In a sharply divided move on Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to officially greenlight its ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden. Despite a lack of concrete evidence of wrongdoing by the Democratic president, Republicans rallied behind the effort, culminating in a 221-212 party-line vote to endorse the probe.
The investigation centers on allegations of potential impropriety in Biden’s connection to his 53-year-old son Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings. This move comes on the heels of Hunter Biden’s refusal to testify behind closed doors, adding a layer of complexity to the already contentious proceedings.
While the White House dismisses the inquiry as lacking factual basis and driven by political motives, President Biden is gearing up for a potential 2024 election rematch with his Republican predecessor, Donald Trump. Currently facing four upcoming criminal trials, Trump is the first U.S. president to be impeached twice in history.
Despite the House’s efforts, the likelihood of successfully removing Biden from office remains slim. Even if the House were to impeach the president, a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate would be necessary for conviction—an improbable scenario given the Democrats’ 51-49 majority.
However, the move could serve to amplify Republican claims of corruption throughout the 2024 campaign season. The vote comes three months after the informal commencement of the probe and is not a mandatory step in the process of removing a president from office. Nevertheless, formal authorization could provide Republicans with increased legal leverage to compel cooperation from Biden’s administration and counter Democratic assertions of the inquiry’s lack of legitimacy.
House Republicans allege that Biden and his family benefited from his actions during his tenure as Vice President under Barack Obama. Focusing on Hunter Biden’s business ventures in Ukraine and China during that period, they claim the younger Biden led clients to believe he could provide access to the vice president’s office. However, no evidence has been presented to demonstrate that Biden took official actions to assist these businesses or derived financial gains from them.
Responding to the developments, President Biden criticized House Republicans for not addressing his domestic priorities and failing to provide emergency funding for Ukraine and Israel. Hunter Biden, in a statement, categorically denied any financial involvement of his father in his business, emphasizing the lack of evidence to support such allegations.
The ongoing inquiry took a dramatic turn when Hunter Biden defied a committee subpoena to testify behind closed doors, insisting on public testimony to prevent potential misrepresentation of his words. Committee members are now considering holding him in contempt of Congress, a move that could lead to legal consequences, potentially including prison time.
As the political drama unfolds, Republicans in the House view the inquiry as a fact-finding exercise, emphasizing the need to gather information before passing judgment. With the specter of the 2024 election looming large, the impeachment inquiry promises to remain a highly contentious and closely watched affair.