The House of Representatives have officially authorized an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, formalizing their years-long fishing expedition against the president in a floor vote on Wednesday.

Lawmakers voted 221-212 along party lines to approve the resolution authorizing the inquiry.

Before being removed as speaker by his own party, former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) launched an unofficial, vote-free impeachment inquiry into the president. His successor, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) announced his decision to move forward with a floor vote to legitimize the investigation through a article in USA today on Tuesday morning.

Johnson wrote that the vote officially authorize the House Oversight, Judiciary, and Ways and Means committees to “continue investigating the president’s role in promoting the alleged influence-peddling schemes of his family and associates, the orchestration of which yielded millions of dollars in payments from America’s foreign adversaries . ”

Although Johnson writes that Republicans “will not pre-judge this investigation,” the very fact that they are moving forward with an inquiry despite failing to produce concrete evidence of financial misconduct on the part of President Biden speaks to the transparent political nature of the process.

On Monday, House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan told reporters that the investigation may revolve around allegations that President Biden and his son Hunter Biden profited from unethical deals with the Ukrainian energy company Burisma. These allegations were widely refuted practically since its creation. Multiple efforts by Republicans to link Hunter Biden's business dealings, as well as behavior stemming from his struggle with addiction, to the president have yielded little results. Hunter himself was charged with criminal tax offenses and illegal possession of a firearm, but the cases failed to establish a link to his father.

On Wednesday, Hunter Biden openly defied a subpoena from House Republicans demanding he appear in person to testify before Congress in a closed-door session. Biden, who offered to give his testimony in a public setting – for a previous offer made by Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer — held a press conference outside the Capitol in which he condemned the use of “distortions, manipulated evidence and lies” by Republicans to impugn his character and career.

Hunter admitted he was “extremely irresponsible with my finances” but said “to suggest this is grounds for an impeachment inquiry is beyond absurd. It's a shame.”

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Lacking a smoking gun, Republicans, including Johnson, had previously been hesitant to move forward with a political process that could generate a public backlash in an election year. Johnson criticized partisan impeachment proceedings in general. As reported by CNN Earlier this week, Johnson sharply criticized Democrats for initiating impeachment proceedings against former President Donald Trump along party lines, and in the months leading up to an election year – which is the exact strategy Johnson is following now.

“If you don’t like the president, he will go to the polls again after four years,” Johnson said in December 2019. “We have elections in 11 months. Let the people decide that.”



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