On September 28, House Republicans held their first impeachment inquiry hearing into an alleged yearslong bribery scandal involving President Joe Biden and his family, and right-wing media were divided on whether it landed.
While House Democrats emphasized throughout the hearing that the evidence presented was flimsy, misleading, or nonexistent, some conservative media figures mocked or criticized those claims. But others admitted they were dissatisfied with the witnesses presented or with the effort overall.
Some right-wing media say the hearing was a dud
- After the hearing concluded, former Trump adviser Steve Bannon said, “We didn’t bring our best.” Bannon complained, “If you're going to impeach a president of the United States, act like it's serious.” [Real America’s Voice, War Room, 9/28/23]
- Though supportive of impeachment and the supposed evidence behind the inquiry, Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk complained the hearing was “taking too long. I mean, we’ve got people that are testifying that are saying, ‘We don’t know if we have the goods.’ This is exhausting.” Kirk later asked why Republicans are “wasting time with this impeachment inquiry. Why don’t they just go ahead with it?” [Salem Media Group, The Charlie Kirk Show, 9/28/23]
- Fox anchor Neil Cavuto followed the hearing with disappointment: “I don’t know what was achieved over these last six-plus hours.” He continued, “When you begin to trumpet what you have as the beginning of an explosive inquiry into the president of the United States to potentially remove him from office, you would think you’d bring your A game.” Cavuto said that much of the evidence presented was either misleading or cut out important context, such as “references to Biden in these remarks as if they were Joe Biden” while they actually referred to Hunter. [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 9/28/23]
Others attempted to defend Republicans against claims that there is no evidence to impeach
- Conservative writer Stephen L. Miller mocked Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) asking law professor Jonathan Turley if he could present any “firsthand witness account of crimes committed by” Joe Biden. Miller wrote: “Mr. Turley, did you personally witness the president get handed a pillow sack with the word bribe written on it while dressed like the Hamburgler?” [Twitter, 9/28/23]
- Miranda Devine wrote that Democrats relied on “flawed” Washington Post reports during the hearing “because they have no defense for the damning evidence against Joe Biden.” [Twitter, 9/28/23]
- Fox contributor Mollie Hemingway also mocked Democrats and mainstream media. She wrote: “‘The successful and long-running international Trump real estate business made money despite our best efforts to destroy it so the wide ranging Biden family influence peddling and money laundering scheme is really nothing.’ -- corporate media and other Democrats.” [Twitter, 9/28/23]
- Devine mocked Rep. Dan Goldman (D-NY) for introducing testimony from Hunter Biden’s former business partner Devin Archer, saying it “does immense damage to Joe Biden.” [Twitter, 9/28/23]
- Fox host Jesse Watters argued that the “Democrat strategy” is to “ignore the evidence and create a circus.” He claimed that “ridicule and repetition — that’s the plan to deflect from the sleaziest D.C. scandal of our lifetime,” adding that “the press is complicit.” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 9/28/23]
- Fox host Sean Hannity claimed that the hearing “did not disappoint,” and even though “the mob and the media and all these Democrats” say “there’s no evidence,” there is “a mountain of evidence” that would “take us hours to play.” [Fox News, Hannity, 9/28/23]
- Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH), James Comer (R-KY), and Jason Smith (R-MO) appeared on Hannity to further present supposed evidence of Biden bribery schemes. According to Comer, “There is overwhelming evidence that Joe Biden was involved in all of these shady business schemes.” [Fox News, Hannity, 9/28/23; Media Matters, 9/29/23]
- Hannity argued that Biden is attacking former President Donald Trump “to distract from the mountain of evidence” that was presented at the hearing. He was referring to Biden’s recent criticism of the MAGA movement. [Fox News, Hannity, 9/28/23; Politico, 9/28/23]
- OutKick contributor Tomi Lahren claimed that “Democrats are actually very excited about the impeachment inquiry because the Republicans are doing the dirty work for them, and they are still grooming Gavin Newsom” to run for president in 2024 instead of Biden. [Fox News, Hannity, 9/28/23]