D.C. Memo: Phillips, other Dems, defend Biden and decry impeachment calls; Sheletta Brundidge’s trip to D.C.

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WASHINGTON – Rep. Dean Phillips was in the vanguard this week as far as a Democratic response to Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s impeachment inquiry into President Biden, which was to keep the president as far away as possible from any damaging information about his son, Hunter.

Phillips, D-3rd District, and other Democrats won’t even defend Hunter Biden against allegations of wrongdoing.

“The evidence suggests Hunter Biden is guilty of unethical and/or illegal behavior,” Phillips posted on X, the platform previously known as Twitter.  “The evidence suggests Joe Biden is guilty of absolutely nothing more than being a father.”

Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Maryland, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, a panel the House GOP has used to hold scores of hearings into Hunter Biden and the Biden administration, has been an aggressive and effective opponent. Yet even he pushed the “dump Hunter” strategy this week.

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“You can’t impeach Hunter Biden, but he will be prosecuted,” Raskin predicted on Wednesday.

Hunter Biden was indicted a day later on charges he had possession of a gun while using narcotics.

Despite throwing Hunter Biden under the bus, Raskin defended the president saying, “The Constitution says that the standard for impeachment is treason, bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors. They don’t have anything like that.”

“The impetus here, of course, is just to do the political bidding of Donald Trump,” Raskin added.

In an expected move, McCarthy announced this week that House Republicans will hold an impeachment inquiry, a series of hearings to collect evidence, which would allow them to move forward to an official impeachment of the president.

Despite many hearings into Hunter Biden and other Biden family members and business associates, there is no evidence the president did anything wrong, as some House Republicans allege. And McCarthy has not provided details of the process, timeline or witnesses who would be called in the impeachment inquiry.

McCarthy’s announcement was viewed as an attempt to placate hard-right Freedom Caucus members who are demanding several politically unworkable provisions in a short-term spending bill called a continuing resolution. The resolution would avert a government shutdown after Sept. 30, the end of the federal fiscal year.

But McCarthy’s strategy has not seemed to work, as Freedom Caucus members on Thursday threatened to remove him from his speakership position through a procedure known as a “motion to vacate.”  The rebellion was sparked by McCarthy’s failure to commit to their demands on the short-term spending bill.

“If you want to file the motion, file the f***ing motion,” a frustrated McCarthy said at a House GOP meeting that was convened to discuss the impeachment inquiry.

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House Republicans, however, do support McCarthy’s move to investigate Biden for wrongdoing.

“The investigations conducted by multiple House committees over the past few months have uncovered allegations about the president’s conduct that should concern all of us,” said Rep. Brad Finstad, R-1st District, in a statement. “We owe it to the American people to be as transparent as possible. I support Speaker McCarthy’s formal impeachment inquiry, which will allow us to gather all the facts and get the American people the answers they deserve.”

In a post on X, Rep. Tom Emmer, R-6th District, said, “I fully support @Speaker McCarthy’s commitment to follow the facts wherever they lead and ensure no one, not even President Biden, is above the law.”

And Rep. Michelle Fischbach, R-7th District, said, “Thanks to the work of several committees, including the Ways and Means Committee, we have heard enough to be gravely concerned about the President’s conduct.”

“Opening a formal impeachment inquiry is the next logical step. The American people deserve to know all the facts,” Fischbach added.

Meanwhile, McCarthy’s intent to hold an impeachment inquiry solidified the president’s support among House Democrats.

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-5th District, accused McCarthy of turning the U.S. House into a “vindictive campaign arm of Donald Trump.”

“This is a new low in House Republicans’ failure to govern,” Omar said in a lengthy statement. “Instead of doing anything to address rising housing costs, raise the minimum wage, tackle child poverty or address the opioid crisis, Republicans have threatened to the plunge the nation into default and are now once again pushing the government to the brink of a shutdown. It’s no wonder this Congress has been the least productive in decades.”

The White House dismissed McCarthy’s efforts as a way to distract the public from the inability of House Republicans to fund the government and avoid a shutdown. Meanwhile, Biden told a group of donors the impeachment inquiry is not something he is focusing on.

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Hand delivering a message 

Sheletta Brundidge was in Washington, D.C., this week because she was honored as a finalist for the National Small Business Association’s contest for Small Business Advocate of the Year.

She also had another mission: hand delivering dozens of letters from other small business owners in Minnesota to lawmakers, an effort, she said, to educate members of Congress about the needs of Black business owners.

Brundidge is the owner of a multimedia podcasting and production company, ShelettaMakesMeLaugh.com, that aims to provide a platform for Black subject experts from Minnesota to share stories and speak about concerns.

Besides being a comedian, author and advocate for children with autism – she’s the parent of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder – Brundidge is also something of a philanthropist. She recently funded an outdoor billboard campaign to highlight five Black women business owners and gifted five other Black women business owners with $1,000.

Having lost five family members to carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator they had used after Hurricane Laura knocked out their power, Brundidge has donated dozens of detectors in the hopes others would be spared that tragedy.

She said she wanted her trip to D.C. to really mean something. So, she contacted some of the offices of Minnesota’s members of Congress. She said a staffer in one congressional office asked her what her “ask” was. She decided to ask Black entrepreneurs about their “asks” instead.

They all met at a café in St. Paul and wrote dozens of letters, which Brundidge has copied and hand delivered to the lawmakers’ offices this week.

She’s glad to be able to help those Black business owners.

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“They probably don’t have enough money to come to D.C. and can’t take the time to visit,” she said.

Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., was among several lawmakers who posted on X about a visit from Brundidge.

“I get thousands of letters sent to me every week, but it’s rare to have them hand delivered,” the senator said.

You might have seen both Smith and Brundidge’s names on the schedule for next weekend’s MinnPost Festival. It’s a separate project, and I would have written about Brundidge’s trip to Washington regardless of her participation in the festival.

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