As the House returns to work, House Minority Leader officially opens an impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden. Here’s our 3W’s:
What We Know:
- House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has directed Republican-led committees to open an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.
- McCarthy claimed Biden had lied to the American people about his knowledge of his family’s foreign business dealings.
- The Republican-led House Oversight committee launched an investigation in January into allegations that Biden profited from his son Hunter’s business dealings while he was vice president.
- McCarthy apparently abandoned his previous vow that an impeachment inquiry would occur through a vote in the House. His decision to direct the committees to launch the inquiry without a vote suggests he did not have enough support in the House to move forward.
House Republicans have been investigating the President for 9 months, and they’ve turned up no evidence of wrongdoing
His own GOP members have said so
He vowed to hold a vote to open impeachment, now he flip flopped because he doesn’t have support
Extreme politics at its worst
— Ian Sams (@IanSams46) September 12, 2023
What This Means:
- An impeachment inquiry by the U.S. Congress is a formal investigation into whether a high-ranking government official, such as the President, has committed “high crimes and misdemeanors” while in office. In simpler terms, it’s like a serious investigation to determine if a person holding a powerful government position has done something really wrong or illegal.
- Republicans have used impeachment inquiries and impeachment proceedings to attack Democratic presidents in the past, usually over perceived moral failures or alleged lies. In the past GOP allegations have not passed the litmus test of “high crimes and misdemeanors” to the American public.
- Two impeachment inquiries were made into Donald Trump during his presidency:
- The first impeachment inquiry was initiated in September 2019. The House of Representatives, controlled by Democrats, began an inquiry into President Trump’s actions related to a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The inquiry focused on allegations that President Trump had sought foreign interference in the 2020 U.S. presidential election by pressuring Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, a political opponent, and his son, Hunter Biden. The House of Representatives voted to impeach President Trump on December 18, 2019, on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The Senate, controlled by Republicans, acquitted him in February 2020, and he remained in office.
- The second impeachment inquiry began in January 2021, shortly before the end of President Trump’s term. This time, it was in response to the events of January 6, 2021, when a mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election results. The House of Representatives impeached President Trump for “incitement of insurrection” on January 13, 2021. However, his Senate trial did not occur until after he had left office. On February 13, 2021, the Senate acquitted him once again.
McCarthy is feeling the heat from conservative members within his party, urging him to take a more direct stance against Biden in the run-up to the 2024 presidential election. These demands are gaining increased influence as Congress approaches a critical deadline at the end of the month to prevent a government shutdown.
Why This Matters:
- The Republican Party is stuck. The House speaker needs to pass a temporary spending measure to avoid a shutdown, but far-right Republicans have demanded action on impeachment in exchange for their support to keep the government operating.
- Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia explicitly said that she would not vote to fund the government unless the House opened an impeachment inquiry into Biden. Colorado Rep. Ken Buck, another Republican member of the House Judiciary committee and the Freedom Caucus, expressed strong reservations as recently as Sunday about the prospects of a vote to impeach Biden in the House.
- Smoke and mirrors. Ranking member Jamie Rasking of the House oversight committee said Tuesday: “The voluminous evidence they have gathered, including thousands of pages of bank records and suspicious activity reports and hours of testimony from witnesses, overwhelmingly demonstrates no wrongdoing by President Biden and further debunks Republicans’ conspiracy theories.”
- Distractions. The leading GOP candidate for the 2024 is four-time indicted, twice impeached, former president Donald Trump. The GOP has been vocal with opposing rhetoric insinuating that current President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice has launched a witch-hunt against former President Trump as a ploy to remove him as a contender for the presidency.
This is American politics and we are heading into another fresh election season. We’ll continue to summarize important breaking news events related to Election 2024. Follow our Election 2024 coverage at blkalerts.com, subscribe to our Politics newsletter and follow more Black stories in the BLK ALERTS app.