House Republicans on Wednesday voted to formalise an impeachment inquiry against Joe Biden, intensifying their investigation of unproven allegations that the president benefited from his son’s overseas business dealings.
The vote is a formality, but it puts the House GOP on record in support of moving toward impeaching Biden.
Former house speaker Kevin McCarthy of California, egged on by former president Donald Trump and the most far-right members of his caucus, launched the inquiry without a vote in September.
The probe has yet to produce evidence that proves the GOP’s longstanding, unproven claim that Biden benefited from his son Hunter’s overseas business dealings.
The U.S. Constitution does not require the chamber to vote to launch an impeachment inquiry, legal experts told the Los Angeles Times.
Still, Republicans have sought to portray formalising the probe as a way to aid investigators.
“Short of declaring war, impeachment is the most serious act Congress can take,” Tom McClintock, of California, said in a floor speech ahead of the vote.
“We owe it to the country to get to the bottom of these allegations.
“And that requires the House to objectively invoke its full investigatory powers, respect the due process rights of all involved, and lay all of the facts before the American people.”
The 221-212 vote fell along party lines.
Ahead of the floor vote, Representative Jamie Raskin, the top Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, which is leading the inquiry, blasted the probe, calling it a partisan move that will waste taxpayer dollars to appease the far right.
“After 11 months nobody can tell you what Joe Biden’s alleged crime is, where it happened, what the motive was or who the victims are,” the Maryland Democrat said at a news conference ahead of the floor vote.
He said that Republicans had reviewed a “mountain of evidence but all the evidence shows that Joe Biden is not guilty of any presidential offenses.”
House Republicans have been itching to impeach Biden since Trump left office in 2021.
One day after the president’s inauguration, then-freshman Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, filed the first impeachment articles against Biden.
She and other far-right lawmakers and GOP operatives have tried connecting the president with his son Hunter’s foreign business dealings.
Though Hunter is under federal indictment for unrelated crimes, House investigators have not yet produced evidence to charge Biden with malfeasance.
It is unclear when the House probe into Biden will end or whether it will produce charges the lower chamber will vote on.
If the House votes to impeach Biden, the Democratic-controlled Senate will hold a trial, which requires a two-thirds majority to convict.
The U.S. Senate has never removed an American president from office.