US Republicans open Biden impeachment inquiry
US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has announced a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden’s alleged profiteering from his son’s foreign business dealings. Biden, McCarthy said, oversaw a “culture of corruption.”
In a brief address to reporters on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, McCarthy said that Republicans had “uncovered serious and credible allegations into President Biden’s conduct. Taken together, these allegations paint a picture of a culture of corruption.”
Over the past several months, the Republican-run House Oversight Committee and House Judiciary Committee have released evidence suggesting that Biden and his family received around $20 million in payments through shell companies from his son Hunter’s business partners in Ukraine, China, Russia, and Kazakhstan. 150 of these transactions were flagged as “suspicious” by the US Treasury Department, McCarthy said.
According to the oversight committee, Biden used his influence as vice president in 2015 to have a Ukrainian prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, fired for investigating Burisma, an energy firm that Hunter was working for at the time.
While Biden admitted in 2018 to using American aid money as leverage to have the prosecutor fired, he claimed throughout his 2020 election campaign that he never spoke to Hunter about his work at Burisma. According to the committee, however, Biden called his son during at least 20 of Burisma’s meetings with clients, with the company using these calls to show off its ties to Washington.
During one of these calls, Hunter allegedly asked his father to ensure that Shokin was sacked.
“Despite these serious allegations, it appears that the president’s family has been offered special treatment by Biden’s own administration,” McCarthy said, referring to a plea deal offered to Hunter Biden by the Justice Department earlier this summer, in which the president’s son would plead guilty to two misdemeanor tax charges and a firearms offense, in exchange for the government dropping its investigation into whether Hunter acted as an illegal foreign agent.
The deal has since collapsed, and an investigation into Hunter’s tax affairs is ongoing.
McCarthy’s announcement marks the first step in a long path toward the potential impeachment of Biden. After an investigation by the House Oversight, Judiciary, and Ways and Means Committees, these panels will decide whether to file articles of impeachment against the president. If the House of Representatives then votes to adopt the articles, a trial begins in the Senate, where a two-thirds majority is needed to convict and remove the president from office.
Former President Donald Trump was impeached twice; once for allegedly pressuring Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky into investigating the Biden family’s activities in Ukraine, and a second time for allegedly inciting the January 6, 2021 riot on Capitol Hill. Trump was acquitted both times by the Senate.