

And now it’s snooze along with Turley time.

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 6:28:23 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Greene shouts out “what about the Jan. 6 defendants.” Presumably she means it was wrong to prosecute insurgents. 

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 6:26:17 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Following Casar’s question, Democrats raise their hands. Republicans do not.

So much for equal justice under the law.

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 6:24:30 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

“I for one am grateful we have an independent judicial system where a president’s son, and a former president, can be investigated and prosecuted if they violate the law. It is my firm belief that hunter and Trump should both face trial and, if found guilty, face the consequence of the crimes they’ve been accused of. Can everyone on the Oversight Committee say the same thing?” — Rep. Greg Casar

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 6:21:15 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Casar is doing a good job of explaining how a big factor behind the Republican inquiry is to just make everyone look corrupt. Because if everyone is corrupt, then Trump’s corruption, and theirs, is no big deal.

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 6:19:48 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Rep. Greg Casar pulls up a quote from Jordan calling attempting to impeach Trump “political theater.”

“If you thought impeaching Trump was political theater, what would you call this? This, this is a disgrace.”

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 6:17:40 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Goldman enters the letter that Fallon was talking about, which actually shows that Shokin was not investigating Burisma. It won’t make a dent in Republican’s claims.

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 6:16:01 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Fallon halls out the 1023. The unverified 1023. The widely debunked 1023 that is based on the repeatedly debunked Burisma conspiracy theory.

And now we’re deep into Shokin territory. Really, that leaning on this five years later is kind of astounding. 

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 6:13:27 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Fallon keeps saying “say it with me” like he leading a chant. No one is saying it with him.

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 6:12:07 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

And we’re back with Comer now sitting in the big chair.

Rep. Pat Fallon is first up with the big news that Hunter Biden spoke with his father. This may actually be shocking to some Republicans.

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 6:09:29 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

In general, Democrats regard these hearings as a team sport. They talk in advance, divide up topics, and use their statements to support each other and leverage a series of themes.

Republicans view them as a chance to promote themselves individually by showing that they are the cleverest, meanest, sneariest of all. Which is how you get someone shouting about China, and someone else talking about Romania, and a dozen people all using the same line because no one bothered to even notice that their colleagues already covered it.

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 6:02:39 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Finally, Jordan hammers in a 10 minute break. Summing everything up so far.

Another House GOP staffer tells me “Comer and staff botched this bad.” Tells me the information presented by Republicans has been “confusing” and Democrats are “on message.” “How can you not be better prepared for this?”

— Stephen Neukam (@stephen_neukam) September 28, 2023

Yes, we are still here. And they are still there. And you are still better off just getting thing thing drip-fed to you at a safe distance.

Think of this as the layer of lead that stands between your brain and the kryptonite-level nonsense spewing from the House chambers. Considering the utterly disconnected from reality FUD that we’ve heard so far, we may have to increase the thickness.

Back to the fray…

Live coverage: Republican impeachment inquiry

Republicans begin their impeachment inquiry of President Joe Biden today. Appropriately enough, they’re bringing in three “witnesses” who haven’t witnessed anything. One is accountant Bruce Dubinsky, whose expertise consists of going on Fox News to attack Hunter Biden. Another is a former member of Donald Trump’s transition team, Eileen O’Connor, who served in the Department of Justice two decades ago. The last member of this Republican dream team is, of course, “legal scholar” Jonathan Turley, the attorney who ponied up to defend Donald Trump during his impeachment hearings and the go-to choice when Republicans need support for their most ridiculous theories.

None of these three have any connection to Hunter Biden or President Joe Biden. They have no knowledge of the events, no involvement in any investigation, no special knowledge, and no reason to appear.

So, if nothing else, this is going to be a perfect illustration of just what this “inquiry” is about.

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 3:43:54 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Rep. Lynch just demolished one of the GOP witnesses

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 28, 2023

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 3:42:44 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Rep. Mike Turner spends most of his time praising the wisdom of Jonathan Turley. And again, we’re going down the road to Burisma. 

Turner brings up the fact that the attorney general has a special prosecutor looking ino classified materials that Biden already turned over and strings a new conspiracy theory that Hunter Biden was selling classified info. So that’s at least a fun new unsupported line of BS.

