Republicans in the United States Congress announced on Tuesday the opening of an investigation to achieve a possible impeachment of President Joe Biden, but that outcome remains highly hypothetical.
Members of the House of Representatives have accused the Democratic leader of “lying” to the American people about his son Hunter’s controversial business overseas.
Here are some keys to understanding this ad.
– How is this procedure? –
The US Constitution provides that Congress can remove the president (or the vice president, or federal judges…) in the event of “treason, bribery or other high crimes and offenses.”
The procedure takes place in two stages.
First, the House of Representatives votes, by simple majority, on the articles detailing the charges against the president: this is called “impeachment” in English.
In the event of impeachment, the Senate, the Upper House of Congress, puts the president on trial.
At the end of the debates, the hundred senators voted on each article. A two-thirds majority is required to convict, in which case impeachment is automatic and final.
Otherwise, the president will be acquitted.
To date, a president has never been removed from office in an impeachment trial in the history of the United States.
Three were indicted: Andrew Johnson in 1868, Bill Clinton in 1998, and Donald Trump in 2019 and 2021. But all were ultimately acquitted.
Richard Nixon chose to resign in 1974 to avoid impeachment by Congress due to the Watergate scandal.
The US Senate is now in the hands of Democrats, which also makes an impeachment of Biden unlikely.
– Because now? –
The Trumpist wing of the Republican Party has been pushing for the impeachment of President Biden since his election.
After winning a majority in the House of Representatives in early January, Republicans launched a series of parliamentary investigations into the Democratic leadership team.
These lawmakers said they “recognize the serious and credible allegations about President Biden’s behavior,” which is now the reason for opening this impeachment investigation, said their leader, Kevin McCarthy.
McCarthy, speaker of the House of Representatives, will have to make several compromises with the Trumpist wing of his party to take power in January.
However, he risks being “replaced as speaker of the House” if he does not approve the long-requested investigation, political analyst Larry Sabato explained to AFP.
The Democrats, for their part, accuse that this procedure is done for political purposes, when there is more than a year until the presidential election in the United States.
The Republicans made the House of Representatives “a branch” of the Trump campaign, declared the team of President Biden, candidate for re-election.
The Democrat could face his Republican rival Trump – impeached four times in recent months, but favorite in the Republican primaries – in November 2024.
– With what consequences? –
“I think it could backfire for the Republicans,” predicted Sabato, who believes there is “little or no evidence” to defend his investigation.
However, the image of righteousness that Biden is trying to build could be damaged by televised hearings on the activities of his son Hunter.
At the legislative level, this approach could strain the relationship between the two parties in Congress.
Democrats and Republicans must find agreement on the budget plan at all costs: Lawmakers in Congress have until September 30 to approve a new budget for the federal States; Otherwise, they risk draining public finances.