McCarthy opens impeachment inquiry into Biden as lawmakers eye expanded powers

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House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has announced that the House of Representatives will begin conducting an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.

Mr. McCarthy, who has been under pressure to start impeachment proceedings since he became speaker, said President Biden lied about his knowledge of his family’s foreign business dealings.

“Eyewitnesses have testified that the president joined on multiple phone calls and had multiple interactions, dinners, resulting in cars and millions of dollars into his son’s and his son’s business partners’ [accounts],” McCarthy said during a Sept. 12 press conference.

“We know that bank records show that nearly $20 million in payments were directed to the Biden family members, and associates, through various shell companies. The Treasury Department alone had more than 150 transactions involving the Biden family and other business associates that were flagged as suspicious activity by U.S. banks.”

“Even a trusted FBI informant has alleged a bribe to the Biden family. Biden used his official office to coordinate the Hunter Biden business partners about Hunter’s role in Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company.”

Impeachment is provided for in the U.S. Constitution. Article 2, Section 4 of the Constitution states: “The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

An impeachment is akin to an indictment in a criminal proceeding. The charges, known as articles of impeachment, are a series of accusations that must be proven in the Senate, which tries the president as a court of impeachment. Articles of impeachment need only be approved by a simple majority of the House of Representatives before they move to the Senate.

When a president is on trial, the chief justice of the United States—in this case, Chief Justice John Roberts—presides over the proceeding. Senators are sworn in, and a two-thirds vote is required for a conviction, which would be followed by removal from office.

Presidents have been impeached before, but no president has ever been convicted by the Senate and removed from office.

Former President Donald Trump was impeached twice. The first was by the then-Democratic-controlled House in December 2019 on articles charging him with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress related to communications with the Ukrainian president.

He was impeached a second time in January 2021, a week before he left office, on an article charging incitement of an insurrection related to the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol breach that led to an hours-long delay of the congressional certification of the 2020 election. Both times, he was acquitted by the U.S. Senate.

President Trump was the third president to be impeached, after President Andrew Johnson in 1868 and President Bill Clinton in 1998, both of whom were also acquitted by the Senate.

President Richard Nixon resigned from office in 1974 after the House initiated impeachment proceedings against him but before being impeached.

Litany of Lawsuits

Attorney Curt Levey, president of the Committee for Justice, a conservative legal advocacy nonprofit, said the impeachment inquiry will lead to a litany of litigation.

“The whole point of an inquiry is to gather more facts and see if impeachment is warranted,” he told The Epoch Times. Along the way, “a lot of lawyers will make a lot of money.”

Just as President Trump “didn’t want to hand over his taxes, Biden will do everything not to hand over anything they ask for.”

When demands for evidence are refused, lawsuits will follow in federal court.

If the Biden administration invokes executive privilege, “that can be fought out in the courts,” Mr. Levey said.

In theory, administration officials could also be accused of obstructing Congress, but those charges can be pursued in court only in the unlikely event that the administration opts to do so.

Such legal disputes could be appealed, and then it would be up to the Supreme Court “if the Supreme Court wants to deal with it,” Mr. Levey said.

Expanded Congressional Powers

Mr. McCarthy said the impeachment-related investigations will be led by Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), chairman of the House Oversight Committee; Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee; and Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Those committees have wide powers of investigation already, but their authority could be fine-tuned and more clearly defined if the House passes a resolution laying out ground rules for the impeachment process.

House investigators will want to find a large body of evidence, including documents in which President Biden allegedly used pseudonyms to conduct personal business under the radar.

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) says it has more than 5,000 emails and other documents from then-Vice President Biden in which he used pseudonyms.

Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) have accused the NARA of stonewalling their two-year-long investigation.

In an Aug. 29 letter (pdf

) to Colleen Shogan, who heads the NARA, the senators referenced their ongoing inquiries about the then-vice president’s “use of multiple pseudonyms and personal email addresses for official government business,” and demanded an update on the process involved in handing over the documents.

In June 2022, the NARA stated that it was processing the disclosure request but was required to notify representatives “of the former President and the incumbent President and the former Vice President prior to the release of any Vice-Presidential records.”

The letter from the senators read, “Over a year after NARA claimed that then-Vice President Biden’s records were under review, and over two years since our first letter on the matter, it is unclear whether this process is near completion.”

Then there is the abandoned laptop computer of presidential son Hunter Biden, which allegedly contains damning information detailing potentially illegal Biden family activities. Initially, Democrats and intelligence officials claimed that the story of the laptop was Russian disinformation, but this year, a whistleblower said the FBI had previously verified the authenticity of the machine.

IRS agent Gary Shapley reportedly told Congress in May that the laptop was examined by a federal computer expert who found that “it was not manipulated in any way.”

Congressional investigators looking into Mr. Hunter Biden for tax fraud and other violations were reportedly not given full access to the machine.

This article by Matthew Vadum appeared Sept. 12, 2023, in The Epoch Times.