Edgemont Takes on Biden's Impeachment
To say the least, President Joe Biden has seen better days; an impeachment inquiry was opened against him, his son Hunter was indicted on gun charges, and, to top it all off, Congress doesn’t seem to be getting any closer to passing a spending bill to avert a government shutdown (as of Sept. 23, the time this article was written, but a later stopgap spending bill was passed to keep the government funded until mid-November).
Mr. Biden’s impeachment inquiry was announced on September 12th by (now-former) Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy. It is based on potential abuse of power by Mr. Biden to profit off of Hunter’s admittedly suspect business dealings – particularly with Ukrainian energy firm Burisma – that overlapped with his father pushing the Ukrainian government to crack down on corruption in 2014. Some even believe the president had invested himself in the firm.
What the inquiry is really looking for, though, is proof President Biden was involved in Hunter’s business dealings or tried to influence policy to benefit him while serving as Vice-President or President (there is no issue if the two worked together in between his stints as vice-president and president, from 2017 through 2021). While there is no current evidence of any wrongdoing – even after an anonymous FBI whistleblower claimed that the Biden’s were involved in a bribery scheme in Ukraine that to led each earning $5 million – the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability will push on and show their potential evidence on September 28th at the first Congressional hearing.
Mr. Biden has been extremely open, sharing tax returns for the past 25 years, but many Republicans hold the opinion he acted with “corrupt intent” in his son’s dealings, according to the Washington Post. They claim that President Biden’s removal of the top prosecutor of Ukraine (a part of his crackdown there and a move supported by the E.U.) aided his son. Hunter’s business partner, Devon Archer, refuted this and told investigators it was a “setback.”
Hunter has lived a difficult life, facing challenges in the public light such as the death of his brother, Beau, which led to struggles with drug abuse and subsequent discharge from the Navy. He eventually entered the world of business and made millions, but a laptop leak in 2020 revealed some of his questionable business practices. Moreover, it was revealed he sometimes had his father on speaker phone while also talking with his business partners but testified that the president was never engaged in the dealings beyond “idle chitchat.”
Although Kevin McCarthy stated that the inquiry was a “logical next step” of GOP investigations into the Bidens, it's important to note how McCarthy was pressured by the far-right representatives into using his own authority to open the inquiry as opposed to leaving it to a House vote as he previously said he would do. A lack of confidence to get the votes required to open the inquiry is due to a lack of widespread, bi-partisan support and lack of concrete evidence of malpractice. The White House is attacking those points to counter the inquiry, stating that it’s an attempt to slander Mr. Biden and take his attention away from his job.
The White House is also stating the inquiry is political, and this may be partially true, given that the whole reason for opening an official inquiry is wider access to documents, subpoenas, testimonies, and other benefits; however, none of these new resources were tapped into after the inquiry was announced – instead, Mr. Biden’s opposition went on camera to attack him.
Another element of this is how representatives of the right-wing Freedom caucus, such as Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz, threatened to strip McCarthy of his role as Speaker, which took a record 15 different votes to get. This leverage did play a role in opening the inquiry, though it is likely a combination of factors.
In a poll sent to the Edgemont student body, over 75% believed Biden wouldn’t get impeached. A majority also believed the inquiry is politically based in attempts to hurt Mr. Biden while former President Trump fights off numerous legal cases, including multiple ones related to his role in the January 6 insurrection and trying to overturn the 2020 election. These results are consistent with broader polls, including one by Yougov, where 41% believed the inquiry was an attempt to hurt President Biden’s reputation ahead of the 2024 election.
While Edgemont thinks the inquiry won’t be enough to dislodge Biden, the future of the inquiry is unknown, given the current instability of the House (indeed, after the writing of this article, the House voted to remove Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of House).