FOR THE WEEK OF SEP. 18, 2023
Can you find anything new on this topic?
Quote a supporter or critic of the upcoming inquiry.
Summarize another issue involving the president or Congress.
Fourteen months before next year's election, Republicans in the U.S. House are preparing a inquiry into President Joe Biden that could bring a vote on whether he should face a Senate impeachment (removal) trial. Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., announced that preliminary step last week without a customary vote by all 222 Republicans and 212 Democrats. "Over the past several months," the speaker said, "House Republicans have uncovered serious and credible allegations into President Biden's conduct — a culture of corruption. . . . "We have found that President Biden did lie to the American people about his own knowledge of his family's foreign business dealings."
McCarthy was alluding to claims that the while serving earlier as vice president, Biden was involved improperly in business activity by his son Hunter in China and Ukraine. A formal inquiry lets lawmakers subpoena bank records and witnesses. Democrats and even a some Republicans see the move as a political effort to weaken the president's 2024 campaign for a second term. That belief is reinforced by statements from strident Republicans such as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who said she hopes the inquiry is "long and excruciatingly painful for Joe Biden."
For his part, the president said last week: "The best I can tell, they want to impeach me because they want to shut down the government" rather than pass his federal budget proposals. A White House spokesman said: "House Republicans have been investigating the president for nine months, and they've turned up no evidence of wrongdoing. . . . He didn't discuss Hunter's business dealings with him and wasn't in business with his son." A Republican congressman, Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado, criticizes McCarthy and other party colleagues for "relying on an imagined history" and "this flimsy excuse for an impeachment." He added: "Impeachment is a serious matter and should have a foundation of rock-solid facts. . . . There is not a strong connection at this point between the evidence on Hunter Biden and any evidence connecting the president." Buck and others worry that Republicans risk a backlash if the inquiry doesn't produce anything new.
The House Oversight Committee last week released a compilation of what Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., calls "mounting evidence that Joe Biden was involved in his family's influence-peddling schemes, including when he served as vice president" under Barack Obama from 2008-16. Biden met or chatted with his son and his son's overseas business associates a few times, though there's no information indicating the father took official actions to help Hunter Biden or his colleagues. The younger Biden acknowledged in federal court two months ago that he earned several hundreds of thousands of dollars through partnerships and business deals with Chinese firms in 2017 and 2018, though his father said in a 2020 campaign debate that his son “has not made money” from deals involving China. Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the senior Democrat on Comer’s committee, says: "The Constitution says that the standard for impeachment is treason, bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors. They don't have anything like that. The impetus here, of course, is just to do the political bidding of Donald Trump," who's running to regain the presidency he lost to Biden in 2020.
Biden aide says: "Impeachment is grave, rare and historic. The Constitution requires ‘treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.’ But House Republicans are publicly stating they have uncovered none of these things." -- Ian Sams, special assistant to the president, in Sept. 13 letter to news media executives
Republican says: "The point of the inquiry is to give us greater standing to get the full evidence.” – U.S. Rep. Mike Waltz, R-Fla.
Professor says: "The attack on Biden is a transparent attempt to defend former president Trump from his own legal troubles by suggesting that Biden is just as bad." – Heather Cox Richardson, Boston College historian and blogger