Friday, June 21, 2024
HomenewsNo evidence but US Republicans approve Biden impeachment inquiry

No evidence but US Republicans approve Biden impeachment inquiry

The United States House of Representatives has voted to launch a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, despite an ongoing investigation finding no evidence of wrongdoing by the Democrat.

The Republican-controlled House voted 221-212 on Wednesday to approve the investigation, which is examining whether Biden improperly benefitted from his 53-year-old son Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings.

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The vote came hours after the younger Biden refused a call to testify behind closed doors and three months after Republicans informally began the probe.

“We do not take this responsibility lightly and will not prejudge the investigation’s outcome,” Speaker Mike Johnson and his team said in a statement after the vote. “But the evidentiary record is impossible to ignore.”

Authorising the inquiry ensures that the impeachment investigation extends well into 2024 when Biden will be running for reelection and seems likely to be squaring off against former President Donald Trump who was twice impeached during his time in the White House, including for inciting the January 2021 assault on the Capitol.

Trump, who also faces four criminal trials, has pushed his allies in Congress to move swiftly on impeaching Biden, part of his broader calls for retribution against his political enemies.

The White House has dismissed the initiative as unsubstantiated by facts and politically motivated. Biden swiftly condemned the vote.

“Instead of doing their job on the urgent work that needs to be done, they [Republicans] are choosing to waste time on this baseless political stunt that even Republicans in Congress admit is not supported by facts,” Biden said in a statement following the vote.

The decision to hold a vote came as Johnson and his team faced growing pressure to show progress in their investigation, which has raised ethical questions but uncovered no evidence that Biden acted corruptly or accepted bribes either in his current role or when he was vice president between 2009 and 2017.

Congressional investigators have obtained nearly 40,000 pages of subpoenaed bank records and dozens of hours of testimony from key witnesses, including several high-ranking Justice Department officials currently investigating the president’s son, Hunter Biden, on firearms and tax charges.

The effort will almost certainly fail to remove Biden from office. Even if the House backs impeachment, the Senate would then have to vote to convict him on the charges by a two-thirds vote – a near-impossibility in a chamber where Biden’s fellow Democrats hold a 51-49 majority.

“By endorsing this impeachment inquiry, the Republican Conference is signing up for another year of a ‘Do Nothing’ Congress: No substantive legislation or policy progress, all political fantasy and conspiracy theory,” Jamie Raskin, a Democrat, said in a statement after the vote.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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