President Joe Biden made his first comments on his impeachment, telling a group of Democratic donors that Republicans ‘want to impeach me because they want to shut down the government.’
Biden, speaking at a fundraising reception in McLean, Virginia, specifically mentioned conservative Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and her interest in impeaching him since the day Republicans took control of the House of Representatives.
‘Well, I tell you what, I don’t know quite why, but they just knew they wanted to impeach me. And now, the best I can tell, they want to impeach me because they want to shut down the government,’ he said.
‘So look, look, I got a job to do. Everybody always asked about impeachment. I get up every day, not a joke, not focused on impeachment. I’ve got a job to do. I’ve got to deal with the issues that affect the American people every single solitary day,’ he noted.
It was his first time acknowledging he faces the possibility of being convicted and removed from office. His most extensive comments to date came behind-closed doors. No TV cameras or photographers were allowed inside the fundraiser, only a small group of print reporters.
The White House has doubled down on its defense of the president, blasting the impeachment inquiry as ‘baseless,’ setting up a war room to combat the investigation, and sending a memo to news organizations to encourage greater scrutiny of Republican motives.
President Joe Biden told Democratic donors Republicans were impeaching him to shut down the government
Aides insist Biden is focused on business as usual. On Thursday he’ll travel to Maryland to make a speech about the economy.
But the impeachment inquiry was obviously on his mind when he spoke to a small group of supporters, who were there to donate to his re-election campaign, at the home of David Frederick and Sophie Lynn. Frederick is a partner in Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel, a Washington law firm, and was the first Rhodes scholar from the University of Pittsburgh.
And the president has targeted Greene, a well-known, outspoken conservative and critic of his presidency, on previous occasions. He’s said she ripped his infrastructure plan but took federal funds from it for her congressional district.
Greene, a strong ally of Donald Trump, had threatened to vote against the appropriations bills that fund the government unless Speaker Kevin McCarthy opened an impeachment inquiry into the president. Congress has until September 30th to pass the federal budget or the government shuts down.
She’s claimed credit for pushing McCarthy to open the impeachment inquiry.
Biden told the room full of donors on Wednesday night that he ‘has a job to do’ before he moved on to a different subject.
His comments were his first since McCarthy announced the inquiry – the first step in the impeachment process – on Tuesday.
Republicans have been investigating Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings since they took control of the House in January. They are looking into whether Joe, who was vice president during the time period, personally benefited from his son’s work and if the family used Joe Biden’s official office for their personal gain.
President Biden has denied any involvement with his son’s business affairs.
Earlier in the day, Jill Biden rescued her stony-faced husband from having to answer questions about impeachment at his first public appearance since McCarthy announced the potentially devastating inquiry.
The first lady leaned over to whisper to the president and touched his arm when reporters started shouting questions about the probe during a Cabinet room meeting to discuss Biden’s Cancer Moonshot initiative.
Biden looked uncomfortable under the barrage of inquiries, stared at the ceiling, and made chewing motions with his mouth, but ultimately refused to talk as reporters were led out of the room.
His wife stepped in as the White House ramped up their war with Republicans in the investigation into foreign business deals by Biden’s son Hunter.
The Cabinet meeting was on the Bidens’ initiative ‘to end cancer as we know it.’
Jill Biden praised her husband’s work on the issue, telling him on Wednesday that: ‘You did good things, Joe.’
Jill Biden reached out to get Joe Biden’s attention when he was asked about the impeachment inquiry against him
The White House is all in on defending the president.
Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Wednesday called the Republicans’ impeachment probe a ‘baseless inquiry that the House Republicans can’t even really defend themselves.’
Jean-Pierre said that the elder Biden has done nothing wrong.
‘Republicans in Congress, right they have spent all year investigating the president, that’s what they’ve spent, and have turned up with no evidence that he did anything. I mean, that is what we heard over and over again, from their almost clear year-long investigation, and that’s because the President didn’t do anything wrong,’ she said in her daily press briefing.
The administration is also going on the offensive to address specific charges against the president.
Earlier Wednesday, the White House said Biden was just calling to check in on Hunter when he was on calls with his son’s business associates.
‘This is part of the right-wing’s misinformation machine to try to confuse people about what the truth is,’ White House spokesperson for oversight and investigations Ian Sams told CNN on Wednesday morning.
