FACT CHECK: House Judiciary Committee Democrats Post About GOP Impeachment Witness Lacks Context
The Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee claim that GOP impeachment inquiry witness Professor Jonathan Turley said the current evidence does not meet standards for impeachment.
James Comer’s witness Jonathan Turley: “I do not believe that the current evidence would support articles of impeachment” pic.twitter.com/zEscxd9E5t
— House Judiciary Dems (@HouseJudiciary) September 28, 2023
The video leaves out Turley’s belief that House Republicans have “passed the threshold” to begin an impeachment inquiry.
The House Oversight Committee held its first impeachment inquiry hearing Sept. 28, according to CBS News. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy directed committees, led by the Oversight Committee, to launch an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden over his family’s business dealings, the Associated Press reported.
The House Judiciary Committee Democrats posted a video of George Washington University Law professor Jonathan Turley, an impeachment inquiry witness for House Republicans, saying that “I do not believe that the current evidence would support articles of impeachment.” (RELATED: 8 Claims From The 2nd Republican Primary Debate?)
This video, though, removes important context. Turley said later that he does believe that House Republicans “passed the threshold” to begin the impeachment inquiry, according to a video posted on C-SPAN.
“I do not believe that the current evidence would support articles of impeachment. That is something an inquiry would have to establish. But I also do believe that the House has passed the threshold for an impeachment inquiry into the conduct of President Biden,” Turley said.
Turley also stated in his written testimony that Republicans do not have enough evidence for articles of impeachment, but that they “passed the threshold” for an impeachment inquiry.
“The House has launched an impeachment inquiry, and I am appearing to discuss the history and purpose of such inquiries. I have previously stated that, while I believe that an impeachment inquiry is warranted, I do not believe that the evidence currently meets the standard of a high crime and misdemeanor needed for an article of impeachment,” Turley wrote. His writing continues that his “testimony also reflects the fact that I do believe that, after months of investigation, the House has passed the threshold for an inquiry into whether President Joe Biden was directly involved or benefited from the corrupt practices of his son, Hunter, and others.”
Turley further commented on the impeachment inquiry in an opinion article for The Hill, writing, “In my view, there is ample justification for an impeachment inquiry. If these allegations are established, they would clearly constitute impeachable offenses.”
“There is a false narrative being pushed by both politicians and pundits that there is no basis for an inquiry, let alone an impeachment, unless a direct payment or gift can be shown to Joe Biden. That would certainly strengthen the case politically, but it is not essential legally,” Turley wrote further in the column.
A House Oversight Committee spokesperson pushed back on the clip from the House Judiciary Committee’s Democrats. (RELATED: White House Spokesman Claims Hunter Biden Lived With His Father In 2019)
“Professor Turley made it undeniably clear in his testimony that he believes the evidence uncovered in our investigation has surpassed the threshold needed to open an impeachment inquiry into the conduct of President Joe Biden. Any other interpretation of Professor Turley’s testimony is not being truthful about the opinion he has repeatedly made publicly,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson also pointed Check Your Fact to the House Oversight Committee’s tweet highlighting Turley’s testimony. The tweet does not include Turley’s remarks that he does not believe House Republicans’ current evidence is enough for for articles of impeachment.
— Oversight Committee (@GOPoversight) September 28, 2023
John Shu, an attorney who worked in both Bush administrations, told Check Your Fact that the standard of evidence for an impeachment inquiry is different than the standard for impeachment.
“[The] standard to begin an impeachment inquiry is significantly lower than the standard of evidence for voting on actual articles of impeachment. An impeachment inquiry may be [analogous] to a preliminary hearing in the court,” Shu said. He added that House Republicans “have enough to begin an impeachment inquiry.”
Check Your Fact reached out to a member of House Judiciary Committee ranking member Jerry Nadler’s staff and Turley for comment and will update this article if responses are provided.