The Republicans under Kevin McCarthy's leadership: Their push for impeaching Joe Biden explained

Kevin McCarthy, the Speaker of the House, has hinted at the possibility of initiating impeachment proceedings against President Joe Biden. During a Fox News interview, the California Republican stated that the ongoing congressional investigations into potential connections between President Biden and his son’s financial dealings could lead to an impeachment inquiry.

Impeachment is the initial step in a formal process to remove a president or other high-ranking executive or judicial official from office. It necessitates a simple majority vote in the House of Representatives to trigger a trial in the US Senate, where a two-thirds majority is required for conviction and removal.

It’s worth noting that President Donald Trump faced impeachment twice during the time when Democrats held control of the House. The impeachment charges were related to Ukraine in 2019 and the January 6 Capitol riot in 2021. However, Trump was acquitted by the Senate on both occasions.

What are the potential grounds for impeaching President Biden?
Although specific charges have not been mentioned by Mr. McCarthy, Republicans are conducting a series of investigations.

The speaker’s remarks on Monday followed a House committee’s hearing last week, during which two Internal Revenue Service officials claimed that the Justice Department, under President Biden’s administration, hindered a more comprehensive investigation into his involvement in Hunter Biden’s personal finances.

Furthermore, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley recently released an FBI document that revealed allegations from a trusted intelligence source. The allegations suggested that the Biden family received two $5 million payments from a Ukrainian energy company after then Vice-President Biden exerted pressure on Ukraine to remove a senior government official investigating corruption.

In the upcoming week, a former business associate of Hunter Biden is scheduled to provide private testimony to a House Committee. This testimony is expected to shed light on Joe Biden’s deeper involvement in his son’s business dealings, beyond what the president has acknowledged.

It is important to note that neither the IRS investigators nor the FBI document presented conclusive evidence of illegal or improper conduct by the president. Nevertheless, Republicans in the House argue that the information warrants the initiation of a formal impeachment inquiry.

What authority would an impeachment inquiry hold?
According to Mr. McCarthy’s statements during the Fox interview, an impeachment inquiry would equip House Republicans with potent tools to investigate allegations of financial impropriety related to President Biden and gather crucial knowledge and information. He made comparisons to the Nixon administration, which faced a congressional inquiry in 1974 before Nixon’s eventual resignation, preventing formal impeachment.

Mr. McCarthy noted concerns about the current administration’s approach, likening it to Nixon’s tactics, accusing them of withholding essential information required for proper investigations.

Previously, the House speaker had been hesitant to endorse calls for impeachment proceedings, citing the need for further evidence before considering such action.

Following a closed-door meeting with House Republicans, Mr. McCarthy reportedly revised his stance, stating that his party would only pursue a formal investigation if the evidence supported the need for it.

Is Biden facing potential removal from office?
The likelihood of a successful impeachment resolution in the House remains uncertain. Given the narrow Republican majority in the chamber and concerns among some party centrists about its potential impact on re-election races in November 2024, moving forward with the impeachment process could further exacerbate political divisions in the country.

The Biden administration swiftly responded to Mr. McCarthy’s remarks, criticizing the House GOP’s priorities and highlighting the importance of addressing pressing issues such as inflation and job creation.

It’s worth noting that historically, only three US presidents have been impeached – Andrew Johnson in 1868, Bill Clinton in 1998, and Donald Trump twice. However, none of them were convicted by the Senate.

Considering Democrats’ current 51-49 majority in the Senate, any Biden impeachment referral from the House is likely to meet a similar fate with limited chances of conviction.