The Republicans in the US House of Representatives have initiated the first concrete steps towards possible impeachment proceedings against President Joe Biden. The Republican chairman of the Chamber of Congress, Kevin McCarthy, announced that he had ordered an impeachment investigation. There are credible allegations that Biden was involved in his son Hunter’s illegal business. This requires more detailed research.

It remains unclear whether impeachment proceedings could actually be opened following investigations. As things stand, the Republicans have no real chance of ultimately forcing Biden out of office.

The Republicans currently have the majority in the House of Representatives and have been pushing forward investigations into the Biden family’s financial dealings for months. “These are allegations of abuse of power, cover-up and corruption and they warrant further investigation,” McCarthy said. “That’s why today I’m directing our House committee to begin a formal impeachment investigation of Joe Biden.”

White House: “Extreme politics of the worst kind”

The right wing of the party had long been urging McCarthy to initiate such a procedure. He had previously stated that he would only begin investigations after a formal vote in the House of Representatives. The fact that McCarthy ordered investigations on his own without prior coordination was met with criticism from the White House. A spokesman for government headquarters said the move showed that McCarthy had not found support within his party for his planned vote. “Extreme politics of the worst kind,” commented spokesman Ian Sams on the X platform.

In order to actually open impeachment proceedings against Biden after investigations, a majority in the House of Representatives would be necessary. The Republicans have a narrow majority and make up 222 of the 435 parliamentarians. But the group is extremely fragmented and several moderate Republicans have recently expressed criticism of such a move.

Even if it were successful in the House of Representatives, the other chamber of Congress, the Senate, would then have to decide whether to impeach the President. Biden’s Democrats have a narrow majority there. The possibility that the president could ultimately be found guilty and removed from office has so far been ruled out.

Since McCarthy was elected leader of the House of Representatives in the 15th ballot in January, he has repeatedly had to negotiate compromises between the wings of his party on many issues. He is under a lot of pressure. Some right-wing parties are also threatening to sabotage upcoming budget votes, which could potentially lead to a standstill in government business.

Trump complains

Former US President Donald Trump has been calling on his party colleagues for months to initiate impeachment proceedings against Biden. At the end of August, the Republican wrote on the Truth Social platform: “Either you accuse the bum or you will disappear into insignificance. They did it to us too!”

During Trump’s term in office, Democrats in Congress initiated two impeachment proceedings against him. The Republican was the first president in US history to face two such impeachment trials in the Senate – one because of allegations of abuse of power, one because of the violent storming of the US Capitol by his supporters. He was acquitted in both cases by the Senate, where his party was still in charge at the time. Now the balance of power is exactly the opposite.

Political revenge against Biden?

The election campaign for the next presidential election in 2024, in which Biden and Trump want to run, is now also underway. Trump is facing four criminal charges in the middle of the election campaign – two of them related to his attempts to retroactively overturn the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

All of this leads the Republicans to be accused of being solely interested in political revenge. It is an attempt to put Biden on the same moral level as Trump and to accuse him of illegal activities. The top Democrat in the House of Representatives, Hakeem Jeffries, wrote on Platform X that the investigations launched were “illegitimate” and reprehensible. “It is a political revenge tour that has no factual or constitutional basis.”

In any case, it is unclear how a possible lengthy impeachment process could affect the Republicans’ election chances next year. When the party launched impeachment proceedings against then-President Bill Clinton over his affair with Monica Lewinsky in the late 1990s, many voters felt it was unjustified – and they helped the Democrat to a surprise victory in the 1998 midterm elections.