OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
The newly elected Speaker of the House has laid out his priorities for the next 100 days, and ensuring that the impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden continues and accelerates is one of them.
“It is ‘very likely’ that President Biden has committed impeachable offenses, according to Speaker Mike Johnson, who was elected to the office on Wednesday,” Newsweek reported on Saturday.
Then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) authorized a former impeachment inquiry into Biden in September, as a number of GOP-led House panels began honing in on whether the president was ever influenced by the business dealings of his son, Hunter Biden, and his brother, James Biden. Witnesses have testified before the committees that both James and Hunter were “selling” the “Biden brand” to foreign government and business interests, leading Republicans to suggest that the president now could be compromised.
McCarthy said the president faced “allegations of abuse of power, obstruction and corruption,” warranting further investigation.
In an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity — his first after being elected Speaker — Johnson (R-La.) suggested that Biden has committed impeachable offenses, but he planned to allow due process to play out.
“The reason we shifted to the impeachment inquiry stage on the president himself was because if, in fact, all the evidence leads to where we believe it will, that’s very likely impeachable offenses,” he said.
“That’s listed as a cause for impeachment in the Constitution — bribery and other crimes and misdemeanors. Bribery’s listed there, and it looks and smells a lot like that. We’re going to follow the truth wherever it leads. We’re going to engage in due process because, again, we’re the rule of law party,” Johnson added.
“I know people are getting anxious, and they’re getting restless, and they just want somebody to be impeached, but we don’t do that like the other team. We have to base it on the evidence,” Johnson said.
In his Hannity interview, meanwhile, Johnson said that the House is getting ready to present a $14.5 billion support bill for Israel, slightly more than what Israel has reportedly asked for through the White House.
The House appropriation, on the other hand, differs significantly from other forms of federal support in that it will be provided in exchange for “pay-fors” in the budget rather than through the simple printing of money.
Johnson explained that the sum is a “very specific number tied to very specific measures” and that every additional dollar would have to be made up for by a decrease in spending somewhere else.
Johnson claimed that he had reminded Biden’s staff during a meeting at the White House on Thursday that, given Israel’s struggle to survive against Iran-backed Hamas, they have little power to respond directly without congressional approval.
He pointed out that the Constitution gives Congress, and not the Executive Branch, the authority to declare war because the Founding Fathers imagined a “multitude of wise counsel” in such matters.
While Americans talk about “existential threats” at home, Israel faces one or more every day, as Johnson noted, and the two have met before.
“Their neighbors want to eliminate them. America will back (Netanyahu) up – they tell us when we’re in Israel the reason we’re able to sustain ourselves and survive is because everybody knows our big ally is America,” Johnson said.
“But we have to take care of our own house first,” Johnson added.
“During the Trump administration, we had the greatest economy in the history of the world,” he said, adding it was “not by happenstance”—but through tax cuts, reining in regulation, and the expansion of energy production.
“We can achieve that again, but you have to do almost exactly the opposite of what the Biden administration is doing… we are trying to urge our Democratic colleagues to take a look at the basic facts…”