Everyone is aware that Donald Trump, with several pending court cases, may take advantage of this situation: namely, the “allegation” launched by Kevin McCarthy, in order to make the false equivalence that they are “both” in legal trouble.
Just hours before announcing the impeachment process against Joe Biden, some Republicans were already looking glum. “The time for impeachment is the time when there’s evidence linking President Biden — if there’s evidence linking President Biden — to a high crime or misdemeanor. That doesn’t exist right now,” said a Republican congressman, while another added, “I’m not seeing facts or evidence at this point.”
No one disputes that, not even the person who has set in motion the impeachment process — Speaker of the House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy (“my Kevin,” to use Donald Trump’s words). The Republican leader has worked very hard not to say that he has “evidence,” but he has made clear that there are many “allegations” that “warrant further investigation by the House of Representatives.” This is how he justified his decision to initiate the process.
These “allegations” are well known: Republicans believe that Biden took advantage of his position as Barack Obama’s vice president to benefit foreign companies represented by his son Hunter and accept bribes. The “evidence” must be harder to find, for an investigative committee led by Republicans in the House of Representatives over which McCarthy presides has spent months working on it to no avail.
Did Hunter Biden brag about his father to earn money? It seems likely. Was he a shady fellow? Certainly. Did Biden collaborate with him and receive a percentage? Not at all, so far. Nevertheless, McCarthy wants the investigation to continue in the form of impeachment to “go wherever the evidence takes us.” He is so certain that he has made the decision by himself, without putting it to a vote, despite having committed to doing so. Although Republicans have the majority in the House, the reservations of many moderates might have led to McCarthy’s being defeated.
The Strategy behind Impeachment
The most malicious analysts see this impeachment as a process with no chance of culminating in Biden’s removal, but it may solve some of McCarthy’s more pressing political troubles. For him, the main benefit is indulging the most extreme members of his party, with whom he has been quarreling ever since he had to go through 15 rounds of voting before earning their support to preside over the House of Representatives. In order to secure such a Pyrrhic victory, he had to promise them a lot of budget cuts he no longer wants or is unable to provide; however, the gesture of impeaching Biden will not cost him a dollar.
Right now, McCarthy needs to keep his extremists happy because without their support to pass the budget at the end of the month the U.S. government will have to halt any nonessential activity because it will not be able to afford it. By impeaching Biden, McCarthy expects to sow some good will, although some ultra-conservative representatives have already told him that “baby steps” without a strategy will not be enough to exchange one thing for the other.
Another added benefit for McCarthy is making Trump happy. He has been moving behind the scenes to garner support for impeachment. Everyone is aware that the former president — who has at least five pending court cases — may take advantage of the situation, namely, this “allegation” against Biden, in order to create the false equivalence that they are “both” in legal trouble, when the evidence against them is not comparable.
Every impeachment is a political process, but this one has an additional advantage for the more than likely Republican presidential candidate: Although Democrats have no control over the timing of Trump’s judicial process or the dates of his trials, nor can they make decisions about Hunter Biden’s upcoming trial, Republicans can organize the hearings of President Biden’s impeachment as they see fit — in the most detrimental manner to his reelection campaign.
In its first 200 years of history, the U.S. experienced only a single presidential impeachment, and if the Republicans move forward with it, this would be the third one in four years. Never in history has a president been removed via impeachment and, barring a huge surprise, this will not be the first time.