‘The truth is that the president, as he said publicly for years, calls his family every day to check in. He calls his son every day to check in. He calls his other family members to check in to see how they are doing. He loves them. They are a tight-knit family.’
Speaker Kevin McCarthy with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene on the House floor on January 6th
President Biden didn’t answer questions on the impeachment inquiry in his first public appearance since the inquiry was announced
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called the impeachment inquiry ‘baseless’ and said President Biden did nothing wrong
Hunter’s former business partner Devon Archer told the House Oversight Committee in testimony this summer that Hunter had put his father on speakerphone during business meetings about 20 times.
At the time of Archer’s closed-door testimony, Democrats in the room said Archer described the calls as personal.
‘The witness indicated that Hunter spoke to his father every day, and approximately 20 times over the course of 10-year relationship, Hunter may have put his father on the phone with any number of different people, and they never once spoke about any business dealings,’ Democratic Rep. Dan Goldman of New York said at the time.
‘As he described it, it was all casual conversation, niceties, the weather, what’s going on. There wasn’t a single conversation about any of the business dealings that Hunter had,’ Goldman noted.
But Republican Chairman James Comer of Kentucky said Archer testified that Joe Biden ‘joined Hunter Biden’s dinners with his foreign business associates in person or by speakerphone over 20 times’ and was put on the phone to sell ‘the brand.’
Comer said the testimony shows ‘Joe Biden lied to the American people when he said he had no knowledge about his son’s business dealings and was not involved. Joe Biden was ‘the brand’ that his son sold around the world to enrich the Biden family.’
The White House has accused Republicans of election-year politics with its impeachment inquiry.
‘The president has been in politics for a long time. I think as he would say, he has seen a lot of malarkey along the way, but this might take the cake,’ Sams told CNN. ‘He’s focused on issues that matter to the American people.’
Joe Biden with sons Hunter (left) and Beau (right) in January 2009 when he was inaugurated as vice president
White House spokesperson for oversight and investigations Ian Sams is leading the push back for the Biden administration on Republican investigations
Sams is White House point person on countering Republican accusations against the president and his family. He is part of a war room established in the White House counsel’s office specifically to deal with GOP investigations.
He noted Biden, who was vice president at the time, was calling Hunter to check in because the family was also dealing with the illness of Beau Biden, the late son of the president. Beau Biden died in 2015 of brain cancer.
‘He was checking in with Hunter during a particularly hard time, a time where the family was going through Hunter’s brother Beau’s illness. Of course the president checks in,’ Sams said.
Hunter Biden has spoken about how he relapsed into his drug and alcohol addiction after his brother died. The Biden family later held an intervention to get him to do another stint in rehab.
It was during that intervention that Joe Biden told his son: ‘I don’t know what else to do. I’m so scared. Tell me what to do.’
Hunter Biden did get sober but his business dealings are being investigated by House Republicans. And the impeachment inquiry – the first step in the impeachment process – will investigate whether President Biden personally benefited from his son’s work.
Biden has said he had nothing to do with Hunter’s business deals.
Speaker McCarthy, under heavy pressure from the conservative wing of his party and facing threats to his speakership, declared on Tuesday the inquiry would begin.
‘House Republicans have uncovered serious and credible allegations into President Biden’s conduct,’ McCarthy said. ‘Taken together these allegations paint a picture of a culture of corruption.’
‘These are allegations of abuse of power, obstruction and corruption. And they warrant further investigation by the House of Representatives. That’s why today I am directing our House committee to open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden,’ he noted.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy, facing heavy pressure from the right wing of the Republican Party, launched an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden
Republicans have charged Biden and his family made millions off shell companies Hunter Biden formed when his father was vice president. Hunter had business deals with an energy company in the Ukraine, received a discounted stake in a private-equity firm in China, and did consulting for a Romanian real-estate magnate.
The president has denied any involvement in his son’s business dealings. But Republicans claim at least a dozen Biden family members could be involved in a scheme to benefit financially from Biden’s public office.
House investigators are expected to issue subpoenas for the bank records of the president and his family. The GOP also claim Biden sat in on at least 24 calls with Hunter’s business partners and was referred to as ‘the big guy’ by Hunter’s business associates. And they say Joe Biden used pseudonyms to discuss his activities related to Ukraine with his son Hunter during his time as vice president.
It’s estimated Hunter raked in $40 million through 20 shell companies and fake accounts created while Joe Biden was vice president.