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Comer invites Biden to testify before the Oversight Committee

Originally Published: 28 MAR 24 16:43 ET

By Annie Grayer, CNN

    (CNN) -- House Oversight Chairman James Comer officially invited President Joe Biden to testify at a public hearing as House Republicans look revive interest in their stalled impeachment inquiry into the president – even as the White House has shot down the move as “a sad stunt.”

Comer suggested the hearing occur April 16, but said he was willing to negotiate with the White House on a date that worked with the president’s schedule.

“Comer knows 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,” White House spokesperson Ian Sams posted on X last week after the Kentucky Republican announced he would be inviting the president. “This is a sad stunt at the end of a dead impeachment. Call it a day, pal.”

The invitation comes as House Republicans have failed to uncover any evidence of wrongdoing by the president, and as doubts have begun to grow within GOP ranks about the prospects of a Biden impeachment given the conference currently lacks the votes in their divided, narrow majority. With the appetite for impeachment waning, Republicans are discussing instead whether to end their investigation by sending criminal referrals to the Department of Justice as pressure to answer calls from the right-wing base to hold Biden accountable remains palpable.

After 14 months, over 100,000 pages of documents and over 40 interviews including Biden family members, business associates, administration personnel, Department of Justice officials and Internal Revenue Service whistleblowers, Republicans have failed to uncover evidence to support their core allegations against the president.

Yet, in his letter to Biden, Comer outlined the four phases of his investigation that included obtaining bank records and witness testimony that led him to seeking the president’s testimony. In addition to testifying publicly, Comer asked the president to respond in writing to a number of questions including whether he had interactions with his son’s foreign business associates over the years regarding the money he lent his brother as a private citizen.

“As Chairman of the Committee, in addition to requesting that you answer the questions posed in this letter, I invite you 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,” Comer wrote.

Various Biden family business associates have testified they have had surface level interactions with Biden, but none have said they discussed business with the president, either while he was in office or as a private citizen. Biden has previously fired back against claims from House Republicans that he was involved in business dealings with his family, telling reporters at the White House last year the GOP claims are “a bunch of lies.”

The president’s brother, James Biden, testified to Congress about the loans between him and his brother, yet Republicans say the White House has yet to provide evidence of the underlying loans.

As Republicans search for an off-ramp to their investigation in an election year, Comer has also lowered expectations of what a successful end to the inquiry looks like, insisting his job was never to impeach and pointing to the Democratic-controlled Senate as a dead end.

In a recent fundraising email obtained by CNN, Comer made his pitch for why criminal referrals were a better end to this investigation than impeachment, highlighting that the impeachment articles against Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas were unlikely to go anywhere.

“What do you think they would do if we Impeached Biden?” Comer wrote earlier this week.

House Speaker Mike Johnson announced Thursday that the House will send over the Mayorkas impeachment articles to the Senate on April 10.

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