Today, the House GOP launched its inaugural impeachment inquiry hearing based on nothing but lies and conspiracy theories. Just like every other hearing, Jim Jordan used his opening as a platform to spew the same lies he’s been spouting for months.
The facts you won’t hear from Jordan’s mouth? Nine months of MAGA Republican investigations, 12,000 pages of documents, 2,000 pages of Suspicious Activity Reports, interviews with Hunter Biden’s business associates, an interview with President Biden’s bookkeeper, interviews with federal agents assigned to the Hunter Biden investigation, and hundreds of answered subpoenas have not turned up a single shred of evidence showing that President Biden has committed any wrongdoing whatsoever. House Republicans have failed to produce evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden. Today’s Republican witnesses are partisan hacks without firsthand knowledge – there are no fact witnesses. And this entire charade was pushed by Donald Trump in order to distract from his own 91 felony counts and four indictments.
Jim Jordan’s Lies
Lie #1: Joe Biden Fired A Ukrainian Prosecutor to Benefit Hunter Biden By Taking Investigative Pressure Off Burisma
Claim: In his opening statement, Jordan claimed: “The executives at Burisma asked Hunter Biden to weigh in and help them with the pressure they are under from the prosecutor in Ukraine. Fact number four, Joe Biden goes to Ukraine on December 9, 2015 and gives this speech attacking the prosecutor that starts the process of getting that guy fired.”
Later, he claimed, “That’s what they got done. And remember, when this happens in October 2016, when the pressure is taken off, the case was dropped against Zlochevsky. This is the second prosecutor. Joe Biden fired the first one. The second prosecutor comes in, drops the charges. That’s exactly what they wanted done.”
The Facts: Jordan utterly misconstrues the timeline of the government’s anti-corruption campaign in Ukraine. According to Washington Post fact-checkers, the State Department first began to closely monitor whether Shokin was acting to combat corruption in mid-2015. The email in question mentioned specific steps Shokin could take to thwart corruption; he failed to take those steps after sacking deputies involved in investigating a corruption scandal in July, and the State Department subsequently began amping up the pressure on Shokin, with a top diplomat delivering a speech blasting Shokin for “openly and aggressively undermining reform” and having “undermined prosecutors working on legitimate corruption cases.”
Official U.S. policy supported the corrupt prosecutor’s removal. Right-wing media figure John Solomon recently released a State Department memo dating back to November 2015 indicating as much: “There is wide agreement that anti-corruption must be at the top of this list, and that reforms must include an overhaul of the Prosecutor General’s Office including removal of Prosecutor General Shokin, who is widely regarded as an obstacle to fighting corruption, if not a source of the problem.” The House Foreign Affairs Committee also reviewed thousands of documents produced by a Trump-era State Department investigation and found that “American officials, all the way up to Vice President Biden…pursued a strong policy of encouraging Ukraine to reform and tackle corruption, including by prosecuting corrupt oligarchs such as Burisma’s Mykola Zlochevsky.”
Further, the corrupt prosecutor’s removal was widely supported domestically and internationally. Many European officials, Republicans in Congress at the time, and international anti-corruptions organizations supported the move as well. Former Ukrainian Petro Poroshenko himself, who was head of state at the time, also recently refuted Comer’s allegations. He condemned the conspiracy theory on Fox News, calling the corrupt prosecutor a “completely crazy person,” and said, “there’s something wrong with him.”
Lie #2: Bribery Allegations Were Validated By An FBI Form 1023.
Claim: In his opening statement, Jordan claimed: “Those facts, by the way, are consistent with what the confidential human source told the FBI and the FBI recorded in the 1023 Form, the same form that the Justice Department didn’t want to let this committee see.”
The Facts: The Trump administration’s Department of Justice already reviewed the FD-1023 and signed-off on dropping the investigation into the allegation after it was found to “not be supported by facts.” As the FBI has stated, FD-1023 forms do not “validate,” “establish…credibility,” or “weigh…against other information known or developed by the FBI.” Republicans have failed to produce evidence of bribery despite subpoenaing the FBI and risking the safety of confidential sources. As our new report found:
“In early-May, Oversight Chair James Comer (R-KY) and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) published an open letter to the FBI announcing subpoenas for an unclassified document supposedly describing an alleged ‘criminal scheme involving then-Vice President Biden and a foreign national relating to the exchange of money for policy decisions.’ Comer was immediately called out for pushing unsubstantiated allegations in the letter. The Associated Press noted, ‘the lawmakers used the word ‘alleged’ three times in the opening paragraph of the letter and offered no evidence of the veracity of the accusations.’ HuffPost reporters concurred: ‘[Republicans] acknowledged they don’t know if the allegation will pan out. […] backing the allegation despite the scarcity of details.’
