What's next in Joe Biden's impeachment inquiry?

Lack of evidence has not stopped US Republicans from taking next steps in investigating President

The investigation is sure to create a headache for the White House as US President Joe Biden continues his 2024 re-election campaign. Reuters
Powered by automated translation

Republicans in the US House of Representatives have approved an impeachment inquiry into allegations that President Joe Biden benefited from his son's foreign business dealings despite any evidence proving he was involved in corruption.

Either way, the investigation will create a headache for the White House as Mr Biden continues his 2024 re-election campaign.

Here, The National takes a look at what's next in the impeachment inquiry.

What is impeachment?

The US Constitution provides that Congress may remove a president for “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanours”.

US House votes for formal Biden impeachment inquiry

US House votes for formal Biden impeachment inquiry

Impeachment by the House, which is the political equivalent of a criminal indictment, would spark a trial by the Senate, and the President be removed from office convicted. An effort to remove Mr Biden will almost certainly fail, as the chamber is controlled by the Democrats.

Although three US presidents have been impeached – Andrew Johnson in 1868, Bill Clinton in 1998 and Donald Trump twice in 2019 and 2021 – none has ever been removed from office by the Senate.

What is this inquiry about?

House Republicans allege that Mr Biden and his family profited from his actions when he served as Barack Obama's vice president from 2009 to 2017, zeroing in on his son Hunter Biden's business ventures in Ukraine and China during that period.

They have turned up evidence that the younger Mr Biden led clients to believe that he could provide access to the vice president's office, but they have not provided evidence that Mr Biden took any official actions to help those businesses or that he benefited financially from them.

What is the timeline of the inquiry?

The vote Republicans held is not a required step to impeach an official, but members say its passage gives them greater legal footing to subpoena for documents and testimony.

The formal launch of the inquiry also orders the Republican-held Judiciary Committee, Oversight Committee and Ways and Means Committee to expand their investigation, which is already more than three months in.

They can choose to not pursue impeachment, but if they choose to move forward, they will have to draft articles of impeachment and present them to the full House.

This process could last several months into 2024.

Updated: December 14, 2023, 7:57 PM