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STATEMENT: House GOP Clown Show Press Conference Rehashes Debunked Lies

Nov 29, 2023

PRESS RELEASE       Contact:
For Immediate Release
Date: November 29, 2023


Washington, D.C. – Today, MAGA House Republicans held a press conference to spread the same baseless conspiracy theories and lies about President Biden and his family only a week after MAGA Mike Johnson visited Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago. After multiple failed hearings and a year of investigative belly flops, MAGA Republicans have found no evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden or his administration. That is not stopping them from pursuing an evidence-free impeachment and wasting everyone’s time with a press conference filled with already debunked lies.

In response, Congressional Integrity Project executive director, Kyle Herrig, issued the following statement: 

“It’s no coincidence that just after MAGA Speaker Mike Johnson kisses the ring at Mar-a-Lago, House Republicans are trotted out to repeat the same debunked lies and conspiracy theories at a nothingburger of a press conference. James Comer and Jim Jordan’s year-long investigation has turned up no evidence of any crimes whatsoever, let alone anything that remotely would rise to the level of impeachment. This is just another no-evidence political stunt that proves yet again that these MAGA extremist Republicans are simply desperate to distract from Trump’s serious legal troubles and their own extreme agendas. They have no problem playing politics at the expense of real American priorities like affordable health care and the cost of living.” 

By The Numbers

  • Eleven months of Congressional investigations into President Biden and his family
  • More than 14,000 pages of documents reviewed
  • More than 2,000 pages of Suspicious Activity Reports reviewed
  • Interviews with Hunter Biden’s business associates, President Biden’s bookkeeper, and federal agents assigned to the Hunter Biden investigation
  • Every subpoena to the administration answered

Debunked Republican Lies

1) Contrary to MAGA Republican Claims, President Biden Was Not Involved In Hunter Biden’s Foreign Business Dealings

Claim: Republicans have claimed House Republicans have evidence, via testimony from Devon Archer, that then-Vice President Biden knew of Hunter Biden’s business deals and suggested that he met and/or spoke with foreign nationals involved with his son.

The Facts: Archer did NOT testify that President Biden was directly involved in business discussions – only that he held casual conversations about “the weather” and “fishing.” Witness testimony referred to approximately 20 instances over the span of a decade in which Hunter indicated Joe Biden was merely present. 

As ABC reported: “Archer testified that Joe Biden’s interactions with Hunter Biden’s associates were ‘not related to commercial business,’ that Joe Biden had no involvement with Burisma, the Ukrainian oil conglomerate on whose board both Archer and Hunter Biden served; that the elder Biden never took any actions to benefit Burisma or Hunter Biden; and that Hunter Biden never asked his father to take any actions that would help his clients, according to the fully transcribed interview with the committee.” 

Another witness called by Republicans to testify was Eric Schwerin, President Biden’s bookkeeper and had access to his bank accounts. Schwerin testified, unequivocally, that President Biden did not receive any money from any business conducted by Hunter Biden. Two IRS agents who were assigned to the DOJ’s Hunter Biden investigation also backed up that fact in witness testimony.

Furthermore, numerous investigations and independent fact-checkers found no evidence suggesting Joe Biden was involved in Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings prior to the House GOP’s investigation. A Republican inquiry conducted by the GOP-held Senate in 2020 found no evidence of wrongdoing by the former Vice President. That same year, a former Hunter Biden associate went on record saying: I would like to clear up any speculation that former Vice President Biden was involved with the 2017 discussions about our potential business structure. I am unaware of any involvement at anytime [sic] of the former Vice President,” leading the right-leaning Wall Street Journal to conclude that corporate records showed “no role for Joe Biden” in Hunter’s business.

In 2022, Washington Post investigators came to a similar conclusion after reviewing government records, court documents, bank statements, and emails allegedly stemming from Hunter Biden’s laptop, finding: “The Post did not find evidence that Joe Biden personally benefited from or knew details about the transactions with CEFC, which took place after he had left the vice presidency and before he announced his intentions to run for the White House in 2020.” 

Republicans have argued that Hunter Biden was compromised by Elena Baturina, the wife of a former mayor of Moscow. This narrative was undermined by independent reporting years ago, including by the Washington Post, CNN, and more recently, by Devon Archer, who said in a transcribed interview that Hunter “was not involved” with that transaction.

2) “The Bidens” Did Not Receive $20 Million From Our Adversaries, Despite What James Comer and Jim Jordan Would Have You Believe

Claim: Republicans have claimed “the Bidens received over $20 million” from China, Romania, and other foreign entities.

The Facts: According to the Washington Post, “A close reading of the memos, however, finds that only about $7 million can be directly attributed to Biden family members, mostly Hunter, while the rest went to ‘associates,’ according to the memos. […] No money has been traced to Joe Biden.

3) President Biden Did Not Launder Money Through Illegitimate Shell Companies

Claim: Republicans have claimed “we found [the Bidens have] 20 shell companies…they are not legitimate companies.” He also claimed the president’s granddaughter “received a wire that had been laundered to the shell companies from Romania days after the President left Romania when he was Vice President.”

