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3 Dec, 2023 17:43

US House nearing vote on Biden impeachment inquiry – speaker

The White House has rebuked allegations against Joe Biden as a political smear campaign
US House nearing vote on Biden impeachment inquiry – speaker

Recently-installed US House Speaker Mike Johnson has said that he believes Republicans may have the required votes to formalize impeachment proceedings against President Joe Biden.

Speaking on Fox News on Saturday, Johnson said that the House GOP will decide whether to lodge proceedings amid long-standing allegations that Biden and his family were behind an illegal scheme to use their political influence for financial gain when he was vice president.

Johnson, who assumed the role of House speaker in October, also claimed that the White House has “stonewalled” investigations into Biden by preventing witness committee testimonies and withholding documents.

“I believe we will [hold a vote],” Johnson said on the ‘Fox & Friends’ news program, flanked by House Republican Conference Chair Elise Steganik. He added that he didn’t believe that Democrats would provide any support, “but they should.”

However, Johnson stressed that impeachment proceedings would not be used as a blunt partisan tool to pursue Biden for political gain. “Elise and I both served on the impeachment defense team of Donald Trump twice, when the Democrats used it for brazen partisan political purposes,” he said. “We decried the use of it. This is very different.”

For months, Republicans have poured over Biden and his son Hunter’s business dealings in a bid to identify possible illegalities that could provide a foundation for impeachment. A vote, though, has not been held after some Republicans expressed doubt that there was sufficient evidence of wrongdoing to proceed.

Johnson, however, told Fox News that the White House has “withheld thousands of pages of evidence.”

Biden has repeatedly denied Republican allegations against him and has said that the ensuing investigations are without merit. Last month, a legal representative of the White House claimed in a letter to House Republicans that they had “misrepresented” the facts of Biden’s alleged impropriety, the Associated Press reported.

The attorney wrote that Republicans have “ignored the overwhelming evidence disproving [their] claims and repeatedly shifted the rationale for [their] ‘inquiry.’” On Saturday, a White House spokesman told CNN that the allegations are a “baseless, politically motivated attempt to smear President Biden.”

Last month, Hunter Biden offered to testify before Republican committees investigating his business dealings – but only if it took place in a public setting.

Should Biden be impeached by the House, it would be improbable that the Democrat-controlled Senate would vote to remove him from office. Former President Donald Trump, who was impeached twice, was acquitted in both of his Senate trials.

If a vote to formalize impeachment proceedings against Joe Biden is to take place this month, it must occur before the House of Representatives goes into recess on December 15.

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