Representatives Comer and Jordan brief a group of Senate Republicans on impeachment

By | September 14, 2023

Representatives James Comer and Jim Jordan, who chair the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees, briefed a group of Senate Republicans on Wednesday afternoon on the House impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, multiple sources told NBC News GOP sources in both chambers.

Comer, R-Ky., and Jordan, R-Ohio, were invited to a weekly lunch with the Senate Leadership Committee, a group that includes the upper chamber’s most conservative members, such as Sens. Rick Scott of Florida and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin — by its chairman, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah.

The briefing by the two House Republicans lasted less than an hour.

According to a senator in the room, the session was designed to be informational, a context in which the House GOP chairmen could lay out their process and planned timeline.

“Their hope was to get through quickly. On the other hand, some have been warned not to proceed so quickly that they will be discredited by the public. Somebody had mentioned that they hoped they would be methodical about it, and to their credit, I think they did,” Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., later told reporters.

Sen. John Thune, R-D., the Republican whip, said: “There’s enough smoke there that I think there are legitimate questions that they need to get answers to that they probably won’t get because they can’t. They’re being stymied on a lot of the information they need.”

In a statement following the briefing, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-C., said the presentation was “compelling.” “Time will tell whether the impeachment inquiry should result in formal action by the House,” she said.

A vote to launch an impeachment inquiry would be the first step in the process to oust Biden from office, but it is not a vote on impeachment itself. If the House votes to impeach the president, that sets the stage for senators to have the final say on whether to convict or acquit the president.

Some Senate Republicans have praised the House GOP’s investigation into the Biden family and McCarthy’s decision to launch an impeachment inquiry.

In a statement to NBC News, Lee said: “I commend President McCarthy’s decision to open an impeachment inquiry into President Biden. Allegations of corruption are disturbing to all Americans and require this course of action. The American people have a right to know the facts and deserve a comprehensive and thorough process to find them.”

In a July interview with the Daily Signal, Scott, referring to the GOP investigation, said that “what the House is doing is right.”

“They’re going through a very deliberate process of saying, ‘Do it.’ [the president’s] actions justify impeachment?’” Scott said, according to the Daily Signal. “They’re doing it the opposite way the Democrats did [then-President Donald] Briscola. [Democrats] he said, “We’re going to impeach this guy.” Let’s find something he did wrong.'”

Jordan and Comer are also expected to update members at a House Republican Conference meeting Thursday morning, two Republican sources previously told NBC News.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a Republican, on Tuesday announced that House Republicans would launch the impeachment inquiry in an effort to obtain bank statements and other documents from him and his son Hunter Biden. McCarthy said Comer will lead the investigation in coordination with Jordan and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith, R-Mo.

During a news conference Tuesday, McCarthy said an impeachment inquiry is a “logical next step” in the GOP-led investigations that have been taking place for months.

“This logical next step will give our committees the full power to gather all the facts and answers for the American public,” which he says “is exactly what we want to know: the answers.”

“I think the president would like to respond to these questions and allegations as well,” he said.

House Republicans, McCarthy said, “have uncovered serious and credible allegations about President Biden’s conduct” related to “abuse of power, obstruction and corruption” that “warrant further investigation by the House of Representatives.”

Republican-led investigations into Biden and his family have uncovered no evidence of wrongdoing by the president or links between him and Hunter Biden’s foreign affairs.

McCarthy’s announcement marked a major reversal after he said during an interview with the conservative website Breitbart this month that he would not open an impeachment inquiry without a vote of the full House. The House speaker appears to lack the votes needed to move forward with the issue as Republicans across the spectrum, such as some politically vulnerable and centrist Republicans, express skepticism about the lack of evidence implicating the president in Hunter Biden’s alleged illegal actions.

In a statement Tuesday, a spokesperson for the House Oversight Committee, which is investigating Hunter Biden’s meetings and payments from several foreign sources, said the committee “will soon pursue the personal and business banking records of Hunter and James Biden. The Committee also plans to interview other Biden family associates.”

Following McCarthy’s announcement on Tuesday, the White House responded to Republicans’ claims against Biden in a memo sent to US news outlets calling on the media to step up scrutiny of the GOP-led impeachment inquiry into the president.

“It’s time for the media to step up its scrutiny of House Republicans for opening an impeachment inquiry based on lies,” reads the memo, written by Ian Sams, White House Counsel spokesman, and addressed to editorial leadership of media stations.

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