President Joe Biden faces a new threat to his reelection bid from the latest round of criminal charges against his son Hunter, with Republicans led by Donald Trump seizing on the case as a political gift.
Trump, attempting to detract from his own legal troubles, has new fodder for his unsubstantiated allegations that the president was involved in an influence peddling scheme, dubbing the father-son duo the “Biden crime family.”
And Republican investigators, who haven’t turned up evidence to back their own claims the president was involved in Hunter’s business dealings, see this as a further and well-timed validation for their sputtering impeachment probe.
The president sidestepped the matter on Friday, declining to field reporters’ questions. He has previously dismissed inquiries about his son’s case, calling it “a bunch of lies.”
Several timelines are about to converge. Hunter Biden has not yet been arraigned on the latest charges, and it’s unclear when that will happen or how quickly the case will proceed.
Separately, he has been subpoenaed for a deposition on Capitol Hill Wednesday. But he’s in a standoff with Republicans — offering to testify publicly, while House Oversight Chairman James Comer and Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan have insisted that the questioning take place behind closed doors.
The chairmen have warned of contempt of Congress proceedings if the younger Biden doesn’t show up.
And then there’s the impeachment question. The House is poised to vote next week on authorizing proceedings, with Speaker Mike Johnson saying the vote is needed to secure the inquiry’s legal standing. The resolution does not spell out any specific potential articles of impeachment.
The political impact of an actual impeachment inquiry, however, is unclear. Some Republicans have warned it could backfire, and some Democrats have shrugged off the threat for the same reason.
Rutgers University political scientist Ross Baker says Republicans have placed their chips largely on Biden’s guilt by association — and they could succeed.
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