One of Joe Biden’s key congressional allies has rejected the notion that Republicans can bait the president’s fellow Democrats into embracing an impeachment inquiry as an opportunity for him to be cleared over questions about his son’s business affairs.
“What the American people want is for us to fund government and solve their issues,” the California congressman Ro Khanna said on Fox News Sunday, referring to how some hard-right Republicans have made a Biden impeachment inquiry a condition for them to support new funding that would avoid at least a partial federal government shutdown after 30 September.
Khanna, a leading progressive who sits on the US House’s oversight committee and is a member of Biden’s re-election advisory board, added: “There is no grounds for an impeachment inquiry, and this is why” Republican House speaker Kevin McCarthy lacks the votes necessary to have already called one.
The comments from Khanna to the Republican-friendly news program came after host Maria Bartiromo suggested that going along with a Biden impeachment could afford the president a chance to demonstrate – once and for all – that allegations of corruption stemming from his son Hunter’s foreign business deals are unfounded.
Bartiromo said Republican congressman Scott Perry – Khanna’s fellow House oversight committee member – had previously advanced a similar line of argument to support impeaching Biden. And Bartiromo also alluded to Fox News polling which showed a percentage of voters believed Biden had done something unethical, if not illegal, as far as Hunter’s business dealings were concerned.
But Khanna countered by pointing Bartiromo and her viewers to a Washington Post opinion piece by Colorado’s Republican House member Ken Buck, which asserted that there was no evidence to justify a Biden impeachment.
Buck said that was his position even as he strongly condemned the Democrat-led impeachment of Biden’s Republican presidential predecessor, Donald Trump, in 2019. That impeachment concerned attempts by Trump to find dirt on his political rivals, including Biden, pertaining to politics and business in Ukraine.
It was separate from Trump’s second impeachment stemming from his supporters’ violent attack on the US Capitol on 6 January 2021 after his electoral defeat to Biden. Both impeachments resulted in Trump’s acquittal.
Khanna said it was also telling that other Republicans have publicly shared Buck’s opinion that Biden’s impeachment would at best be a fruitless distraction. That reality contrasts sharply with the generally united front which Democrats presented when voting to impeach Trump, Khanna argued.
“I mean, when we impeached President Trump, every Democrat voted for it,” said Khanna, though two House members belonging to his party opposed the 2019 impeachment. The GOP House speaker, Khanna said, “simply doesn’t have the votes on his side”, and a substantial number of Republicans in the chamber have expressed their preference to focus on avoiding a government shutdown.
“Fund the government; solve people’s problems,” those Republicans say, according to Khanna.
Bartiromo conceded that there were “definitely Republicans saying they don’t want to go down this road” of impeaching Biden.
As ultra-conservative rhetoric about impeaching Biden swirled, the president’s son was indicted on Thursday on federal firearms charges which can carry up to 25 years in prison. The charges were brought against Hunter Biden after the collapse in August of a plea deal that also involved two separate misdemeanor tax charges.
Since last year’s midterm elections, Republicans have held only a thin majority in the US House, which has the power to draw up articles of impeachment. Democrats hold a thin majority in the Senate, where two-thirds of the members need to vote to convict – and, as a consequence, remove from office – an impeached official.
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