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 3:37:55 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Lynch says he’s surprised that he walked into this meeting with supposed witnesses and didn’t find Rudy Giuliani, the one person who can actually answer questions about how the Burisma story started. 

Gerhardt agrees that it “seems obvious” Giuliani should be there.

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 3:36:24 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Rep. Stephen Lynch points out that not one of the witnesses Republicans brought has any knowledge of any wrongdoing by President Biden, any evidence about Hunter Biden, or anything really to contribute to this processes.

Lynch points out that O’Conner’s article “You’d go to prison for what Biden did” was actually “You’d go to prison for what Hunter Biden did.” O’Conner says she left out the “Hunter” because she was “cutting down words to say inside my five minutes.”

A pretty important word, says Lynch.

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 3:32:30 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Jordan and Turley tag teaming the idea that you don’t need any evidence to do an impeachment inquiry, and boy are they spending a lot of time defending just sitting here today.

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 3:29:50 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Jordan jumps fully into the Burisma claims as the basis of this investigation. Which is an absolutely full on perfect, since that’s has been so roundly disproven since 2019.

Jordan is back in front of the cameras screaming. Because being louder makes things more important.

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 3:27:38 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Norton throws back to Raskin so he can ask Gerhardt about how Republicans aren't concerned about the $2 billion pocketed by Jared Kushner.

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 3:25:06 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton goes back to Gerhardt who emphasis that there is no credible evidence against President Biden, and that impeachment without evidence doesn’t just trivialize impeachment, but “trivializes the Constitution and runs roughshod over the rule of law.”

Note that is is Democrats who are actually asking for witnesses to the Burisma deal to be called, while Republicans are quickly shutting down that effort. Because Republicans want to use the claims against President Biden without any threat of the truth getting in the way.

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 3:21:34 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Smith gets his turn to talk about the “700 pages of documents” from his fantastic press conference

He asks O’Conner a question about “Biden family” and “the family” are apparently a thing that is capable of violating campaign laws. 

This thing is so scripted that O’Conner is thrown off because she admits that she thought Smith was going to ask her a different question about a different part of the conspiracy theory. O’Conner also points to Dubinsky as someone who can fill Smith in on how some part of this “family” worked. Because it’s an ensemble piece.

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 3:16:34 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Raskin asks Gerhardt about whether any impeachment inquiry has been launched without a vote of the full House. Nope. How about impeachment inquiries without evidence of a crime? Nope. Gerhardt agrees with Raskin that hearing from Giuliani and Parnas is important. 

Raskin asks Gerhardt for a theory that Trump didn’t deserve to be impeached for Jan. 6, but Biden does deserve to be impeached for … whatever. Gerhardt says he cannot. 

Raskin moves to enter a letter from Parnas into the record.

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 3:11:50 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Jordan starts off with the $250,000 that was sent to Hunter Biden by wire which used Joe Biden’s home address which was insta-debunked after Republicans tried to spring this yesterday. 

So, Jordan is now asking Dubinsky about how this matches his experience of fraudsters, which is exactly why Dubinsky is there. So that every theory that Jordan, Comer, or Smith wants to posit can be supported.

Then Jordan turns to Turley, who has handily prepared for Republicans a list of crimes they might consider using to impeach President Biden, since they don’t have anything. This whole back and forth with Turley is fantastic, because it amounts to Turley flat-out advising the Republicans on how to conduct their case. 

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 3:06:18 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

And lord help us, now we have to get through all the questions from members. So here we go...

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 3:05:54 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Professor Michael Gerhardt starts off warning against the trivializing of impeachment inquiries, and quoting Alexander Hamilton from the Federalist papers. 

Gerhardt goes back through the evidence that Jordan gave, simplifies it, and shows where it not only doesn’t come close to justifying impeachment, but doesn’t show that President Biden did anything wrong. Most importantly, Gerhardt points out that all the things they are doing—criticizing the actions of prosecutors, talking about whether Hunter Biden’s deal was proper—are outside of the functions of the Committee.

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 2:59:42 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Dubinsky just said that shell companies “more often than not” are used for illicit purposes.

