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White House counsel urges House speaker to end GOP impeachment inquiry

White House counsel Ed Siskel is sending a letter Friday morning to House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), urging him to close the impeachment inquiry into President Biden following an investigation that has stretched for more than a year and has yet to uncover clear evidence of wrongdoing.

“I write to you today because it is clear the House Republican impeachment is over,” the letter reads, according to a copy obtained by The Washington Post. “The House Majority ought to work with the President on our economy, national security, and other important priorities on behalf of the American people, not continue to waste time on political stunts like this.”

The four-page letter notes that House Republicans have collected 100,000 pages of records, interviewed dozens of witnesses and held several public hearings.

“The investigation has continually turned up evidence that, in fact, the President did nothing wrong,” the letter reads. “In fact, it has shown the opposite of what House Republicans have claimed. The House Oversight and Judiciary Committees have heard from not one, not two, but more than 20 witnesses who have all confirmed this.”

House Republicans have been pursuing claims of shady business dealings by Biden for virtually his entire presidency, but they have yet to produce a set of specific, evidence-backed allegations. Their inquiry has unfolded as former president Donald Trump, who will face Biden in a November rematch, faces criminal trials over his handling of classified documents and his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

House Republican leaders continue to say that they have uncovered evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Biden and his family, as they seek to show that Biden used his position to help relatives drum up businesses and benefited from their financial doings. But some GOP lawmakers concede privately, and in some cases publicly, that the investigation has yielded scant evidence that would justify an impeachment.

A Post review last month of nearly 2,000 pages of transcripts from recent witnesses before the House impeachment inquiry, many with deep knowledge of Hunter Biden’s business affairs, found that Republicans were still struggling to uncover firm evidence that Joe Biden benefited from the business pursuits of his son and his brother.

The probe suffered an additional blow in February when special counsel David Weiss charged Alexander Smirnov, a former FBI informant, with lying about the Bidens’ business dealings. Republicans had repeatedly cited Smirnov’s suggestion that the Ukrainian energy company Burisma had hired Hunter Biden to influence the activities of his father, who was then vice president.

Subsequent closed-door appearances by James Biden and Hunter Biden before the House impeachment inquiry did little to advance the Republicans’ efforts, as the president’s brother and son adamantly denied that Joe Biden had any role in their business activities.

With a tenuous House majority, it is unlikely that Republicans would have the votes for impeachment at this point, and some have begun talking instead about potentially referring the Bidens’ activities to the Justice Department.

Siskel’s letter suggests Biden’s aides are attempting to turn the ongoing inquiry into a political advantage by highlighting Republican disagreements on the topic and by arguing that it has been a waste of time. Biden and his supporters have repeatedly denounced “MAGA Republicans” as extremists less interested in governing than in chasing nonexistent scandals.

“It is obviously time to move on, Mr. Speaker. This impeachment is over,” the letter reads in closing. “There is too much important work to be done for the American people to continue wasting time on this charade.”

This post appeared first on The Washington Post

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