As right-wing media figures hype up another piece of dubious evidence for President Joe Biden's allegedly looming impeachment proceedings, some are growing weary over the lack of a smoking gun.
On July 20, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) released a redacted copy of an FD-1023 summary document of an FBI interview with a confidential informant, the contents of which have not been verified or investigated. In the document, the informant claims that the president’s son Hunter Biden had accepted bribes from Burisma founder Mykola Zlochevsky on behalf of both himself and then-Vice President Joe Biden to allegedly alleviate pressure from an investigation into Burisma that never existed in the first place.
Neither the FD-1023 nor any other tidbit offered up by House Republicans have successfully linked Joe Biden to any financial transactions or policy decisions resulting from his son's business dealings. Despite this, right-wing media have been relentlessly calling for the current president’s impeachment since he took office. Right-wing pundits and politicians have chased after potentially nonexistent audio recordings and information from a Chinese agent and arms dealer to find their smoking gun, and have repeatedly resorted to publicly displaying nude images of Hunter Biden in an attempt to call into question the family’s respectability.
With House Speaker Kevin McCarthy now implying that an impeachment probe is on the table by suggesting on Monday’s edition of Fox News’ Hannity that the latest document escalates House Republican’s probe “to the level of impeachment inquiry,” some right-wing media personalities are reiterating that these latest claims finally warrant an impeachment — while a few Fox News personalities seemingly acknowledge the evidence is weak.
Right-wing media figures are calling for Biden’s impeachment
- Fox host Sean Hannity declared, “It is time for real special counsel, a real criminal investigation to take place to investigate what is rampant corruption.” He went on to claim, “We now have what is a trove of credible evidence that [Joe Biden] used the power of his office as the vice president of this country to secure massive amounts of money for his own family.” [Fox News, Hannity, 7/21/23]
- On Fox’s The Five, co-host Jesse Watters exclaimed, “I don't want a special counsel, I want impeachment proceedings,” despite later admitting that the FD-1023 is unverified, stating, “It is unverified. Let's go verify it. Everything is unverified if it is a claim.” [Fox News, The Five, 7/21/23]
- On Fox & Friends, Fox host Jeanine Pirro stated that “the issue is whether or not impeachment is appropriate. I think it is. I think it's long past time.” She went on to state “You don't need any more than what we have now to convict them.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 7/25/23]
- Writing for The Federalist, Margot Cleveland claimed that “the evidence of President Joe Biden’s corruption during his time as vice president is now so overwhelming and the implications so serious,” that an impeachment inquiry is the only “option left that can deliver truth and transparency to the American public.” [The Federalist, 7/25/23]
- Right-wing influencer Catturd, in response to a post from Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) calling for Joe Biden’s impeachment, posted, “Oh great, another worthless tweet. IMPEACH HIM ALREADY! DO SOMETHING!” [Twitter, 7/24/23]
- Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk ranted in a social media post that, “The legacy media still refuses to discuss the literal tsunami of damning evidence against Joe Biden confirming he's a corrupt, criminal traitor to America who used his son to sell out our foreign policy to oligarchs and tyrants. So impeach him. The press will be forced to cover the trial. The other half of the American public will finally see the facts. And they'll watch as 51 Democrat Senators deny the truth and vote not to convict him. Much better than doing nothing. Impeach them all.” [Twitter, 7/25/23]
- Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton claimed in a social media post that the FD-1023 was a “SMOKING GUN FBI DOCUMENT,” and that the document “AND CONGRESSIONAL TESTIMONY SHOULD BE ENOUGH FOR IMPEACHMENT AND CRIMINAL CHARGES TARGETING BIDEN!” He added that impeachment was necessary to “PROTECT TRUMP FROM BIDEN REGIME ABUSE.” [Twitter, 7/24/23]
- On his Real America’s Voice show, The Charlie Kirk Show, Kirk expressed that impeachments are “largely theater” and an “overused threat,” but ultimately declared that “we have absolutely no choice but to pursue impeachment of Joe Biden and his cartel of criminals around him.” [Real America’s Voice, The Charlie Kirk Show, 7/25/23]
- Daily Wire host Michael Knowles admitted that he had been discussing Biden’s impeachment “since before the man took office.” He added that “the legal basis is now there” after the release of the FD-1023. Knowles would go on to state that “if this is not a high crime or misdemeanor, I don’t know what is.” [Daily Wire, The Michael Knowles Show, 7/24/23]
Some right-wing media figures seem skeptical about these new allegations
- After being asked for his reaction to McCarthy’s raising the possibility of an impeachment probe, former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove said that “there needs to be more evidence found.” He stopped short of saying that either Biden had committed a crime or an impeachable offense, saying only, “There is something sleazy here.” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 7/25/23]
- Fox contributor Joey Jones explained on Fox & Friends that “the 1023 is a document of a source saying, ‘Well, I heard this, and I heard that, and so and so saw this, and so and so says that.’ That's not evidence.” Co-host Steve Doocy followed up by stating that “the 1023 has been unverified and in fact has been walked back. Some of the critical stuff in it has already been -- was contradicted by earlier testimony from one of the other impeachments.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 7/25/23]
- On America Reports, Fox contributor Jonathan Turley said that the statements in the FD-1023 “could not be more serious,” but confirmed that “we still have to establish the validity of these claims.” [Fox News, America Reports, 7/24/23]