Democrats scoff at Biden’s impeachment, but it will impact 2024 race

By | September 13, 2023

By Steve Holland and Jeff Mason

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Asked whether Republicans would launch an impeachment inquiry into U.S. President Joe Biden in Congress, Pennsylvania Democratic Senator John Fetterman held his head in mock horror and said “Oh my God , Really?” before bursting out laughing.

“Ooooh, don’t do that,” Fetterman said mockingly Tuesday as he walked away.

Democrats are trying to ridicule Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s decision to launch the investigation, calling it “absurd,” “a joke” and a “shiny new object to distract the public from the fact that the GOP (Republicans) can’t even pass bills to fund the government.”

But the investigation could cast a long shadow over the 2024 presidential campaign as Biden seeks re-election, even if it fails to provide any concrete evidence of wrongdoing. It promises to draw heavy media attention, especially in conservative news outlets, and draw attention away from Biden’s 2024 campaign messages on the economy and other issues. Republicans for years have accused Biden of profiting while he was Barack Obama’s vice president from 2009 to 2017. his son Hunter Biden’s foreign business ventures. The impeachment inquiry is likely to focus on Hunter Biden’s work as an adviser during that time, although Republicans have so far failed to provide evidence of wrongdoing by the president.

The White House denies any impropriety, calling the impeachment move “extreme politics at its worst.”

The U.S. Constitution authorizes Congress to impeach federal officials, including the president, for treason, bribery, and “other high crimes and misdemeanors.” A president can be removed from office if the House passes the articles of impeachment by a simple majority and the Senate votes by a two-thirds majority to convict after holding a trial.

While Republicans control the House, Democrats hold a majority in the Senate, making a conviction highly unlikely.

Former President Donald Trump was twice impeached by the then-Democratic-led House, but was later acquitted by the Senate. He is the clear favorite for the Republican nomination to face Biden next year and has pushed his allies in Congress to impeach his rival.


“This could be the beginning of a serious political problem and a devastating legal problem,” said Hogan Gidley, a former White House official under Trump. “Hopefully, launching an impeachment inquiry will force the media to cover up the mountains of evidence linking Joe Biden to Hunter’s affairs in a way that the American people have not yet seen.”

The White House and Democratic lawmakers have said no such evidence exists and point out that Trump has been charged in four criminal cases this year, with trials looming even as he campaigns to regain the presidency.

The impeachment inquiry is taking place at the same time that a special counsel appointed last month by Biden-appointed U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland is investigating the president’s son after negotiations to revive a Hunter plea deal Biden on tax and gun charges fell apart.

Biden’s public approval ratings are weak, although the latest Reuters-Ipsos tracking poll found it rose to 42%, the highest level since March. This is slightly higher than Trump and Obama at this stage of their presidencies, Gallup data shows.

Other polls have shown that many Americans believe the Biden family is corrupt, but that fewer than half believe the president has done anything illegal.

McCarthy secured the House presidency in January after surviving a revolt by far-right Republican lawmakers. He was under pressure from them to start the impeachment inquiry.

McCarthy did so Tuesday without a vote in the House. It was unclear whether he would have enough support to win such a vote, given the narrow 222-212 Republican majority in the House.

The White House sent a list of comments from Republican House members saying they had found no evidence that Biden had done anything wrong. He also posted an earlier quote from McCarthy in which he said a vote would be needed before an impeachment inquiry otherwise it would “create a process completely devoid of any merit or legitimacy.”

McCarthy said Republicans found evidence of phone calls, money transfers and other activities that “paint a picture of a culture of corruption” in Biden’s family. She cited no evidence of misconduct by Joe Biden.

The White House on Wednesday urged news outlets to focus on facts rather than allegations, saying that Republican claims are illegitimate and that reporting focused on them “only serves to generate confusion, insert false assumptions into people’s feeds and obscure the truth”.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Steve Holland; Editing by Heather Timmons and Will Dunham)

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