When Comer and Grassley obtained the document, form FD-1023, and publicly released a redacted version in July – against the advice of intelligence officials who feared it would ‘unnecessarily risks the safety of a confidential source’ – it ended up being an uncorroborated FBI tip. Worse still, the owner of Ukrainian energy firm Burisma Mykola Zlochevsky had already rebutted the uncorroborated bribery allegations back in 2019: ‘As part of the impeachment inquiry against then-President Trump, Congress learned that Mr. Zlochevsky, the Ukrainian oligarch and the owner of Burisma, whom Republican Committee Members appear to have identified as the source of the allegations memorialized in the Form FD-1023, squarely rebutted these allegations in 2019.’”
Lie #3: Whistleblowers Confirmed Allegations of A Coverup
Claim: In his opening statement, Jordan said,: “And all those facts, all of that was further confirmed yesterday with the information that the Ways and Means Committee released from the whistleblowers, Shapley and Ziegler.” Later, he said, “And they would have gotten away with it all – they would have gotten away with it all except for two brave whistleblowers who sat in those seats two months ago and told their story, and their story has stood up. Two brave whistleblowers and a judge in Delaware who said we’re not gonna let this happen, that’s why we’re here today.”
The Facts: Despite their lofty claims, these two IRS whistleblowers have been mischaracterized by House Republicans and themselves testified that neither President Biden nor his Attorney General interfered in the investigation. In July, House Republicans held a hearing during which their own witnesses testified, under oath, that neither President Biden nor Attorney General Garland interfered in the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Justice’s investigation into Hunter Biden.
Worse still, the whistleblowers’ key allegations have been debunked by at least six other witnesses brought in for questioning by Oversight Republicans – including whistleblower Gary Shapley’s supervisor at the IRS’ Criminal Investigation division and the division’s director of field operations, three current and former FBI officials, and a longtime bookkeeper for the Biden family. These officials have testified that Shapley’s claims are “false and misleading” and that they “don’t remember” hearing US Attorney David Weiss ever say that he lacked the authority to decide whether to bring charges against the president’s son, or that Weiss said he had been denied a request for special counsel status. Shapley’s supervisor also testified he recommended removing him from the Hunter Biden probe “to protect the integrity of the investigation” because he made “unsubstantiated allegations.”
Lie #4: The Biden Administration Tried To “Sweep It All Under The Rug,” Slow-Walking Investigations Into Hunter Biden
Claim: In his opening statement, Jordan claimed: “And the final step, the final step is the Biden Justice Department tries to sweep it all under the rug. They slow walk the investigation. They let the statute of limitations lapse for the most important years ‘14 and ‘15, the Burisma years when all that income was coming in.”
The Facts: Republicans have claimed Weiss slow-walked the investigation to protect Hunter Biden, but his office’s investigation into Hunter Biden began in 2018, during the Trump administration, and any decisions about delays leading up to the 2020 election were made by Trump administration officials who were aligned with the widely reported priorities of Trump’s Attorney General at the time.
As Rep. Dan Goldman (D-NY) has pointed out, Hunter Biden has actually undergone an “investigative colonoscopy” by the Department of Justice, and was subjected to a lengthy investigation involving an appointed Special Counsel – who indicted him earlier this month on gun charges and may bring tax charges as well.
Lie #5: The Biden Administration Barred Hunter Biden Investigators From Asking About Communications with President Biden.
Claim: In his opening statement, Jordan claimed: “And we learned yesterday in the search warrant application, the search warrant examining Hunter Biden’s electronic communications, they weren’t allowed to ask about Political Figure One. Political Figure Number One is the big guy, is Joe Biden.”
The Facts: As Fox News reported, the documents released by House Republicans show that orders to remove “Political Figure 1” from search warrants related to an investigation into Hunter Biden were sent in August 2020 – during the Trump administration – by Bush-appointed U.S. attorney Lesley Wolf. Wolf sent an email to investigators noting, “none of it is appropriate and within the scope of this warrant…Please focus on FARA evidence only. There should be nothing about Political Figure 1 in here.” The Biden administration was not involved in the case in August 2020 because Joe Biden was not president at the time.