Republicans begin the session of the House of Representatives ready to give no respite to the president, Joe Biden. The Republican leader of Congress, Kevin McCarthy, has ordered the opening of an investigation for the political prosecution or impeachment of Biden for his family’s businesses, and in particular his son, Hunter Biden, abroad. He had already said in an interview that this was the “next logical step” in the investigations into his son, Hunter Biden, and his business abroad. This time he repeated it in the Capitol on the first day of the new political course while announcing the formal request to open that investigation. McCarthy thus tries to appease the hardline wing of his party, ready to demand his own head if he does not increase the pressure on the president.
McCarthy announced his decision in a three and a half minute appearance in which he did not admit questions. In it he has entrusted directing the work to the House Oversight Commission in coordination with the Judicial Commission and the Ways and Means Commission. “Today I am ordering our House committees to open a formal impeachment investigation against President Joe Biden. “This next logical step will give our commissions full power to gather all the facts and answers for the American public,” he added.
“I do not make this decision lightly. Regardless of your party, or who you voted for. These facts should concern all Americans. The American people deserve to know that public office is not for sale, that the federal government is not being used to cover up the actions of a politically prominent family. Now, I encourage the president and his team to cooperate fully with this investigation in the interest of transparency. We are committed to getting answers for the American public, no more, no less. We will go where the evidence takes us”, he concluded.
In his introduction, McCarthy argued that the investigations into Biden “paint a culture of corruption.” “Through our investigations, we have found that President Biden lied to the American people about his own knowledge of his family’s overseas businesses. Witnesses have testified that the president joined in on multiple phone calls, and had multiple interactions, dinners that resulted in cars and millions of dollars for his children and his children’s partners. We know that bank records show that nearly $20 million in payments were directed to Biden family members and associates through various shell firms. “The Treasury Department alone has more than 150 transactions involving the Biden family and other business partners that were flagged as suspicious activity by American banks,” he said.
McCarthy has accused Biden, when he was Barack Obama’s vice president, of using his office to coordinate with his son’s businesses through his son’s role as an advisor at the Ukrainian firm Burisma. “Despite the serious allegations, it appears that the president’s family has been offered special treatment, by the Biden Administration itself, treatment that they would not otherwise have received if they were not related to the president. These are accusations of abuse of power, obstruction and corruption. And they deserve further investigation by the House of Representatives,” he added.
The White House has always denied the president’s involvement in his son’s businesses. There is no evidence to prove his role in them, beyond those greetings and circumstantial meetings. Nothing indicates so far that Biden benefited personally. The president has maintained his support for his son and appears in public with him frequently, even despite the criminal investigations against him. Special prosecutor David Weiss, who is in charge of his case, wants to charge him this month with lying when purchasing a gun by saying he was drug-free at a time when he was addicted. In relation to his business, the prosecutor accused him of two minor crimes of tax fraud in an agreement that was left in the air at the time of ratification.
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Political prosecution is an exceptional procedure. Only three presidents throughout history (Andrew Johnson, in 1868; Bill Clinton, in 1998, and Donald Trump, this one twice, in 2019 and 2021) have been subjected to impeachment by the Senate at the request of the House of Representatives. Representatives and all have been acquitted. Richard Nixon resigned while his indictment was pending. There is no precedent, on the other hand, for an impeachment against a president for acts that occurred before taking office.
Hard wing pressures
McCarthy’s move is a concession to the radical wing of his party, which is pressuring its own speaker on two fronts. On the one hand, with the impeachment, whether for his son’s business, which is the open case, or with any other excuse. On the other hand, they want to remove the thorn in the agreement to suspend the debt ceiling with new spending cuts and other conditions as a requirement to approve the budget items for the new fiscal year, which begins on October 1. The toughest are willing to cause what is known as a government shutdown by not passing spending laws. That would cause the suspension of part of public services and cause tens of thousands of federal employees to stop collecting their paychecks.
McCarthy is aware that such a drastic measure could backfire on Republicans. That opinion is shared by her more moderate party colleagues, but the Republican majority is so precarious that the hard wing wants to impose their blackmail. The president of the House of Representatives has warned that if spending is not enabled, investigations against the president cannot be financed either.
Apart from moving towards impeachment, the hard wing, concentrated in the so-called Freedom Caucus, also calls for toughening immigration policy and punishing without funds the investigations of the Department of Justice and the FBI that they consider a “witch hunt”, like those that have been carried out. led to the indictments of former President Donald Trump.
The legal measures demanded by the Republicans in the House of Representatives have no chance of moving forward in the Senate, with a Democratic majority, so the situation threatens a blockage. If McCarthy relies on the moderates of his party and the Democratic minority in the House to push through the spending items, the hardline members are willing to demand his head. They already staged a rebellion when the debt ceiling was suspended with that bipartisan majority and now they are even more threatening.
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