The Facts: In May, House Republicans released a report about several of the companies in question – but their own report found no evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden. Independent fact-checkers further concluded: “that claim is undercut by the list of 21 companies that appear in the second staff memo. Virtually all of the companies (many of which now are defunct) had legitimate business interests. Others had clearly identified business investments. Digging through the records, we find only three whose business purpose remains vague; one (Rosemont Seneca Global Risk Services, LLC) may not even be related to Hunter Biden, according to an email found in Hunter Biden’s laptop. The memos do not list any payments that flowed through these three companies.”

In comparison, former President Trump had hundreds and hundreds of shell companies while in office, including one named, “China Trademark LLC.”

4) There Is No Evidence Whatsoever President Biden Received Bribes

Claim: As Comer has claimed before, “we also found an FBI form 1023 alleging Joe Biden took a bribe…the FBI never investigated this allegation…in the FBI 1023 [form] it said that investigators would take 10 years to figure out where these bribes went because of the various bank accounts that they wired the money through. That was written years before anyone knew the Bidens had shell companies and the Bidesn were laundering money.”

Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy has also alleged, “even a trusted FBI informant has alleged a bribe to the Biden family. Biden used his official office to coordinate with Hunter Biden’s business partners about Hunter’s role in Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company.” 

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.’”

5) Then-Vice President Biden’s Office Did Not Collude With Hunter Biden’s Business Partners 

Claim: Republicans have claimed that, as Vice President, Joe Biden used his official office to coordinate with Hunter Biden’s business partners about Hunter’s role in Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company.

The Facts: Contrary to claims that the Office of the Vice President colluded with Hunter Biden’s business partner on media responses, the key email that has been touted by House Republicans for months included a statement explicitly stating that the Vice President “does not endorse any particular company and has no involvement with this company.”

Comer has made emails from Joe Biden’s vice presidency a key target of his investigation, promising “pretty damning evidence.” But as Politico noted: “Yet the emails are another example of the House GOP failing to turn up evidence they’ve assured the public exists and that will implicate Biden in some form of corruption that rises to an impeachable offense.” The Washington Post similarly reported, “…[Comer]’s episode provided the latest example of documents and testimony that House Republicans chased down only to discover they did not substantiate allegations that Biden benefited from Hunter’s business dealings or used his office to assist them.”

6) President Biden Did Not Help Fire A Ukrainian Prosecutor Just To Benefit Hunter Biden 

Claim: Republicans have suggested that then-Vice President Biden worked to fire a corrupt Ukrainian prosecutor to benefit Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings.

The Facts: Comer has long pushed a false narrative that a Ukrainian prosecutor was removed at then-Vice President Biden’s behest as a favor to Hunter Biden – but numerous fact checkers have rejected this claim over the years: 

    • CNN found that the prosecutor was not actually prosecuting or actively investigating Burisma at the time: “While there had been an investigation of the company, Shokin’s former deputy, Vitaliy Kasko, has said that it was dormant at the time of Joe Biden’s intervention. (The former US ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, and the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, George Kent, testified in Trump’s impeachment inquiry that Shokin was corrupt; the US and its allies had made a coordinated effort to oust him.)” 
    • As USAToday reported, “Based on our research, the claim that Joe Biden threatened to withhold $1 billion from Ukraine to save his son’s job is FALSE. The then-vice president leveraged aid dollars to persuade the country to oust its top prosecutor as part of anti-corruption efforts endorsed by other international players that were unrelated to his son, Hunter Biden.” 
    • Likewise, the New York Times pointed to a mismatched timeline, concluding, “[T]here is no evidence he did so to benefit Hunter Biden or the oligarch who owns Burisma, Mykola Zlochevsky.”
    • Ukraine’s deputy chief of mission George Kent addressed the allegations in 2019, testifying “What former Vice President Biden requested of former President of Ukraine [Petro] Poroshenko was the removal of a corrupt prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin, who had undermined a program of assistance that we had spent, again, U.S. taxpayer money to try to build an independent investigator unit to go after corrupt prosecutors.”

Official U.S. policy supported the corrupt prosecutor’s removal:

    • Right-wing media figure John Solomon released a State Department memo dating back to November 2015 indicating that official U.S. policy supported removing Shokin: “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.”
    • A former U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations, Kurt Volker, also repudiated the allegations in 2019: “When Vice President Biden made those representations to President Poroshenko he was representing U.S. policy at the time. And it was a general assumption…among the European Union, France, Germany, American diplomats, U.K., that Shokjn [Shokin] was not doing his job as a prosecutor general. He was not pursuing corruption cases.”

The corrupt prosecutor’s removal was also 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, has also 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.”
    • As former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testified in 2019, “Vice President Biden, the IMF, pretty much every country that is present in Ukraine all felt that Mr. Shokin as prosecutor general was not doing his job,”