On Wednesday, the Republican-led House took a significant step by approving the initiation of an impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden. Republicans view this as a formal process that enhances their capacity to enforce subpoenas more effectively through legal channels.
The vote, with a tally of 221-212, strictly followed party lines, as every Republican supported it, while all Democrats opposed the decision.
“The impeachment power resides solely with the House of Representatives. If a majority of the House now says we’re in an official impeachment inquiry as part of our constitutional duty to do oversight, that carries weight. That’s going to help us get these witnesses in,” Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, one of the leaders of the impeachment push, stated.
Earlier on Wednesday, Republicans aimed to question the president’s son, Hunter Biden, asserting that the impeachment inquiry vote would strengthen their legal position to cite him for contempt of Congress if he refused to appear.
In a striking turn of events, Hunter Biden made an appearance, albeit not in the private setting requested by Republicans. Instead, he held a news conference outside the Capitol, reiterating his willingness to testify in a public hearing.
Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, James Comer, a Republican from Kentucky, has levied allegations against Hunter Biden and other members of the Biden family, asserting involvement in questionable business practices. However, as of now, no tangible evidence has been presented to substantiate claims of wrongdoing or influence peddling by the President.
Republicans have probed a $200,000 check issued by the President’s brother, James Biden. NBC News, after examining documents, reveals that in 2018, the President extended a $200,000 loan to his brother, and James Biden subsequently repaid it a few months later using a check explicitly marked as “loan repayment.”
Following Hunter Biden’s absence from his private deposition, Representatives Jordan and Comer affirmed that Republicans would take steps to hold him in contempt.
Republicans faced limited flexibility in the impeachment inquiry vote on Wednesday. The recent expulsion of former Rep. George Santos has further reduced Speaker Mike Johnson’s majority, leaving him with a precarious situation where he can only afford to lose three Republican votes on any given issue.
Earlier this year, a few moderate Republicans expressed doubts about the sufficiency of evidence to initiate an impeachment inquiry into the Biden family’s business activities. In response to pressure from Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene and other conservatives, then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy opted to unilaterally commence the investigation in September. This move allowed Republicans in more centrist districts to avoid a challenging vote on the matter.
After three months, there was an extraordinary display of GOP unity as not a single Republican voted against the inquiry resolution. This unity was notable considering the earlier divisions within the party on this issue earlier in the year.