CNN host Abby Phillip sharply reminded Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) that Republicans still do not have evidence of any illegal activity by President Joe Biden ― and then she did it again. (Watch the video below.)
The far-right lawmaker appeared on the news network Tuesday after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) ordered an impeachment inquiry into the president for alleged influence peddling.
McCarthy defended the move, which avoided a likely-to-fail House vote, claiming that allegations against Biden in relation to his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings merit deeper review.
Gaetz continued to echo GOP talking points about Hunter Biden’s laptop and his father’s presence on a phone call with Hunter’s business associates ― none of which has yielded proof of wrongdoing by the president.
Just one minute of Phillip and Gaetz’s conversation featured Phillip reality-checking Gaetz twice.
“Abby, are you actually trying to tell your viewers that you don’t believe Joe Biden was involved in Hunter Biden’s business deals?” the congressman said.
“It’s not about what I believe,” Phillip said. “It’s about whether there is evidence that President Biden is linked to the misdeeds that might be linked to Hunter Biden. That’s the issue.”
Gaetz called her response “tortured” and continued to push unproven assertions of criminality by Joe Biden.
“Can you acknowledge that when he calls into business deals, he’s involved?” asked Gaetz, one of the ultraconservatives who has been pushing for impeachment actions despite the unsubstantiated nature of the claims.
“It’s not about innuendo. It’s not about what I believe,” Phillip replied. “It’s a question: Do you have evidence? If you had evidence that Joe Biden was linked to Hunter Biden’s business deals in a way that is illegal, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”
Phillip pointed out that House Republicans likely don’t have the votes to actually initiate an inquiry, because of GOP dissenters like Ken Buck (Colo.) and Don Bacon (Neb.).
“That’s why we need to have the votes and have the debates and have the hearings,” Gaetz replied.
The Florida lawmaker has previously said that an impeachment of Biden could serve more as a way to tarnish the president ahead of the 2024 election than to remove him from office.