Someone might want to get in touch with the guy who has over 500 of those shell companies. (Hint: That’s Donald Trump)

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 2:58:34 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Bruce Dubinsky is hear to tell us he knows all about fraudsters, fraud, and how fraudsters move their money around. His whole testimony seems to boil down to saying “where there’s smoke there’s fire” except he can’t say anything about whether there’s any actual fire. Or smoke.

Expect all his testimony to be about his “experience with fraudsters.” Republicans are going to use him to paint a picture of Joe Biden’s family moving money around through shell companies. Evidence be damned,

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 2:55:51 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Eileen O’Conner says she was “invited to share her comments on Hunter Biden as a private citizen.” That’s—interesting. And then she moves directly to acting as a proxy for IRS “whistleblowers” Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler.

Then she talks about his Wall Street Journal editorial titled “Throw Hunter Biden’s plea deal in the trash” And her second editorial titled “You’d go to prison for what Biden did.” If you wondered why she’s there, now you know.

O’Conner goes on to extend a new conspiracy theory that the IRS and DOJ were somehow making a deal with Hunter Biden to try and cut off Shapley. Everything she said absolutely contradicts Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney David Weiss. But again, no one is bothering to hear from people who were really involved.

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 2:48:30 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Turley starts off the affair by talking about how he believes the House has “passed the threshold” for the inquiry. Then goes on to admit that everything is simply an allegation.

For what it’s worth, I allege that Turley is a hack. Can we impeach him?

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 2:44:56 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Now Jordan introduces the witnesses. Oddly enough, their appearances on Fox and their connections to Trump have gone unmentioned.

In addition to the Republican witnesses, Democrats have called law professor Michael Gerhardt.

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 2:40:30 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

After some wrangling, Jordan goes through the motion of tabling Raskin’s call for for witnesses who are actual witnesses. It is, of course, promptly blocked along partisan lines.

Because the last thing Republicans want in this hearing is someone who actually knows something about the claims they are making.

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 2:36:20 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Raskin insists that Rudy Giuliani and his convicted partner in crime Lev Parnas be called as witnesses, asks for a vote. Jordan just refuses to do it.

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 2:34:35 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Raskin has spent the last ten minutes just eating this hearing alive. 

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 2:31:57 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Raskin once again goes through the steps showing that the firing of Shokin was part of a fight against corruption in Ukraine that was backed by multiple governments and by Republicans in the U.S. Senate. It wasn’t until years after the event that the whole “Biden did it to help Burisma” scheme was concocted by Giuliani and Trump.

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 2:28:54 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

“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. All they can do is return to the thoroughly demolished lie that Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump launched five years ago — the Burisma conspiracy theory.” — Rep. Jamie Raskin

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 2:28:27 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Raskin making it clear that if they had to put this farce up for a vote, Jordan, Comer, and Smith don’t have the votes to get this inquiry started. It’s only because Rep. Kevin McCarthy bypassed all the rules he had thumped during Trump’s impeachment. 

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 2:23:38 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Raskin starts with a series of quotes from Republicans that are genuinely fun. Also, Raskin got in a quote from “Alfred Pennyworth in the Dark Knight,” which is a pretty good illustration of just where this hearing is taking place.


UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 2:19:44 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Rep. Jamie Raskin points out that since this whole farce didn’t get a vote in the House, all the attacks on President Biden are a violation of House rules. But Jordan just says that’s okay, Biden can be smeared at will.

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 2:17:39 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

And now we get Rep. Jim Jordan. How also jumps right to the Ukraine false claims.

This whole thing about the prosecutor in Ukraine, Viktor Shokin, has been debunked over, and over, and over. Really, it’s just perfect that this is already turning out to be the heart of this “inquiry.” 

The second part of this is going to be how Joe Biden somehow controlled the Department of Justice all through the Trump administration. Which is just high fantasy.

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 2:12:54 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

And Rep. Jason Smith jumps right into the repeatedly debunked claims about Joe Biden in Ukraine. Because of course they’re going to go there.

UPDATE: Thursday, Sep 28, 2023 · 2:09:09 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Rep. James Comer starts right off claiming to have a “mountain” of evidence and treating every claim as if it is an established fact. It’s always easier to conduct a trial if you don’t have to prove anything. Maybe they’ll just skip right to the end.