Impeachment proceedings against Biden: the path that led Republicans to investigate the president for alleged influence peddling


House of Representatives formally launches impeachment inquiry against US President Joe Biden

Republicans have long sought to impeach Biden since they took control of the House of Representatives in January, following their victory in the 2022 midterm elections.

Investigations into Biden began shortly after, but the lack of any major findings and some skepticism from moderate Republican lawmakers led the leadership to move cautiously.

In September, then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy unilaterally ordered three House committees, also controlled by Republicans, to take charge of the probe.

Republicans accuse Biden of abuse of power for allegedly using his position to benefit his son Hunter and other family members and associates in foreign business dealings.

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In fact, it was former President Donald Trump who put Hunter Biden in the spotlight when he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to investigate him in exchange for US financial aid in 2019. That call led to Trump's own impeachment.

According to current House Speaker Mike Johnson, the committees have concluded that the Biden family received more than $15 million from companies and governments in Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Romania, and China between 2014 and 2019. Their associates received an additional $9 million.

They also allege that Biden met with foreign associates of his son at least 22 times.

Republicans hope that the vote on Wednesday will give their investigation more legitimacy, as it now has the backing of the House of Representatives. This should make it easier for them to access information, documents, and testimony.

It could also strengthen their position in any legal challenges, such as the one that could lead to Hunter Biden being prosecuted for contempt of Congress.

Hunter Biden was scheduled to testify in a closed-door session before one of the committees on Wednesday, but he failed to appear, citing his desire to have his testimony made public.

In addition, Republicans had previously avoided putting the impeachment inquiry to a vote on the full House floor, as they need almost all of their members to support it in order to pass with their narrow majority (221-213).

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Several conservative lawmakers have moderate profiles and were elected in districts where Biden won the presidential election, so they may have preferred to avoid making a decision that could cost them votes and their seats.

However, the fact that the Republican leadership felt comfortable putting the impeachment inquiry to a vote suggests that the conservative caucus is united in its efforts to impeach Biden.

If the impeachment inquiry yields any results in the coming months, the committees will need to draft an indictment, known as "articles of impeachment," which will need to be voted on again by the House of Representatives.

If those articles are approved by a simple majority, the Senate, where Democrats have a majority, will need to hold an impeachment trial.

Biden would only be removed from office if two-thirds of that chamber vote in favor, a scenario that is impossible to imagine in the current political climate.

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With less than a year to go before the 2024 presidential election, an impeachment inquiry against Biden will serve as a political weapon for Republicans.