U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, December 13, 2023. ELIZABETH FRANTZ / REUTERS

The US House of Representatives approved the impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden on Wednesday, December 13th. All Republicans threw their support behind the politically charged trial, although there are lingering concerns among some in the party that the investigation has not yet produced evidence of wrongdoing by the president.

The party’s 221-212 vote brought the entire House Republican conference on record to support impeachment proceedings that can result in the ultimate punishment for a president: punishment for what the Constitution calls “high crimes and misdemeanors.” could result in removal from office if convicted in a Senate trial.

“We do not take this responsibility lightly and will not prejudge the outcome of the investigation,” spokesman Mike Johnson and his leadership team said in a joint statement after the vote. “But the evidence cannot be ignored.”

Read more: The article is not subscribed to. The Republican impeachment attempt puts Joe Biden on the defensive

Joe Biden immediately condemned the Republicans’ move. “Instead of doing their jobs on the urgent work that needs to be done, they are wasting their time on this baseless political ploy that even Republicans in Congress admit is unsupported by facts,” Biden said minutes later in a long explanation.

Hunter Biden is of particular interest

Authorizing the months-long investigation ensures that the impeachment inquiry extends well into 2024, when Biden is running for re-election and likely will face former President Donald Trump, who was impeached twice during his time in the White House.

Trump has urged his Republican allies in Congress to quickly impeach Biden, part of his broader calls for revenge and retaliation against his political enemies. Republicans’ decision to hold a vote came as Johnson and his team faced growing pressure to provide progress on a nearly year-long investigation centered on the business dealings of Biden family members. While their investigation has raised ethical questions, there is no evidence that Biden acted corruptly or accepted bribes in his current role or his previous post as vice president.

Congressional investigators have obtained nearly 40,000 pages of subpoenaed bank records and dozens of hours of testimony from key witnesses, including several senior Justice Department officials currently in charge of investigating the president’s son, Hunter Biden.

Hunter Biden speaks out against his father’s impeachment inquiry

While Republicans say their investigation is ultimately focused on the president himself, they have taken a particular interest in Hunter Biden and his foreign dealings, which they accuse the president of personally profiting from. Republicans have also focused much of their investigation on whistleblower allegations that they interfered in the Justice Department’s long-running investigation into the younger Biden’s taxes and his gun use.

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Hunter Biden is currently being prosecuted in two states as a result of the special counsel investigation. He is charged with gun counts in Delaware and claims he violated laws against drug users with guns in 2018 when he admitted he was struggling with addiction. Special Counsel David Weiss filed additional charges last week, alleging he failed to pay about $1.4 million in taxes over three years.

“No credibility, no legitimacy and no integrity”

Ahead of the vote, Johnson called it “the next necessary step” and acknowledged that there are “a lot of people who are frustrated that it hasn’t moved faster.”

Democrats in the House of Representatives objected to the investigation decision on Wednesday. “This whole thing is an extreme political ploy. It has no credibility, no legitimacy and no integrity. It’s a sideshow,” Rep. Jim McGovern (Massachusetts) said during a debate.

Read more The article is reserved for us to subscribe to Trump’s ally Mike Johnson was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives, ending three weeks of internal Republican power struggles

Some House Republicans, particularly those from politically divided districts, had been hesitant in recent weeks to vote on Biden’s impeachment, fearing significant political costs. But Republican leaders have argued in recent weeks that the resolution is just a step in the process and not a decision to impeach Biden. This message seems to have convinced skeptics.

“As we have said many times, agreeing to an impeachment inquiry is not the same as being removed from office,” Rep. Tom Emmer, a member of the GOP leadership team, said at a news conference Tuesday.

Emmer said Republicans “will continue to follow the facts wherever they lead, and if they uncover evidence of treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors, then and only then will the next steps toward impeachment be considered.”

Le Monde with AP and AFP

Source : www.lemonde.fr

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