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GOP-controlled House greenlights impeachment inquiry into Biden

《环球时报》 2023-12-14

US President Joe Biden speaks at the George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center on August 10, 2023 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Photo: AFP

US President Joe Biden. Photo: AFP

In a major move, the US House of Representatives gave the green light to an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden on US local time Wednesday. Chinese analysts said that this decision will have an impact on public opinion toward the Biden administration, potentially influencing the probable Democrat nominee's chances in the 2024 general election. Moreover, it also highlighted the tragedy of the US political system, which is being increasingly plagued by worsening partisan polarization, they said.

The vote in the GOP-controlled chamber was 221 to 212, with all Republicans voting to approve the probe. The House Democrats stood in united opposition to the inquiry resolution, calling it a farce perpetrated by those across the aisle to avenge the two impeachments against former president Donald Trump.

Biden also criticized the result as a "baseless political stunt," while questioning the priorities of House Republicans in pursuing an inquiry against him and his family, according to US local media reports.

"Instead of doing anything to help make Americans' lives better, they are focused on attacking me with lies," the president said following the vote. "Instead of doing their job on the urgent work that needs to be done, they are choosing to waste time on this baseless political stunt that even Republicans in Congress admit is not supported by facts."

As authorizing the months-long inquiry would ensure that the impeachment investigation extends well into 2024, when Biden will very likely be running for reelection as Democrat nominee, Chinese analysts said that the decision would inevitably impact his campaign that year.

According to Lü Xiang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, an investigation into Hunter Biden, the president's 53-year-old son, over the younger Mr Biden's business dealings in Ukraine could also possibly be used by the GOP to obstruct the Biden administration's proposal of further military and financial aid to Kiev.

"To some extent, this could instill a negative impression among the public, linking Ukrainian war assistance with Biden's personal interests," he explained.

As Trump was twice impeached during his time in the White House, the latest impeachment against Biden was also viewed as a tit-for-tat move in response to the calls of die-hard Trump supporters not only in the House, but also pro-Trump voters across the US, according to Xin Qiang, deputy director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University on Thursday.

Although the effort will almost certainly fail to remove Biden from office, Xin believed that the lasting investigation, hearings, and relevant media coverage will inevitably impact public opinion and hurt the political image of Biden and his Democratic Party.

Republicans said the vote was needed to give them full authority to continue carrying out their investigation amid anticipated legal challenges from the White House. Democrats have denounced the inquiry as a fishing expedition and a political stunt, the New York Times reported.

Democrat lawmaker Jim McGovern denounced the vote, saying during a floor debate that "this whole thing is an extreme political stunt. It has no credibility, no legitimacy, and no integrity. It is a sideshow," AP reported.

Xin said that the impeachment effort has, without a doubt, added fuel to the already fierce partisan opposition, as well as to the conflicts between the White House and Capitol Hill, which would make the cooperation between the House and Senate and between the executive branch and Congress even more difficult, undermining government operations and impairing the efficiency of governance.

This impeachment inquiry will prevent the Biden administration from focusing its energy on the crises and challenges facing the US in the coming year, forcing them into endless partisan battles instead. It is indeed a tragedy in American politics, Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Thursday.

It is a typical political investigation that reflects the pathological state of current domestic politics in the US, showing that America's so-called democratic politics have gone off the rails and become a tool for political opponents to attack and smear each other, which is a tragedy for the democratic practice that the US claims to uphold, Li added.