FL’s Matt Gaetz accused of calling ‘the kettle black’ during committee’s impeachment debate

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz talks out of turn and interrupts during testimony by Democratic and Republican counsel in an impeachment hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on Dec. 9, 2019. Credit: Jonathan Ernst-Pool/Getty Images

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, arrested himself for DUI in 2008, highlighted a report about Hunter Biden’s substance abuse problem Thursday during the House Judiciary Committee’s debate over articles of impeachment against President Trump.

Gaetz read from a New Yorker magazine article discussing a 2016 incident in which the younger Biden crashed a rental car that was found to contain a glass pipe containing cocaine residue.

“I don’t want to make light of anybody’s substance abuse issues,” Gaetz said.

“But it’s a little hard to believe that Burisma hired Hunter Biden to resolve their international disputes when he could not resolve his own dispute with Hertz rental car over leaving cocaine and a crack pipe in the car.”

That earned him a rebuke from U.S Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia, a Democrat.

“The pot calling the kettle black is not something that we should do,” Johnson said.

“I don’t know what members, if any, have had any problems with substance abuse, been busted [for] DUI. I don’t know. But if I did, I wouldn’t raise it against anyone on this committee. I don’t think it’s proper.”

According to published accounts, Gaetz was arrested for DUI in 2008 and refused a breath test. The charge was dropped and he kept his driver’s license. His father, Don Gaetz, was president of the Florida Senate at the time.

Gaetz also delved into the article’s account of Hunter Biden, former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, searching for drugs in a homeless encampment in Los Angeles at around the time of the crash.

“Again, not casting any judgment on any challenges someone goes through in their personal life, but it is just hard to believe that this was the guy wandering through homeless encampments buying crack that was worth $86,000 a month to Burisma Holdings.”

That was the Ukrainian energy company that hired Hunter Biden for its board while former Joe Biden was leading U.S. policy toward that country. It was Trump’s demand for at least a public announcement of an investigation into that situation – and potentially dirty up the leading Democratic contender in the 2020 elections – that prompted the impeachment investigation.

Although Trump and his allies, including Gaetz, have accused the Bidens of corruption, including during Thursday’s debate, there’s been no public evidence that they committed any offenses.

“We’ve got to get back down to what is most important here,” Johnson insisted. “It is ever OK for a president of the United States of America to invite foreign interference in an upcoming presidential election campaign.”