Does Joe Biden deserve to be impeached? The Republicans have begun to attack. Thursday their impeachment investigation against the American president, motivated by his son's controversial affairs at abroad, but considered completely unfounded by the Democrats.
Conservatives, in the majority in the House of Representatives since January, accuse the Democratic leader of having lied to the American people about the businesses of his youngest son Hunter Biden.
This investigation n has almost no chance of succeeding, but could turn into a headache for the White House before the 2024 presidential election, for which Joe Biden is a candidate.
– “Abused his public functions” –
US President Joe Biden, and his son Hunter, in Syracuse, New York State, February 4, 2023 © AFP – ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS
During the first parliamentary hearing devoted to this procedure, the head of the House investigative committee, James Comer, assured that he had “found an overwhelming amount of evidence demonstrating that President Biden abused his public functions to achieve this financially benefits his family.”
“For years, President Biden has lied to the American people about his knowledge and participation in his family's corrupt dealings,” the Republican elected official said of Kentucky.
The investigation is dismissed out of hand by the Democrats.
“If the Republicans had any irrefutable evidence, they would be presenting it today,” Jamie Raskin mocked.
The elected Democrat from Maryland accused his Republican colleagues of carrying out this investigation solely because of “pressure” from Donald Trump, himself impeached twice by Congress, and who had requested this investigation against his successor.
– No chance of success –
Hunter Biden, 53-year-old former businessman, has become a favorite target of the American right.
Elected officials criticize him in particular for having made questionable deals in Ukraine and China while Joe Biden was Barack Obama's vice-president (2009-2017), capitalizing on his father's name and networks.
US President Joe Biden during a press conference in Hanoi, Vietnam, September 10, 2023 © AFP – SAUL LOEB
The US Constitution provides that Congress can impeach the president in the event of “treason, corruption or other major crimes and misdemeanors.”
The procedure takes place in two stages.
After carrying out its investigation, the House of Representatives votes, by a simple majority, on articles of indictment detailing the facts alleged against the president: this is what is called “impeachment” in English.
At this stage, “I don't think the current evidence supports articles of impeachment,” said one of the witnesses at Thursday's hearing, Professor Jonathan Turley of George Washington University.
If the indictment were to be voted on, however, the Senate, the upper house of Congress, would then put the president on trial. However, he would very likely be acquitted, Joe Biden's party being in the majority in this chamber.
– Johnson, Clinton, Trump –
The 80-year-old president has always publicly supported his son, with a past riddled with addictions, also struggling with the law, accused of illegal possession of a firearm.
“I wake up every day (…) not focused on impeachment. I have a job to do. I have to deal with the issues that affect the American people every day” , he declared in September.
Former US President Donald Trump leaving the stage during a meeting in Rapid City, South Dakota, on September 8, 2023 © AFP – Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS < p>The opening of impeachment proceedings has been demanded for months by the Trumpist wing of the Republican Party, with which House Speaker Kevin McCarthy had to make numerous compromises to gain access to the perch in January.
Never has a president been impeached in American history. Three were impeached: Andrew Johnson in 1868, Bill Clinton in 1998 and Donald Trump in 2019 and 2021. But all were ultimately acquitted.
Richard Nixon preferred to resign in 1974 to avoid impeachment certain by Congress due to the Watergate scandal.
All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2023) Agence France-Presse