U.S. House launches Republican impeachment inquiry against Biden

The House has authorized the impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden

December 14, 2023 05:04 am | Updated 09:44 pm IST - WASHINGTON

President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting of the National Infrastructure Advisory Council in the Indian Treaty Room on the White House campus, on December 13, 2023, in Washington.

President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting of the National Infrastructure Advisory Council in the Indian Treaty Room on the White House campus, on December 13, 2023, in Washington. | Photo Credit: AP

The U.S. House of Representatives voted on December 13 to formalize an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, escalating Republicans’ battle with Democrats ahead of the 2024 election in a move Mr. Biden himself slammed as a “baseless” stunt.

Republicans, seizing on Mr. Biden’s son Hunter’s controversial international dealings, have yet to provide evidence of corruption by the president, and the Democratic-led Senate would be unlikely to convict him even if the inquiry did lead to an actual impeachment trial.

Regardless, the procedure guarantees Republicans a new, high-profile platform to attack Mr. Biden as he campaigns for reelection and to distract from the federal criminal trials facing his almost certain challenger Donald Trump.

The vote of 221 to 212 was along strict party lines, with every Republican voting for it and every Democrat against.

Conservatives accuse Mr. Biden’s troubled son Hunter of influence-peddling effectively trading on the family name in pay-to-play schemes during his business dealings in Ukraine and China.

The allegations against Hunter Biden refer to incidents that took place before his father became President, and the White House has stressed there has been no wrongdoing.

Mr. Biden himself responded immediately after the vote, accusing Republicans of stalling on key fronts such as funding government while obsessing over scoring political points ahead of the election.

“Instead of doing anything to help make Americans’ lives better, they are focused on attacking me with lies,” Mr. Biden said in a statement.

“Instead of doing their job on the urgent work that needs to be done, they are choosing to waste time on this baseless political stunt that even Republicans in Congress admit is not supported by facts.”

Republicans insist the work has merit.

“As President Biden continues to stonewall lawful Congressional subpoenas, today’s vote of the full House of Representatives authorizing the inquiry puts us in the strongest position to enforce these subpoenas in court,” said House Speaker Mike Johnson and other members of Republican leadership.

“The American people deserve answers,” they said in a joint statement. “This impeachment inquiry will help us find them.”

Hunter Biden, whose chaotic personal life and business dealings have become a magnet for right-wing conspiracy theories and media investigations, issued an angry statement in Washington.

“My father was not financially involved in my business,” he said.

The U.S. Constitution provides that Congress may remove a President for “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Impeachment by the House, which is the political equivalent of a criminal indictment, would spark a trial by the Senate, with the president losing his job if convicted an unlikely scenario for Mr. Biden given the chamber’s Democratic control.

Although three U.S. presidents have been impeached -- Andrew Johnson in 1868, Bill Clinton in 1998, and Trump in 2019 and 2021 -- none has ever been removed from office by the Senate.

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