House Votes To Formally Authorize Biden Impeachment Inquiry
US President Joe Biden during a news conference with Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Ukraine's president, not pictured, in the Indian Treaty Room on the White House complex, in Washington, DC, US, on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2023.
(Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The GOP-led House voted on Wednesday to formally authorize the corruption-focused impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden, a move Republicans said was necessary to give them more legal weight to enforce subpoenas.

By a 221-212 tally, the chamber adopted the authorization resolution that establishes “sufficient grounds” exist for the probe to continue after it passed through the House Rules Committee on Tuesday. With the successful vote, the inquiry follows a similar track as the first impeachment probe against former President Donald Trump, which Democrats did not vote to authorize right away either.

All Republicans rallied behind the resolution, including Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), who told CNN on Monday that he was “struggling” with how he would vote. Buck said he believed there was a lack of evidence against Biden but also lamented how the White House had resisted the inquiry. The one member who did not vote was Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL). The Democrat is a critic of the impeachment effort, but said he was unable to cast a vote against it because of a death in his family.

Three panels — the Oversight, Judiciary, and Ways and Means Committees — have led the impeachment probe since mid-September, when then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) announced the endeavor. Congressional investigators have been looking into whether the business practices of Biden’s family members fostered corruption in government — spurred by a money trail showing millions of dollars from foreign countries — as well as the Department of Justice’s handling of a criminal probe into Hunter Biden, the president’s son.

President Biden, who is seeking re-election next year, has dismissed what he called last week a “bunch of lies.” But GOP lawmakers contend that the commander in chief has lied more than a dozen times in his denials about his knowledge and participation in his family’s dealings. Democrats in the House have insisted the impeachment inquiry is a “sham” lacking legitimacy and evidence of wrongdoing by the president.

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), less than two months into his tenure in the leadership position, said a vote to formalize the impeachment inquiry was necessary to combat alleged “stonewalling” by the White House. “When the subpoenas are challenged in court, we’ll be at the apex of our constitutional authority,” he said last week. Johnson has also said the House has a responsibility to “follow each truth where it leads” when asked if investigators have found any evidence that Biden is guilty of impeachable offenses.

Richard Sauber, special counsel to the president, wrote to impeachment leaders in mid-November condemning what he described as “Congressional harassment of the President” and calling on the House to withdraw its subpoenas and interview requests that have gone out to Biden administration officials, Biden family members, and Biden associates. The “Constitution requires that the full House authorize an impeachment inquiry before a committee may utilize compulsory process pursuant to the impeachment power — a step the Republican House Majority has so far refused to take,” Sauber wrote.

One high-profile individual who has resisted a subpoena is Hunter Biden. He showed up to Capitol Hill earlier on Wednesday but refused to show up for his scheduled deposition, demanding instead that lawmakers allow him to appear for a public hearing. House Republicans highlighted Hunter Biden denying that his father “financially” benefited from his business dealings as evidence that the Biden family’s story keeps changing under scrutiny.


Oversight Chairman James Comer (R-KY) and Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) released a joint statement afterward, saying they would initiate contempt of Congress proceedings against Hunter Biden. The vote to formalize the impeachment inquiry serves to “strengthen our legal case in the courts as we face obstruction from the White House and witnesses,” they said. “Today’s obstruction by Hunter Biden reinforces the need for a formal vote. President Biden and his family must be held accountable for their corruption and obstruction. And we will provide that to the American people.”

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