The US House of Representatives is planning to start a formal investigation into President Joe Biden, according to the most senior Republican in the House.
Kevin McCarthy stated that this investigation would focus on “accusations of misuse of power, obstruction, and questionable behavior” by Mr. Joe Biden.
Republicans have been looking into the President’s actions since they gained control of the House in January.
Although the hearings have not uncovered any concrete evidence of wrongdoing by Mr. Joe Biden, they have shed light on his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings, which Republicans find concerning. Additionally, they have raised questions about Mr. joe Biden’s awareness of his son’s activities.
During a brief statement at the US Capitol, Mr. McCarthy claimed that there are “serious and believable” accusations regarding the President’s behavior.
“Taken together, these allegations suggest a pattern of corruption,” he remarked.
The White House swiftly criticized Mr. McCarthy’s decision.
White House spokesperson Ian Sams posted on social media, “House Republicans have been investigating the President for nine months, and they have not found any evidence of wrongdoing. This is extreme politics at its worst.”
Hunter Biden is currently under federal investigation for potential tax-related offenses linked to his international business interests.
Mr. McCarthy also asserted that the President’s family has received special treatment from Biden administration officials who are investigating accusations of misconduct.
This investigation will provide congressional investigators with more legal authority to look into the President’s actions, including issuing subpoenas for documents and testimonies that can be more easily enforced in court.
According to the US constitution, a president can be removed from office through impeachment for treason, bribery, or other serious crimes.
This announcement on Tuesday marks the initial step in a process that could lead to an impeachment vote in the House. Republicans control the House with a narrow margin of 222-212. However, it is highly likely that this vote would be opposed by the President’s fellow Democrats, who control the Senate.
Former President Donald Trump, the only US president to be impeached twice, was acquitted both times by Senate Republicans during his trials.
It’s important to note that this process is political rather than criminal.
Mr. McCarthy, who serves as the Speaker leading House Republicans, has been under pressure from right-wing members for weeks to initiate an impeachment inquiry.
Congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida, a close ally of former President Donald Trump, described the announcement as “a small step forward after weeks of urging from House conservatives to take more action.”
At present, Mr. McCarthy is working to guide a series of spending bills through the House, which must be approved by Congress by the end of September to prevent a partial government shutdown. However, the Republican majority in the House is very slim, meaning that he can only afford to lose a few votes in the face of united Democratic opposition.
Mr. McCarthy’s decision to support impeachment may be seen as an attempt to gain favor with right-wing House Republicans in preparation for budget-related battles. Nevertheless, this strategy comes with risks. Centrist Republicans in competitive districts are uneasy about an aggressive push for impeachment, fearing it may alienate independent and moderate voters who helped them win.
Democrats have already pointed out that in 2019, Mr. McCarthy strongly criticized Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi when she initiated an impeachment inquiry into Mr. Trump without holding a formal vote.
While Mr. McCarthy has only indicated his approval of an impeachment inquiry at this stage, pressure may mount for a formal vote in the House to establish the rules for impeachment hearings. Such a vote would force centrist Republicans to take a position on record and could be used against them in the November 2024 general election.
However, that is a concern for Mr. McCarthy in the coming year. For now, he is striving to prevent conservative members of Congress from openly rebelling and attempting to remove him from his leadership position. Impeachment, or at least the pursuit of it, could provide him with some political breathing space in the months ahead.