An impeachment inquiry of the president should be a watershed moment in American history.
A constitutional thunderclap it was not when Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy declared on Tuesday that an investigation against President Joe Biden would be opened.
Despite Republican assertions, which have not been proven, that Biden was profited by his son Hunter’s business interests while he was vice president, McCarthy said that an impeachment inquiry was the “logical” next step. Several Republicans, including those who voted to not certify Biden’s 2020 victory, pushed for impeachment as the next natural step, albeit their motivations were more political than evidence-based. The Republican majority in the House, which has never wavered in its devotion to Trump, is now an operational component of his 2020 presidential campaign.
In the wake of the double impeachment of his predecessor, and under intense pressure from far-right pro-Trump members of his conference, the speaker has decided to move forward with impeachment proceedings against Vice President Joe Biden.
The revelation that the ex-president spoke with House leadership on Tuesday lent credence to the theory that McCarthy is acting at the direction of a furious Trump, as reported by AWN.
The Republican from California has long been seen as Trump’s representative. Days after the previous president was forced out of office in disgrace for encouraging his supporters to “fight like hell” prior to the January 6, 2021 revolt in the Capitol, he made a loyalty oath to him at Mar-a-Lago.
Public mistrust of Hunter Biden’s avalanche of scandals might be stoked by Republicans by launching an impeachment probe of the president. By making it seem like political corruption is pervasive, they hope to dilute the political impact of Trump’s own two impeachments and his four pending criminal trials.
We are on the verge of the third probable impeachment in the United States in the past three and a half years. McCarthy’s action makes one wonder if the bar for this final constitutional remedy is being lowered. There is a greater chance that a once-rare action will become a regular routine when the House is controlled by one party and the White House is governed by another if a fresh impeachment procedure is perceived as entirely politically motivated.
However, the upcoming impeachment probe is a risk for Republicans because it has the potential to alienate moderate voters in districts where they currently hold a majority. In addition, an impeachment inquiry into the president may help the White House generate excitement among Democrats moving into 2024, when polls show low enthusiasm for Joe Biden’s reelection effort even among in his own party. One of the White House’s own investigators, Ian Sams, has called the impeachment probe “extreme politics at its worst.”
The White House would have liked not to have to deal with the stress of an impeachment inquiry in the run-up to the election. On Wednesday, the White House planned to write a letter to senior US news executives asking them to “ramp up its scrutiny of House Republicans for opening an impeachment inquiry based on lies,” as shown in an AWN draught.
61% of the public, according to an AWN poll issued last week, think the president had at least some influence in his son Hunter Biden’s commercial career, so even if nothing comes of the inquiry, the talk could enhance voter anxiety about the president’s engagement in Hunter Biden’s businesses.
Since Biden would be 82 years old before being sworn in for a second term, McCarthy’s declaration comes as several Democrats express growing concern over the vice president’s age. On Wednesday, famous Washington Post foreign policy writer David Ignatius, who is frequently favourable to the administration, wrote a column arguing that neither Vice administration Joe Biden nor Vice President Kamala Harris should seek reelection.
On Tuesday, Democratic Senator Dick Durbin told AWN that while he believed the impeachment inquiry decision was a symptom of a “out of control” Republican House majority and that there was no evidence to back impeachment, he felt “uncomfortable” with the impression that Hunter Biden capitalised on his father’s position, as he did with similar allegations about Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, in the previous administration.
There are rumours of a son’s influence peddling, but no proof of any misconduct on the part of the president.
When announcing an impeachment investigation, McCarthy did not provide any specific examples of Joe Biden’s misbehaviour. And despite hints that more moderate Republicans crucial to his hopes of preserving the majority worry they could pay a price for the move in 2024, he did not bring the matter to a vote of the full House, as he once claimed he would and as he previously criticised then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi for not doing.
The California Republican who announced the probe described the allegations as “abuse of power, obstruction, and corruption.” To quote one legislator: “They warrant further investigation by the House of Representatives.”
According to documents released by Republican-led House committees, Hunter Biden may have had conflicts of interest in a number of business deals he made while his father was vice president, including ones involving China and Ukraine.
Bank records linked to the younger Biden have been made public, showing a series of lucrative payments. However, Republican House committees have failed to produce evidence that President Obama personally benefited from his son’s business deals or that he abused his power in a way that would meet the constitutional standard for impeachment for treason, bribery, and high crimes and misdemeanours. Joe Biden’s 2014 and 2015 lunches with his son and his allies, as well as his 2015 trip to Ukraine shortly after Hunter Biden began earning $1 million a year from the Ukrainian oil corporation Burisma, have been seen as evidence of corruption by the Republican leadership of the House Oversight Committee.
But even by the standards of circumstantial evidence, such specifics don’t seem to prove that the president did anything unlawful. McCarthy’s detractors may have been too harsh if the impeachment probe turns up evidence of Joe Biden’s more direct involvement.
Until then, however, the speaker will face criticism for providing scant support for a move that, if carried out to its logical conclusion, would lead to a Senate trial of the president to determine whether the outcome of a democratic election should be overturned and he should be dismissed from office.