House speaker announces impeachment inquiry into BidenSeptember 12, 2023
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- House Speaker Kevin McCarthy gave the green light for Republicans to open up the impeachment case.
- An impeachment inquiry would be the first step towards bringing articles of impeachment against Biden.
- The decision comes after Republicans spent months attempting to tie Biden to the business ventures of his son Hunter Biden.
- Republicans are yet to find evidence of Biden’s wrongdoing but cited a “culture of corruption”.
- The White House has repeatedly insisted Biden was not involved in his son’s business dealings.
Washington: Joe Biden faces an impeachment inquiry as the US election heats up after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy gave the green light for Republicans to open up a probe into the president’s family business dealings.
Within hours of Congress resuming on Tuesday after the summer recess, McCarthy moved to appease far-right allies of Donald Trump by directing top Republicans to carry out an inquiry into allegations of corruption against the US president.
US President Joe Biden with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.Credit: AP
The decision comes after Republicans spent months attempting to tie Biden to the business ventures of his son, Hunter Biden, whose history of sex, drugs and shady money have made him an ongoing liability for the White House.
But while Republicans are yet to find clear evidence of wrongdoing on the president’s part, McCarthy said there appeared to be a “culture of corruption” that warranted further investigation.
“Through our investigations, we have found that President Biden did lie to the American people about his own knowledge of his family’s foreign business dealings and business dealings,” the Speaker said.
President Joe Biden, and his son Hunter BidenCredit: AP
“Eyewitnesses have testified that the president joined on multiple phone calls and had multiple interactions; dinners resulted in cars and millions of dollars into his son – and his son’s business partners; and we know that bank records show that nearly $20 million in payments were directed to the Biden family members and associates through various shell companies.
“These are allegations of abuse of power, obstruction and corruption and they warrant further investigation by the House of Representatives.”
An impeachment inquiry would be the first step towards bringing articles of impeachment against Biden – just as Trump faced two impeachments during his four years in office – and strengthen the House’s oversight power to obtain more documents and testimony, including, potentially, from Hunter himself.
But it would be another massive step altogether to remove Biden from office, as this would require the House to improve articles of impeachment by a simple majority, followed an impeachment trial and a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate to convict.
The White House has repeatedly insisted Biden was not involved in his son’s business dealings, and Democrats say the push for an inquiry is a sign of how beholden McCarthy is to his right flank, whose support he required in January in order to become Speaker.
At the time, McCarthy struggled to get the votes he needed until he gave members of the far-right a string of concessions. The most contentious made it easier for members to issue a motion to “vacate the chair” – which could essentially cost McCarthy his job if such a motion were to be invoked.
The decision to endorse an impeachment inquiry comes as McCarthy faces growing pressure by some extreme members who want deeper spending cuts and have been agitating for a tougher stance against Biden for months.
Yet, even after the speaker’s announcement, some Republicans were still dissatisfied.
“This is a baby step following weeks of pressure from House conservatives to do more. We must move faster,” said Florida congressman Matt Gaetz, a member of Trump’s “Make America Great Again” wing.
House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries.Credit: AP
Democrat House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries described the decision as a “political revenge tour that lacks any factual or constitutional basis,” while White House senior adviser Ian Sams said it was “extreme politics at its worst.”
“House Republicans have been investigating the president for 9 months, and they’ve turned up no evidence of wrongdoing. His own GOP members have said so,” wrote Sams on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
The inquiry will be led by House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman James Comer, working in conjunction with Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith.
However, McCarthy does not appear to have sought a vote to push the inquiry through, in what many view as a tacit admission that he wouldn’t have the necessary 218 votes to pass it, particularly as some Republicans have suggested they are against it.
“He vowed to hold a vote to open impeachment, now he flip-flopped because he doesn’t have support,” Sams said.
Nonetheless, McCarthy’s decision raises the stakes in Washington as Biden’s campaign for re-election intensifies and comes days before Hunter Biden is expected to be indicted by a Special Counsel over gun charges stemming from a failed plea deal that collapsed last month.
“This logical next step will give our committees the full power to gather the full facts and answers for the American public,” McCarthy said.
“That’s exactly what we want to know – the answers. I believe the president would want to answer these questions and allegations as well.”
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