US lawmakers vote to approve impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden

Thursday, December 14th, 2023 15:30 | By
Joe Biden at the White House on September 13, 2023. PHOTO/Getty Images

The House voted for the probe along party lines, with 221 Republicans approving the inquiry and 212 Democrats against it.

The inquiry is based on allegations that Biden improperly benefited from his son Hunter’s business dealings, though no evidence has emerged of wrongdoing by the president.

The new House Speaker Mike Johnson, a conservative closely tied to former president Donald Trump, has justified the probe saying Biden repeatedly “lied” about his son’s business activities and had spoken with his son’s foreign business associates.

“The constitution requires the House to follow the truth where it leads,” said Johnson. “We have a duty to do this.”

In a statement following the vote, the president attacked House Republicans for wasting time on a “baseless political stunt”.

“I wake up every day focused on the issues facing the American people,” Biden said. “Unfortunately, House Republicans are not joining me. Instead of doing anything to help make Americans’ lives better, they are focused on attacking me with lies”.

While three congressional panels have already begun investigating Hunter Biden’s work, Republicans said a vote by the full House would strengthen their legal standing as they seek information from the White House.

The impeachment of a president is reserved for high crimes and misdemeanours. It requires a vote by the House at the end of an investigation.

In order to remove a president from office, however, the Senate needs to convict the president in a separate trial held in the upper chamber. Trump was twice impeached by the House, but acquitted in the Senate both times.

Hunter Biden has offered to testify in public to the US Congress about his business affairs, but has rejected a subpoena from the House to do so in private. He told reporters gathered outside the US Capitol on Wednesday that Republicans did not want their “tactics” exposed, as he insisted his father had not been involved in his business dealings.

“I’m here today to make sure that the House committees’ illegitimate investigations of my family do not proceed on distortions, manipulated evidence and lies,” he said.

“For six years, I have been the target of the unrelenting Trump attack machine, shouting ‘Where’s Hunter’. Well, here’s my answer: I am here.”

Last week, he was charged by the US Department of Justice with nine federal tax offences, including tax evasion, alleging he failed to pay at least $1.4mn of federal taxes for 2016-19.

The DoJ has also charged him with illegal gun possession, after a plea deal with federal prosecutors related to both the gun and tax probes collapsed earlier this year. He has moved to dismiss the firearms charge.

Hunter Biden acknowledged on Wednesday that he had made “mistakes” and “wasted opportunities and privileges I was afforded”. But he rejected the Republican portrayal of him, and his father’s involvement in his affairs.

“Let me state as clearly as I can: my father was not financially involved in my business, not as a practising lawyer, not as a board member of [Ukrainian energy company] Burisma, not my partnership with a Chinese private businessman, not in my investments at home nor abroad — and certainly not as an artist. There is no fairness or decency in what these Republicans are doing,” he said.

More on News