Why Trump’s DOJ could help Biden with House Republicans’ impeachment inquiry

Republicans claim president profited from his son Hunter Biden’s foreign business deals but have so far failed to publicly produce any conclusive evidence

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Wednesday 13 September 2023 23:24 BST
Related video: Ted Cruz confidently declares evidence for Biden impeachment inquiry is only circumstantial

A rule on impeachment inquiries put in place by the Justice Department during Donald Trump’s administration could help Joe Biden, according to a report.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced on Tuesday that Republicans would open an impeachment inquiry into President Biden without taking a vote.

However, this goes against a declaration by Mr Trump’s Department of Justice that a formal vote must be taken before any such inquiry can begin, according to Politico.

That ruling was made in January 2020 as then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Democrats would investigate Mr Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The four-times indicted former president was historically impeached twice, the first time being in December 2019 for which Senate Republicans acquitted him.

He was then impeached a second time over the January 6 attack on the US Capitol by his supporters but was again acquitted by Republicans in the Senate.

Politico reported that the real, which was issued by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, remains binding.

“[W]e conclude that the House must expressly authorize a committee to conduct an impeachment investigation and to use compulsory process in that investigation before the committee may compel the production of documents or testimony,” wrote Steven Engel, the then-head of DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel.

And he added in his 54-page opinion: “The House had not authorized such an investigation in connection with the impeachment-related subpoenas issued before October 31, 2019, and the subpoenas therefore had no compulsory effect.”

Republicans pushing for the impeachment of Mr Biden claim that the president profited from his son Hunter Biden’s foreign business deals. But critics say that they have so far failed to publicly produce any incriminating evidence.

“These are allegations of abuse of power, obstruction and corruption, and they warrant further investigation by the House of Representatives,” Mr McCarthy said in a brief statement.

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